There’s a lot at stake when it comes to choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your business. Not only do your employees need to access tools like email, but companies also increasingly rely on web-based solutions for provider and customer interactions. Technology like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and cloud-based collaboration tools make a reliable connection critical for meeting business objectives.
How do you choose the right ISP to support your business? There are multiple factors you should consider in your decision:
Type of connection: With the right ISP, you will not have to be concerned about your location or how updated the internet connections are in your area. There may be multiple options available to you, and a provider such as iTel will help you make the right selection.
Cable: In many cases, this is one of the more cost-effective options.
DSL: DSL may present some speed problems, but your provider will help you determine if this is the best option for your business.
Fiber optics: One of the more expensive options, fiber is attractive to businesses looking for fast delivery. It works by accessing the internet using light transmitted through mirrored tubes, allowing for high bandwidth and faster download times of up to 1 Gbps. There’s also no dependency on weather conditions for the quality of transmission.
Satellite: This is often a good option in rural areas, because satellite doesn’t require cables or a nearby wireless tower. You’ll simply need a dish installed to bounce a signal from satellites. Compared to other types of high-speed internet, satellite can see speeds of 25 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up.
Fixed wireless: Internet service is delivered through a radio signal from a tower and can reach speeds of 100/100 Mbps, but those are dedicated fixed wireless services that will run up a steeper price tag. The less expensive fixed wireless services can experience degradation of service.
Bandwidth or speed: This is one of the most important factors related to choosing an ISP, because it’s not an area you want to skimp on. If your employees find themselves drumming their fingers on the desk waiting for pages to load, your customers are forced to wait for a slow-loading website, or your video conferencing options with providers are limited because of bandwidth, you may compromise business growth. Figuring out the bandwidth you need can be a complex equation, but you’ll want to take into account not only your current needs but also the types of tools you’ll implement and begin using in the next couple of years.
A few other considerations: There are some other extras or limitations that you may want to ask about before making a decision.
Static IP address: If you have a virtual private network (VPN), a static IP address is important.
Ask around: Choosing an ISP can be difficult, because like any technology purchase, you’ll only hear the positives from the provider. Talk with other businesses in your area to see what service they’re using, whether they experience any interruption in connection and what technology they’re supporting with the service. You may hear about an ISP you hadn’t considered, simply because they don’t invest a lot in advertising but rely on word of mouth to share how great their service is.
Check service guarantees: Is there a service level agreement (SLA)? Find out how their SLA compares with those of their competitors. You should also look for a guarantee of a certain level of uptime or uninterrupted service. Find out what happens if you do experience an interruption. Is there a credit issued on your invoice? Find out their average resolution time for an interruption. Are there dedicated support reps for business clients? When you call, what expertise will the help desk have to resolve a problem or answer your questions?
Choosing an ISP isn’t a complicated decision, but it’s a critical one. Make sure you know the factors that should be included in your decision, and contact us at iTel. We can help you ensure that this important backbone of your business is reliable, cost-effective and supportive of your business objectives.