Gemma Maroney is Solution IP’s Marketing Manager. She writes about what is new and exciting in the business communications world.

Business Broadband can be a minefield: here are our tips for ensuring you choose the right product

Business broadband service is a dedicated broadband connection designed to meet the complex and varied needs of a business. It differs from personal broadband or home broadband services in a number of ways, the most important differences being un-contended connections, superior speeds and enhanced security features.

These days, for many companies, being connected in the right way to a fast, reliable broadband service is business-critical. Many every day processes rely on connectivity: email, web browsing, research, website maintenance and updating, media streaming and downloading, VoIP telephony, video conferencing, Instant Messaging (IM) and many more.

Many providers claim to provide dedicated business brodband connections, but it can be a minefield to select the right provider and to know which are the most important features of any broadband package.

If you are upgrading your current connection to a more suitable, dedicated Broadband connection then ideally, then here are some things we think you should know:

  • Connection Type

The two most common types of connection are Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL and ADSL2+) and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband solutions. Its important that you know the differences between both solutions, as sometimes, the location of your business will impact which option is viable for your business. ADSL is the most common form of broadband, and comes to you via copper telephone lines. ADSL2+ is a form of this that is enhanced and provides faster download speeds.

FTTC is different, as it is a fibre connection that connects the telephone Exchange and the cabinet in the street as well as your premises. It is very similar to ADSL in terms of what it can do, but often a much faster service and easy to upgrade in terms of the speed.

Both types of broadband have impressive download and upload speeds available, are secure, reliable and many companies also offer a fully managed service which means any service issues are resolved quickly by trained engineers.

  • Communication

Will your broadband package allow you to interact simply and easily between offices, colleagues, customers and suppliers? How will it do this? Will it support office based and remote workers?

  • Enhanced Processes

Make sure you know whether the business broadband package you are considering will support all elements of your team’s working day: Email, research, website updates, promotional tools, VoIP telephony if your business uses it, Instant messaging, video conferencing, Customer Relationship Management tools, and any Cloud based services you may wish to use such as file sharing or storage.

  • Improved Security

Business broadband services come with enhanced security features, perhaps the ability to back-up files online (save back-logged data), enhanced anti-virus software and spyware protection. All of this means you can be more confident as a business especially if you deal with sensitive issues on a daily basis.

  • Priority Service

As mentioned above, Business broadband comes with prioritised technical support which often means that if there is a connection failure or other issue, thankfully a rare occurrence these days thanks to the robustness of the UK’s broadband infrastructure, someone is usually on hand within a matter of hours to fix the issue.  A dedicated customer support team is essential when it comes to the continual operation of your business.  Business Broadband providers should offer a dedicated 24hr helpline should you require it, prioritised support and maintenance for those companies where a secure Broadband connection is essential to the day-to-day operations of a business,  and a guaranteed set time limit or response time to fix problems.

  • Affordability

Business broadband services are surprisingly affordable, especially when you consider the enhanced efficiency and productivity they afford your business. To ensure that you are getting value for money, consider the length of the contract that you are signing up for and all the elements that are included in the price.

  •  Contention Ratios

Broadband speeds are variable, and are dependent on the volume of traffic carried when you’re logged in. The higher the contention ratio the larger the number of people using the service at any one time.  Traditionally, the lower the contention ratio,  the faster the speed. With Business broadband, a 1:1 contention means that you have a permanent, dedicated line which is used for your company only. Any service with a particularly high contention ratio is unlikely to be suitable as a dedicated business broadband service.

  • Networking

The beauty of Business broadband is that it allows intuitive and easy to control  networking – to enable employees to share information and resources and to control the flow of data in the exact way that you want. A reliable Business Broadband connection will allow a number of computers to supported, and mean that your networking can be  scalable- wireless networking might also be available.

  • Static IP Addresses

Some Business Broadband products allow you to receiving a static IP address as part of your package, meaning you can enjoy remote access to your system and pick up emails direct to your PC. Thinking about how many static IP addresses you require and how many your current service provider includes is a good idea before speaking to any business broadband company.

  • VoIP Services

VoIP is a brilliant tool that enables you to make cheap, reliable telephone calls over the Internet as an alternative to regular landline or mobiles.More and more businesses are adopting VoIP as part of their communications infrastructure. This should also be a consideration when you are assessing the connection speeds of any Business Broadband package.

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