Why Your Business Needs a Leased Line

With FTTC starting to gain better coverage than ever, why would your business need anything more than a cheap and easy “up to 80Mbps” internet connection? Broadband is broadband… right?

Trying to convey information about broadband in a technical sense is not easy in an industry dominated by headline speed promises rather than connection quality but we’ll try and break this down into easy to follow guidance, in one word though, no, not all broadband is the same.

Firstly, lets deal with FTTC/VDSL, it’s pretty good and fast internet access really is all some businesses need. FTTC or Fibre To The Cabinet is delivered to homes and businesses over regular copper wires and is a fantastic upgrade from older ADSL technology because fibre optic cables are, as the name suggests, run to the cabinet so signal loss and therefore data speed loss is reduced as the signal has less distance to travel.

And while everything is working perfectly, there’s just nothing wrong with it, at all!

It’s just about a realistic approach with realistic service expectations

When it’s not working great though, it’s a different experience and here’s why;

Firstly, it’s a shared service, that means that all of the other copper wires that go to other properties are using that fibre link in the cabinet too, and they’re all consuming broadband at similar speeds to you, sometimes, impacting overall speed performance. BT market their service as a contended one and used to state 50:1 ratios (50 customers using every 1Mbps of service provided), nowadays they say they contend the service at network level and don’t even state what that level of contention is anymore, there’s normally only one good reason for keep quiet about statistics.

Then there’s the fault resolution SLA’s, well, there aren’t any actually, just OfCom guidelines and Openreach even on what they call a premium line have 2 days to acknowledge a fault and assign an engineer before they even begin to address the cause of the problem, this isn’t the case with private fibre provides where the carriers often have a 6-8 hour fault resolution SLA with Openreach’s faults team.

Once the broadband is live and connected to the network, who you use as a Service Provider and what datacentre and the bandwidth  they use to break your connection out to the internet also matter, heavily congested residential broadband service providers are often not the best choice for businesses that rely on a good quality connection.

So, what should you be considering?

It all comes down to a few crucial ingredients and a few realisations about the needs of your business and what you are prepared to pay to cover off.

  1. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery – Whats the impact to your business of your xDSL connection failing and what are your options?
    a – Maybe being without the internet for a few days to a week isn’t a problem or you can work elsewhere.
    b – If staff downtime is an issue, perhaps you can mitigate the issue with a backup connection (3G/4G backup router, remember another broadband connection will use the same copper wiring so if thats at fault you’ll likely lose both links although from independent ISP’s it will protect you from an ISP network level fault).
    c – Look at implementing a dedicated fibre link to your business and use xDSL as a backup thereby utilising multiple infrastructure options to achieve a very high access uptime and network availability.
  2. Broadband speeds and latency – Maybe you’re using your connectivity for voice or high bandwidth applications, this is where what ISP you’re using matters.
    a – Low latency connections better support voice traffic, if you’re using a SIP or VOIP product and experiencing call issues, this is likely where they’re occurring, selecting an ISP that is specially engineered to carry voice packets can make a huge difference here.
    b – Shared bandwidth is to be expected on a shared/contended service product and different ISP’s run to different levels of contention and this affects the cost of the service they provide to you, less contention means fewer people are contributing to the cost of providing the service and so it costs a bit more, but! Less contention results in more predictable and stable latency and service speeds which can be crucial to some network based applications.
    c – Sometimes when ordering xDSL like FTTC you can never be 100% certain of the headline speeds until the service is operational which can sometimes make predicting if it will be suitable for your requirements tricky, with private dedicated fibre you get a guaranteed service speed based on what you ordered and since it’s not shared with anyone, it provides your business with uncontended access and unlike xDSL the download and upload speeds are identical.
  3. Do more with confidence – It’s easier to consider putting applications and services in a remote datacentre when you know you can always access them
    a – VOIP and Hosted PBX solutions are a great reason to put in private fibre, combining fibre and VOIP can bring overall internet and telephony costs down as well as providing the reliability and faster access improvements.
    b – Put business applications in the cloud and reduce your operational IT costs by reducing the amount of hardware you have to manage in-house while at the same time improving application uptime and simplifying access.
    c -More bandwidth means doing more, more configuration and CPE options, IP ranges and other features make the server infinitely more flexible and because it’s dedicated you really can choose your speed, 10Mbps, 100Mbps even 1000Mbps wherever you are.

What to take from this article

Dedicated fibre doesn’t suit every business or every requirement but while the upfront cost of installing and running a fibre line can seem much steeper than copper serviced fast access, the cost offset and reliability advantages can outweigh the cost consideration, especially in organisations that risk staff productivity stagnation in the event of a service outage, or more direct issues such as the inability to take customer payments for example.

To find out what Force36 can do for your organisation, contact the solutions team on 0345 166 7136 or email improved.it@force36.net

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