If you’re a growing business, a standard broadband connection is fine, but there’ll likely come a point when you need something faster and/or more reliable. At that point, you’ll need to consider a dedicated leased line to ensure a fast, reliable, and stable connection that allows you and your employees to be productive.
The difficulty can be in choosing the appropriate package and connection type. In this guide, we’ll simplify that process for you and help you choose the correct connection to meet your business requirements.
Business internet infrastructure: an overview
In much the same way as domestic broadband, business internet connectivity relies on the underlying infrastructure of the network itself. There are several providers, the most commonly known of which are OpenReach and Virgin. These two providers operate huge networks on a nationwide level, meaning they’re available to pretty much any business.
Other, smaller and more independent providers are more likely to cover only local geographical areas, so your location may impact the availability of other providers. Your Internet Service provider (ISP) will be able to talk you through the options you have when it comes to choosing which network you are connected to.
What are the different business internet connection types?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of business internet connections:
- Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) — this connection consists of fibre optic cables to the street level (i.e. the local telephone exchange cabinet), with the remaining data transferred by traditional copper wires. Depending on your location, FTTC has two different speed options; 80/20 or 40/10. The speeds are estimated, meaning you will receive up to 80mbs download speed and up to 20mbs in upload speed on an 80/20 connection, and 40mbs download and 10mbs upload on a 40/10 connection.
- 4G/5G - delivered over a cellular network in the same way as you’d receive when using your smartphone.
- Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) — SOGEA connections provide the business with an internet connection, but without the need to also hire a landline. This type of connection can therefore be more cost effective.
- Single Order Gfast (SOGfast) - an ultrafast version of SOGEA that delivers speeds of up to 330Mbps across a standalone line. Only available in some locations.
- Fibre to the premises (FTTP) — the same as FTTC connections, but also use fibre optic cables from the exchange cabinet to the premises, which makes for a faster connection.
- Leased line connection — runs directly from the internet service provider (ISP) to the premises of the hiring company, meaning there’s no connection at a telephone exchange cabinet and so the line is exclusively leased to that business.
- Microwave (Point to Point) connection — this type of connection requires no cables or infrastructure (other than power) at the business end, as the internet signal is transmitted via a high capacity microwave radio link.
- Satellite connection — The signal is beamed from the ISP’s location to a satellite orbiting the Earth in space, and is then sent back down and received by a dish at the client’s location. With generally higher cost and availability of other options this is a rare choice for business in the UK.
What happens if the connection fails?
Of course, technology can fail. It’s therefore prudent to have some form of safety net in place to ensure that downtime is avoided or kept to an absolute minimum. There are two ways in which this can be done:
- Failover line — a leased line can be supplied with a failover line. This offers some additional protection against the leased line failing for a short period by providing a secondary connection.
- Diverse routing — two internet connections are used, served by different providers and different infrastructures. This additional investment is recommended for larger organisations that rely heavily on their internet connection and for whom any temporary outage would be serious.
Which type of Internet connection is best for your business?
Now let’s see which connection is best for your organisation.
Several factors will influence the type of connection you choose. Typically though, the number of employees you have will dictate the type of internet connection you need.
Here’s a rundown of the preferred connections for different sized businesses.
Primary connection: FTTC primary connection
Backup: 4G or FTTC connection
Primary connections: Two FTTC / SOGEA primary connections (one for data, one for VoIP) or 1x SOGfast Connection.
Backup: FTTC backup on a different network
26 – 50 employees
Primary connection: Leased Line (100GB / 1GB) connection
Backup: Two FTTC/SoGEA backups OR a leased line backup
51 – 250 employees
Primary connection: Diverse routing leased line (100GB / 1GB) connection
Backup: Leased line failover connection (both connections on separate networks)
Need more support in choosing the right connection? We can help
As an experienced and trusted provider of fibre broadband connections to businesses and organisations, The PC Support Group is well placed to help advise you. We keep many businesses connected through our range of flexible and adaptable connectivity solutions and are passionate about ensuring each one of our clients has the right connection to suit their needs.
Need more time to consider your options? Download our easy to follow checklist to help make your decision easier.