Only the Best Business Internet Access Providers Give Their Clients These 9 Things
For most of us, access to the Internet has become a necessity, and high connection speeds are required to achieve maximum productivity. In fact, 46% of organizations labeled fiber Internet as "Essential" or "Important."
Whether you're a solopreneur or running a team spread across the country, a day without Internet connectivity, or even just slow connection speed, could translate to decreased productivity and even worse, profit loss. Internet connectivity is so valuable that fiber connectivity can boost the value of real estate properties.
While it's tempting to sign up for the first business Internet access provider offer you come across, smart business owners understand that choosing a broadband provider means carefully taking stock of several variables before making the decision.
What Companies Need from Business Internet Access Providers
At the end of this article, you will have a clearer picture of what you should require from business Internet access providers the next time you're shopping for the best in your area.
1. Sufficient Bandwidth
This is one of the key requirements that business owners and managers should thoroughly evaluate. Of course, your bandwidth needs will depend on the nature and size of your operations. With this in mind, begin your assessment with the following questions:
- How fast do you need your Internet connectivity to be? Cloud services or applications you use may detail the minimum amount of bandwidth required for them to work properly. You'll need to add all those numbers up.
- How many people do you need to provide access to on your network?
- How many devices do you estimate are going to need to transfer data?
- Do you need point-to-point connectivity?
Once you've answered those questions, your next step is to learn about the different types of high-speed Internet options. Here's a primer of your options:
Ethernet over Copper/DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
Ethernet over copper/DSL is older Internet access technology. It is affordable yet unsuitable by today's standards. This type employs local telephone lines to transmit data, and the farther you are from the telephone company central office, the slower connections you will get. You can even be too far away to get any signal on a circuit.
Cable Internet mainly relies on standard coax cable lines that were originally run to provide television service. This is one of the most popular options for both residential and business customers. Speed may be slower during peak hours because bandwidth is shared among users in the vicinity.
For businesses, this option is significantly better than DSL or cable. For one, as we noted in fiber-optic internet vs. copper cable, you almost always get equal download and upload bandwidth with fiber.
Fiber's range of benefits is extensive and includes scalability -- you can start with 10 Mbps today, and if you need 100 Mbps (or much more) next week, your provider can easily increase your bandwidth. Simply contact your provider who can increase your fiber bandwidth immediately without a service call or installation project.
For more information on how much bandwidth you need for your business, we earlier wrote about it here.
2. Focus on Security
Anyone familiar with business headlines over the past year knows that threats to data security have become big news. This is another variable that should be at the top of your list when seeking providers. Data Center, network and voice switch security all pose Unified Communications risks to small businesses.
Sure, there are lots of provider options out there, but not everyone can guarantee that you will be protected from spam, spyware, threats from computer virus, and even network intrusions. The company should be committed to security, even down to doing background checks on their own employees. A good guide is to see if the company undergoes an independent audit such as SSAE 16 which does assess and document how security is managed and maintained.
3. Shorter Installation Timelines
Most business Internet access providers take 30 to 60 days to set up a connection to a new location. When shopping for your ISP, look for a provider that emphasizes adherence to timetables and expected delivery times.
4. Accessible Support
Look.. stuff happens. Connections can and will go down. How your provider responds when that happens is a key element to success. At Atlantech Online, we pride ourselves on customer support that goes the extra mile. Yes, business Internet is about computers, servers, and bits of data, but if your ISP lacks that human touch, it's probably high time that you switch business internet access providers. In most cases, solid customer support is worth paying more for. Check online reviews to find a provider with fantastic customer care and make sure they offer 24/7 technical support.
5. Timely Troubleshooting Response
How quickly does the ISP respond to a reported outage or send their field service techs on site if a failure occurs? Check for field response policies and make sure that they meet your business needs as well as possible worst-case-scenarios. Often, it takes a day or two for a team to fix outages by being physically present in the area. Imagine how a 24 to 48-hour delay will impact your business.
6. Offer Business Phone Service
There are a lot of advantages to combining business internet and phone services. Not only can you expect to save on cost, but you also you skip the inconvenience of multiple bills, support systems, and the runaround you often find when dealing with separate vendors. When you have issues, you won't get the "It's the VoIP provider's fault" excuse.
7. Future-Oriented Mindset
These days, everything evolves so rapidly that you never know when a new Internet technology will surface. This is why it pays to work with a provider who understands the need to be future-oriented.
Take IPv6 for instance. It is the next generation protocol for IP addresses. If your business is willing to push the envelope when it comes to technology, it pays to have an ISP who shares your enthusiasm.
8. Reliable Upload and Download Speeds
Does your enterprise require faster-than-normal upload and download speeds? Or do your operations require only the usual web browsing and mail setup? Your answer plays a role in choosing the right business Internet service for your needs. Plus, you need to consider how many users will be connected at one time, and what they will be doing while online. Do they need to check emails, share files, or upload videos constantly? Also, is your ISP throttling bandwidth at certain times during the day or when using certain services?
At its core, the Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) connects your office network to the many interconnected computer networks that make up the Internet. The ISP connects to these networks via transit (paid) and non-transit (non-paid) connections. The connection to every network in the world is known as a route.
When you choose your business Internet access provider, you're paying for a company who'll give you access to as many routes as they can. Connecting to these networks enables your business to reach the customers you need so that you're successful.
Shockingly, there are major United States-based national ISP’s who refuse to pay any transit fees for connectivity, and they, therefore, cannot connect you to the entire Internet. Think of it like cable or satellite companies that get in disagreements with networks and stop carrying their channel. There are ISPs that get into such battles over routes and peering agreements.
Evaluating the Best Business Internet Service Providers
As always, knowledge is power. Knowing what you should look for in a business internet access provider can spell the difference between profit and loss; between achieving optimum production and poor delivery times. Still, you alone know the full nature of your business and operations.
The takeaway is to find an ISP who makes an effort to understand your business needs, and who can make adjustments to accommodate both your short-term needs and long-term goals.
While you're finding the right ISP, you're probably also considering fiber, given its lightning fast speeds and incredible reliability. We've created a guide to help you ask the right questions as you start the process. Download a free copy of 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Fiber Connectivity for Your Business to make sure you're getting what you pay for.