As reliable connectivity becomes increasingly important to the smooth running of a business, making sure that you choose the right internet connection is more crucial than ever.
While many businesses continue to feel the frustrations of downtime, slow page loading and all the other issues that come with standard broadband connections, more savvy businesses are choosing leased lines for their business internet connection. These days, leased lines are more affordable than ever and business of all sizes can take advantage of the benefits of leased line connectivity.
In this article, we will walk you through all you need to know to help you decide whether a leased line is the right choice for your business internet connection.
What is a leased line?
When it comes to business connectivity, many organisations still use consumer like broadband connections. While these can typically cater for families and small offices, in business you often need more access, speed, and reliability than a consumer broadband connection can provide. This is where leased lines offer a solution.
A leased line is a dedicated, symmetrical data connection that operates on a fixed bandwidth. Breaking this down, a leased line is an internet connection that is reserved just for you (dedicated) and constantly provides the same fast speed (fixed bandwidth) on both upload and download (symmetrical). Leased lines are private circuits between two points, one point being your business premises and the other being the network provider’s nearest point of presence (PoP). Typically, leased lines are used by organisations to get a high-quality internet connection that can handle the day to day data-hungry needs of businesses.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from a leased line connection. Since a leased line is solely dedicated to your business and your connection requirements, you can choose the connection destination and what data is passed on the line. Also, a leased line doesn’t need to be just an internet connection, you can also use it for other functions, including phone calls, VoIP, network traffic, or just about any data transfer needs your company has.
What types of business grade connectivity are available?
There are three primary types of business grade connections that are available: FTTC, FTTP, and EFM. Each of these options is suited for different business connectivity needs.
FTTC stands for Fibre to the Cabinet. With FTTC, around 50% of the connection consists of fibre optic cables that reach a cabinet at street level. The remaining 50% of the connection is completed with copper wiring. An FTTC business connection offers a practical option in cases where installing a fibre optic cable directly into the premises proves difficult or impractical.
The benefits of an FTTC connection
- Good performance for small companies
- Widespread availability
- Fibre medium
- Higher speeds
FTTP stands for Fibre to the Premises. Unlike FTTC, FTTP provides fibre internet directly to the premises, through fibre optic wires. In most cases, FTTP is the quickest and most reliable fibre connection available to businesses. FTTP is uncontended and offers speeds of up to and beyond 10Gbps with symmetrical upload and download speeds. Since FTTP is highly scalable, it can be upgraded quickly and easily to suit growing business needs.
The benefits of FTTP
- Good performance for larger corporations
- Fibre medium
- Uncontended bandwidth
- Ultra-fast speed
- Excellent reliability
EFM stands for Ethernet in the First Mile and can provide businesses with connectivity that offers up to 40Mbps of bandwidth using bonded copper lines. The quality of the service of an EFM connection is dependent upon the distance of the premises from the exchange.
The benefits of EFM
- Good performance for small businesses
- Symmetrical line
- Quick to install
- Good reliability
How can a leased line benefit my business?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the different types of business connectivity that are available, let’s have a look at some of the benefits that a leased line can have for your business.
Several factors determine the speed of a domestic broadband connection, including how many people are using the line at once, and the size and nature of the data being transmitted (this is called the contention ratio). At peak times your contention ratio will be higher, as more people are using the connection, which means slower internet. This isn’t the case with leased lines. Leased line connections have a contention ratio of 1:1, which means that you are the only user of the connection. The benefit of this is that your connection will not slow down at peak times. The higher speeds that leased lines offer is a massive benefit for businesses who use their connection to undertake internet browsing, holding video conferences, file sharing, networks, and VoIP systems.
Fibre leased line connections are also far more reliable than consumer connections. Leased lines use fibre optic cables, which aren’t prone to electrical interference, are physically stronger than traditional copper wires and can also transmit data at a quicker rate. Leased lines also come with higher-grade hardware, which rarely fails.
Internet uptime is very important for any business, and losing your connection for just a few minutes can result in customer service issues and significant revenue loss. With a leased line, however, you are connected with the most reliable type of internet connection available. In addition, leased lines come with much better SLAs than traditional consumer broadband connections, which (depending on your provider) means that if your connection does go down, it will be fixed within 5 hours or less.
The level of security that is offered with leased lines is much higher than broadband alternatives. Since the leased line has been designed specifically for your own business’s usage, and therefore the data connection occurs between different points that are controlled by your business. This offers enhanced security because you aren’t sharing information on a public network. Therefore, leased lines are ideal for businesses, as important confidential information is stored in a secure place.
Choosing a business leased line provider
Once you have decided that a business leased line connection is right for your business, you will need to choose the right provider. When evaluating your various options, you should consider the following;
This is perhaps the most important point to consider when choosing a leased line provider is the customer service levels you will receive. One of the most crucial factors when it comes to customer service is the support you receive if your connection goes down. While lease lines are reliable, you will want to make sure that there is a safe backup plan in place. As downtime issues don’t always happen during business hours, it is always best to choose a network provider that offers a reliable around the clock customer service plan.
A good business leased line provider will offer several service packages which provide multiple speeds and a variety of features. This will allow you to choose a service that is built around your specific business needs, rather than a one size fits all that may not fit your requirements.
Once you have decided what sort of service package you need, browse the market and familiarise yourself with the prices that are being offered. You can use this information to determine whether you are being offered a fair quote. While the lowest price shouldn’t necessarily be the criteria that determines your choice of provider, you also don’t want to pay more than necessary.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a business leased line, but when your business needs the speed and reliability of a fibre leased line you need a provider who will provide you with the best speed and reliability, as well as a personal service and technical expertise.
Need more information on business leased lines?
Having a fibre leased line service allows your business to improve productivity and maximise your business’ data-hungry applications without worrying about speeds or network issues.
If you need more information on fibre leased lines for your business, then get in touch with M247.