Ensuring your business has a good internet connection is not just about how fast it downloads. What works well at home won’t necessarily be suitable for your business. So what are the options and what do I need consider?
Without splitting hairs, you have three different ways to connect to the internet. Copper-based over telephone cables, various wireless solutions such as 4G and fibre solutions. Budget permitting, choose a fibre solution, here ends the blog post!
Okay if don’t have the budget or option for fibre, you will need to understand what else is available. We’ve given each solution a rating out of five, which isn’t always related to connection speeds. For example, we might recommend EFM type connection over FTTC or Cable for reliability, even though those connections are generally faster.
This is how the majority of small businesses still connect in the UK (2016). ADSL uses existing telephone line that connects via old copper wire to a cabinet in the street. From here, another copper wire connects back to the local exchange where everything connects to the internet. Greater the distances between these boxes will affect the performance and reliability of your connection, in a bad way!
- Download – 0.5 MB to 24 MB
- Upload – 0.25 MB to 1 MB
Ethernet First Mile (EFM)
This technology combines either 2, 4, 6 and even 8 ADSL lines to provide greater reliability and constant internet speeds. Again performance is affected by distance but can be improved by combining more lines together. EFM is typically a much more reliable service and provides better upload speeds than ADSL.
- Download – 3 MB to 20 MB
- Upload – 3 MB to 20 MB
Fibre To The cabinet (FTTC) or VDSL
This is the one BT and others like to market as a “Fibre Internet connection”. It’s bit miss leading and not technically true. VDSL still uses copper cables like ADSL for the connection to your building. The only difference is the box on your street is connected to the local exchange using a fibre cable rather than copper. VDSL is slowing starting to replace ADSL as it provides faster connection speeds. Although VDSL is even more sensitive to distance, so not all businesses will be able to upgrade their connection.
- Download – 20 MB to 120 MB
- Upload – 10 MB to 40 MB
Ethernet over Fibre To The Cabinet (EoFTTC)
Think of EoFTTC as hybrid type connection of FTTC and Fibre combined. EoFTTC shares many of the benefits of a Fibre connection such as improved SLA, resilience and bandwidth guarantees but costs less. Although the connection speeds still can’t compete with a true Fibre internet connection.
- Download – 20 MB to 120 MB
- Upload – 10 MB to 40 MB
Very similar to FTTC / VDSL, expect the internet is connected via a coaxial cable that was designed for data in mind. Cable is only available in certain areas of the country with only one major player in the market, Virgin Media. Generally, a cable will provide a faster connection than ADSL/VDSL, but from our experience in Edinburgh, not always the most reliable.
- Download – 5 MB to 300 MB
- Upload – 1 MB to 50 MB
Often overlooked technology is Satellite broadband that can provide reasonably fast internet connection to any location on the planet. Although the connection speeds are often faster than ADSL, the latency is almost 10 times as slow. Think of latency as the ability to change direction in a small boat compared to that of a supertanker. Satellite solutions can also be affected by extreme weather and not ideal for heavy internet usage. If you have weak ADSL connection combining a Satellite solution with a quality load-balancing router can help to make the difference.
- Download – 20 MB
- Upload – 6 MB
3G / 4G / Mobile Internet
Wireless internet uses a range of technologies to beam connectivity to mobile devices. These wireless technologies can also be used by special routers as backup internet connection or even primary in some cases. 4G in some areas of the UK is faster than ADSL and VDSL. Although heavy usage can be expensive. Again like Satellite solutions, it can be a good idea to combine these different technologies with a router that specialises in load balancing. In the above photo, we have combined very slow ADSL connections with 4G and satellite, best of both worlds!
- Download – 0.5 MB to 42 MB
- Upload – 0.25 MB to 22 MB
Point to Point or Microwave
Another solution for many remote locations is to beam dedicated wireless signal between two points that have a line of sight. This can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise requiring community or group of companies to come together to cover costs and work with landowners. Although once in place, can have many benefits for the community. Speed and usage can almost be anything you wish. Again a fixed line or fibre solution will always be more reliable.
- Download/Upload – 50 to 300+ MB
Fibre to the premises (FTTP) / Leased Line
A fibre cable runs from your premises to the local exchange and then to the internet. This dedicated line is not only reliable and fast but can often be upgraded with just a phone call to the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Budget permitting, choose a fibre solution, here ends the blog post!
FTTP can come with expensive installation charges as fibre optical cable have to be physically laid to the building, see above to our Edinburgh office in the summer. Installation typically takes 90-180 days depending on location, building, local council, landlords all come into play.
- Download/Upload – 10 MB to 10GB (10,000 MB)
Dark Fibre or Pure Fibre
Some leased lines connections (FTTP) might be a mixture of different cables and internet service providers. A Pure Fibre solution just uses the latest fibre technology all the way to the internet. This means your connection is future proof to any speed a small or large business would need for the foreseeable future. We have a Pure Fibre connection in our Edinburgh office, it’s so fast our relevantly new firewall needs upgrading already.
- Download/Upload – 100 MB to 10GB (10,000 MB)
Fibre internet connection for my business
Over the past 18 months, 30% of our clients have moved to either a Leased or Pure Fibre internet connection. Dunedin IT has not only helped them choose the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) and type of connection but also ensure the internal network can support the new connection and ultimately the business.
If you like to find out more about how we can help your business with choosing the right internet connection, contact David or Jamie on 0131 225 2215 or firstname.lastname@example.org