This month we look at the options available to businesses who either can't get decent broadband, or just want a faster connection! We put the spotlight on our Bonded Broadband product which allows businesses to get faster internet connectivity, without it costing the Earth.
So many businesses are still struggling to get good internet access. It's a lot better than it was 5 years ago, but compared to other parts of the world that many of us would consider 'less developed', for want of a better phrase, we are waaaaaaay behind. A lot of it has to do with the fact that our pavements are full of old tatty copper cable which was originally installed decades ago, and designed to only carry good old fashioned analogue phone calls. Boffins have found ways of getting more and more digital data down those old copper lines, but there's only so much you can do. That's where fibre-optic comes in. 'Fibre' broadband uses light to carry data down cables made of fine strands of glass, which can carry a lot more data than copper cables can. This means you can access the internet quicker, and download music and films in less time than before. Sounds great, but you can't get fibre broadband everywhere, only if Virgin Media or BT have installed fibre cables in your street.
Yes, there's more that one solution. The best solution depends on your requirements, your budget, and the future plans for your area. Let's have a look at some of the options.
The Expensive Solutions
If you have the budget, and want a solid, guaranteed internet connection, then you need what is often called a 'Leased Line'. For upwards of £200 per month, (plus a typical install cost between £1000 and £5000) we can provide you with a leased line. You get a guaranteed connection, so if it's offline, you have some comeback as your provider is contractually obliged to adhere to a certain amount of up-time. We normally put this sort of connection into businesses with 40 or more people, particularly if they are entirely dependent on internet connectivity for their business.
Leased line availability is also dependent on your location. One thing that is not, is satellite broadband. This means you get your internet access through a satellite dish. Price wise, you're looking upwards of £300 for the equipment, plus a monthly cost upward of £50, depending on the speed of service you choose. There is a number of satellite broadband providers, and they are usually your best bet for a business based in a rural location. There are some other considerations when looking at satellite broadband, I won't bore you now, but if this is of interest to you, go Google 'satellite broadband latency'.
The Inexpensive, No-ties Solution
It's all about bonding - this is our preferred solution for typical small / medium sized businesses. Bonding means we take multiple broadband connections, and we use some clever technology to join them together so they act as one single, faster connection. For example, if the best broadband you can get in your area is around 2MB download speed, then we 'bond' two connections together and give you a 4MB connection (oversimplified, but you get the idea). They don't have to be slow lines of course... so if you have four decent 8MB connections, we can give you a super-fast 32MB connection, and so on. Your upload speeds also multiply too.
So how does this magic work then? Well let's imagine you've decided to download a film to watch (you probably shouldn't be doing this at work, but the principle is the important thing here!). I'm sure you've got good taste, so let's suppose you've settled on The Usual Suspects, or maybe series two of The Wire, but not Twilight, please no.
On your typical 2MB connection, it's going to take about 5 hours to download. Best leave it running overnight. Let's improve the situation somewhat, and suppose you now have four broadband lines. Well it doesn't really help, because while you can download your movie of choice on any one of your lines, you can't ever do it faster than 2MB!
Now for the magic - if you have our bonded broadband solution, then our special modems which we install in your business, combined with a whole bunch of servers in our data centre take your copy of Weird Science (insert your favourite vampire-free film here) and break it up into little chunks, sending these chunks down each of your four broadband lines. The modems in your business premises piece this back together, and before you know it, you've downloaded your film in a quarter of the time, which is now acceptable.
The other reason we like it, is because it's well priced, starting at £10 per month per line (in addition to your normal broadband rental charge), and the one-off equipment and install costs are typically around £350 for (two modems). There are no contracts or lengthy tie-ins either, so it's the perfect stop-gap while you wait for fibre broadband to arrive in your area. If you've already got 2 or more broadband connections installed, we can usually get you set up in just a few days.
Who's it For?
Bonding multiple connections together is the perfect solution for many different reasons:
- You need a faster internet connection, but can't justify the cost of the lease line.
- You want your broadband to be faster and more reliable, and automatically swap between lines if one connection fails.
- You are currently paying for a leased line, but want to save money, and consider an alternative.
- You want to use internet-based services like hosted email, and cloud phone systems, but your connection is currently too slow.
- You want to support more workers working from home without paying loads more for a better internet connection.
If you want to have chat about whether bonding, or one of the other services we can offer will help you and your business, please get in touch with us.