Internet is your business’s driving force.

Try to think of the last time you went through a workday without accessing the internet. You’d likely have to stretch your memory back quite a while; for some, that period of time doesn’t even exist. Internet service has progressively become integral to most business operations, creating a vast network of connections, automated services, communications and programs that combine in force to refine systems and processes and cultivate success. Nowadays, internet is often required to perform the most basic tasks in the workplace, supporting critical applications companies use to function on the daily. A strong internet connection should always be part of your business plan.

With all of that said, it’s no wonder that the tech industry has become flooded with so many different internet providers and types of services. It can be difficult to distinguish between them all and what advantages each one brings to the table.

So what type of internet is best for your business? Here we will discuss two different types of connections, fiber-optic and DSL, and how they compare in the grand scheme of the business world.

Fiber

Fiber-optic internet is the most advanced broadband technology currently available in the telecom field. Engineered using glass wiring rather than copper lines, it extends beyond traditional internet speeds and capabilities, running at up to 1 Gbps, which supports a heavy amount of programs and online traffic. The broadband signal transmits in flashes of light through fiber-optic cables, so the connection literally travels “at the speed of light.”

In addition, a fiber-optic connection provides upload speeds to match download speeds, which can save time in the long run. This especially comes in handy for tasks such as uploading files to email or cloud-based applicationsupload speeds are reduced from minutes to seconds. Though fiber typically has more bandwidth and speed than DSL, its availability is limited (for now).  

DSL

DSL (digital subscriber line) is a high-speed internet service that utilizes copper telephone lines for connections. Unlike old school dial-up internet, which also relied on phone lines to function, a DSL connection will not interfere with incoming or outgoing phone calls (so no annoying dial-up tone blaring in your ear). There are two types of DSL service businesses can choose from.

Symmetric DSL allows equal bandwidth for both uploading and downloading. This type of DSL service is more apt to be chosen by businesses, as speed parity is highly sought after.  

An asymmetric DSL connection provides more bandwidth for downloading and less for uploading. This type of DSL service resonates more with residential internet users, who tend to use their connection to download more than upload.   

 

Factors to consider:

Reliability

DSL service is considered to be reasonably reliable. Because it transmits through a phone line, it has the benefit of a perpetual connection. However, that same phone line can cause a DSL signal to weaken over distance, and can be vulnerable in the event of power outages. The distance to power lines and internet providers can also affect the strength of your connection.

Seemingly in a league of its own, fiber is renowned for its staunch reliability. As it does not require an electric connection to run, fiber-optic networks remain constant regardless of would-be outside influences. Tasks such as web conferencing, digital filing and uploading reports will not be interrupted in the event of unforeseen circumstances like a power outage. And the signal doesn’t get distorted or patchy when covering larger areas.

Speed

Internet won’t do your business much good if it can’t keep up with your workload. Speed can be the difference between a business that thrives and stays ahead of the competition, and a business that falls behind because of frustration and a lack of productivity. Choosing an internet speed largely depends on what your business requires, such as how many devices you need to connect, what types of projects and how many of them you need to complete, and how much data you’re handling.

DSL download rates run at an average of anywhere between 1 and 8 Mbps, and since this particular type of connection lacks speed parity, upload rates are slower. And in addition to interruptions, lag can often frequent a DSL line, particularly when it’s stretched too thin over large areas.

Fiber-optic internet is known to deliver the fastest broadband speeds available, clocking in anywhere between 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Fiber supports businesses that are larger or have more devices and employees at faster speeds, and because it does not rely on electricity, speeds stay consistent over long distances. It also has the benefit of matching upload and download speeds.

Price

Another important factor to consider when choosing business internet is cost. Though there are variations depending on the service provider, DSL generally tends to be the more economic option. There is no additional equipment required (other than a router or modem) and the connection relies on existing provisions (your telephone line).

Fiber requires professional installation, and due to its performance is more costly than DSL service. But with speeds and reliability that outmatch DSL (and pretty much every other type of connection), it’s safe to say you get what you’re paying for. Fiber can still be an incredibly affordable option, however, depending on plans that are available from service providers.

The easiest way to factor price into your internet decision is to consider your budget, and tailor your internet plan to match it. If you need faster speeds and a more sophisticated connection to handle the devices and the amount of data your business uses, then a fiber-optic network is probably more suitable for you. For smaller organizations that put less strain on their online resources and don’t need to cover as much ground, DSL service should be sufficient support.

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