For the modern business, a reliable internet connection has become one of the most essential resources there is. But with so many options and technical jargon its hard to know your leased lines from your broadband. Read our blog to find out what a ‘Dedicated’ line actual is and how it can improve your businesses internet connection in more ways than one.
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The need for better, faster, more reliable business internet connection
Such a large proportion of day-to-day operations now take place online, from working via cloud-based software to carrying out transactions via websites and mobile apps, that it is increasingly difficult to imagine how any company could function effectively without an internet connection.
That makes the question of how you connect all the more important. What businesses want from their internet connection is reliability and performance – minimal downtime, glitches and go-slows, maximum speed and efficiency so connected platforms and applications always perform at their best, regardless of how many processes are running at once. In the 21st century workplace, the quality of your internet connection makes a direct contribution to productivity and customer experience.
That is why more and more organisations are turning away from the standard ‘public’ internet services supplied by ISPs to our homes and places of work. Whether DSL or cable, conventional internet connections are provided via a public infrastructure of wired lines, street cabinets and exchanges, which distribute internet traffic to and from individual properties. These are shared or contended resources, which means all service users are competing for available bandwidth when they are online. This causes the familiar experience of connection speeds slowing down at certain busy times of the day.
What is a Dedicated Line?
By contrast, a dedicated line or leased line is a completely private connection supplied for the use of an individual subscriber. For a business, this means you get uncontended access to the full bandwidth offered by the service, improving quality and security. Dedicated lines are established by running private cable connections from an exchange to a property, and can also be used to connect different branch offices to create a Wide Area Network (WAN).
Leased lines offer a variety of benefits to businesses over standard public connections. Here are five of the main advantages;
1. Faster speeds
With a dedicated line, you will experience much faster internet connections than you get through a standard service. There are two reasons for this. One is the fact that a private, uncontended service means your company’s applications are never having to compete for bandwidth with other service users, you always get complete use of the resources available. The other reason why leased lines give faster speeds is that you can have ultrafast fibre optic cable run all the way to your premises. This delivers a much faster service than the fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure that still relies on copper lines to take connections to buildings. At M247, for example, our leased lines are capable of delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps.
2. Equal resources for uploading
The majority of standard internet connections are what is known as asymmetrical, which means they prioritise downloading over uploading. For home internet, where the majority of what you do online involves downloading data to access services (e.g. opening a web page, streaming a film or song), this makes sense, stacking available resources in favour of the most common activities. But for businesses making use of cloud computing, this becomes an issue. With the cloud, it isn’t just how quickly you can access an application that matters. Many cloud-based business platforms, be it CRM, ERP, website management tools, databases and so on, will have a steady stream of data being uploaded into the cloud, so speed and bandwidth matters in both directions. That is why leased line services are symmetrical, i.e. they provide equal download and upload speeds.
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3. Consistent performance
As well as enabling higher speeds, an uncontended leased line also means you will see less variation in network performance than with a public connection. This is particularly noticeable when using bandwidth-intensive applications – VoIP telephony, video conferencing, uploading or downloading large files and so on. If networks happen to be busy, you can experience latency, little blips in the flow of traffic, which will cause phone calls and video streams to break up, or file transfers to become stuck. Private dedicated lines make it much more likely that your network connections will perform at something like their best most of the time. In addition, thanks to the efficiency of fibre optic cabling, you don’t get any degradation in performance the longer the connection line, something that happens with copper wires.
4. More reliable connections
As we noted above, when you set up a dedicated line for your company’s internet access, you get fibre optic cable run all the way to your premises. This does not just improve connection speeds – fibre optic cabling is also physically stronger and less prone to electrical interference than copper wire, which makes it more resilient and reliable. Downtime is arguably the biggest risk factor facing business IT networks. Interruption to your internet connection can paralyse operations, potentially costing thousands in lost trade. Think of examples like a retailer unable to make sales because it cannot authorise card payments online, or a manufacturer that falls behind meeting orders because it cannot access its cloud ERP system. In addition to the physical benefits of fibre optic cable, a leased line service also provides guaranteed SLAs and dedicated maintenance protocols. At M247, we are able to guarantee 99.95% uptime for all our leased line services and 4 hour fix.
5. Higher security
As well as offering better, more consistent performance, private dedicated lines also greatly help to improve the security of your networked IT assets. One of the things that concerns businesses about relying on cloud computing is the way that control of sensitive data and critical resources is to a certain extent handed outside the company, to third party providers running operations on remote servers. Although the security protocols of modern cloud-hosting data centres are first class, in many cases outstripping what a company would be able to achieve itself, there is still a natural concern for all that valuable data passing back and forth, especially when public connections are used. With leased lines, you get the extra peace of mind that all data traffic over those connections is private and secure, with far fewer opportunities for hackers to get access or for data leaks to occur. This is particularly attractive for setting up a WAN to join multiple sites together, as it keeps all internal communications and data traffic firmly away from public networks.