What to Look for in a Business Internet Provider

If you lead a small or medium-sized business, you probably already know how challenging it can be to find a reliable business Internet provider. When you start comparing business Internet contracts and rates from a variety of providers, it gets complicated fast. Making matters worse is the lack of transparency on pricing and actual delivered speeds – leaving many business owners and IT/office staff guessing if they are getting a good deal.

Before signing up with a business ISP, make sure you know what to look for.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?

Many business owners have no idea how much Internet bandwidth they are consuming, or whether they need more or less. The speed of your business Internet connection can have a major impact on the productivity of your employees and the satisfaction of your customers. Depending on your industry, your Internet bandwidth needs will vary depending on your use web-based tools such as cloud apps, cloud file storage, web-based communications (VoIP phones, video conferencing), and online payment processing.

For an office of 20+ employees using cloud apps, sharing large files with clients and/or using web-based communications, a minimum 200Mbps primary line is recommended with symmetrical upload and download speed (100Mbps upload, 100Mbps download). For physician groups, software developers, or media agencies creating and sharing enterprise-size files, a higher speed connection will be required.

What Kind of Internet Connection Options Are Available?

Depending on your business internet provider, you may be able to choose from several different types of business internet connections.

Cable Internet

A cable internet connection is delivered via a cable service provider. As one of the most popular types of high-speed internet access in the United States, cable internet connections typically range between 20 Mbps and 100 Mbps. When you invest in a cable internet connection for your business, your internet speeds may vary depending on the available network bandwidth. Other downsides of a cable internet connection can include:

  • Speed fluctuationscable internet speed can vary based on traffic volume and time of day use.
  • Bandwidth CapDepending on your cable internet provider, your company may only be allowed a certain allowance of bandwidth per month. When you exceed your bandwidth, your maximum download speeds may be restricted to a much lower volume than normal

One of the ways that we provide companies overcome these limitations is by running a 5G wireless Internet network to shadow their primary broadband connection. When the primary broadband connection slows down or goes down, the 5G network picks up the load to maximize speed, productivity and uptime. It’s like “buying insurance” for your primary Internet connection to protect your business from lost productivity, lost data, and lost profits.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Digital Subscriber Line, also known as DSL, is a type of business internet connection that is delivered to you through your existing telephone line. Also called an “always on” connection, this kind of internet connection utilizes 2-wire copper telephone lines that will not tie up your phone like dial-up internet does. The two main categories of DSL for home subscribers are ADSL and SDSL.

ADSL
Also known as Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, ADSL can support data rates from one to nine Mbps when receiving data and 16 to 649 Kbps when sending data.

SDSL
SDSL, or Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line, is a unique technology that allows more data to be sent over using already existing copper telephone lines. This type of connectivity can support data rates of up to three Mbps.

Fiber Optic Internet

Fiber optic technology can be a great option for your business internet needs. This unique technology converts electrical signals to light through transparent glass fibers. This type of data transfer far exceeds cable modem and DSL speeds, but it’s important to note that the speeds you experience can vary depending on several factors – including latency and traffic loads on the same network circuit.

As mentioned previously as it relates to cable Internet, a way to ensure the performance and availability of a fiber optic Internet connection with a lot of user traffic is to boost it via a separate 5G wireless network. When the fiber optic Internet connection slows down or is interrupted, the 5G wireless network seamlessly takes over and provides continuous operation and a redundant failover network to protect against natural disasters, IT outages, cyberattacks, and other interruptions to the primary carrier.

Satellite Internet

Satellite broadband is another form of wireless internet that business owners can utilize. The download and upload speeds for this type of internet connection can vary depending on several factors. A consumer can often expect to receive download speeds around 500 Kbps and upload speeds of 80 Kbps.

Wireless Broadband Internet

Wireless broadband internet utilizes cellular technology to transmit data over radio waves. It has several advantages over a buried-line cable or fiber optic Internet connection including larger network bandwidth, connectivity speeds up to 25Mbps, symmetrical speed delivery, and lower latency.

Unlike Satellite that must transmit a signal as far as 22,000 miles into space and back, 5G millimeter wave radios are typically only 1 mile (or less) apart and their transmission beams are highly focused for speed and reliability.

We’ve gone one step farther with 5G wireless Internet by packaging the service in a way that allows business customer to “dial up” or “dial down” their bandwidth (we call it “flexing”) to fit their business needs without changing their contract. Our 5G FlexSpeed™ Internet service allows businesses to access on-demand bandwidth for cyclical or unforeseen business needs. We pioneered this novel approach and it changing the way small businesses buy high-speed, business Internet.

If you are interested in learning more about your business Internet options, our customer advisors can answer your questions.