There are a huge variety of business Internet access solutions available to small and mid-size businesses. Understanding your options and objectives is critical to keeping costs low while getting the amount of service that you need. Most small and mid-size businesses (1-500 employees) will be best served by one of the four listed below.
4 Types of Business Internet Access
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
DSL provides a medium level of Internet access for low cost. This is a residential-class technology so there is generally no SLA provided for uptime. Generally the maximum DSL speed that you can get is 6mb down and 1.5mb up. There are many flavors of DSL. ADSL (Asynchronous) is the type of DSL described above and is the most common type of service ordered. SDSL (S=Synchronous) is a DSL connection with equal up and download speeds (e.g. 3mb up and 3mb down). These types of connections are more rare and generally more costly but sometimes necessary for businesses looking for a faster upload rates from a DSL connection. As a rule, whenever cable is available we will recommend it before DSL. However, as a rule, DSL is generally more available than cable, especially in more rural markets.
Cable internet connectivity provides the most bandwidth for the least amount of expense. However, like DSL, this is considered a residential class technology and SLAs for uptime are usually “best effort” or non-existent. Clients can now get speeds up to 500mb for what they used to pay for a T1 line. Cable also is usually more geographically constrained then say DSL for example. It is most prevalent in metropolitan markets. Most of our clients use cable as their primary internet access due to the high speed. We then implement a backup internet connection as a failover, which is crucial for companies whose infrastructure lives in the cloud. The backup is usually something more substantial, commercial-class connection that has an SLA, like fiber.
T1s & Bonded T1s
These types internet connections are being phased out by ISPs and will be gone by 2020, if not sooner. They only offer 1.5mb speed anyway, which in today’s age of 100s of mb per second seems like a total waste of time.
Metro-Ethernet & Fiber
Metro-E & Fiber offer the highest level of internet that a small or medium sized business would need. Metro Ethernet service can link your local and regional offices using an established, familiar technology that is being used in many existing LANs today. It can support high-speed data, Internet, voice over IP (VoIP), video and other applications with flexible speeds ranging from 10mbs to 10 Gbps (up and down). If your business has multiple office locations that need to be interconnected and you use a VoIP phone system, Metro-E services are generally the prescribed solution. Prices for this product have dropped drastically in recent years. We recently quote a 100mb fiber connection to a client for $550/month. 2 years ago. you would spend $650 for only a 10mb connection per month.
Techminutes Pro Advice
For most small businesses we find that using cable (or DSL if cable is not available) as a primary Internet connection and having a T1 as a failover works best. These days most firewalls can accommodate 2 or more incoming Internet connections and can handle the failover automatically in the event of an outage. This way you can use the internet at very fast speeds but have an SLA guaranteed line to failover too if your cheaper connection goes down. For businesses that have any infrastructure in the cloud, two connections of some kind is a “must have”.
If you current IT provider is also a telecom and internet broker like Carceron, we strongly recommend that you purchase through them and not a broker or direct agent of the company. Reason: These are strictly sales organizations that will only sell to you what’s in their best interest in terms of commissions. Furthermore, they generally don’t understand the ramifications of how this new internet connection will work with your existing network.
For example, we once had a client that we were trying to get into a high-speed Comcast cable connection for months, only to have this client go behind our back and sign with a direct representative of Comcast. We had no clue he did this. On a Friday, at 5:30pm, he calls us to tell us that Comcast is at his office installing his new internet connection but they are having issues. The agent for Comcast had forgotten to ask if our client needed static IP addresses. This client had their own Excange email server on site, so yes, they needed static IP addresses. We told the client that he would have to postpone the installation and fix is agreement to include the static IPs.
Get a free audit of your current telecom and Internet service provider services. You may be paying to much or not getting enough bandwidth for the price you are paying.