Business Internet

Business Internet2018-08-08T11:37:25+00:00

Business Internet Connections.

Frankly, for most business people, the business internet marketplace is a confusing one!

So let us help you demystify it a little  – this is the aim of this web page….to help you understand the options and the differences in cost, performance, reliability, function and lead-time.

If you know what you want and you are a business or organisation in Kent, Sussex or London, then please just get in touch on 01892 578666. If you are outside this area we can still help you depending on your requirements.

For everyone else, please read on!

Internet Connections – an Overview for A Business Owner.

One of the first things to explain is that small businesses and organisations have been a little fortunate over the years in that many have managed to run their small operations on standard broadband (ADSL) often costing less than they pay for their SKY TV at home!

However, in recent years, as businesses and organisations move data, applications,  services and servers (and telecoms) out of their premises effectively migrating to The Cloud, standard broadband (including fibre broadband) just doesn’t cut it in that it isn’t fast or reliable enough.

There is now quite a number of different types of business internet connection available to businesses and we cover each one in some detail here on this web page. These include ADSL (standard broadband), Bonded Broadband, FTTC Ethernet, EFM, Fibre Ethernet (Leased Lines), satellite and mobile broadband (4G and 5G). We also mention SIP and VoIP.

It is important to note that the choice of connection and therefore the performance varies from one premises to another. It is also worth pointing out that it takes us 5 MINUTES to check what you can get at any given location.

By the way, we know what we are talking about so please contact us for help and advice. We know more than most!

It is also worth noting at this early juncture that fast private business internet connectivity (as opposed to regular public broadband) is now a lot more affordable than it used to be so many smaller businesses are now moving away from standard ADSL broadband. This is because the technology had improved as has the affordability and access – the UK government has also been subsidising the costs of certain connections (direct Fibre Ethernet connections) up to £ 2,800 and this is still the case (January 2018)!

The other major factor that has increased the uptake in faster and more expensive connections is the change that has taken place in voice and telephony as people migrate away from digital ISDN phone lines to VoIP, SIP and hosted telephony. In many instances, organisations can spend the money they save on ISDN on amore expensive and faster business internet connection which is dual purpose taking care of both voice and data.

What are the different types of Business Internet Connections?

ADSL – standard ‘broadband’

This is the ‘broadband’ you see advertised on TV by BT, Sky, Virgin Media etc. Normally, you can get ADSL2 or ADSL2+.

You need a standard telephone line for this (which you can use for normal telephony) and the digital DSL signal resides on the line. As such, sometimes, line faults can affect performance and it can be difficult trying to resolve faults as there are 2 potential fault sources – the line AND the broadband. Here are some key points to keep in mind with standard broadband:

No SLA (Service Level Agreement)

Lead time to install (2 weeks)

Up to 24Mbps download (you never get that!)

Upload speed is normally around 10% of download speed

Some premises will only get a maximum of 8Mbps download (ADSL2)

The further you are from the BT exchange the slower the speed will be

Rural areas may get extremely slow speeds or even nothing

Prices are normally between £ 20 and £ 50 per month plus the cost of the phone line

Connections are normally shared (contended) with up to 20 other customers (sometimes 50!)

Standard broadband can be used for Voice (SIP or Hosted) as long as it is fast enough

Converged Broadband – IP Assured

This is a standard broadband but voice is prioritised for SIP or Hosted Telephony. Normally, you can get ADSL2 or ADSL2+.

It is either converged so it can be used for business internet and voice or it is an IP Assured (voice only) – this guarantees voice quality.

You need a standard telephone line for this (which you can use for normal telephony) and the digital DSL signal resides on the line. As such, sometimes, line faults can affect performance and it can be difficult trying to resolve faults as there are 2 potential fault sources – the line AND the broadband. Here are some key points to keep in mind with standard broadband:

No SLA (Service Level Agreement)

Lead time to install (2 weeks)

Up to 24Mbps download (you never get that!)

Upload speed is normally around 10% of download speed

Some premises will only get a maximum of 8Mbps download (ADSL2)

The further you are from the BT exchange the slower the speed will be

Rural areas may get extremely slow speeds or even nothing

Prices are normally between £ 20 and £ 50 per month plus the cost of the phone line

Connections are normally shared (contended) with up to 20 other customers (sometimes 50!)

Standard broadband can be used for Voice (SIP or Hosted) as long as it is fast enough

Bonded Broadband

This is normally a good option where speeds are REALLY slow. It is possible to bond up to 8 normal broadbands together which gives you slightly less than 8 times the speed of a single broadband. This means having 8 phone lines, 8 broadbands (or 2, 3, 4 etc) plus you pay a bit extra for the ‘bonding’. All other aspects are the same as normal broadband above.

Fibre Broadband (or vDSL)

Again you see this advertised alot by BT, Virgin Media etc. It still needs a normal phone line to reside upon. However, the copper wire it is provided on runs to a green cabinet within a few hundred metres from your premises. From there it runs on a fibre cable back to the exchange which means the speeds are alot faster than standard copper broadband. Many people simply refer to this with something like ‘we have got fibre’ which is technically incorrect – they simply have fibre ‘at their cabinet’. Here are the key points:

This is not fibre directly into your premises

Download speeds up to 80Mbps, upload up to 20Mbps

Speeds can be as low as 5Mbps and 1Mbps if you are unlucky

Upload speed is normally 20-25% of download speed

The further you are away from your green cabinet, the slower the speed you will get

Still contended (shared)

Still needs a phone line

Still no SLA

Prices are similar to standard broadband

Can be used for Voice as well as data if it is fast enough

Not available everywhere – aimed at consumers and residential TV markets

Converged Fibre Broadband (or vDSL)

See Fibre Broadband above.

This is simply a Converged version meaning you can use it for normal business internet connectivity and voice (eg SIP or Hosted Telecoms). The voice part is prioritised so call quality is guaranteed.

This is not fibre directly into your premises

Download speeds up to 80Mbps, upload up to 20Mbps

Speeds can be as low as 5Mbps and 1Mbps if you are unlucky

Upload speed is normally 20-25% of download speed

The further you are away from your green cabinet, the slower the speed you will get

Still contended (shared)

Still needs a phone line

Still no SLA

Prices are similar to standard broadband

Not available everywhere – aimed at consumers and residential TV markets

FTTC Ethernet (GEA)

This is an option normally when fibre broadband is available.

It has a Service Level Agreement (guaranteed performance and repair time)

You can get up to 18Mbps up and down guaranteed and more download if you pay when it is available

It uses a normal line which CANNOT be used for normal telephony

Prices start at around £ 170 per month plus the cost of the phone line.

It can be used for Voice as well as data

Lead time is 1 Month as long as you have the phone line installed first!

This is essentially the entry level ‘leased line’ as it is private internet, not public as it is all yours

 

Converged FTTC Ethernet (GEA)

This is a converged version of FTTC which basically means you can use it for voice and normal business internet connectivity – voice is prioritised and, consequently, call quality is guaranteed.

This is an option normally when fibre broadband is available.

It has a Service Level Agreement (guaranteed performance and repair time)

You can get up to 18Mbps up and down guaranteed and more download if you pay when it is available

It uses a normal line which CANNOT be used for normal telephony

Prices start at around £ 170 per month plus the cost of the phone line.

Lead time is 1 Month as long as you have the phone line installed first!

This is essentially the entry level ‘leased line’ as it is private internet, not public as it is all yours

EFM (Ethernet First Mile)

This is not available everywhere. It is delivered on multiple copper ‘pairs’ of wires (like phone lines) and the speed you can get is again based on the distance of your premises from the BT exchange. Here are the main points.

It has a Service Level Agreement (guaranteed performance and repair time)

You can get up to 35Mbps up and down guaranteed (10-20 is more likely)

Download and Upload speeds are THE SAME

Prices start at around £ 250 per month but will vary

It can be used for Voice as well as data

Lead time is 4-6 weeks as long as you have spare pairs of wires servicing your premises!

It is essentially a ‘leased line’ as it is all yours

Converged EFM (Ethernet First Mile)

See EFM above. This is basically a converged version meaning that it can be used for voice as well as normal business internet access – voice is prioritised.

This is not available everywhere. It is delivered on multiple copper ‘pairs’ of wires (like phone lines) and the speed you can get is again based on the distance of your premises from the BT exchange. Here are the main points.

It has a Service Level Agreement (guaranteed performance and repair time)

You can get up to 35Mbps up and down guaranteed (10-20 is more likely)

Download and Upload speeds are THE SAME

Prices start at around £ 250 per month but will vary

Lead time is 4-6 weeks as long as you have spare pairs of wires servicing your premises!

It is essentially a ‘leased line’ as it is all yours

Fibre Ethernet (Leased Line)

This is the best possible Business Internet connection anyone can get. It is direct fibre installed in your premises. You get 2 choices of ‘bearer’ which dictates the maximum speed – either 100Mb or 1,000Mb (Gb or Gigabit). Here are the key points.

Direct Fibre into your premises

Lead time is 3 months – it can be faster or it can be considerable slower depending on what is required

If fibre is already present in your premises, you are in business!

If there is no direct fibre in your premises, it will need to be installed and there may be costs for this which can be ascertained by completing a free survey

The UK Government currently subsidises up to £ 2,800 of installation costs

Speeds of up to 100Mbps area available on a 100Mb bearer or up to 1Gbps on a Gb bearer

Speeds are available in 5Mbps increments

Upload and download speeds are the same

Often you get a choice of ‘tail’ provider – this is the provider that gives you the local fibre connection back the exchange and this could be BT Wholesale, Virgin Media, Gamma, Talk Talk or another local fibre-present company

There is normally a 6 hour SLA/Fix

Can be used for Voice and Data

Prices start as low as £ 250 per month.

 

Converged Fibre Ethernet (Leased Line)

See fibre ethernet above – this is a converged version meaning that it can be used for normal business  internet use and Voice which is prioritised to ensure call quality.

This is the best possible Business Internet connection anyone can get. It is direct fibre installed in your premises. You get 2 choices of ‘bearer’ which dictates the maximum speed – either 100Mb or 1,000Mb (Gb or Gigabit). Here are the key points.

Direct Fibre into your premises

Lead time is 3 months – it can be faster or it can be considerable slower depending on what is required

If fibre is already present in your premises, you are in business!

If there is no direct fibre in your premises, it will need to be installed and there may be costs for this which can be ascertained by completing a free survey

The UK Government currently subsidises up to £ 2,800 of installation costs

Speeds of up to 100Mbps area available on a 100Mb bearer or up to 1Gbps on a Gb bearer

Speeds are available in 5Mbps increments

Upload and download speeds are the same

Often you get a choice of ‘tail’ provider – this is the provider that gives you the local fibre connection back the exchange and this could be BT Wholesale, Virgin Media, Gamma, Talk Talk or another local fibre-present company

There is normally a 6 hour SLA/Fix

Can be used for Voice and Data

Prices start as low as £ 250 per month.

 

Satellite Broadband

This is normally only a good option where the is no other choice – ie rural areas.

This requires special equipment to be installed, normally on the roof

Speeds vary but you may get up to 30Mbps

This cannot normally be used for voice, video etc

Mobile Broadband – 4G and 5G

At the time of writing this (January 2018), 4G is available in quite a lot of areas. 5G is still a few years away. With 4G you can get some decent speeds but as this is mobile data using a SIM, you will have a monthly data usage allowance. For an individual using a mobile phone or tablet this may be fine. But for an office, it would probably not work out well as you may use the data allowance up quite quickly.

So a good use for this is as a back up to a normal or fibre broadband connection – you can put a SIM in your router and have a temporary fast back up – a good solution!

When 5G eventually becomes available in the mainstream, the cost will be expensive to start with and probably reduce as it starts to get used to servicing our everyday needs (eg servicing our driver-less car systems).

 
Business Internet - showing a Fibre FTTC broadband green cabinet

It is worth noting that one of the most common misconceptions in business is that ‘fibre broadband’ is some kind of ‘silver bullet’ – the answer to everything broadband!

This simply isn’t true – see the picture here – this shows the green cabinet with one half housing the fibre back to the BT Exchange. The other half houses the old copper wiring that goes back to your premises meaning that a vulnerable copper pair of wires still services your premises and whilst fibre broadband is alot faster, it doesn’t offer the reliability of direct fibre – nothing ever can!

What kind of Business Internet connection can I get?

As stated previously, this all depends on the location of your premises.

If you are in a very rural location, then your choice of Business Internet may be very limited. In most large residential areas, it is likely that fibre broadband is or will shortly become available due to the providers wanting the TV Consumer business.

If you are in an industrial estate, it is likely you can get decent Business Internet connectivity like a direct fibre ethernet connection but not necessarily fibre broadband.

If you call us and give us a postcode, we can check within minutes and give you pricing.

We can also visit yourpremises or potential premises and locate/visualise what is there including direct fibre – this is a really important consideration for organisations who may be relocating and may not know what is possible or indeed what the lead times might be – getting a new internet connection for your new premises is often the longest lead time and can often govern the timing of a relocation!!  Getting us involved early (even before you have decided where to move to) can be an invaluable service which we can provide free of charge!

Can I use the Internet for Voice? ( SIP, VoIP and Hosted Telephony).

First of all, the answer is YES! You can use the internet for voice calls reliably.

This is and has been for some time a viable option. VoIP (using a data connection for Voice) is now mainstream and should be a future project for you if you have not adopted it already as it can save you money and improve the features you get in terms of telephony – for more detail on this, see our pages on SIP Trunks and Hosted Telephony.

Using our market-leading partners, Gamma, we can provide a range of internet connections that can be used just for data (email, browsing etc), voice (SIP trunks, hosted telephony/VoIP) or both.

Even where standard broadband is available, we can provide a ‘Converged connection’ where the internet connection is managed end to end with voice prioritised upon it meaning that call quality is guaranteed. This means that you can cancel your ISDN lines and services, port your number across and use just one connection for both voice and data – this can sometimes save you money and often a customer can upgrade their phone system and pay nor more than they paid previously which is a VERY attractive proposition!

The best thing you can do is speak to an expert that understands the industry and how to advise you based on a non-agenda and based on what is best for you, rather than what is best for his/her company/pocket/suppliers etc.

Our preferred partner is Gamma who are the market-leading channel partner for voice, data and converged ethernet.

Contact us and get the benefit of our experienced experts.

What are the alternatives to Gamma?

Well we can use other carriers and of course there are a large number of alternative carriers available depending on the location of your premises.

The best thing to do is call us so we can discuss your situation and your options.

Business Internet Connections FAQ

As you would expect, we get all sorts of questions about business internet connections so we have put together a small FAQ below

How do I know what internet connection I can get?

Connections available vary from premises to premises and depend on the distance from the exchange of your premises, the development progress of your exchange and the number of providers servcing your exchange.

What can I do to improve broadband speed?

If you have slow broadband, there could be a number of reasons for this including the distance from the exchange of your premises, the condition of the internal wiring AND external wiring, your router, your PC or equipment – or you simply have a slow connection that can be upgraded – call us for advice.

Can I use the internet for voice?

Yes – as long as it is designed well – see above.

Can I have a more reliable connection?

Always – this can be achieved by various means including installing more than one connection or simply installing something that is more robust.

If I stop using my ISDN phone lines and switch my phone service to an internet-based service, will it work and will it be cheaper?

Yes it will work if designed properly. in many cases it is cheaper. Send us your bills for analysis and we will tell you!

If I change my internet connection, will this change my IP address?

Yes normally.

Is using a VoIP service putting my business’s network security at risk?

If it isn’t done properly, this could be the case. This is very important – please speak to us for advice.

What VoIP products can I use on my Internet Connection?

Well you have an incredible choice! Here we briefly explain what we would recommend – either a hosted phone system or a SIP trunk….

 
Gamma Horizon

Many customers will use a hosted system on their internet connection these days and our preferred system in the market leading Gamma Horizon system.

Gamma Horizon is now the market-leading cloud-based phone system in the UK.

It has an excellent feature set and is very reliable indeed.

See our dedicated page on internet phone systems for more detail.

It offers a range of different handsets for you to choose from and with our offering, you get free calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles and extremely competitive international call rates.

You also get free Fraud Protection and a whole host of other features included.

 
SIP Trunks

If you want to retain a phone system in your premises (PBX) for some reason (normally when it has not been installed that long ago), you still can and you can install a SIP trunk from Gamma on a converged internet connection – we tend to deal with the Mitel MiVoice Office or AVAYA  IP Office systems but most modern phone systems will allow SIP trunk connections.

You need to take care with SIP as you potentially open up your computer network to potential attacks and security issues unless you take steps to protect it by setting up and designing everything properly.

Many people make this mistake.

See our dedicated pages on SIP trunks for more detail or simply call us for advice,

 
Installing Internet throughout Kent, Sussex and London.

Whilst we can arrange and manage installations of internet connections anywhere in the UK, we tend to focus on the South East as customers would normally want other services (voice, IT etc). For these services,  we don’t cover huge areas of the country. That is important when deciding on how to trust to look after your telecoms. We are never very far away so we can respond quickly to faults and requests for service without having to spend hours in traffic jams or on unreliable public transport.

However, if all you want is an internet connection installed, it does not matter where it is in the UK – we can advise you, order it and project manage it’s installation.

Feel free to call us for an initial chat  – we have been in Telecoms & IT since 1998 and understand the internet options and marketplace.

 
Kent, Sussex and London Business Internet Connections