15/04/15

Staying Online – Broadband Alternatives

Today the internet plays a fundamental part in the day to day activities of any business. Internet downtime or slow connection speeds are damaging and costly, whether this is due to the service provider, line faults or hardware failure. You may want to consider an alternative or back-up solution, if internet downtime or slow speeds are likely to cause major problems to your business.

Backup Lines

If you are currently using high-speed internet FTTC, then an additional broadband service available in the rare event that your FTTC goes down, will keep you up and running; although at a slower speed. Using the line for back up purposes only, means you can opt for a lower monthly usage plan.

Advantages

  • Easy and quick to switch over.

Disadvantages

  • Both lines may be on the same exchange – but both could fail at the same time.
  • Back-up ADSL broadband line is slower than FTTC.
  • You need to install a second phone line; the building alarm line can be used)

Microwave Wireless Internet

Microwave internet uses wireless technology to transmit high speed data from one location to another, without the need for a phone line. This requires a direct view of the transmitter to work. To ensure your business is always online you can have microwave wireless internet as your main internet supply and broadband as your contingency.

Advantages

  • High speed connection
  • Minimal infrastructure required on site (no phone line needed)
  • Unlimited data usage included in many packages.

Disadvantages

  • Direct line of sight required.
  • Line of sight will be disrupted by any obstacles such as buildings and trees.
  • Environmental factors such as rainstorms may cause connectivity issues, slow downs and increased latency. This is important if you use a VOIP phone system which uses part of the broadband bandwidth for voice traffic.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is wireless internet from a satellite in space to your location. If your work place lacks telephone lines, has poor mobile network coverage and can’t be reached by any microwave transmitter masts, this is a possible solution.

Advantages

  • Available pretty much anywhere – ideal for rural or remote areas.
  • No additional phone line needed.
  • Useful as a last resort – when all other options have been investigated.

Disadvantages

  • Response times can be slow because internet commands are sent out to a satellite and back again.
  • Short signal delays possible – particularly during bad weather.
  • Setup and equipment cost can be high (satellite dish, transceiver and modem).
  • Not recommended for VOIP phone systems.

4G Dongles

Anyone who owns a 4G phone will tell you about the impressive speeds obtainable from their device. 4G dongles are small USB sticks which contain a Sim card. These connect to the internet from a PC or laptop over a mobile network connection. Depending on the network provider and location this may be 4G or 3G. Using these on a Pay As You Go basis, means that when your primary internet goes down, you can keep your operations running over the 4G connection. Remember only 4G and 3G will work as a solution; 2G and 1G are too slow. You can check 3G/4G signal strength using a smart phone.

Advantages

  • Easy to set up and top up when needed.
  • No long term contract with Pay As You Go (monthly contracts are available).
  • 4G provides high speeds.
  • Useful for basic tasks such as emails and browsing.
  • Portable.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive for high amounts of upload and download data.
  • 4G and 3G connections vary with location – signal strength fluctuates.
  • Pay As You Go top-ups usually expire after a certain period.

If you have any questions about the internet solutions mentioned in this article, feel free to call 01743 290588 or email katy@networksupportsolutions.co.uk;  we’ll be happy to help.