Everything you need to know about Business Connectivity
If you’re not very technically minded, finding the right type of internet connection for your business can be difficult. The term ‘broadband’ covers a wide range of different products, all of which perform better under different circumstances.
From simple and cost-effective ADSL to Gigabit Leased Lines with assured uptime and symmetric bandwidth, and everything in between, this guide will tell you what you need to know about the different types of internet connectivity. So if you’ve ever wondered what the difference between FTTC and FTTP is, this guide is for you.
When discussing broadband, you’ll inevitably come across some technical terms you might not be familiar with. We’ve listed here some of the more common pieces of jargon. Of course, if there’s something you’re not sure of then please do feel free to get in touch and ask us, we’re always happy to clear things up!
Bandwidth is the amount of data your broadband connection can deliver in a given time period. You’ll usually see this measured in Megabits per second, or Mbps. To try and put these numbers into context, consider that a 1080p Netflix stream will use around 5 Megabits per second.
Latency is the time it takes for a packet, or piece of data, to travel from your network to its destination and back again. Lower latency is better and will result in faster page load times, better VoIP and video call quality and a more responsive experience of the cloud.
Jitter is the variance in latency, or the difference between the fastest and slowest latency times. High jitter is one of the main causes of poor VoIP call quality, so low jitter is crucial for any business making use of VoIP.
PSTN is the Public Switching Telephone Network. This is the ageing network of copper phone lines around the country that dates back to the 1950s. It’s being phased out and replaced by much faster fibre optic wiring, with the core network due to be switched off in 2025.
SLA stands for Service Level Agreement, which promises a certain level of network availability. They also usually guarantee response and resolution times from suppliers. If your business lives or dies by its internet connectivity, for example if you host a website or an on-site call centre phone system, this is the gold standard.
Symmetric Bandwidth in a broadband connection means your upload and download speeds will be identical. This is hugely important if you use cloud file sharing services with large video files, or if you have a lot of remote workers accessing your office network from home.
ADSL – Standard Business Broadband
Available across the country, ADSL can provide up to 24Mbps of bandwidth. This is plenty for smaller and less technically-focused businesses to stay in touch with their customers and work effectively through the cloud.
ADSL lines are simple, well-proven and cost-effective. This also makes them ideal for use as backup or disaster recovery connections for larger businesses. It’s usually a good idea to use different technologies for backup connections to ensure they are isolated from any issue that affects your primary connection. So, if you’re using Fibre or even a Leased Line in your business, there could still be value in installing an ADSL connection to provide an extra level of redundancy and protection to your business.
FTTC – Superfast Business Broadband
Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) is available in speeds up to 80Mbps at more than 95% of addresses around the UK. Offering much improved bandwidth and latency over ADSL, FTTC is the workhorse of the modern business world.
FTTC is a huge upgrade for businesses moving from an older ADSL connection. The additional bandwidth and much faster latency enables far heavier use of cloud and remote services than ADSL, helping streamline processes and transform productivity.
If you use bandwidth-hungry and sensitive services like video conferencing in your office, the consistent and responsive nature of fibre connections are ideal for you. Not only do FTTC connections have improved latency over their ADSL counterparts, but they also have much more stable response times. Spikes in latency are among the top causes of poor call quality in both VoIP and video calls, so the reduced jitter of a new fibre connection could transform your experience of VoIP overnight.
FTTP – Gigabit Business Broadband
Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) is the next great leap forward in business connectivity. FTTP entirely bypasses the ageing copper PSTN network, allowing enormous speeds of up to 1Gbps and lightning-fast response times to match. This allows access to tools and technology previously reserved for the enterprise market. Host your own video conferences on site for dozens of attendees, stream or store HD CCTV footage off-site and upload and retrieve complete backups in minutes.
The availability of FTTP is limited, but more areas are being connected all the time. If FTTP is available in your location, you’ll have access to the fastest, most responsive and most reliable connection available. FTTP provides more than enough capacity to keep even the most data-hungry teams working effectively; with as much as 1Gbps of bandwidth you may be surprised by what can be accomplished.
Leased Lines – Ultimate Business Connectivity
Leased Lines maximise reliability and customisability. Unlike other connection types, Leased Lines are not shared by any other businesses. As uncontended, private connections, this service provides guaranteed, symmetric bandwidth. Lines can be installed with capacities of anywhere between 10Mbps and 1Gbps. Whether you need a reliable interconnect with your data centre, or need a rock-solid connection for servers in your office, Leased Lines are the best option.
Traditional broadband connections connect your building to a nationwide network. This gives you no control over the routing of your traffic. Leased Lines are configured to connect any two points on the internet with the shortest geographic route possible, ensuring the fastest, most reliable connection to a data centre or remote office.
Leased Lines also provide guaranteed uptime and resolution times in case of any problems. With industry-leading SLAs, Chalvington’s Leased Lines will keep you online, no matter what happens, ensuring you provide the best possible service to your customers.
Mobile Broadband – Promote Business Flexibility
Mobile broadband is ideal for mobile businesses, sole traders and even, thanks to widespread availability of 4G, small and medium-sized offices. The simplicity and flexibility of mobile broadband cannot be matched by any more traditional fixed connections. There’s no need to wait weeks for a line to be connected; mobile broadband can be up and running just as fast as your SIM card and router can be delivered. All that’s needed is power for your router – there’s no line rental to pay, and no complex cabling to install or maintain.
Mobile broadband is no longer the contradiction in terms it once was; 4G can deliver speeds that rival FTTC connections, with responsive latency to match. This is more than enough for most businesses to stay connected and make full use of their cloud services, and because there’s no fixed line in place, mobile broadband works anywhere you get a signal.
So there it is. A brief overview of the major flavours of business broadband available in the UK. This guide has covered everything you need to know to make an informed decision about which type of connectivity is right for you.
There is a good deal of overlap in the scenarios in which each type of broadband performs best. You may find yourself choosing between FTTC and a mobile connection, for example. If you’d like to discuss your circumstances with an expert, get in touch with the Chalvington team. We can provide any of the types of broadband covered in this guide, and are always happy to have a chat to help you decide which one would work best for you.
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