What you need to know before buying business internet

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Ensuring you have the best business internet connection is critical for everyone. Being able to achieve the fastest speeds whilst minimising downtime will positively impact your productivity and profits.

Everyone knows and hates connectivity suppliers boasting of ‘up to’ speeds, that then fail to deliver, or connectivity being lost to constant outages. So, before you take out your next broadband or leased line contract what do you need to know?

1. Reliability

You want to know that when signing that contract, the company you’re signing up with doesn’t suffer from regular outages, causing loss of connectivity or downtime.

You should be looking to internet service providers (ISPs) that are boasting about the number of 9’s they have or that will guarantee 100%.

What do the 9’s mean?

Well four 9’s means they have had connectivity (not including planned maintenance that you are informed of) for 99.99% of the time in the last year. This means they didn’t have connectivity for just over 52 minutes in the whole year. Take that to five 9’s and you get to only being without internet for 5 minutes 26 seconds across the whole year.

Another thing to question is whether they’re providing an SLA. Having a service level agreement, that tells you that any issues will be fixed in a certain amount of time, will give you a level of confidence that you’re important as a customer and that they trust both their ability to deliver and ability to address and fix any unforeseen issues.

2. Speed

Speed and bandwidth are not the same thing. When we talk about speed, we are talking about the amount of time it takes for your computer to get a response from the requested service (known as a ping) – it should take milliseconds. The time taken to get a ping is called latency, and it’s never consistent, so you’ll find it hard for an ISP to commit to a guaranteed speed.

3. Bandwidth

This is where the ISP might start using the ‘up to’ phrase and quoting potential speeds. To validate this claim, it’s worth trying to find out how close your premises is to the nearest street cabinet (green BT box with a number on it), unless you can get full fibre.

The further away you are from your nearest cabinet, the slower your speed will be. At 300m away you will see speeds starting to drop, and by 1,500m it’s estimated that you can only achieve a maximum 4Mbps download speed with standard fibre broadband (FTTC). Even with full fibre (FTTP) you may not be able to get full gigabit connectivity as in certain, generally more rural, areas capacity at the exchange might prevent full speed from being achieved.

With reliability, speed and bandwidth ticked off, you will be in a much better position to know whether the next business broadband contract you sign will be the best one for you. Our in-house connectivity experts can also help you to find out what’s available. As an agnostic supplier we can advise on all the options. Visit our broadband or leased line pages to find out more or contact us to have a conversation today.

In our next blog we will be looking at other questions you should ask when deciding on a new business broadband contract.