Comparing High-Speed Business Internet Alternatives

Comparing High-Speed Business Internet Alternatives

There are a number of options to consider when determining the right solution for your business internet needs. If you are not an industry insider, the vast array of industry terms and broadband connections can be a bit confusing. For that reason, we’ve developed a quick review of some of the most popular high speed internet alternatives. In today’s blog, we address fiber, satellite and fixed wireless.

Fiber Optic Internet

Contrary to popular belief, fiber optics is not a new concept. It's actually a pretty old concept. Guiding of light by refraction, which is the core principal of modern fiber optics, was first demonstrated in the early 1840’s. Over the years, additional inventors and scholars, from Alexander Graham Bell to Corning Glass, to Schott Glass in Germany are credited with major advancements in fiber optic technology. Today, fiber optics is a cornerstone for modern communications.

Phone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars building-out fiber optic networks. So if you are a business looking for fast broadband, and are located in an area with fiber, it can be a good option for high-speed connectivity

Take note though that even if there is fiber at the corner, it may still be a long wait and an expensive install to get fiber to your office. Additionally, if full redundancy is a requirement for your broadband internet, you may want to consider adding a secondary broadband service that will provide network, carrier and path diversity. After all, if your service is delivered in conduit in the ground, it can be cut, flooded or excavated, causing failure.

Satellite

The first satellite, Sputnik, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. As technology progressed, future generations of satellites with increased capacity and improved performance led to satellite’s prevalent use in television delivery, military applications and telecommunications, including satellite internet.

Today, businesses can gain access to the internet via ground stations that relay internet data to and from satellites, via microwave, some 22,200 miles above the earth. For customers located in areas with limited broadband coverage requiring modest speeds, up to 15 Mbps, satellite may be an option.

But unlike business-grade services such as fiber or fixed wireless, satellite service is not conducive for real-time cloud computing. Because of the great distance that the signal needs to travel to the satellite and back again, even at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), all satellite communications experience high latency as compared to ground-based communications. With latency levels around 500 milliseconds or more, real-time services like VoIP and streaming media are not tolerated.

Fixed Wireless

Fixed wireless, like fiber, is an attractive broadband service for businesses that need robust broadband. Using microwave radio frequency, fixed wireless is a time-proven technology, dating back to the early 1900's. It was first commercially available in 1931 for long haul communications, and was greatly improved in the 1970's when digital microwave was developed.

Fixed wireless, when implemented by an ISP, provides dedicated connectivity to the internet in much the same way as a fiber network does. It is not a mobile technology, nor is it Wi-Fi where bandwidth is broadly available to random users.

Fixed wireless is safe and reliable, and delivers guaranteed bandwidth with symmetrical speeds to GigE. There are many compelling advantages for fixed wireless - it is readily available, provides fast installation free from trenching and construction and can offer path and network diversity for businesses that are looking for redundancy.

DSL

One of the earliest broadband internet technologies developed by the phone companies is DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). DSL technology operates over ordinary copper wiring, and is a “best effort” service. In other words, there are no guarantees or service level assurances.

Additionally, the service and the speed is limited by the distance of the customer from the phone company’s central office. This means not all customers have access to the same speed DSL. DSL typically provides downstream speeds of 128 Kbps to 3 Mbps, while the upstream speeds are slower.

T1

Another early broadband internet connection is the T1 line.  The T1, originally created to carry 24 voice channels, has been adapted for data as well as voice. Like DSL, data is carried over the same copper wires that deliver your phone service. A dedicated T1 line provides high speed Internet at a rate of 1.544 Mbps in both directions. A significant advantage with T1s is that it is available to many businesses without any additional construction or wiring.

For businesses requiring more speed, they can bond T1s together via special hardware. A bonded T1 delivers high speed Internet at a rate of 3 Mbps upstream and downstream, 4 T1s deliver 6 Mbps, and so on. Typically, no more than 6 T1s are bonded together as the added equipment required is costly and inconvenient for the customer.

In addition to T1s, phone companies offer DS3s, also called a T3 connection, which is 28 T1 connections.  This high speed internet connection delivers 44 Mbps upstream and downstream. Fractional DS3s are also available if 44 Mbps is too robust.

EoC (Ethernet over Copper)

Ethernet over copper is offered by some telecom companies and utilizes bonded copper wires for increased speed. Equipment placed at both ends of the service allows the intertwined copper wires to deliver symmetrical service with typical speeds of 10 Mbps or less, assuming you are relatively close to the service office. Like DSL, EoC is distance sensitive, so locations further away from the service office will have lower available speeds.

In addition to the high speed internet connections offered by telecom providers, there are a number of other broadband connections that should be considered. Factors such as availability, speed, uptime, packet delivery, Service Level Agreement, technical support, and of course, cost should all be considered.


If your business is seeking a reliable broadband connection, contact our team today to receive a free quote for high-speed fiber and/or fixed wireless. Our solutions are available to businesses of all sizes across Georgia, Texas and Southern California.

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Sam Mountstephens

Tags: fiber, Fixed Wireless, business internet

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