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What is a leased line (and how can it help my business)?

Image for What Is A Leased Line Blog by Ai Networks

Is there anything more frustrating than Internet outages, slow page loading, and non-responsive web applications? If you were to poll professionals across all sectors, there’s no doubt that Internet connectivity would rank highly on a list of top workplace frustrations. The good news is that there’s an under-used, yet highly effective solution for both small and large businesses: leased lines.

Leased lines have actually been in use since the 1970s, but weren't widely deployed until the Internet boom in the 1990s. With the rise of Internet speeds and reliance on digital connectivity soaring to new heights, leased lines are rising in popularity for companies who want to protect their data and increase efficiency. They are becoming an increasingly popular alternative for standard data connections – and for that reason it's important to get to grips with the basics.

So what is a leased line?

When it comes to getting an office online, most business owners resort to standard Internet connections. Also known as consumer broadband connections, these lines typically provide enough access for a family or small office. However, in the business world, you often need more, in terms of both speed and reliability. This is where leased lines come into play.

Technically speaking, a leased line is a dedicated, symmetric data connection with a fixed bandwidth. I f that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. Speaking in layman’s terms, a leased line is an Internet connection that’s reserved just for you (dedicated) and consistently provides the same ultra-fast speed (fixed bandwidth) on both upload and download (symmetrical). Easy when you know the lingo, right?

Going back to technical jargon, leased lines are private circuits between two points, with one end being your premises and the other being a network provider’s nearest point-of-presence (PoP). Leased lines are typically used by companies to get a high-quality, business-grade Internet connection, but there are other uses too. For example, an organisation might use several leased lines to connect their head office to branch offices, or to a remote data centre.

There are many advantages to a leased line connection for businesses of all types. Because a leased line is dedicated to your company and your needs, you can choose not only the connection destination, but also what type of data is passed on the line. A leased lines doesn't need to be an Internet connection – you can use it specifically for phone calls, VoIP, network traffic, or whatever data transfer needs your company has. The customisation of a line is something that makes it a unique and exceptional tool for todays's data-loaded businesses.

The benefits of a leased line

Now that you have a basic understanding of how leased lines work – or at least what they do – let’s highlight some of the business-specific benefits of having a leased line Internet connection in your office.

1. Faster speeds
With consumer-grade broadband Internet, the speed you get is determined by a number of factors, such as how many people are using the line at once, and the size and nature of data they're transmitting. This is called the contention ratio and is often higher than you think. At peak times, your connection slows as more people are using it. This isn’t the case with leased lines.

Leased line Internet connections have a contention ratio of 1:1. This means it’s all yours. No slow-down at peak times, no worrying about who else is online or how many people are downloading films. The speeds available for leased lines are also much higher. The actual speed you get depends on what you’re willing to pay for, but for those with the deepest pockets, speeds of up to 100 Gb/s are available.

As we’ve already seen, this covers both upload and download, so for all the things that are vital for business – like Internet surfing, video conferencing, VoIP systems, file sharing – a leased line guarantees high levels of performance.

2. More Reliability
It’s not just the speed, though. Fibre leased line connections are much more reliable. They use fibre-optic cables, which aren’t prone to electrical interference, are physically stronger and transmit data at a faster rate. They also come with higher-grade hardware, which doesn’t fail nearly as often as traditional broadband hardware.

As a business, Internet uptime is crucially important. Losing your connection for just a few minutes can result in significant revenue losses and customer services issues. With a leased line, you get the most reliability possible. Plus, leased lines also come with much better SLAs than traditional consumer broadband. This means they'll be fixed within 5 hours, instead of the usual next-day service (or worse) for lesser broadband connections.

3. Better security
Leased lines offer much higher security than broadband alternatives. Since the data connection occurs between different points that are controlled by your business, you aren’t actually sharing information on a public data network. You’re not totally immune to hacking or data leaks, but you certainly have more security measures in place.

4. Remote working
One big benefit of leased lines is that they allow employees to connect to their office PCs and desktops from home. This increased flexibility can help businesses establish flexible workplace environments that today’s employees have grown to appreciate.

How to choose a leased line provider

Once you decide that a leased line Internet connection is right for your business, you’ll need to turn your attention towards selecting a provider. Here are a few of the factors to consider when evaluating various options:

  • Customer service
    The service you receive from the leased line provider is very important. While most leased lines are reliable, you want to ensure there’s a strong backup plan in place and that the provider stands behind their service. Around the clock customer service is ideal, since issues don’t just happen during standard business hours.

  • Package
    What sort of packages does the provider offer? A good leased line provider will offer multiple speeds and a variety of features. This allows you to choose a service that fits your specific needs, as opposed to a general service that’s designed with no specific company in mind.

  • Price point
    Prices can actually vary dramatically from provider to provider. After determining what you need with your leased line, look around and familiarise yourself with fair market prices. You can use this information to determine whether or not you’re getting a good quote. The lowest price point shouldn’t always be your choice, but you also don’t want to pay more than necessary.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about. Meet with your company’s decision makers and really hone-in on what matters the most to your business. After cross-referencing these factors with those mentioned above, you can whittle your list down to one or two options.

Contact Ai Networks to learn more

Not all leased lines are created equal. If your business is looking around for a leased line, then you need to go with a provider that prioritises premium quality and attention to detail.

At Ai Networks, we have our priorities straight. We are one of the UK’s top London leased line providers and offer stellar service to all of our clients, whether you're looking for a leased line in London or nation-wide. With speeds from 10 Mb/s to 100 Gb/s, our ultra-low latency, all-fibre connections come in flexible and customisable packages. Plus with 24/7 monitoring, we’re the smart choice for your business. Get in touch to find out more about the advantages of a leased line and we’ll be happy to provide you with a fast, accurate quote.

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