Remember listening to the ringing of your dial-up connection, waiting to see if you’d get the celebrated static or the dreaded busy signal? Thankfully, today your business has an array of business internet options to choose from, and you’ll likely never have to deal with the suspense that came with a dial-up connection.
That suspense is easily avoidable with the right technology, but consistent uptime comes with a price tag. You’ll need to decide what your budget can handle in terms of reliability and speed. Your choice will also highly depend on the availability of your preferred method, with some rural areas not having access to certain technologies and some buildings not ready for business internet options like fiber.
Satellite: Satellite is a great choice for businesses located in rural or remote areas. While speed can vary between internet service providers (ISPs), it is generally slower than cable or DSL and may not be a good fit for an enterprise that relies heavily on connectivity for cloud applications or communications tools requiring real-time connection, like video conferencing.
Satellite connections require a receiver dish to be installed, with data received from orbiting satellites through radio signals. The data is translated into an internet signal through a modem located in the customer’s office. Rain, snow, trees, wind or even sunspots can interfere with the signal, creating problems with slow speeds and downtime.
While slow speeds can be a drawback of satellite connection, it offers nationwide coverage without demanding the installation of a landline.
DSL: A digital subscriber line (DSL) is delivered through your copper telephone line and can be bundled with your phone service to save money. The speed depends largely on the distance to the ISP’s nearest location, with rural areas experiencing speeds around of 3 to 12 Mbps and urban areas experiencing speeds upwards of 50 Mbps.
DSL isn’t a great fit if you rely heavily on video conferencing or streaming, but it works well for tasks related to email, web browsing and small file downloads. This relatively low-tech solution may be a good option if you are in an urban area and aren’t using video for essential business purposes.
Cable: Cable relies on the same connection that allows you to channel surf for 20 minutes without finding a show you want to watch. Cable uses existing coaxial cables with internet access delivered through a modem. Speeds vary from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps, with the best offerings delivering high speeds and unlimited bandwidth usage. In Canada, asymmetrical bandwidth is the most common connection and several carriers are now offering speeds of 1Gbps down with 50 Mbps up.
Cable is a good option for downloading and uploading files, digital collaboration tools and video conferencing, however keep in mind that it does not come with the business-grade service level agreements (SLAs) that other business internet services include.
Fiber: Fiber is becoming more affordable as it expands in availability, and offers high-speed, reliable connectivity at 1 Gbps or higher. Data is transmitted in light across thin glass fibers that comprise a fiber optic cable. This allows data to be transmitted at the speed of light. This business internet option is ideal for companies that rely on symmetrical data transmission and high upload speeds.
Installation of fiber connectivity can be expensive unless your building is already lit with fiber, but for companies with a fiber-ready location, this can provide improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction, and other areas. For companies that access cloud applications or use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system, fiber can guarantee reliably high speeds.
Wireless: In Canada, wireless internet options for businesses can include 100/100 dedicated fixed wireless with strong SLAs, although these options can run up a price tag of a minimum of $300-$400/month. There are less expensive, best-effort symmetrical fixed wireless options, although those may experience a degradation of service compared to the dedicated, more expensive solutions.
You may also experience signal degradation, depending on the proximity of the user to the broadcast station. While wireless has its drawbacks, it is often employed as a good backup solution to a primary internet connection. It’s useful for disaster recovery or if your remote location causes periodic issues with your primary connection.
When choosing between business internet options, it’s a good idea to talk with other businesses nearby to see what their experience has been with the connection types you’re considering.
Identifying business internet options is an important decision for supporting the functions of your company. To identify how much bandwidth your technology solutions require and evaluate your options for both speed and pricing, contact us at iTel.