These days, the influence of the internet is huge, but greater still is our dependency on it to carry out everyday tasks – especially at work.
The truth is that internet connectivity is a hygiene factor for the majority of modern-day SMEs – from emails and conference calls, to digitised databases and software packages. You need all this – and more – to complete your job efficiently, so when web issues arise, it can be frustrating and distracting for all employees.
Given connectivity is at the core of your business needs, it goes without saying that you should always be benefitting from fast – and reliable – connections.
So, how can you ensure your workplace internet is working as well as you need it to? Here are some key things to bear in mind…
Think about your SME’s needs
We’ve mentioned before that no one company has the same requirements as another – and, the same rule applies to connectivity. Defining what’s essential helps to tailor a solution that will do the job right and prevent any unnecessary downtime – in both the long and short term.
One crucial question to ask yourself right at the start is: “What will the internet predominantly be used for?” Sending emails, browsing the web, streaming videos, or uploading and downloading lots of information are all things you need to consider – as well as any potential location necessities or boundaries too.
Look forward to the future
It isn’t just the here-and-now that needs your attention, as an SME owner, you should also have the possibility of business growth in your subconscious. That’s because the solution you choose should be completely scalable in tandem with your firm – without any hassle or upgrading headaches!
You may start with a few people in the office, but as you increase your staffing and more members come on board, the size of your network and data storage requirements will be vastly different. As you can imagine, if you fail to think about the expansion side of things at the very beginning, this is likelier to fall flat, further down the line…
Consider your connectivity choices
To help you on your way to championing your internet requirements, we mentioned that it’s important to choose the solution that best fits your organisation.
So, here’s a breakdown of the varying options we offer at Q2Q, and a brief summary of what each one is designed to do.
– Broadband (ADSL)
Perhaps one of the most commonly opted-for solutions, broadband is an entry-level internet connection that suits SMEs running basic email and web browsing activities. If, however, your company also has internet telephony, you may find a more comprehensive connection would work better.
This particular option has download speeds of 24Mb and a lower connection rate – typically between 1-10 – which means fewer people are sharing it, helping to overcome any troublesome fluctuations in speed.
– Leased lines
In a nutshell, a leased line offers a high-speed, dedicated and completely private connection – making it a premium-grade alternative to traditional broadband.
This usually runs from the local BT Exchange, direct to your office, and offers connection speeds ranging from 1 to 10Gb. In addition, the upload and download speeds are the same, and there is enhanced protection against outages. This is a preferred investment option for businesses that are purely cloud-based, as operations are truly business-critical, but due to the greater level of set-up required, this can take anything from 45 working days, or more, to fully install.
– Fibre to the Cabinet (FTCC) and Ethernet First Mile (EFM)
Now, don’t go getting hung up on the acronyms – that’s our job! All you need to know is that the main difference between the two is one uses a fibre optic cable (FTCC), and the other a copper one (EFM).
FTCC is essentially a broadband service which is delivered primarily through fibre, however it’s much faster and more reliable than standard broadband. Another key feature is a download speed of up to 75Mbps and 20Mbps for uploads.
In contrast, the EFM supports speeds up to 20Mb, and the upload speed is identical to the download. But one of the major differences – compared to a leased line – is that the service runs from the street cabinet instead of the local BT Exchange.
– Wireless and satellite
We mentioned earlier that the location of your business was a vital factor to take into consideration, and that’s especially true if you’re situated in a rural setting where the local BT Exchange is full. Also, if you’re in a larger city where a wireless connection is cheaper – or more readily available – wireless or satellite connectivity may be the best option.
The latter can offer download speeds of up to 75Mbps and 20Mbps for uploads, and typically takes 30 days to install. However, it’s worth mentioning that if your premises are obstructed by dense forests, this may not be the best fit for you, as line of sight is a prerequisite for this connection type.
– Point-to-Point and Same Site Connections
Now, this is another option that’s governed by geography. If your SME has one building which needs to be linked to another – within the same area – Point-to-Point might be the best one to go for. This is because it achieves inter-site connectivity by transmitting data – safely and securely – from one structure to another.
In short, this is a popular solution for businesses where the electrical – network cable – connection of two sites is not allowed, where a fibre connection is impractical, or where the general groundworks involved are not viable from a costing perspective.
If you’re not quite sure which solution your SME would benefit from, please feel free to get in touch with one of the team to discuss your individual requirements. You can call 01524 581690 or email us at [email protected].