Broadband is an essential service and most companies can’t function without it.
Technology moves quickly which means that broadband providers can offer superfast connections that were previously only available via an expensive leased line.
What types of business broadband are available?
Broadband comes in various shapes and sizes. In Bristol and the South West, Business broadband is offered by many of the same suppliers that offer home broadband including BT, Virgin Media, Vodafone and PlusNet as well as business only providers such as bOnline, XLN and Onebill. The availability of the various speeds and types of broadband in your area can be a bit of a lottery, they include everything from ADSL, through to cable and super fast fibre-optic broadband all the way up to dedicated leased lines.
The type of broadband you go for largely depends upon the size of your business. Here is what our IT support experts recommend:
Most home office users will find unlimited ADSL, FTTC or cable broadband sufficient. This will allow you to connect to the office via a VPN, happily browse the net and send emails, use cloud-based applications such as Office 365 and G Suite as well as make video calls via Skype. Those with higher usage requirements such as people involved in using a lot of videos would benefit from fibre-optic broadband. Availability of fibre-optic broadband is still very much postcode dependent and typically available in more built-up areas.
Small Office (1-9 users)
All of the broadband providers mentioned above offer packages dependent on the size of your business. A small business where most people use the internet for work should go for fibre-optic broadband if available. Download speeds will be anywhere up to 350Mbps and increasing all the time. Larger packages have higher upload speeds and typically provide a fixed IP address which is needed if you have your own server such as an email server or you host your own website from the office. However, with the cost of cloud-based services for everything from data backup to accounting software coming down all the time, there is less and less need for businesses to host their own services.
Medium Office (20-250 users)
Offices with more than 20 users should consider dedicated internet access via a leased line or FTTP. Businesses that rely on constant contact with customers via the internet need to have reliable access that doesn’t slow down. Unlike services for smaller business dedicated internet access doesn’t slow down at peak times caused by other users that share your connection. A leased line has the same upload speed as the download speed which means that users will see far more consistency when using bandwidth-hungry services such as video conferencing while other users are happily uploading large files, streaming video and music as well as accessing files on services such as Microsoft Sharepoint. Leased line customers also benefit from higher guarantees with regards to internet availability which are typically almost 100%.
As your business grows or contracts each of these services allow you to easily flex the amount of bandwidth that you require. Monitoring software will show you which applications and users are using the most bandwidth, allowing you to upgrade or downgrade as your requirements change.
Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) – 70Mbps download – 15Mbps upload
This is a fibre connection to the green box on the street, then a copper connection (phone line) to your business. These connections are suitable for up to a five-person office. We have found them to be potentially unreliable in areas where the distance from the cabinet is a long way.
Requirements are a phone line and FTTC to be available in your area.
4G connection – 60 Mbps download – 30 Mbps upload
These are delivered by the mobile phone networks and can be connected to a router in your office. These connections can have potential reliability issues and the data costs are comparatively high, they are excellent for smaller offices 1 – 5 staff that cannot get any other connection aside from ADSL in the area
Requirements are a 4G Router good 4G coverage in your area.
Leased line – 1Gbps Down – 1Gbps Upload
Leased Line, these connections are good for a 10 – 100 seat office or Coworking space. The connections come in a few different sizes starting at 30Mbps up to 1Gbps Down and Up. The difference between this connection and FTTP is that this is a Fibre connection the same, but this is a dedicated connection meaning there is a 1:1 contention ratio, the bandwidth is not shared with other business
For a business that relies heavily on its internet connection for day to day work and doesn’t want to think about the broadband being an issue, these are a reliable fast solution. We have a provider for these circuits and the costs start from £345 per month ex VAT.
Requirements are availability in your area, there are vouchers available to cover the installation cost of up to £3000 from the government (we handle the paperwork for this).
Other things to consider when choosing an internet connection
- Do you want a dedicated FTTC connection to run your VOIP phone system on?
- Do you need a separate dedicated VLAN and external IP addresses for different business on the same connection?
- Do you have a number of remote VPN users? This will mean your upload speed is effectively their download speed, also you will need a very stable fixed connection with a static IP.
Additional Business Broadband Features
Business broadband providers also offer additional services including:
This is a second connection that automatically steps in if your primary connection fails for any reason. This will ensure that your business is connected to the internet no matter what.
Added Security Features
Secure your business network from hackers, viruses and malware with managed security features that are configured to suit your business and how you operate.
Provide wireless access to allow your team to connect their bring their own devices (BYOD) as well as support wireless networking around the office so that your people can hotdesk, easily share files and collaborate on projects. You can also set security filters and controls to limit what users can and cannot access while connected to your W-Fi network.
Whether you are moving to new premises in Bristol, Bath or elsewhere in the region or would like to upgrade your current connection, Dial a Geek’s IT support team can independently look at all of the suppliers and see what would be the best value and the appropriate connection for your business.
For more information on the types of business broadband available see our summaries below.
ADSL – Maximum 18Mbps download – 0.7Mbps upload
This is the most basic of internet connections and only really should be chosen if there is nothing else, the upload speeds are very poor and would not really suit more than one video call and if you are syncing large amounts of data to the cloud the upload speed is very low.
Requirements are a phone line.
Cable Broadband (Virgin Media) – 350Mbps Download – 20Mbps Upload
These connections are OK for up to a 9 user office, with relatively light internet requirements and can still work if the internet is down. The main issues are the contention ratio/traffic shaping can cause slowdowns in the service at peak times, also the timescales to resolve issues can be high. So if a consistent service with high availability is important, you would be better to look at FTTP or a Leased line.
Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) – 1Gbps download – 1Gbps Upload
FTTP connections are good for a 10 – 100 seat office or Coworking space, depending on the speed you choose. The connections come in three sizes 100Mbps, 500Mbps and 1Gbps download and upload speeds. For a business that relies heavily on its internet connection for day to day work and doesn’t want to think about the broadband being an issue, these are a reliable fast solution. We have a provider for these circuits and the costs start from £145 per month ex VAT.
Requirements are availability in your area, there are vouchers available to cover the installation cost of up to £3000 from the government (we handle the paperwork for this). In terms of value for money and reliability, this is a great option, this is the connection we use here at Dial A Geek, we have a 500Mbps connection, it covers all our bandwidth requirements.
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