Over the last few months, I have done quite a few posts about the benefits of IT Managed Services, Data Storage and Archiving, Disaster Recovery and Backup. But what do all of these solutions have in common, and without such a thing nothing in the wonderful world of IT will work? Very simply, it is your Internet connectivity!

Over the years many SMEs have relied upon broadband and many have got away with it but in the last few years, especially as connectivity costs are coming down, businesses have greater choice.  As we move to the cloud, more bandwidth is required to ensure you can work as effectively as with your on-site solutions.  But what are your choices and what is the best for your business?

Your options are, and I will explain in laymen’s terms:

Internet Leased Lines

Typically the most expensive, but very cost effective, and is the only connectivity that qualifies for the voucher scheme to help with installation and monthly prices.  Leased lines are delivered over fibre and typically now come in speeds between 10Mb and 1Gb and are uncontended – this means they are dedicated to you.  This is a synchronous connection, which means upload to download speeds are the same.  If you are only browsing the web then your download speed is the most important, but if you have cloud services then upload speeds are crucial.

Traditionally, you would only have one of these if you had more than 30 users or very heavy users and prices start from around £400.00 per month.  The most important thing about a leased line is that you get a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with 99.999% uptime. Lead time for installation is around 90 working days.

Ethernet in the First Mile

Great alternative to the above and used by smaller businesses, again they are uncontended.  Delivered over copper and come in two flavours: 2 pair (up to 8Mb synchronous) and 4 pair (up to 16Mb synchronous), and both will be dependent upon how far from the local exchange you are.  You get a SLA if thing go wrong and prices start from around £200.00 per month. Lead time for installation around 45 working days.

Fibre to the Cabinet Broadband (FTTC)

This is fast broadband and if you are in a connected area you can get download speeds of up to 80Mb and upload speeds of 2Mb. However, they are contended, which means you can have up to 20 other businesses in the same area taking some of your speed.  This is a great improvement on what we used to have and will run a small business very well.  Beware, though; like all broadband services there is no SLA and faults will only be guaranteed on a best endeavours policy. Lead time for installation is around 7-10 working days.

Cable Broadband

Typically supplied by Virgin Media and if you are in a cabled area you can get speeds of up to 200Mb download with about 6-8Mb upload.  Very good if you can get it and very cost effective but still no SLA.  I am with Virgin and the service can be erratic! Lead time for installation is around 7-10 working days.

Standard Broadband

If you are unlucky enough to not have been upgraded to superfast broadband then you will have very little chance of using cloud services as you will be getting 8Mb download and 1Mb upload – if you are lucky.  If your business is still operating on this service then things will be slow. Lead time for installation is around 7-10 working days.

So what is the best service for your business? Simple rule of thumb – get the fastest speed for your money! If you’re unsure or need advice then we at Unleashed are always happy to help.