ECN: How to choose the best fibre for small business

With the spike in remote working, and increasing digitisation across all sectors, it’s become quite evident that fibre optic internet connectivity isn’t only nice-to-have, it’s vital for modern business. If you’re looking to improve your business connectivity but don’t know where to start, here’s a look at the various fibre options, and what you need to consider before making taking that next step.

Fibre connectivity types

Before getting into the fibre packages, you have to understand how fibre connects so that you know what you’re working with. Here are the types of fibre connections, some of which may not be available in your area.

  • Fibre to the Node (FTTN): This is where the fibre optic cable connects from a node in your business but the internet is supplied through existing cables.
  • Fibre to the Curb (FTTC): This is where the fibre cable connects to a location close to your business (the curb) and connects using existing cables.
  • Fibre to the Building (FTTB): This is where the fibre connects directly to your office building.
  • Fibre to the Home (FTTH): This also connects to the building but refers to residential rather than commercial connections.
  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP): This is the same as the previous two but encompasses both residential and commercial properties.

What to consider with fibre connections

When choosing a fibre connection, there are various factors that you will have to discuss with your service provider before you decide on the best package for your business. Some of the factors include:

1.     The internet speed

If you’re a small business operation but heavily reliant on internet for conferencing, daily operations, uploads and downloads and other functions, then you’re going to need to consider the line speed and bandwidth. The bandwidth is essentially the volume of information per unit of time the transmission can sustain. The speed options and suitability are outlined below:

Under 10 Mbps

  • For two to three devices
  • Browsing online
  • Checking email and social media
  • Occasional downloads of photos and music
  • Occasional streaming

10 Mbps to 40 Mbps

  • For three to five devices
  • Browsing online
  • Checking email and social media
  • HD streaming
  • Video chat and VoIP calls
  • Media-rich data downloads

50 Mbps to 100 Mbps

  • Multiple data-intensive devices
  • Multiple users for HD streaming
  • Browsing online, email and social media
  • VoIP calls and video chat with no lag

For a really small business, you could probably get away with under 10Mbps, but if you’re small but quite reliant on internet use for daily operations, then you might want to consider a step up.

2.     Availability

You will need to consult with your service provider about what type of fibre connection is available in your area currently, as not all regions are connected as yet. If you’re in a big metropolitan area then you’re likely to have quite a few providers with extensive connectivity.

3.     Reliability and flexibility

Beyond the speed of your fibre, you’ll also have to ensure it’s a reliable option – particularly with ongoing loadshedding. Likewise, if you have plans for business growth and expansion, then you must ask about the flexibility of the service offering as you might require more bandwidth without incurring massive costs.

4.     Capped or uncapped?

You will then have to choose the best fibre package for your business, taking into consideration the capped and uncapped options. The capped contract limits you to the amount of data you can use monthly, which means you’re constantly having to monitor data use. However, the uncapped option – while somewhat more costly – will provide you with unlimited internet accessibility and no additional costs.

What to ask your provider about fibre

Once you’ve assessed your business needs in terms of fibre capabilities, you need to ensure that you’re working with the right internet service provider (ISP). Here are a few things to ask them:

  • What is your industry experience?

If they’re new on the block, then they might entice you with special deals and discounts without having the expertise to back these up. Check their qualifications and experience so you know what you’re getting.

  • What support is provided?

Setting you up with fibre is great, but what follow-up and emergency support does your provider offer? If they’re not going to be there when you need them, then you might want to move on. Check customer reviews and recommendations before settling.

  • What are the extras?

Beyond the monthly service payment, are there any other extra costs involved? If you need to upgrade or upscale the fibre offering, then how much will this cost you?

The first step is getting in touch with industry experts, ECN. With years of experience in connectivity and communication offerings, you can be assured you’re working with the best.

Sourced from: ECN. View the original article here.

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