If you do not spend your life wrapped up in the world of IT, connectivity and communications, the differences between these connection types may be lost in the jargon of our industry. But with older copper internet connections like ADSL and FTTC being withdrawn by Openreach, businesses may want to consider a leased line to effectively support cloud services, including their phone system.
Here are the 10 main differences between the two connectivity services:
1. Maximum speeds
Leased lines can offer speeds of up to 10Gbps while maximum broadband speeds are far lower. Even though fibre broadband speeds are increasing all the time, they are nowhere near 10Gbps and they are always ‘up to speeds’, so you never get all the bandwidth you are paying for.
2. Symmetrical speeds
You will benefit from the same speeds for both download and upload if you use leased lines. Download is important when you are at home and want to access streaming services but at work, upload can be more important for sending large files for instance.
3. Sharing your connection
A leased line is a dedicated connection, so it is all yours! It connects your site to the core of your internet service provider’s (ISP) network. Broadband is what is known as ‘contended’. The line from your office or house connects to your ISP over shared pathways meaning that you battle for bandwidth with your ISP’s other broadband customers. This means your throughput will be reduced at times when lots of other customers are using their connections.
4. Lower latency & jitter
Leased lines tend to have less data transmission delay (latency) than broadband and less variation in such delay (jitter). This is important if you are using your leased line for video conferencing or streaming, digital dictation, financial trading, database mirroring, etc.
Broadband services have a finite maximum bandwidth and this will not increase over the term of the contract. Leased lines, however, are ordered with two defined speeds the first being the bandwidth required on day one; the second, known as the bearer speed, being the maximum you can flex to without changing to another service. Typically, a leased line order will be stated as 100/1000Mb this example shows a 100Mb service delivered on a bearer of 1000Mb or 1Gb meaning that while you are renting a 100Mb service on day one, it can flex at any time up to 10 times that speed. This is really important as we all use the internet more than we did last year and certainly much more than we did three years ago. Leased lines are the only truly scalable internet connectivity.
If there is a fault on your broadband, there is no guarantee of a fix time even if you are a business. You could be waiting days or even weeks without a resolution. Leased line providers offer service level agreement (SLAs) that pledge to fix faults within an agreed number of hours. This can be critical if your business relies on it for access to email, web and cloud services.
Leased lines are only sold to businesses whereas broadband was designed to be a residential service. Broadband is sold by a wide range of providers while leased lines tend to be sold by more business-focused organisations that may also provide data networks, phone systems, IT support and security. They will better understand your needs and will give you the attention you need.
8. Static IP addresses
Broadband customers are routinely given a dynamic IP address and even when businesses request static addresses they are limited typically to five. Leased lines have as many static IP addresses as a business requires. Static IP addresses are allocated to anything that needs to be discoverable by the internet, such as web or email servers. They can also be used to identify and authenticate to keep data and networks protected.
9. Installation lead time
Leased lines can take up to 90 working days to install. Broadband typically takes 10-15 working days. Leased lines may also, but rarely, incur excess construction charges due to the dig work involved, but you will be advised of this following a survey so you can decide if you want to continue with the deployment if the costs exceed the Openreach installation allowance of £2,800..
In terms of cost, leased lines are more expensive because of all the benefits they bring, but the price is falling all the time. It is a business-class service intended for business use. As mentioned before, broadband was intended for residential use.
How do you decided what connection type is for you?
You need to decide how much it would cost you if your business lost its connection to the internet. These days, that cost would be very significant. If you could survive without the internet for a few days or weeks, then broadband will probably suffice.
You also need to consider if a lack of speed is holding your business back. You may be missing out on effectively using off-site backup, video conferencing, voice over IP or remote working options.
And if you rely on accessing critical cloud-based systems, such as Salesforce, Dynamics 365, Sage or a hosted phone system, a leased line would give you the reassurance of higher uptime levels and faster fix times.
I hope this has cleared up some of the jargon around these types of connectivity and explains the differences between the two. If your contracts are nearing their end of your broadband, then you may wish to consider an upgrade. I would be happy to advise you on the options available to you.