Choosing Broadband for Business

Selecting broadband or connectivity for a business isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In our experience there are many factors that govern which products you should choose. These include: number of users, downtime tolerance, whether servers / remote access is used and most importantly - what’s available!

The first thing you need to think about is downtime:

Can’t Tolerate Downtime

If you’re in this camp where uninterrupted service is absolutely critical to your business then you need a Leased Line without question with some sort of DSL-based backup. In this context we define absolutely critical to mean that your business would suffer extreme consequences if you were to experience an outage lasting more than a few hours.

Can Tolerate Downtime

This is likely to be a very small or home office where the business is not severely affected by Internet outages and the business can afford to wait for the next available broadband engineer could take a week!

Can Tolerate Some Downtime

For this type of client Internet access is still very important to their businesses. This client should have a secondary connection or as a bare minimum choose a broadband product where Enhanced Care is available (bringing BT line fix times down from 8 days to 24 hours).

Once you know which of the “downtime groups” you fit into you need to think about usage:

Remote Access or Large Uploads

This is the case with most of our clients. Where you have any sort of server access or remote access (such as email, dial-in VPN, remote applications etc.) or you do a lot of uploading the key is to get as much upload speed as you can to ensure users aren’t plagued with slow response times. You should select products in the following order based on what’s available and to some extent accept the cost:

  • FTTC with 10Mb upload
  • LLU ADSL2+ Annex M (2.5Mb upload)
  • ADSL2+ (1.3Mb upload)
  • LLU ADSL2+ (1Mb upload)
  • ADSL Max Premium (0.8Mb upload)

If you’re in the “can tolerate some downtime” group you should be selecting another connection too:

  • If you’re happy with the speed of your primary connection you need just a cheap and cheerful ADSL/ADSL2+ connection for failover / backup / redundancy.
  • If your remote access speeds are slow then you should bond two or more identical connections (ADSL only).
  • If you need more speed and you’re on a budget or bonding isn’t an option then you should load balance two identical connections.

No Remote Access, Small Uploads

In this case you have the greatest freedom. In terms of performance only you should select products in the following order:

  • FTTC
  • ADSL2+ Standard
  • ADSL Max Standard

If any product is too expensive, you should work your way down the list until you find something suitable.

Furthermore, there are a few special cases:

Poor Product Availability

With any luck poor product availability will be your only problem and the products that are available will provide you with sufficient performance for your business. If you are unlucky enough to have bad / long lines as well then we feel for you (see below)!

Here our “ADSL Max” products will likely be your only option. They offer up to 8Mb download speeds and 0.8Mb upload speeds. If the speed of your first connection is not sufficient then you should ask us about bonding another one to it. If the speed is satisfactory and you just need fail- over (based on being a “can tolerate some downtime” customer) then a one of our cheap and cheerful ADSL Max products with a 2GB usage cap will be the perfect companion.

Bad/Long Lines

In central Sussex we see this all the time where a client is either a long way from the telephone exchange and has a really terrible-quality BT line installed in the dark ages. In these cases if you’re not happy with the speed you have to bond or load-balance two or more connections.

Lots of Users

If you have lots of users and things are slowing down at peak times talk to us about bonding or load balancing.

Posted by Richard Maynard,