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Useful information on Business Broadband Comparison

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Business Broadband Comparison

Comparing business broadband services side by side is not as straightforward as you might imagine. Your most fundamental consideration, which service providers will also focus upon, will be speed.

There are, of course, several other points to consider; the features and additional benefits that are included in the overall package, availability and reliability, and the price. We explore all of these in more depth below.

We’d recommend that you approach the decision-making process in a methodical way. The first step will be to think about what’s most important to you. This will give you some key criteria on which your selection can be made.

The speed, features, level of service, and other factors that you decide you need will depend on exactly what you want to do. If you have very simple needs and only have a handful of staff who use email and do some online purchasing, then you probably won’t need a super-fast or ultra-fast service. However, if you are going to use hosted voice and video conferencing extensively and run your main business applications in the cloud, then you will need something that gives you more bandwidth.

Equally, if you decide you can live without your broadband connection for at least a few hours, you won’t need to look for a higher-level SLA. But if you will be entirely dependent on the connection, you need to make sure there are guaranteed levels of service and a contingency plan in place.

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Compare Business Broadband

As noted above, there are several aspects you need to consider when assessing business broadband services.

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Speed/bandwidth

There are several factors you need to be aware of when it comes to the speed, or more correctly, the bandwidth that you will need from your broadband connection.

First, you should work out how much capacity you will require. For everyday email and web surfing, even the most basic service will do the job, unless you have a lot of users. For a team of 10 people, for example, you might only need up to 15Mbps download capacity.

Hosted VoIP services don’t use up that much capacity either, but you do need to consider quality for voice, so budgeting around 250K per user would be sensible.

If you are using cloud-based apps and doing a lot of video conferencing or downloading and uploading large files, you will need something that gives you a much more bandwidth. For 10 users, you might need 50Mbps to make sure everyone can work efficiently. Having a little clearance on this might be prudent too. Bandwidth consumption tends to rise rather than fall in most businesses.

But these are only very rough estimates, so you may want to consult a third-party expert about your specific requirements. The number of users you have is a big factor; the more you have and the more they are doing online, the more bandwidth you need.

The advertised speed will always be prefaced with the words ‘up to’ and this is important, because broadband is a contended service and just because a service is rated as providing ‘up to’ 100Mbps, that does not mean you will always have this much capacity available. If there are other businesses on the same connection – and there will be – and they use the Internet intensively at the same time as you, there will be some contention for space on the connection, and the amount of bandwidth available will be less.

Upload and download speeds will be different, of course. Upload speeds are always higher – usually two to three times higher – than the download speeds. For most services, such as web browsing, this is ideal, as you generally only send the odd mouse click down the line, but what you get back will be a whole web page full of information.

But for other services – and video conferencing is the big one here – you will need an equal amount of bandwidth both up and downstream.

Read more about the difference between broadband speeds.

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Features and additional benefits

Many services offer additional features and benefits, such as built-in VoIP, guest Wi-Fi capability and even additional Wi-Fi minutes when you are out on the road. Most services (but by no means all) offer unlimited data downloads. Some will also come with a 4G connection that will kick in if your main broadband line fails. All of these may be desirable, but it is worth considering what you do and don’t need in advance.

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Availability and reliability

If your business is heavily dependent on the broadband connection, you will need to make sure that the service provider offers a good service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees high levels of availability and resumption of service. If it is less critical, and you think you may be able to manage without your connection for a time, this may not matter as much.

But you need to consider this carefully. Today, most businesses really do need their connection to the Internet to be working all the time, so it’s worth imaging what might happen if you lose your broadband for some time.

You might also want to look at what level of assurance the supplier gives on the performance of your connection, i.e., if it promises ‘up to’ 100Mbps upload speeds. The reputation and track record of the service provide counts for something as well. Using an established and well-respected company will mean you are on safe ground.

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Business Broadband Price Comparison

Last, but certainly not least, you have to consider the price you will be paying for the broadband service. Clearly, it needs to be affordable, but it also needs to deliver the speed, bandwidth, and availability you require to support your business activity. The cheapest option certainly won’t be the best, but the most expensive might give you much more than you really need. You need to strike a balance between these factors before you decide which service to go with.

Of course, the price you pay will always reflect to some degree the speed and level of service you can expect. But there are very real differences between suppliers and what they offer, so it is worth looking at the details of each option that could meet your requirements.

 

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