Monday, June 02, 2008

Tired of Flaky Internet Connections?

It's hard to do business when your tools are intermittent and unreliable. You'd expect that advancements in technology would really improve things, but often the opposite is true. The more sophisticated and interconnected processes become, the flakier they seem to get. A simple cash box transaction turns into an e-commerce disaster. Why can't things just work right all the time?

All the time might be a bit much to ask. Anything technical is going to hiccup occasionally. But most of the time, the vast majority of the time, your business systems should run like clockwork. If they don't, you need to find the weak link in the chain. For many small businesses it comes down to a flaky Internet connection.

When the Internet was a novelty, it was pretty much a world of students, researchers, entrepreneurs and the generally curious. Now it's a utility. Nearly every business demands an Internet connection or an equivalent way to transfer electronic data. The Internet tends to be the network of choice because it is universally available and connects to practically everyone, everywhere. But the Internet is the flakiest, most insecure, unreliable, congested public resource there is. Isn't it? It doesn't have to be.

A lot of what makes the Internet feel like such a flaky medium is what's called the "last mile" connection. That Internet jack on the wall never goes directly to the backbone of the Internet. Not unless you're a major ISP or Internet Service Provider. A Tier 1 ISP is part of the inner workings of the Internet and peers with all other T1 networks. Other ISPs buy their access from these networks and, eventually, one of them sells service to you via a last mile connection. The high speed fiber optic core of the Internet is blazing fast and highly reliable. What you get may be something quite different.

It generally comes down to cost and availability. In major metropolitan networks, you may have a dozen or more ISPs vying for your business. Out in the boonies, you have fewer choices. There is also a huge difference in price vs performance among various connections. The lowest priced service is generally DSL or Cable Modem. These are shared access "information services" rather than dedicated telecommunications services. What's the difference besides price?

An information service isn't regulated the way a telecommunication service is. It is offered on an "as available" basis with no guarantee as to availability or time to repair when failure occurs. Even when the connection is working, bandwidth can vary all over the place. That's because the service is oversubscribed to keep the cost down. Just like getting bumped when the airlines sell more seats than they have on a plane, your connection can slow to a crawl because the ISP sold more connections than they have the bandwidth to support. They assume that only some of the subscribers are online at any time. When too many show up at once, they have to share what is available.

What's better? Dedicated Internet service improves your experience dramatically. If you order T1 dedicated Internet access, what you get is 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth for both upload and download. It's consistently available at all times. On rare occasions when line breaks or equipment failure take down the circuit, these telecom services get fast attention and are usually restored in a few hours or less. The dedicated designation means that you don't share the available bandwidth. It's there for your use whenever you need it.

Other dedicated connections include bonded T1 lines for faster access in increments of 1.5 Mbps. That's 3, 4.5 ,6, 7.5, and 9 Mbps typically. Ethernet services start at 10 Mbps and go up to 100 Mbps and, in some areas, 1000 Mbps. Ethernet is available in metro areas. T1 service is available just about anywhere.

If you are being driven crazy by flaky Internet service, you'll breathe a lot easier and your business operations will perform better by moving up to dedicated Internet access. The price differential is probably less than you think. Find out now by checking prices and availability for dedicated Internet access at your business location.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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