Business Catch 22, Internet Speed or Reliability?

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Topics: Cloud, vCIO

Is your business operating on a fast, but potentially unreliable Internet connection? Or, are you on a slow and painful, yet stable connection? Chances are that your company fits one of these two scenarios or you are paying a king’s ransom for Internet delivery.

Many organizations are not aware that there is no guarantee for uptime listed in their cable Internet service agreement. I am surprised to learn how many businesses are still operating on antiquated T1 connections when there are so many other cost effective solutions available for consideration.

There has been a major shift in business Internet usage in the last few years that is focused more on bandwidth than on quality of service (QOS) and service level agreements. Businesses used to have T1 service for reliable uptime connections above all else. Then Ethernet over copper solutions began popping up to increase the Internet speeds at comparable pricing to T1 service (but deliver just a small increase in speed unless you pay much more). The biggest problem with these solutions is that they are either painfully slow or very expensive.

Today, I see many businesses opting for choices like cable Internet or FiOS Internet connections because they need the faster bandwidth. The demand for cost effective and reliable Internet resources is greater than ever before. Cloud services are a major reason for the push in Internet bandwidth demand, but even if a business isn’t taking advantage of cloud services, they still have a need to adapt in increasing their bandwidth.

Technologies driving the need to increase bandwidth include Voice over IP technologies (VoIP), telework/remote access, social media marketing, Internet research and mobile meeting technology, which have all become mainstream needs of businesses. One of the least often considered needs for bandwidth today is that almost 90 percent of all software is delivered via download. For a business that operates over a T1, that could mean an entire day downloading the latest version of software. Who has time for that?

Therefore, a catch 22 still exists. Should businesses opt for reliability or speed? The truth is that there isn’t one right solution for every businesses. Many businesses decide to go with a fast and inexpensive cable Internet option, but choose to maintain a slower connection with higher QOS service as a backup. Most firewalls can be configured to automatically fail over if the main Internet line goes down and provide both QOS and speed at a reduced cost. Some businesses who are operating in the cloud are content to run with only the fast and inexpensive option.

Why hasn’t everyone switched already? Often I find that many businesses have phone service tied to their antiquated internet delivery and are not aware that other options exist to run both effectively. Business have lost control by auto-renewing multi-year contracts.

If you have a contract like this, get it altered so that your terms change after the initial contract to month to month or single year renewals. And if you’re still suffering with slow Internet speeds or high Internet costs, it’s time to re-examine the needs of your business.