Internet Access Options for Your Industry
Healthcare. Education. Retail. Hospitality. Finance. No matter which industry you’re in, you need the best possible high-speed business internet service you can get – and you need a business partner who understands your company's unique needs, whether you're a baker or a banker. But first you'll need to gather some info about business internet services such as:
- How much bandwidth do you truly need?
- Do you need dedicated internet access with symmetrical service over fiber?
- Do you need a managed wireless network for employees and/or customers?
Determining Your Business's Internet Needs
Before you get started, you might want to test your current internet speed. For best results, perform your speed test from a wired connection. Once you know what speed you've already got, you can begin the process of determining the service you'll need to meet your needs – today and tomorrow.
Internet Connection Types
One of the choices you'll have to make is which type of internet connection is right for your organization. Your options may vary depending on where your company is located – urban areas have more options than rural areas.
In general, you can choose from:
- DSL: Provided by a phone company, this service is delivered through regular telephone lines. Speeds can be as fast as 100 Mbps in some areas. Phone Company DSL is generally limited by proximity to the service with typical download speeds in the 1.5 to 40 Mbps range.
- Cable Broadband: Provided by a cable company, this service is delivered through the same coaxial cables that carry cable television service. Cable broadband speeds can be as fast as 500 Mbps.
- Satellite Internet: This service is delivered directly from a satellite to any location, anywhere. Although the speeds are slower than all the other options, it’s an ideal choice for businesses located in areas without other types of service. Satellite internet can have limitations during inclement weather.
- Fiber: This is currently the fastest type of business internet service, with speeds typically up to 10 Gig. Monthly business Dedicated Internet Access pricing is usually higher than other options—but the speeds are obviously much faster.
Speed and Bandwidth Needs
You should base your speed and bandwidth needs not only on the number of employees and devices at your location but also on the types of services you use. Businesses that use cloud-based applications like NetSuite, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Office 365, Dropbox, or Google Drive likely have higher bandwidth needs than those with a few employees who use the internet for basic email connectivity. A company with three employees will have different internet needs than a company with 50 employees, particularly when you factor in mobile device usage.
Be sure to consider how much Wi-Fi access you'll need to connect smartphones and tablets when you're determining which business internet service you need, or if you'll need a private and public Wi-Fi connection for employees and customers.
Uploads and Downloads
You should also consider how your team uses the internet. If you transfer a lot of files outside your office, you'll want to think about your service's upload speeds—you may benefit from symmetrical service with upload speeds as fast as the download speeds available with fiber-based Dedicated Internet Access.
While you're doing research into business internet service options, be sure to look at the customer service and support each provider offers — you'll want to be able to resolve issues as quickly as possible. For example, some providers offer 24/7 business-grade support services and same-day resolution to keep businesses up and running.
Take the time to research the additional costs. Find out how much the provider's installation and setup charges are, and whether there are additional charges for the hardware you'll need to power your service.
You'll also want a provider with flexible, scalable plans that enable your business to easily upgrade service as you grow. Consider both the service that fits your needs today and whether the provider also offers the services you’ll need as you grow in the future.