What exactly is a ‘dedicated leased line’?
If you have any dealings with the network or connectivity of your company’s IT provision, it’s a term you have probably come across.
In short, a leased line is a type of private network service. It can be used to run a variety of data services. But most commonly, leased lines are marketed as an internet connection alternative to the standard public broadband.
If you are wondering why anyone would want or need an alternative to ordinary broadband, ask yourself the following about your internet connection:
- Does it always deliver the level of performance you expect or need?
- Is it ever glitchy, do you ever have to sit through go-slows?
- Does the quality of your internet service ever get in the way of getting tasks done quickly, efficiently and on time?
These may well be considerations that have pushed their way to the front of your mind this year as you and your colleagues have been forced to work from home a lot more than usual. Especially if your business premises are served by a leased line, then the sudden switch to relying on domestic broadband has highlighted just how important quality and speed of internet access is in maintaining great customer service and business efficiency.
But what makes a leased line deliver for a business where public broadband falls short? Much of that comes down to the way leased lines work, but there are also types of leased line available, each with their own relative advantages.
Want to learn more about the different types of leased lines and how they can support your business?
How leased lines work
A leased line is a private internet connection delivered directly to the premises for the exclusive use of your business alone. This differs from standard broadband connections, whether ADSL, Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP); broadband connections share bandwidth between multiple users. This is referred to as ‘contended’ bandwidth.
Think of the internet as a motorway – everyone needs to use it at some point to get from A to B, right? If you drive on the motorway, sometimes there can be traffic jams, where multiple users are using the road at the same time. In this analogy the traffic jam is known as contention. If standard broadband is the public highway, a leased line is a private toll road. It provides guaranteed speeds because there is no other traffic, or in networking speak, it is uncontended.
For example, think about what happens at home when your neighbours are all online at the same time, your internet connection may slow down meaning downloads buffer and whilst it impacts upon your time, there is little to no monetary impact. However, when businesses suffer from a connection that is on the go-slow the knock-on effects are more problematic and, in many cases, costly through impact to team efficiencies, customer service etc.
This is exactly the kind of issue a leased line is designed to sidestep. By running a direct, dedicated, uncontended private line from your internet service provider (ISP) to your business premises, you get guaranteed bandwidth, guaranteed speeds and exclusive use of the connection, all assured by clear SLAs.
Another feature of a leased line is that it shares bandwidth equally between uploads and downloads, meaning you get consistent speeds across both. This is known as a symmetrical or synchronous connection. This is not what you get with standard broadband – the internet connection you get in your home is asymmetrical, meaning it allocates more bandwidth to downloads than to uploads, as generally we spend more of our time downloading e.g. films and music rather than uploading .e.g photos to the cloud.
So whilst asymmetric broadband is great for streaming films and music, which rely on high download capacity, this is not really where your time is spent as a business, and this isn’t what you need when you’re trying to broadcast a webinar presentation which is utilising the upload functionality. Indeed, any cloud-based productivity platform or business software depends on users being able to upload data as they work, as much as it does on downloading data, which is where leased lines provide the required balance.
Leased lines: wired vs wireless
Leased lines can be delivered both wirelessly, via radio, or via fibre cables. Both have their advantages. Radio has rapid lead times, typically 10-21 working days from placing an order, whereas fibre often takes 60-90 working days because of the extra work involved in laying a physical cable, often meaning roads and pavements require digging up for example.
Another advantage of radio is that there is no risk of the line being accidentally broken during construction work, say when a mechanical digger is at work. Which can be extremely problematic in city centre locations, causing downtime for fibre leased lines and knock-on effects for businesses being served by those connections.
On the other hand, where fibre cabling is already available, prices can be more competitive than radio. Lead times can also be reduced from 60 working days down to 30-45 working days.
When both technologies are combined, this can offer comprehensive resilience with a guarantee of 100% uptime – if the fibre line is down, the radio takes over and vice versa, meaning your business has a higher level of protection from outages as one services acts as a failover to the other in order to keep things live and connected.
In order to ensure your business has the right line, there’s a wide variety of leased lines on the market. Click here to find out about EFMs, FTTPs and more.
Find the right leased line for your business with M247
Leased lines can be used as direct internet access (DIA), point-to-point connections between offices or as part of a private Wide Area Network (WAN). At M247, our focus is on providing flexible solutions that give growing businesses the bandwidth, the speed and the resilience they need.
With our own private true fibre network and LLU, we have the infrastructure to offer better-than-average lead times for fibre lines and lower prices. Whether you opt for a wireless or fibre line, we offer bandwidths at price points to suit every budget, making it easy to scale your connection in line with your evolving business needs.
Think leased lines are right for you?
We offer a wide range of leased lines, designed with different business and connectivity needs in mind. To find out more, read our no fuss guide – is a leased line right for your business?