Internet speeds have steadily increased over the past decade in both the consumer and business markets. While this was simply a perk just a few years ago, the advent of all things moving to the cloud has made having great speeds an essential part of doing business. Between fiber optic, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), or cable, the possibilities are plentiful, and there are benefits to each option. How should a company choose its Internet connectivity?
The same coaxial connection that hooks home televisions to hundreds of channels can also provide very fast Internet speeds. Most geographic areas can be served by cable, with the exception of extremely rural regions. The major pitfall of using cable is that the bandwidth may be shared between multiple businesses in the same area or building. Peak time usage may result in slower speeds.
DSL uses existing phone lines to supply Internet connectivity. The line is not shared with other customers, and service is generally quite reliable. The farther away from the telephone company’s central office the business is, however, the slower the speed may be. For companies within the reach of DSL, it is a stable and affordable source of Internet.
A more recently developed way to access the Internet is via fiber optic lines. These lines are directly connected to the business location and afford extremely fast Internet speeds. Fiber lines are more reliable than older telephone lines and cable, which can be adversely affected by the weather. With fiber Internet, the company’s IT department may need to use special adapters or make infrastructure updates to connect.
Which to Choose?
Step one in selecting between cable, DSL, and fiber is determining which technologies are available at the business address where service is needed. If more than one relevant option is identified, the next job is to identify the level of use required. Consider the following questions:
- How many users must be supported?
- What types of services will be used over the connection?
- How reliable must the connection be?
- Is there room in the budget?
- Does the budget also cover the infrastructure additions that may be needed to support fiber?
- Will existing hardware (laptops, computers, servers, and other devices) need to be upgraded or replaced in order to use the new connection?
Analyzing the business’s needs can be difficult and time consuming, so many companies choose to work with a consultant. People in this profession have the expertise to assess operations to make an appropriate recommendation.
While picking the right Internet connectivity option may seem trivial, having inadequate speeds or bandwidth can impede productivity to the point of team frustration and missed deadlines. Whether the answer is cable, DSL, or fiber, making the right choice is critical to the company’s success.