Fast and reliable Internet connectivity has become a business hygiene factor. It’s an essential requirement for productivity and overall business success and is fast becoming one of the main sales and marketing channels for small businesses. Everything from customer interactions and online payments processing to cloud-based data store and applications depend on a fast and reliable Internet connection.
When shopping for Internet packages, information overload is imminent and page after page often floods you with tech jargon and overlapping terms. Google opens the door to every fact, figure, product and service known to man so before you type anything in the search bar, you need to know what your business needs are.
The right Internet solution depends first and foremost on your business requirements. Main factors to consider are the contention ratio or number of users using the same data capacity, connection type, bandwidth speed, cost, scalability, adaptability and technical support. A great variety of Internet solutions are available to businesses with three main Internet connection types to consider.
Going cable: ADSL vs. Fibre
ADSL uses traditional telephone lines and, although perceived as the cheapest option, is often marred by bandwidth speed limitations and poor signal. Businesses must have a voice line to get access to ADSL. Data is provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) of choice and performance depends on your business’ distance from the ISP exchange.
Fibre Internet connectivity provides superior performance, quality and bandwidth using light beams that run through mirrored cables. Fibre optic cabling can be run directly to businesses or to a distribution point from where businesses can be reached via existing copper lines. However, businesses need to consider the availability and installation costs of fibre optic connections.
Going wireless: LTE, Fixed wireless or Satellite
The speed and reliability of Wireless Internet solutions make it an ideal option for businesses with limited connectivity. LTE or 4G is the high-speed wireless data standard for mobile devices and data terminals. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements and is almost 10 times faster than a 3G connection. The lower latency and high speeds make LTE an attractive alternative in areas that do not have ADSL coverage.
Fixed wireless and satellite Internet services both require a dish or antenna and provide a high-speed Internet connection without the need for phones or cable lines. Fixed wireless provides Internet access to a single location through radio waves. The signals of a satellite connection have to travel much further than a fixed wireless connection and are thus much more affected by weather conditions in the atmosphere. This has a significant impact on latency or lag and for businesses heavily reliant on real-time cloud-based applications, a fixed wireless solution will ensure maximum efficiency.
The right Internet solution also depends on the required broadband speed. Download speeds indicate how fast data can be pulled from servers or user devices whereas upload speeds refer to data transfer speeds from users to the Internet. Consider your current and future network requirements based on the type and size of your business. Also determine the current average utilisation of your business per the number of applications and concurrent users.
Your Internet solution must accommodate bursts of activity as well as a peak number of users and devices accessing the Internet simultaneously. Be clear on the limits imposed by your ISP such as bandwidth caps and throttling which lowers your download rate based on factors such as transfer limit and time of day. Speed depends largely on the usage need and number of users or devices.
Equipment, installation and technical support
Other variables to consider are installation and activation fees, payment terms, technical support and equipment provided such as modems and routers. Nashua offers comprehensive technical support and can get your small business up and running within 3-8 weeks depending on network coverage and feasibility.
Nashua’s free office assessment eliminates the guesswork in determining how much bandwidth your business actually uses and needs. This comprehensive assessment offers expert advice on tailored solutions to improve the operational efficiency of your business.
This article was published in partnership with Nashua.