Does Your Internet Work for You?

What type of internet circuit will work best for your office? The answer is: it depends. Multiple factors determine what type of circuit your business requires.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a circuit:

  • How many users are using bandwidth concurrently?
  • Do you have hosted VoIP phones?
  • What type of files are you uploading and downloading?
  • Do you use web-based applications (i.e. CRM, Quickbooks, etc.)?
  • Do you stream videos or web conference?
  • How long can you afford to be without internet?

The answers to these questions greatly affect the amount of bandwidth needed for an office. Keep in mind that internet is not just all about speed- it’s also about quality, reliability, and service level agreements.

Here’s a straightforward breakdown of each type of circuit in more detail:

Cable- it’s fast and cheap, but it’s shared bandwidth. You can always feel the speed drop when the kids get out of school. Reliability varies based on your location, but the bottom line is that it goes down from time to time. There’s no real guarantee when it will be back up and running- maybe a couple of hours or, “Maybe next Tuesday between 2-4.” Please call ETS to find out how to use cable properly for your business! This is so important!

DSL- it’s an outdated technology that is generally only used if no other type of circuit is available- usually in rural or some suburban areas. It’s slow but it’ll work. Unfortunately, it’s last on a carrier’s to-do list when it comes to repairing outages and doing maintenance. Therefore, if you need reliable internet service, you definitely want to go with a newer technology.

T1- it’s a copper-based circuit, so it’s very reliable. It is, however, on the slow side. For example, a T1 is 1.5mb. The only way to get more speed is to bond them together to get 3mb which is known as a “bonded T1.” You can put a bunch of these together to get more bandwidth, but you’ll pay a fortune doing that. They are about $300 a pop depending on the carrier. T1s are best used as back-up circuits and for your VoIP phone systems voice traffic.

Ethernet over Copper (EOC)- it’s a hybrid circuit that uses a fiber backbone to deliver bandwidth to your street corner. The fiber hands off to a copper “last mile” from the street to your office suite. This is great because the copper infrastructure is likely already in place- making it cheaper than a full fiber network. You will get similar service level agreements on up-time as fiber, but for a significantly lower price. The drawback is that the copper portion of the network may limit the bandwidth at about 20mb. If you’re an office of less than 30 users, this may be a great solution for you.

Hybrid Fiber over Cable (HFOC)- it’s a hybrid circuit with a fiber backbone, just like EOC, but the “last mile” from the street to your office suite is cable. Hybrid fiber over cable is almost like having fiber, but cheaper. There is a limit on bandwidth, so if you are planning to double your bandwidth year over year, this won’t be the right solution. This is a great solution for office buildings who are not “lit” with fiber yet, but the fiber is very close by. HFOC is only offered by a few carriers, so call us to find out if it’s available in your area!

Fiber- it’s the bee’s knees of internet circuits. Fiber is the newest technology and it’s fast- literally at the speed of light (“fiber” is short for “fiber-optics”). You can get fiber at 10mb, 20mb, 50mb, 100mb all the way up to gigabit speed, so it’s a very scalable option! It can be expensive since fiber networks aren’t everywhere just yet, but you get the best service level agreements available with fiber- usually 99.999% up-time. The most reliable source of internet connection around! If your building is “lit” fiber may be really affordable. Call us to find out!

So you see, there are so many options out there when it comes to internet circuits. The bottom line is to call ETS to improve your internet and find the right circuit for your business!