But with so many options available and digital dependence only increasing, how does a business chose the right solution to meet its current and future needs? Below is a brief guide to the different types of connection available. This should help you navigate the minefield of options and make an informed decision on what the best connection is for you.
The most basic technology used to deliver broadband is DSL (digital subscriber line) which uses copper telephone lines to transmit digital data. The oldest and poorest option available to most businesses, DSL is painfully slow with download speeds at a maximum of 20Mbps and upload speeds are just 2Mbps on a good day. Despite – unforgivably – being the only option available in some business parks, DSL will strangle the digital capabilities of all but the smallest businesses. Our advice – steer clear!
The next step up on the connectivity ladder is Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC). FTTC does what it says on the tin; data runs at the speed of light through fibre until it reaches the street cabinet where it is translated into slower electrical signals passing across a copper cable into your building. The technology means that speeds are inconsistent, dropping at peak times, and will tend to max out at 80Mbps. For many businesses, FTTC can meet their basic requirements but for those becoming more reliant on cloud services or supporting larger numbers of staff, it can prove sluggish and unreliable.
Larger businesses seeking greater reliability, consistent speeds and crucially, symmetrical upload speeds, have had no choice but to opt for a Leased line. Typically delivered over pure fibre, leased lines provide dedicated connectivity to businesses that can’t risk the roller-coaster of FTTC. They come with a hefty price tag though and businesses taking 100Mbps leased-lines, and faster, can find themselves paying thousands of pounds a year.
More recently however, a new breed of products have emerged to provide many of the benefits of leased lines for a fraction of the price. Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) brings pure fibre directly to your building. With no copper to slow data down FTTP networks can easily run at Gigabit speeds – that’s up to 1000Mbps. Rather than slowing them down, some innovative internet service providers are offering gigabit connectivity for a little more than the cost of a fast FTTC line.
While not a dedicated connection, these Gigabit internet services provide ultra-fast speeds that will make light work of remote backups, data heavy cloud services and VoIP while simultaneously serving a large number of users. If available in your area, these are well worth considering to future-proof your business connectivity - and you’ll have bragging rights with one of the fastest internet connections in the UK!
FTTP is currently being rolled out in locations across the country by CityFibre, the largest independent provider of pure fibre infrastructure in the UK. CityFibre recently completed construction of the network in Huddersfield and York, which will see businesses being able to take advantage of speeds of up to 1GB (1000Mbps). Rollout in Leeds and Bradford is also due to launch this month.