Faster Business Internet Connections You have more options than you think when it comes to higher speed broadband access.
By: John Shepler
More is often better when it comes to Internet access speed. Yes, at some point the bandwidth of the line is so wide and the latency so low that your connection appears to be transparent. That’s not the case for most of us. We’re bandwidth limited to what we can afford and what is available. So, do we have to settle for limited throughput? Not necessarily, and certainly not until we’ve checked out all the options now available.
Times Have Changed
One thing that holds us back in achieving faster Internet connectivity is the status quo. We’re comfortable with our Internet service provider and may not give it much thought. You might have just lucked into a good broadband service years ago or did a thorough search before selecting your current provider and service level. Just remember… that was years ago. In Internet years, that’s forever!
The Oldies: T1 and DSL
T1 lines and DSL were once the hot tech services. In fact, they may have been the only thing affordable at the time. Sure, there were T3 lines (also called DS3 service) and telco provided SONET fiber, but those were grossly expensive and only ordered if you REALLY needed them.
DSL is pretty much yesterday’s tech. T1 lines, however are still alive and well. They’re either on very old contracts that haven’t been reviewed in years or for special needs like rural locations where there isn’t much else. Todays T1 lines cost about half what they did a decade ago and you can bond them to create higher bandwidths. For most of us, though, there are better choices.
Cable Business Broadband
Today’s most popular entry level broadband service is business cable. It’s 10x to 20x the speed of a T1 line for less cost… if you can get it. In metro areas, no problem. Outside of town, not so much. The DOCSIS standard has been upgraded over the years so that 100 Mbps bandwidth is fairly easy to find. Even 1,000 Mbps is possible with DOCSIS 3.0, the current standard. A max speed of 10 Gbps is possible with the latest release, DOCSIS 3.1.
Note that these speeds are typically only available for download. Upstream capacity is often a tenth the downstream bandwidth. That works great for typical Internet access, but can be a limitation if you upload large files extensively. Also, cable broadband is a shared service. You share the available bandwidth with others on the cable rather than having it all to yourself.
Fiber Optic Ethernet
If future-proof highly reliable high speed Internet access with nearly unlimited dedicated bandwidth and low latency is what you really want, then fiber optic Internet connections are the real answer. The pioneering but expensive legacy SONET fiber services, such as OC-3, OC-12 and OC-48, are being quickly replaced by Ethernet over Fiber or EoF.
Carrier Ethernet is a perfect match to your local area network and offers scalable bandwidth from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, and up to 100 Gbps in select areas. It’s the most cost effective service you can get in terms of $ per Mbps. You also have the option of starting with the bandwidth you need today and quickly scaling up as needed in the future, usually with no hardware changes required.
High Speed Wireless
While fiber is the most desirable connectivity, it isn’t available everywhere. This is especially true in rural areas or even just beyond the metro limits. If fiber line run to or close by your building, then you are in luck. Otherwise construction costs might be totally unacceptable regardless of the monthly lease fees.
If wires, including cable and fiber, aren’t the answer for you, then wireless may get the job done. There are two good options to consider. One is fixed point business Internet that picks up the tower signal using a small antenna on your building. The other is two-way business satellite that uses a small dish pointed at the southern sky to the same thing.
Fixed Point Wireless
These providers are also known as WISPs or Wireless Internet Service Providers. Small Business Internet is similar to cable broadband but without the cable. You may get up to 50/5 Mbps of shared bandwidth for a very reasonable monthly price with no data caps. Enterprise Business Internet offers symmetrical dedicated bandwidth like Ethernet Fiber from 10 Mbps up to 1 Gbps with low latency for sensitive traffic like voice and video. Like other services, you’ll need to be in a location that is served by a strong WISP signal.
The one nearly universal Internet connectivity service is broadband business satellite. Perched thousands of miles over the equator, satellites the size of school busses beam strong signals that blanket the USA and beyond, including islands and ships at sea. Two-way satellite has long been used by gas stations, restaurants, bank branches and other small commercial locations that have limited access needs. The new generations of “birds” are serious contenders with wireline and fiber. Look for bandwidth options around 15 Mbps now and up to 100 Mbps soon. Latency is pretty much stuck around half a second due to the enormous distances involved. That may or may not be a factor depending on how sensitive your applications, like voice, video and cloud services, are to these time delays.
Did you know that there were so many options to get faster Internet connectivity for your business? Whether you are a large, medium or small organization, check out your options for high speed broadband Internet service at your location.
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