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Useful information on Leased Line Broadband
What is Leased Line Broadband?
A leased line is a dedicated digital connection that is 100 percent dedicated to you and unlike a normal broadband connection, is not shared in any way. A leased line can run at tremendous speeds – up to 1 Gbps, although most businesses that need a leased line would need no more than 100 Mbps or less.
The other big difference with a leased line is that it gives you the same high speed and bandwidth in both directions. With conventional business broadband, as the main external line is shared, the actual speed it provides can never be absolutely guaranteed, as when demand is high, there is more traffic, and performance will degrade somewhat.
Also, broadband is designed to carry web traffic, so it uses more bandwidth for the upstream (for downloading web pages, files and images) and much less (usually around a quarter to a third) downstream (most downstream traffic are simple mouse clicks and keyboard entries).
A leased line is a full-on, two-way connection that will allow you to connect, send and receive at will – proving you have worked out accurately how much capacity you really need.
You may also hear leased lines being referred to as ‘Ethernet connections’ or ‘Ethernet leased lines’; this is simply because they use Ethernet networking technology. The word ‘fibre’ is also mentioned quite often and, again, this is simply a descriptive term – leased lines are run over fibre broadband connections.Back to top
Do I Need Leased Line Broadband?
Bandwidth demands are growing all the time, and if you are one of the many organisations that have started to make extensive use of cloud applications and services and managed online services, you’ll need assured bandwidth and good, reliable downstream, as well as upstream services.
If you are running your own website or e-commerce service that needs to cope with a lot of connections and requests, a leased line is essential as it’s the only connection that will give you the bandwidth you need. Having a static IP address is also useful here, and that’s something you will always get with a leased line.
If you are storing files in cloud-based storage resources and using an online backup and/or business contingency service, you will need the connection to be symmetric and give you adequate speeds in both directions
Increased use of video technologies to support the high-quality collaboration and video conferencing that is being used much more widely today will also increase bandwidth requirements. If you want these apps to work well – and you need the best quality you can get to ensure full and effective communication between individuals and teams – you need a download speed that matches the upload performance.
While broadband connections are quite safe, if security is really important, then a leased line is always going to be a better option than standard broadband, simply because it is dedicated to you.Back to top
Choosing a Leased Line Provider
Every business choice starts with an assessment of your needs. If you have got as far as deciding that you want this kind of connection, selecting a leased line provider is no different to picking any other supplier. You should obviously look for a service that suits your needs, in terms of speed and flexibility, should you want to upgrade the connection later. There are some services that enable you to flex the speed up and down depending on how your needs change, which can be useful if your business is very seasonal, for example.
Many providers will offer to provide a higher capacity line on which they will provide a service that uses only part of the capability. For example, 100 Mbps on a 1 Gbps ‘bearer’. This basically means there is capacity to crank the speed up to 1 Gbps, but for now, you will only have access to 100 Mbps. Should you later want to increase the speed to 500 Mbps, for example, it should be relatively easy
You should also look closely at the service level agreement and guarantee they provide. If you need a leased line, you will be very dependent on your connection, so you will want the very best assurance that it will stay up and running, if there are any faults, they will be fixed quickly, and that if they are not, you will be appropriately compensated. But you will hope it would never come to that, of course.
In the end, it’s entirely probable that the supplier’s track record and reputation will play a big part in your decision of who to choose for a leased line service.Back to top
Leased Line Broadband Providers
Many communications companies and internet service providers (ISPs) offer leased line services, but by no means all of them. This is because providing leased lines and the technical and logistical service that is required to support them is quite a commitment. The supplier needs to be well-resourced, responsible and have a high degree of technical competency.
Probably the best-known provider of leased line services is BT. It has much experience in the technology and offers excellent service levels. A wide range of options are available from BT as well, from 10 Mbps right up to 10 Gbps and just about any speed in between.Back to top
Business Leased Line Prices
Of course, with the higher speeds and two-way stream a leased line gives you, and the added service levels that are being provided buy the supplier, you are going to pay more for a leased line. How much depends on the supplier, but you might expect to pay between £190 and £600 per month for a leased line service. Costs can vary though, depending on your location, so you do need to get a detailed quote up-front.
This is actually not at all bad when considered from a per-Mbps perspective, and given that the line provides the same speed downstream and upstream and that it’s dedicated to you.
The other consideration here is that, due to the added commitment that they have to make, suppliers usually expect you to sign up for five-year contracts on leased lines, although some lower-speed services are offered on three-year deals.
You also need to be aware that, as a leased line has to be specially installed, it can take perhaps three months – sometimes more depending on your location – for the installation to be carried out.Back to top
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