Thursday, March 05, 2009

Business Broadband That's Dedicated to You

Are you dissatisfied with your company's broadband connection? You thought you were getting a deal when you hooked up DSL or Cable Internet service to your network router. Most of the time it seems to work pretty well. But every so often you notice that credit card approvals won't go through, VoIP phone calls get garbled or drop completely, or the whole system goes down. Seems like your business processes were more reliable before you got connected. Is there anything that can be done without pulling the plug and going back to pad and pencil?

If you find yourself constantly frustrated because the network is slow or "down", it likely has to do with the quality of your connection. This could well be due to having the wrong type of connection. What I mean by that is that many low cost broadband services were never designed for the rigors of business. They were designed and priced for the consumer market, where monthly cost is more important than reliability or performance.

You probably thought that telecommunications services were telecommunications services and that they would all perform reliably and consistently. Well, you were right and it's still true. But what I'm talking about aren't really defined as telecommunications services. To avoid the regulation and tariffs associated with telecommunications services, providers offer broadband Internet services, such as DSL and Cable broadband, as information services. An information service is offered on a "best effort" basis, meaning that providers will endeavor to deliver the service they offer for sale as best they can. What's different is that there are no guarantees.

What sort of things would you like to be guaranteed? First of all, availability. That's the percentage of time that the service is "available" for your use. In other words, the time it is not down. The gold standard is called five-nines or 99.999%. Many telecom services are guaranteed for four-nines or 99.99%. Best effort services are up when they're up and down when they're down. Interruptions may be a minute or so a couple of times a day, or even days at a time. It depends on how bad the problem is and if the technicians have to work on higher priority telecommunications issues before they get to any best effort services.

Another guarantee you'd like is bandwidth. Does your service offer bandwidth "up to" a certain number of Mbps? That's a sure tell that you are dealing with a "best effort" service. The reason they say "up to" is because these services are oversubscribed. In other words, they sell the service to more people than it can support simultaneously without slowing down to a crawl. The idea is that rarely is everyone on and downloading packets at exactly the same moment. That used to be more plausible when nearly all Internet usage was Web surfing and email. But streaming audio and video and massive video downloads tend to consume large amounts of bandwidth for long periods of time. If enough users are doing that, bandwidth for everyone else will dry up.

Now you know why your broadband performance varies all over the place. Is there anything you can do about it? There is, indeed. If you have a serious business situation that demands consistent and reliable performance, you need "dedicated" Internet access. Dedicated means that your connection is dedicated to your usage only and is guaranteed to have a given bandwidth. It's not shared. Whatever capacity you aren't using at the moment is sitting there idle.

The basic dedicated Internet connection is T1 Dedicated Internet Access or T1 DIA. These lines are readily affordable by most small to medium size businesses and offer 1.5 Mbps of both upload and download capability. That may not sound as much as some of those cheaper services, but remember that this is a dedicated 1.5 Mbps that's always there for your use. It won't be slowing down and speeding up during the day as other users access the Internet.

If you need more bandwidth, you can get bonded T1 lines that offer 3 to 12 Mbps over twisted pair copper wiring. In metropolitan areas, EoC or Ethernet over Copper can give you up to 45 Mbps within a mile or so of carrier Points of Presence. Or get a fiber optic connection and enjoy DS3 Dedicated Internet at 45 Mbps all the way up to Gigabit Ethernet at 1,000 Mbps.

Clearly, there are enough dedicated bandwidth options to support any business, but not at the same prices you get for home Internet. How much does dedicated access cost? You may be surprised how affordable it's become lately. Get dedicated bandwidth pricing now for your business.

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

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