How to choose business broadband connections
An internet connection is now a basic need, whether for home or for business use. Business organizations, however, have a different set of parameters when choosing their business broadband connections.
The various factors to consider
There are various types of connections available, like DSL, cable, fiber, satellite, etc., but every type of connection is not available in all places. For instance, while fiber provides high-quality, high-speed connections, fiber coverage nationwide is only around 25%. So, you have to choose from what is available in your region based on your requirements.
How do you determine the need for speed?
Business broadband connections provide high-speed access to data, but your speed requirements may vary depending on many factors: how many employees will be logging in simultaneously to access the internet, what type of usage do you have—light, moderate, heavy, or high demand, are some.
- Light usage: If your internet usage is limited to browsing, accessing your website, checking emails, and similar light use, 10 simultaneous users can do with just around 2 Mbps to 8 Mbps of speed. The higher limit is to allow for user and usage expansion.
- Moderate to heavy usage: Currently, many businesses use the cloud for various needs like storage, software service, etc. This can push up your speed requirements, especially with more number of users accessing these services at once. Speed requirements could go from 9 to 19 Mbps, depending on whether you use the connection for cloud access, video conferencing, logging in from multiple devices, etc. This is for 10 users. If there are more users, you will require a higher speed.
Will you have good customer support?
- This is very important for anyone, and more so for business users.
- Organizations that rely heavily on the internet—cloud software, file sharing, conferencing, etc., need to stay connected every moment.
- Fast response from customer service and a good technical team that rectifies issues quickly are extremely important.
- Check whether the ISP offers 24/7 customer service and technical support.
Have you considered the data usage limits?
- Data caps limit how much data (upload and download) you can use up every month.
- If you exceed the limit, you may be charged for the extra data you use, or the ISP may reduce your speed.
- This is not a good scenario for business organizations, so check your plan’s data limits to see whether it will be adequate for your needs.
Will you get an “always on” connection?
- Business broadband connections should not have downtime—periods when the connection goes off.
- This may result in lost hours of work, data loss, revenue loss, and other problems for organizations that need an uninterrupted internet connection for their day-to-day operations.
- For this reason, business firms should look for an ISP who offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees more than 99.99% uptime.
- If a connection failure occurs, the ISP should provide compensation in the form of credits, discounts, or early termination of a contract.
What are the security features?
Many ISPs include various security features:
- These may include Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and firewalls.
- A VPN allows authorized users to log in to their internal network securely from remote locations.
- A dedicated firewall enhances your protection from malicious applications or hackers.
- Other security features may include anti-spam services and protection against virus or malware.
What about the contract length?
- ISPs require you to remain with them for a set time period.
- Choose business broadband connections with shorter contract lengths.
- This will enable you to switch to another provider more quickly.
- For instance, consider that you are in a three-year contract with a Cable Broadband ISP and within a year, your region gets a good fiber broadband service. You cannot switch before three years. If you do, you may have to pay a penalty charge, which can be high.
Have you read the terms and conditions?
- Read the fine print.
- Especially, read anything that affects bandwidth and data limits.
- Some ISPs can provide an unlimited data plan and include a condition, which says that if you exceed a certain limit of data use, you will still have unlimited data, but your speed will be throttled down—drastically. A huge drop in speed could seriously affect your business operations.
These are some major points to consider while choosing an ISP and a plan. Business broadband connections are critical; they need to adhere to more rigorous standards than home connections.
Make a note of all your current needs. Consider all the factors discussed above, and choose business broadband connections that meet all your needs.