What is business broadband?
Many broadband providers now offer packages aimed at businesses. Small and large businesses, along with home office entrepreneurs are catered for. However, what makes these packages different to those available to regular home users? And are they really worth the extra monthly charge?
If your business relies on the internet, then you need to ensure you have a broadband service that is not just dependable and trustworthy, but that helps you get the most out of your internet use.
This is where business broadband comes in, as many internet service providers (ISP) now offer exclusive packages that address many of the concerns about running a business online, or being reliant on the web for information or communication purposes.
What you require from a business broadband deal is for you to decide, as each business has varying needs. However, here are some aspects you should consider before making your choice:
- Speeds - You will want to be able to complete downloads as quickly as possible and so you should look for fast speeds (probably 2Mb as a minimum, 8Mb for typical use, though speeds up to 24Mb are available). However, you should also consider upload speeds too as you may need to place information online, such as on to a company website. Most business broadband providers utilise technology that allows for faster uploads through processes such as symmetric DSL and optical carrier lines (that can transfer data at speeds up to 600Mb).
- Contention ratios - Broadband speeds can vary and are dependent on a number of factors including the volume of traffic being carried when you are logged on. The higher the contention ratio, the larger number of people that are using the service at any one time. Look to lower contention ratios to enjoy faster speeds.
- Security - Nearly every business broadband package on the market will offer enhanced levels of security such as anti-virus and spyware protection. Also look for additional elements such as firewalls and the ability to back-up your data online.
- Support - Is there a dedicated 24hr helpline and will your call be prioritised? Is there a guarantee to fix services within a set period of time?
- Networking - Does the business broadband package allow for networking - which is two or more computers sharing information and resources. If so, how many computers will it support and is there room for growth? Also, is wireless networking available?
- Static IP address - Receiving a static IP address as part of your package will allow you to enjoy remote access, pick up emails direct to your PC and more. Most business broadband deals include at least one static IP address.
- VoIP services - VoIP allows you to make calls over the internet as a cheaper alternative to a regular landline or mobile phone. See if you can get VoIP software from your broadband provider and are there a range of services available? VoIP is particularly useful for businesses with customers overseas as international calls are free to select countries.
- Price - As with any broadband deal you should pay close attention to the price and think about whether you are getting value for money. Consider the length of the contract and don't be fooled by introductory rates.