Deciding on an Internet connectivity solution for your business can be tough. Many businesses facing this decision often find themselves poised between choosing a Broadband or Ethernet connection. But do they really understand the reasons for and against each solution?
The reality is, there are many different Broadband and Ethernet packages, each providing a specific solution relating to a designated business need.
For a non-data specialist, navigating the different connectivity options can be a minefield.
Let’s break it down by looking at the four most popular connectivity solutions: Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), FTTC Ethernet, Ethernet in the first mile (EFM), and business-grade Broadband.
FTTC involves running fibre optic cables from the local telephone exchange or distribution point to the street cabinets. From here, the connection to your business is via a copper line. Because this short length of copper line can use VDSL (Very High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber line) technology, higher speeds than regular Broadband can be achieved.
This service differs from that provided by FTTC in that the customer’s connection is handed off to a dedicated Ethernet network, rather than a shared Broadband network. This service delivers high and reliable speeds.
EFM is a type of Ethernet service that uses multiple copper lines to connect an office instead of a fibre optic circuit. This provides a dedicated connection to the exchange. However, because the technology is based on copper lines, it is limited in terms of bandwidth and can only reach a maximum speed of 35 Mb/s. Typically the average speed that can be achieved is 15 Mb/s.
EFM provides a much more robust, reliable service than Broadband. The use of multiple lines means that if a fault does occur on one line, the service can continue on the others. EFM is also fully symmetrical – so the upload speed is just as fast as the download speed. This could be particularly valuable if your business uploads large volumes of data or uses IP voice telephony and video conferencing.
For some small businesses, a Broadband package may still be the only realistic option if the IT budget is small. In this scenario, a so-called ‘business-grade’ Broadband product should be chosen. This will offer features and benefits over and above those available from an entry-level product – which is really just a residential product dressed up as a business product. A dedicated business Broadband provider will focus its efforts on the specific application and peak demand needs of businesses – rather than residential users. This should lead to better overall service quality.
When you’re choosing how to connect your business to the Internet and the Cloud, you need to look beyond the headline price. Think like a business, not a bargain-hunting consumer.
While Broadband certainly offers value-for-money, it isn’t as robust a technology as Ethernet. The use of the public telecoms network means Broadband lacks the performance and reliability today’s SMEs need – especially if connectivity is central to their business.
If your IT budget can’t quite stretch to it, there are lower cost options to consider. EFM, FTTC and FTTC Ethernet are cheaper than full fibre optic Ethernet – but still give the same high-quality service.
The important thing to recognise is the true value of connectivity to your business – and invest in a connection package accordingly. Buy the solution your business needs, not the cheapest on offer. To talk to one of our data specialists about finding the right connectivity solution for your business, please give us a call on 0800 840 6800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org