Connectivity is no longer simply about internet access; it now underpins the entire operational capability of a business. But with so many options available and digital dependence increasing, how does a business choose the right solution to meet its current and future needs?
Here is a brief guide to the different types of connection available. This should help you to navigate the minefield of options and make an informed decision on the best connection for you.
The most basic technology to deliver broadband is DSL (digital subscriber line) which uses copper telephone lines to transmit digital data.
The oldest and poorest option available to most businesses, DSL is painfully slow with download speeds of a maximum 20Mbps and upload speeds of just 2Mbps on a good day.
Despite – unforgivably – being the only option available in some business parks, DSL will strangle the digital capabilities of all but the smallest businesses. Our advice – steer clear.
The next step up on the connectivity ladder is Fibre-To-The-Cabinet. FTTC does what it says on the tin; data runs at the speed of light through fibre until it reaches the street cabinet where it is translated into slower electrical signals passing across a copper cable into your building.
The technology means that speeds are inconsistent, reduce at peak times, and will tend to max out at 80Mbps.
For many businesses, FTTC can meet their basic requirements but for those becoming more reliant on cloud services or supporting larger numbers of staff, it can prove sluggish and unreliable.
Larger businesses seeking greater reliability, consistent speeds and, crucially, symmetrical upload speeds, have had no choice but to opt for a leased line.
Typically delivered over pure fibre, leased lines provide dedicated connectivity to businesses that cannot risk the rollercoaster of FTTC.
They come with a hefty price tag, though, and businesses taking 100Mbps and faster leased lines can find themselves paying thousands of pounds a year.
More recently however, a new breed of products have emerged to provide many of the benefits of leased lines for a fraction of the price. Fibre-To-The-Premises brings pure fibre directly to your building. With no copper to slow data down, FTTP networks can easily run at Gigabit speeds – that is up to 1,000Mbps.
Rather than slowing them down, some innovative internet service providers are offering gigabit connectivity for a little more than the cost of a fast FTTC line.
While not a dedicated connection, these Gigabit internet services provide ultra-fast speeds that will make light work of remote back-ups, data heavy cloud services and Voice over Internet Protocol while simultaneously serving a large number of users.
If available in your area, these are well worth considering to future-proof your business connectivity – and you will have bragging rights with one of the fastest internet connections in the UK.
FTTP is being rolled out in locations across the UK by CityFibre, the largest independent provider of pure fibre infrastructure in the UK. CityFibre, in partnership with dbfb, have now launched the Milton Keynes Gigabit City which will see businesses being able to take advantage of speeds of up to 1GB (1,000Mbps). To find out more about moving to a pure-fibre connection, register your no-obligation interest at www.cityfibre.com/mk.