You already know how critical the internet is for business. Nowadays, everything is online, from creating awareness of products and services right up to purchases, payments, and follow-ups.
That’s why you need a robust and reliable internet service designed for business requirements. For many MSMEs, the adoption of commercial broadband is driving daily efficiencies as well as empowering long-term plans.
How can you choose the right type of broadband for commercial activity? Here are five things to keep in mind before you decide.
Wired, Wireless, and Fiber
First, it’s useful to clarify the exact definition of broadband and how it is provided. Quite simply, broadband is a method of high-speed online data transmission. To enable this, it uses a range of frequencies to access the internet.
There are many ways of delivering commercial broadband. The most common is through digital subscriber lines, wireless, and fiber optic cables.
Digital subscriber lines use the same copper wires that a telephone landline does. Typically, no new installation is required. With DSL, you can access the internet through a modem and use the phone line for voice calls at the same time.
Wireless, also referred to as Wi-Fi, is when the internet connection is via radio signals transmitted by a router. With Wi-Fi, the main advantage is the ability to be online without the need for cables or wires.
Fiber optic cables are a form of wired access. These cables can speedily transmit large amounts of data by using pulses of light through fibers. In general, this provides the strongest connection and the fastest speeds.
To decide between these options, you should talk to your commercial internet provider about usage amounts and speed requirements. The budget for commercial broadband is also clearly a factor. Stand-alone units can consider wireless or DSL solutions. Fiber optic cables can be an option in accessing the internet for commercial buildings.
Upload and Download Speeds
The US Federal Communications Commission defines broadband internet as a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds.
Most internet providers stress the download speeds, and with good reason. This is the main reason businesses use the internet. This could be for viewing pages online, CRM activities, email, and other forms of communication.
However, upload speeds should not be ignored. This determines how quickly you can upload files, pictures, and videos to the internet. It is also important when it comes to videoconferencing and VOIP calling.
The upload and download speeds you need depend on your business requirements and the number of employees and devices connected to the internet. According to one report, this can range from:
- 5 Mbps download speed for one or two connected devices used mainly for browsing, research, and email.
- 150 Mbps for 10 to 15 connected devices used mainly for cloud computing, videoconferencing, and data back-ups.
- Up to 500 Mbps for 20 to 30 connected devices for multiple server hosting and heavy online back-ups.
Many internet service providers have a system of data caps. This means a specific limit on how much broadband data your enterprise can consume over a certain period. Businesses that exceed this limit could have to pay extra charges or have slower speeds. Even unlimited broadband plans can come with ‘fair usage’ riders.
For most enterprises, data caps established by providers will be more than adequate for their needs. However, circumstances may mean that usage is heavier than normal. For example, usage soared during the pandemic because of work-from-home policies and other restrictions.
Therefore, it makes sense for a business to ascertain its data needs and discuss usage limits with the ISP. This will give a clear idea of how much data is allowed and the cost of exceeding limits.
The Importance of Bandwidth
As we’ve pointed out, speed is a key aspect of broadband for commercial activity. However, there’s another factor that could be as significant. That is the bandwidth.
Internet speed measures how fast data can be uploaded or downloaded on your computer. However, internet bandwidth is about how much data can be downloaded or uploaded. The first is to do with transfer rates. The second is to do with the amount that is transferred.
Bandwidth can be affected by various reasons. There could be several upload and download processes occurring on your computer simultaneously. There could be multiple users on a single connection. Or there could be cable or router protocols.
While discussing speed with your ISP, you should remember the factors related to upload and download rates. You can also ask about the contention ratio, which is the maximum demand divided by the actual bandwidth available on a connection.
While speed, bandwidth, and reliability will be a top priority for most businesses when choosing commercial broadband, there are other aspects that should not be ignored. These are internet tools that can make a big difference in optimizing broadband usage.
Security is an important consideration. You should find out what forms of antivirus software and enterprise-grade security are provided by the ISP. Ideally, your business should have device security that blocks viruses, malicious attacks, and online trackers. Many enterprises require strong firewalls for added protection.
Then, there are tools designed for business, such as Google Workspace and platforms for customer engagement. Other factors include how much IT support and experience are provided, as well as the time needed for deployment.
To Sum Up
In a nutshell, selecting the right broadband service is about much more than speed. You should also look at the type of connection, bandwidth, usage limits, and additional benefits designed for businesses. Finally, the experience of your ISP when it comes to business requirements, support, and availability cannot be underestimated.
At Airtel, we have rich expertise in empowering businesses with seamless connectivity solutions. Get in touch to find out how we can offer broadband internet solutions that perfectly suit your requirements.