For many businesses, a leased line is an essential part of their day-to-day operations – whether for working with large files, connecting to remote offices/data centres, or even just for general Internet access. Before get a leased line for your business, there are a few questions you should ask before taking the plunge:
1. What type of technology can my office support?
One of the most important elements to consider is the location and construction of your building. There are a few factors at play here, including the age of your office building, how it was constructed and the state of your current comms wiring. You might find that fibre optic cables aren’t an option for you, especially if you’re in a rural area. Generally, if your building’s been maintained and you’re in or close to a well-connected town or city, you’ll be fine.
A dedicated fibre connection is what you’ll be aiming for, which is what most people call a ‘leased line’ these days. It’s a 100% fibre connection, dedicated solely to your organisation, and offers the highest bandwidth at the lowest latency. Don’t worry if full fibre isn’t an option though, as there are capable alternatives:
- FTTC Broadband services use fibre optic cables to connect the Exchange to the cabinet outside your office, with only the very last stretch into your building using standard copper cables
- Ethernet First Mile (usually just ‘EFM’) is a professional-grade DSL-based connection that can be installed when it’s not practical or possible to use any fibre cables at all
2. What type of services do you need?
Keep in mind that the type of connection you select should be based on the services you need. Some handle more bandwidth than others, and some have more direct purposes to meet certain needs. If you need the following services, there are plenty of options for optimal set-ups for you:
- Multi-site – When you have remote employees or a number of branch offices that need to be connected
- Data centre – If your information is stored at an off-site location but you still want to retain easy access to it
- Voice services – When you find that you and your colleagues make a lot of calls, both over phone lines and the Internet (VoIP)
- Internet connection – While a leased line doesn’t necessarily have to include Internet access, it’s perfectly set-up for delivering your business Internet needs
3. The Three Ms
Do your background research before committing to a specific company. The best things to look for in a company are reviews from other users, their ability to provide you with a clear explanation of your options, and their previous experience with companies with similar needs as yours. There are three points you can use to tell if you have found a reliable company to work with for your leased line needs:
- Managing – How long does it take them to set up a new line, and how do they maintain their hardware?
- Monitoring – Are they available to handle technical issues at any time?
- Meeting your needs – Can they keep up with upgrades, or anticipate changes in your needs as time goes on?
4. What's the difference between a leased line and my current connection?
If you’re using ADSL or another basic form of connection, or have a basic reliable Internet connection, why is it worth looking into these other options? With the needs of companies today becoming more digitally-based, it’s important that your connectivity method can keep up with your higher needs of data capacity and reliability. If your connection is inconsistent, or cannot support the amount of data you need to send on a regular basis, it might be time to look for an upgrade.
Bandwidth is undoubtedly a major factor to consider when thinking about upgrading, but there’s more to an upgrade than just speed. A lot of it is about taking your business to the next level and beyond: a connection that’s “just good enough” now might not stay that way for long. For example, if you plan to upgrade from a traditional phone implementation to a VoIP system, latency, along with increasing bandwidth, will become a crucial factor.
When you upgrade to a [fibre leased line](fibre-broadband), you’re getting a dedicated connection for your business. Not only will this increase upload and download speeds (and therefore increase your company’s productivity), but a leased line is also private to your company – increasing your network security. A leased line also means no slowdown at peak times and less concern about an overload of usage or downloads at certain hours. While there are many different connectivity options available, it’s best to look into those that can bring the most to your company.
5. Am I getting a fair price?
Because each company’s needs are unique, there is no one-price-fits-all answer to this question. This is why research is important. You should speak directly to potential providers, see how they can address your needs, and ask how they can solve any issues you might be having. Once you have this information, you can start thinking about how much you want (or need) to invest in these technical upgrades.
Today’s business world is nearly all digital, and in order to keep up, you and your company need the best and most reliable connection possible to make sure you can accomplish all elements of your job without any technical disruptions.
Overall, leased lines have improved drastically since their invention in the 1970s, and there are a lot of advantages to a leased line. They are more reliable and offer faster and more direct connections. Leased lines are symmetric connections, meaning the connection speed is the same on both upload and download. If your business is still relying on a slower, less reliable connection, it might be time to examine the possibilities for installing a leased line in your office.
As one of the top UK leased line providers, Ai Networks wants to make sure your organisation
is always at the forefront of this field. For more information on how we help your business meet its changing needs, and to answer any questions you may have, get in touch via the form below.