When it comes to choosing the right broadband for your business, there are several factors to consider. The type of broadband you choose can have a significant impact on your business’ productivity and efficiency, so it’s essential to select the right one. There are four options to consider, each with its pros and cons.
ADSL broadband has been a long-standing option that many people are familiar with. It operates on traditional analogue lines (PSTN) and relies on a landline to run. However, given the impending switch-off of PSTN lines in 2025 as the UK transitions over to VoIP, you will need to consider alternatives to ADSL.
The replacement for ADSL is SoGEA, which uses the existing copper telephone lines but does not require a landline. This means that it will save business’ money if they can switch over to a VoIP system at the same time. SoGEA is most suitable for small businesses of 2-3 staff members and is limited in its bandwidth. It’s not designed for heavy-lifting tasks such as music or video streaming as it can become throttled and create issues with backups or other core operational IT tasks.
FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) is a popular broadband option that uses a fibre optic cable to connect the local exchange to the roadside cabinet. The final distance to the premises uses copper telephone lines. With good download and upload speeds, it’s a great option for SMEs of up to 10 members of staff. However, the speed can be affected by the distance between the cabinet and the business premises – the copper lines run far slower than the fibre into the cabinet and therefore the longer those lines are to your premises, the slower your broadband will run. FTTC is sold on a 12-month contract which may limit opportunities to expand without putting excess pressure on your broadband supply. In addition, its availability is often restricted to more densely populated areas, meaning it can be surprisingly hard to get access in business parks or rural areas.
If affordability and portability are key to your business, then 4G broadband is a good option to consider. Using a SIM card, it’s the ideal option for businesses that need internet access on the go or in remote locations. Once an expensive option, it’s now far more affordable than other broadband options and great for single users. In terms of speed, it sits between ADSL/SoGEA and FFTC. However, given it operates on a mobile signal, it does have its limitations depending on the signal strength and can also be affected by the weather and other environmental factors making it less reliable than other options.
The final option to consider is a leased line. A leased line is the top-of-the-range solution, offering a dedicated, high-speed connection. Unlike other broadband types, leased lines are not shared with other users, so the connection is more reliable, resilient and secure. It’s a great option for big businesses with high-usage environments who need a solution that can withstand data-intensive tasks such as video conferencing, cloud computing and large file transfers. However, it is the most expensive option, typically sold on a three-year contract and has a longer installation time than other broadband types.
Choosing the right broadband can feel overwhelming especially as the decision is likely to impact your business’ day-to-day operations. Understanding your business’ specific needs and requirements will help you choose the broadband that’s right for you. If you’re looking for impartial advice, speak to an IT consultancy who can assist not only in decision-making but facilitating installation and ongoing maintenance.