Slow upload and download speeds. Unstable, temperamental connections. Staff complaining they can’t do their jobs effectively. These are just some of the symptoms of a poor quality business internet connection.
Leased lines are often used by businesses to overcome some of these challenges, but what actually is a leased line, and how do you know if your business should have one?
Leased lines: a definition
A leased line is a dedicated internet connection, delivered via a dedicated line, which is used to provide a business with internet access. Leased lines can also be used for digital telecommunications (such as VoIP telephone systems) and other data transmission.
The line is ‘leased’ from the internet service provider (ISP) by the hiring business and provides a fixed-bandwidth service, which means the connection is not shared with other businesses or premises. The connection is for the sole use of the business leasing the line, which means no disruption in service or speed levels during times of increased demand, which you can expect with a standard, shared broadband connection.
Leased lines also provide a symmetrical connection, which means that they deliver guaranteed identical download and upload speeds.
Why would a business need a dedicated leased line?
There are several reasons why a business might need or choose to have a dedicated leased line installed.
These can vary from business to business, and depending on the circumstances or use. Some of the most common reasons for having a leased line include:
A more reliable internet connection
A leased line is a much more reliable and high-performance option than a standard broadband connection. The fact the connection isn’t shared with other businesses means that there are less external factors that can impact performance such as speed and bandwidth availability.
Increased use of cloud-based software
Any business starting to make greater use of cloud-based software will find that traditional broadband connections are simply not fast enough to ensure that the software operates smoothly and efficiently. The same is true of video conferencing applications. A leased line can transform the effectiveness of such systems.
To connect a VoIP telephone system
With traditional broadband internet connections, such as those in homes, download speeds are typically much quicker than upload speeds. However, a leased line means those speeds are identical, so businesses can send data much more quickly. For this reason, for a large number of VoIP phone system users a leased line is a reliable option.
To connect multiple office locations or premises
For businesses operating in more than one location, leased lines can also be used to connect those locations and allow for quicker and more seamless data transfer between sites. For example, you can more easily share data between offices, or from a data centre to a workplace. You can also enable staff to access
With a standard broadband connection, service providers can often be slow to respond or restore lost service. A dedicated leased line is hired under a service level agreement (SLA), which means the ISP has a duty to provide the highest level of service and respond to issues quickly and efficiently. Each connection is managed by the provider, meaning a more reactive and proactive service that guarantees internet connectivity and stability for the business.
Is a leased line right for your business? 7 questions to consider
Very small businesses can sometimes get by with a basic broadband connection, but in the vast majority of cases, a leased line can be beneficial for most organisations.
Here are some questions to consider to better understand whether it’s the right choice for your business:
1. Do you have 25 or more employees?
If you employ more than around 25 staff members that use the internet or a connected phone system, the chances are that you’ll need a dedicated line to ensure adequate service levels and bandwidth availability to cope with demand.
2. Is the internet critical to your business operations?
If you’re an online business, such as an ecommerce store or a digital marketing agency, you and your staff will obviously spend a lot of time online. In this scenario, a leased line will provide the security and reliability of a high performance connection.
3. Is internet usage high across the business?
Most businesses use and rely on the internet to a certain degree, even if it’s not quite a critical requirement. Whether it’s all staff or just certain teams, a stable internet connection can help to improve productivity for those who spend a lot of their working day online.
4. Do you operate or have premises in multiple locations?
When working across multiple regions or locations, fast connections and data transfer between sites and premises is a big bonus. A dedicated line provides that additional benefit over a standard connection, meaning you can streamline your multi-location operations.
5. Do you transfer large amounts of data?
If data transfer is essential to your business — as it is for many modern day organisations — then a leased line can dramatically improve the speed and efficiency with which you can send and upload data, without compromising on download speed.
6. Do you require the security of a fallback connection if the main line goes down?
What would happen if your business lost internet connectivity? It’s highly likely that you’d suffer from systems and services going down, which in turn could lead to lost revenue and staff productivity.
According to one study,* UK businesses lose 60 million hours of working time per year due to internet outages; think about how just one hour of downtime could impact your company.
A leased line with diverse routing overcomes this potential obstacle by providing a secondary backup line on another network, which kicks in if the main line fails.
7. Do you use cloud-based software, apps and services?
Many businesses now use cloud-based services in their daily operations, because of their versatility and flexibility. Here are some apps and software you may use:
- Cloud-based storage and productivity suites like Microsoft Sharepoint and Google Workspace
- Remote conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet
- Accounting and finance software like Xero and Quickbooks
If your business uses these types of services, you need a reliable internet connection to ensure maximum productivity.
Time to think about your business internet setup
Does your existing internet connection provide everything you need? Or are you constantly finding your staff frustrated at slow speeds and regular downtime? If it’s the latter, then you should consider a dedicated leased line connection.
Having a powerful, reliable and flexible internet connection can really help to boost your business productivity and staff morale, whilst also ensuring that downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.