Business Broadband Considerations

Business BroadbandBusiness broadband connections are very complex compared to their residential counterparts in many ways.  Some might scoff at that notion, thinking that broadband is just broadband, but little could be further from the truth.  The fact of the matter is that there are a number of business broadband considerations that consumers never have to worry about, and businesses never have to worry about some of the things that are fairly common in the sphere of residential broadband.  Here are some of the most common considerations for you to ponder regarding business broadband:

Business Broadband Rarely Has Data Caps

As residential broadband has evolved and increased in overall performance like clockwork year in and year out, a condition has developed where broadband providers need to ensure that their networks are not being abused by ‘data hogs.’  This is generally done by limiting the amount of data consumers can access during a given timeframe without some sort of penalty.  The penalty might be an additional fee, slower broadband, or even account suspension depending on the Internet service provider.  Of course, business broadband users would have zero tolerance for any of those consequences!

Some business broadband plans offer data-block based billing in lieu of, or as a supplement to the normal monthly billing cycle.  These billing styles are not as common as they used to be, and are generally reserved for larger businesses with incredible bandwidth needs.

Business Broadband is Expensive, Especially Symmetrical!

Business broadband, even using similar technology, tends to cost far more than its residential counterpart.  There are many reasons for this, including higher quality components, faster service options, no data caps, and perhaps even integrated backup solutions.  There is also the issue of symmetry.

Symmetry means both sides are equal, and in the realm of broadband that means both equal upload and download performance.  An office that uses the Internet primarily or exclusive to send and receive thousands upon thousands of emails and/or engage in chat sessions probably has a need for upload speeds that are very similar to their needs for download speeds.  This is very different than the asymmetrical offerings that consumers get in the home, where the disparity can be very exaggerated.  It is not at all uncommon to see 10:1 to even 20:1 downstream to upstream ratios.

Backup Broadband Plans

Most business broadband solutions come with integrated fallback or backup networks.  This means that if the primary connection goes down, a backup connection will kick in nearly seamlessly to pick up the slack.  Hopefully some proactive monitoring will alert the ISP to the initial failure, but the end uses at a business will hardly notice the change.  Some businesses prefer to have alternative ISPs on contingency where a plan is generally very inexpensive and perhaps slow but can be instantly upgraded with a phone call and the flip of a switch to take over the data flow if a primary ISP is experiencing technical difficulties.

Some companies even balance their data workloads amongst two different ISPs just to ensure that they are not going to be completely dead in the proverbial water when and/or if one or the other ISP goes down.

Same Day Service or Fees!

Residential broadband users often have to wait a day or two for a work crew to resolve their problem, but business users are often given preferential treatment and guaranteed same day service from a work crew.  When areas experience natural disasters, businesses are generally the first restored so that commerce can resume.  After all, the business of America is…well, business!

The downside is that businesses are expected to have troubleshooting staff that can handle basic IT problem solving.  If an ISP sends out a work crew for a rush repair to a business location only to find everything in working order, they may opt to bill for that erroneous request.  Of course, some providers offer one or two such free passes just to keep good relations, but the cost of dispatching a work crew is surprisingly expensive.

Cache Servers are Machines in the Realm of Business Broadband Connections

Caching data is nothing new to end users at the home.  In fact ,operating systems have been caching all sorts of data for a very long time, and the goal is very similar to why businesses cache data: local data accesses a lot quicker.  The question of ‘why’ is about where these two different caching concepts part ways, as businesses use dedicated hardware (servers/smart routers, etc.) to cache data and patches.  Such hardware can be very expensive, but is actually not that different than what ISPs use for their own caching!