Don’t be seduced by internet speeds
Posted by Elaine Bellamy on 20/02 at 10:00 AM Internet connectivity,
internet speed dials

Infinity internet, superfast internet, fibre internet...it’s all the same really, so let’s look at the facts and break down some of the acronyms and jargon used by our industry. A lot of people I speak to are obsessed with seeing the numbers that the TV and online adverts display. “Up to 300Mbps!’ they say and ‘Why would I pay £300 pounds for a leased line at 40Mbps when I can get 330Mbps with cable?’


Where do I start?


The key is in the detail. ‘Up to’ speeds are stated on adverts for a reason. Imagine if you were just about to sign for your new Kwak ZX10 or your new Porsche, and the sales guy said: “It could do 186mph, but sometimes it won’t.” You would be concerned. This would lead to a whole host of questioning while your pen glides away from the dotted line. However, when it comes to internet connections, people don’t seem to ask questions even when this is a service that is mission critical to their whole business and therefore their livelihood!


Service levels
How much is your connection worth to your business? And how much is it worth when it is down for a week plus due to a lack of service level agreement?  Broadband ADSL connections, including fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP), are not appropriate for a business where internet connectivity is mission critical. These connections do not come with service level agreements. If there is a fault, it will be fixed on a ‘best endeavours’ basis. Businesses have been without their internet connection for two weeks before the fix is seen to and find themselves calling me desperate for a 4G temporary connection.


Traffic shaping
With broadband, internet service providers or ISPs give priority to certain traffic. If that isn’t the traffic you need at that time…well that is unfortunate. Traffic shaping is the manipulation and prioritisation of network traffic to reduce the impact of heavy users or machines from effecting other users linked to your green cabinet in the street. The ISP will not consult you before this occurs and could have a negative impact on your usage at the time. This will never happen with a dedicated, business-grade connection.


Broadband suffers from contention. You and your neighbouring businesses are all draining bandwidth from each other via the green cabinet! At peak times, you could be achieving a 100th of the bandwidth you are paying for. Suddenly £30-£40 a month is not such a good deal.


Symmetrical bandwidth
Your business will most likely require way more upload than download. Domestic broadband focuses on download because this is what is needed at home for the X-BOX, Netflix, YouTube, iPlayer, etc. because these are all pulling data down from the net. So, if your business is full of people playing FIFA and browsing Netflix, you might be okay! Consider a normal day when you are backing up your files and sending large attachments on emails to clients and colleagues, then you might have an issue. This is utilising upload speeds and most businesses will require much more upload than download.


What are your choices?
If you want to find out more about business-grade connections, give me a call and we can do some checks on the following connections:

  • EoFTTC (Ethernet over Fibre to the Cabinet): Uncontended up to 15Mbps, dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth up to 15Mbps. Burstable upload up to 20Mbps and download 80Mbps.
  • EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile): Seven-hour SLA, uncontended, distance-dependent symmetrical bandwidth (speed availability clarified before install)
  • Leased lines: Four-hour SLA, uncontended, dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth - you pay for what you get.


I think your question shouldn’t be: “How much will this connection cost?” but rather: “How much would my current connection cost me when it is not performing or it is down completely?”
Connectivity has moved on. Let’s catch up!

Posted by
Elaine Bellamy's avatar
Elaine Bellamy on 20/02/2018

Elaine has worked with us since 2013 and has successfully progressed into the role of cloud and connectivity team leader.

She is responsible for looking after our existing customer user base and migrating potential new customers to our fixed lines, SIP, mobiles and Internet services, as well as public and private hosting services, data solutions, Microsoft Office 365, Wi-Fi and filtering.

Before joining us, Elaine worked in customer service environment for 12 years. Elaine enjoys spending time with her family wandering the beaches of south Devon, interior design and is a keen follower of current fashion trends.

Contact: elaine.bellamy@swcomms.co.uk

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