Why does your business need a business grade internet connection?

Karl Alderton, Comms Supply

For most businesses internet is now key to allowing them to actually do business, whether that’s communicating with customers, receiving orders or accessing data stored in their hosted CRM. In my opinion there are not many more items as critical as the internet connection to a business.

To prove this point, if you turn your internet off for 30 minutes, how much impact does that have on your business? What are your team saying? Can anyone still work? Are your customers failing to get hold of you for that urgent order or service issue?

Most businesses are heavily reliant on their connection to the world and there are many options out there, however in my experience, many businesses simply are not aware of the options available or what the implications of making an incorrect choice could have to the business.

Below I have picked up on some key points, that I hope, will help you to understand the difference between some of the products available to you. 

Service Level Agreement (SLA)– What happens if it stops working?

This element based on my comments above is clearly critical when choosing which product your business needs.

How would you answer these questions?

Would it cost you money if you lost your internet connection? Could it impact your credibility with your customers or potential customers?

I don’t think I have ever had a business say no to the first the question and many say yes to the second question, therefore it is important to understand how vital the internet speed is to your business.

Standard business broadband and fibre broadband come with a ‘best effort’ service level agreement, therefore not giving you any guaranteed fix time. We do see some providers selling an enhanced SLA, this just changes the words to ‘attempt to fix within 24 hours’, your service is still not guaranteed to be up and working in that time.

A business grade solution such as EoFTTC, EFM or Leased Lines all come with guaranteed fix times or financial penalties that are paid to you if the these are not met.  The fix times are from 5 hours to 8 hours and run 24/7, plus these solutions tend to be more stable than a business broadband for example.

While I fully appreciate business grade connections cost more than broadband, if you answered yes to the question - would it cost you money if you lost your internet connection? – then once you know this figure, the increase in cost could be considerably cheaper than your potential losses.

Costs have also been falling considerably over the past few years, so the actual price might be a surprise to you, especially if you have not had a quote for a number of years.

Is it all about speed? Surprisingly no…

This is one of those things that I find difficult to explain, so here goes, hopefully it will be simple.

A 10mb EFM or Leased Line will generally be quicker than 24mb broadband and a 20mb EFM or Leased Line will generally be quicker than a 40mb fibre broadband….now you see my difficulty.

The speed figure advertised is essentially how much data you can download at a single point in time and the key point here is with business broadband and fibre broadband, this is a maximum figure. The amount you can download is impacted by a number of things, including the amount of other people using the internet in your local area to how your supplier routes the traffic to the destination, ie google server.

A key point here is how long it takes for your traffic to reach its destination and get back to you, for example, if you type into google ‘how do you make apple pie’ this information needs to leave your PC, travel through the internet to the google server, the google server finds the appropriate search results and sends it back to through the internet to your PC screen.

On a business broadband you would expect this to take between 30-60ms, with a business grade solution, you expect this to take 6ms.

Ok, so I hear you saying ‘Karl you are talking in milliseconds’ and yes I am, but this was a single web page and one request, if you think about an office with 10 people, how many individual requests to internet servers are happening at any one time, you will have email, VoIP, web pages, dropbox etc all happening at the same time.

Suddenly, with all of these items getting the information at least 5 times quicker, you will be surprised how much difference this makes. It feels much quicker to everyone sitting behind their PC, despite the headline figure.

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There you go, these are in my opinion (which I would like to think is a professional one) two key reasons why your business needs a business grade connection.

While prices are considerably lower than a few years ago, price should only be a small part of the decision making when choosing which product to go ahead with. I can near enough guarantee (and I am talking from experience in dealing with business when this happens) you will not be thinking about the price when you lose your internet connection for a day or two, that will be the last thing on your mind.

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