Fiber vs. DSL—Making Sense of the Small Business Internet Battlefront.

Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

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.

Verizon Fios vs. AT&T: Which Business Internet is Best?

Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Technology is an ever-advancing force, and internet is often at the forefront of that innovation. When considering an internet package for your business, the options appear limitless, particularly when every provider waves a banner declaring superiority. It’s no question that fiber has proven itself to be the undisputed top dog of telecommunications, performing at an entirely different level than services such as cable and DSL. With that established, the question then becomes: which internet service provider has the best fiber-optic connection available?    

Here you’ll find an in-depth comparison between two of the most recognized telecom brands in the country—brands that extend services far past data plans and wireless networks. But when examined side by side, which fiber internet plan stands out as the better pick for your business: Verizon or AT&T?  

 

Best business internet provider

When considering Verizon vs. AT&T business internet, only a Verizon plan guarantees upload speeds as fast as download speeds. You’ll get speeds ranging from 75, 150, 300, and 500 Mbps as well as 1 Gbps. AT&T offers speed parity as an option, but cannot guarantee there won’t be an additional upcharge.

 

Don’t set the differences aside.

As one of the top competitors of Verizon, AT&T makes a strong case for reliable business internet, and both providers implement similar amenities. Each company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to their customers with 2 year contracts, as well as no term contract options.

Cost is another important factor to consider. Verizon business internet starts at $84.99 per month*, with certain areas receiving lower, specialized pricing, and speed parity is included in all plans. AT&T offers slower speed plans and symmetrical upload speeds are optional, making it impossible to depict accurate pricing to customers. And though both providers offer 1 gigabit internet, AT&T charges nearly $500 per month for it—over twice what Verizon does ($214.99 per month). And on top of that, equal upload and download speeds are still not guaranteed.

Speed parity shouldn’t be just an option for businesses—it’s a must. It helps to better support more devices, and cuts buffering and lag time when performing daily tasks such as video conferencing or uploading files to cloud storage. Symmetrical speed gives your business valuable time back each day.

*Prices as of December 2017

AT&T charges nearly $500 per month for [1 Gbps internet]—over twice what Verizon does.

 

How do you choose?

Still trying to decide? The main thing to keep in mind when weighing internet choices is that each has its own distinct framework. Verizon and AT&T provide fiber, the best internet connection you can get. And both companies are currently investing large amounts of money in order to extend their coverage to more widespread areas—Verizon projecting an estimated $1.1 billion in expanding its fiber footprint. The difference is that Verizon Fios is visibly poised to evolve its services and amenities to continue to put customers’ needs first.

That being said, exceptional service does your business no good if it’s not even available where you’re at. As it stands now, AT&T has slightly more national coverage than Verizon, extending throughout the midwestern and southern regions of the country and along the west coast. But Verizon covers much more densely populated areas in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, leveling the playing field and providing internet to companies located in the most economically innovative and lucrative parts of the US. And as far as service quality goes, Verizon expends more energy and resources into advancing its technology, surpassing the competition by a wide margin.

Choose fiber at its finest.

AT&T proves itself to be an admirable opponent in the business internet game. But when taking all that has been discussed into consideration, it’s very clear that not all fiber is created equal. If you’re still not sold, it’s time to look at the facts that set Verizon apart from the rest: stack 99% uptime, strong service level agreements, and nearly six million satisfied subscribers and counting up against other providers and it’s really no comparison. Verizon Fios Internet for Business speeds have been ranked #1 10 years in a row, providing a superior level of consistency and dependability to businesses across the nation. If anything, the proof is in the numbers. Fiber is better when it’s Fios.

What is Encryption? A Guide for Businesses

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018

Make your business’s protection a priority.

The advancement of technology has paved the way in turn for advancements in protections against cyberattacks and information theft. In many cases, it becomes necessary to have extra security features built into those protections—a safety net in case initial securities are violated and valuable data is exploited. As a business owner, you need to consider every risk when handling confidential material, particularly as advanced methods of hacking become more and more prevalent and that material becomes a target.  

Business encryption is especially essential when sending sensitive personal information such as names, social security numbers, birth dates, financial and medical information, and legal documents, which must be protected at all times. It also provides additional protection when sending and receiving emails and uploading files to the Cloud and sending files from mobile devices.

It’s important to be aware of situations within your workplace that may indicate the necessity for encryption services:  

  • You send personally identifiable information (PII) to business partners and other recipients on a regular basis.
  • You suspect your data security is weak when sending and receiving files.
  • You utilize a private IP and virtual private network (VPN) but would like an extra measure of security for your business.

 

What is encryption?

Data encryption is a powerful weapon in your arsenal against data theft. It involves encoding data so that it is unreadable to unauthorized viewers who do not have the proper encryption key, which consists of the computations needed to decipher the data. Typically, an algorithm scrambles the text in a package of information and converts it into ciphertext. Singular files, folders, and removable media such as a USB flash drive may be encrypted. It is even possible to implement full-disk encryption, which encodes all volumes, files, and folders on a computer’s hard drive and does not generally require the data to be saved in a specific place to retrieve it.

There are two types of data encryption: symmetric (private key) encryption and asymmetric (public key) encryption. With symmetric key encryption, data is secured with only one private key shared between users. With asymmetric encryption, multiple keys both public and private are used to encrypt messages sent between two sources. The public key serves as the initial way for the sender to encrypt a message, and a private key adds another layer of encryption.

So how do midsize businesses benefit from encrypted data? With hundreds of employees and (depending on the type of business) large amounts of sensitive data being handled and sent different places, the constant shift of that information makes it vulnerable to prying eyes. Data breach and exposure can result in lawsuits and compromise a business’s reputation with clients and employees—and can end up costing a company an exorbitant amount of money. Encryption solutions provide an extra layer of protection against malicious cyberattacks and allow your business to operate more securely and efficiently.     

 

Encryption and VPNs

Virtual private networks ensure the protection of private information that businesses have on file. But what if it becomes necessary to send that information to a source or business partner outside of your company? If a VPN acts as a tunnel you travel through while connected to a server, shielding your identity and online activity from your service provider and other outside sources, think of encryption as an armored truck traveling from one end of the tunnel to the other. When sent through a VPN tunnel, data that is encrypted is rendered illegible to anyone not in possession of the key used to decrypt it—in other words, the truck is locked up by the sender at one end of the tunnel and unlocked by the recipient at the other end. That way, if anyone were to ever delve into that VPN tunnel, the data you’ve sent is still protected.

A VPN requires more than just one pair of keys for files to be encrypted. Several standards and protocols exist to ensure optimum end-to-end encryption security, including:

  • Internet protocol security (IPSec): Encrypts data between multiple devices, securing traffic on all IP networks (the internet included). Its two sub-protocols consist of:
    • Encapsulated security payload (ESP): Encrypts the data being transported with a symmetric key.
    • Authentication header (AH): Uses hashing operations in the package header to conceal certain information until it reaches its destination.   
  • Generic routing encapsulation (GRE): Consists of the framework for how the protocol for the information being sent should be packaged and transported.

Devices that enlist an IPSec protocol use one of two encryption modes. Transport mode is most commonly used for end-to-end purposes and communication—for example, between a server and a client, or an employee workstation and a hosted gateway. The devices in use encrypt the data that’s being transported between them. Tunnel mode (generally the default IPSec mode) is when the devices in use build a tunnel between two networks, and it’s typically used between two gateways. The data is encrypted by the IPSec protocol and an entirely new IP header is attached. This ensures internal routing information is completely secure.   

 

When is encryption necessary for businesses?

Midsize and small businesses are constantly the target of cyber attacks. The more information you send through the cybersphere, the easier it is for hackers to locate and gain access to that information. Encrypted files are the best line of defense to avoid a data breach and the ensuing consequences, creating a digital barrier between your files and would-be attackers. Encryption isn’t just for complicated information transactions; it proves necessary for day-to-day business practices such as:  

  • Sending emails: Email encryption software protects the information in the message.
  • Using public Wi-Fi or hotspots: Wi-Fi encryption software helps protect wireless connections.
  • Working remotely: Encrypted files that are accessed, sent, or received when traveling or working from home are secure.
  • Using mobile devices: Messages and data sent and received on mobile devices are as safe as sending them over a connected device.
  • Accessing and using cloud storage regularly: Encryption protects files uploaded to cloud storage, restricting access.  
  • Storing data on USB or external drives: Endpoint encryption protects the data stored on your computer’s hard drive.

 

Taking private IP services one step further

If you are operating on a private IP network, added security can only enhance the stability of that network. Including data encryption with your Verizon Private IP service guarantees protection on all levels of an already exceptional network. This is especially crucial for enterprise services, as your business is operating at a much more streamlined, efficient capacity with the resources available to you. VPN encryption is the essential next step in your data security, and it’s safe to say you will not regret having a safeguard in place against threats and attacks before they even happen.

 

What You Need to Know about VPN Protocols

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018

What is VPN Protocol?

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are a business necessity today in order to secure and protect important data, like financial records, customer information, and other proprietary data. To create that privacy and security, business VPNs employ protocols, or a set of rules related to encryption and transmission of data between your devices and VPN servers. In other words, VPN protocols dictate how data is treated and routed across your business VPN network.

There are a number of VPN protocols, and some, like Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Security Layer (TLS) are familiar. They are employed whenever you shop online, and see HTTPS in a browser address bar.

Other VPN protocols include:

  • OpenVPN
  • SoftEther
  • Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
  • Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP)
  • Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)
  • Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2)
  • Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)

 

Why are There So Many VPN Protocols?

Good question. The answer is because each is programmed, or built differently. Some VPN protocols are built for speed, others sacrifice some speed for better security and privacy, and some only do one thing, like tunneling. As such, it is common for more than one VPN protocol to be used.

For example, L2TP is designed to only tunnel between connection points. Tunneling is basically using the public Internet to transmit data to a private network. Think of it like having a secret tunnel into a mountain, but a secret tunnel others can find, too, when driving by. To hide the VPN tunnel and its contents, you need IPSec, which encrypts data. With L2TP and IPSec, your tunnel and its contents are now hidden, and information can move securely.

OpenVPN, which is an open source VPN protocol, bundles a variety of VPN protocols, including the SSL VPN protocol, TLS, IPSec, and the OpenSSL library to support numerous encryption methods. If you run your business on Windows, however, you’ll need to install third-party software to use OpenVPN.

Speaking of Windows, VPN protocols can also be platform-specific. SSTP, for example, works only with Windows. If you use iPhones or iPads in your business, you won’t be able to access your VPN server from them.

IKEv2, however, is supported by Windows, iOS devices, and BlackBerry. Like L2TP, it is a tunneling protocol and often paired with the IPSec VPN protocol. It works well with mobile devices, especially since it automatically re-connects to your VPN  client when connection is lost, but is hard to implement at the server level.

 

Making the Case for MPLS

As technology continues to evolve and VPN protocols try to keep pace, how can you keep your business data secure? The simple answer is by using Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).

Generally, as data moves across the Internet, it “hops” from one router to the next until it reaches its destination, like the conference room TV. How that data is routed is decided at each hop through an exhaustive lookup table, which can produce lag, or that half second where someone’s lips move but there’s no sound.

MPLS removes this process by handling data at the packet level. It assigns a label to each packet, and encrypts and transmits data accordingly. In other words, as soon as data moves to the door to your mountain tunnel, its immediately sucked in, tagged, concealed, and securely whisked away to its destination. No additional “hops” or routes needed for your business VPN traffic so when your client appears on the conference room TV and speaks, you hear it.

Another benefit of using MPLS over other VPN protocols is that it is a business-grade service that doesn’t use the public networkso it isn’t subject to the same risks, like denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). Why? Because business VPNs using MPLS have private addresses. Once data is sucked in through the door to your tunnel and tagged, it can then move around inside your mountain, and through any other tunnels you’ve built to other mountains, like other offices or remote employees. MPLS also works with mobile devices.

Basically, MPLS puts a forcefield around you data as it moves around your business.

 

Role of MPLS in Evolving Networks

Good bet you started as a small business, and grew into the business you are today. As your business continues to grow, so do your data needs, and your business internet security needs to scale with you. Using MPLS as your VPN protocol makes that possible.

Whether you transition to a fully remote workforce, use videoing conferencing with clients for live demos, or open up offices or warehouses in other cities or countries, MPLS keeps all of your business data secure as it moves around your Virtual Private Network.

 

Examples of Medium Businesses Benefiting from MPLS

Hospitals, law firms, accountants, companies with remote access or distributed workforces, and companies with multiple offices are just some of the types of businesses that benefit from MPLS. Hospitals, law firms, and accountants often deal with sensitive information that must be accessed securely. Distributed workforces can cut down on overhead since office space isn’t needed, but everyone still must be able to securely access company data, just like employees and contractors in multiple offices.

Businesses that manage inventory, or operate online stores, also benefit from MPLS. Such businesses need to scale, and scale quickly, while keeping customer data, product details, internal communications, and other business information secure.

Regardless of your business and its location, a business VPN with MPLS takes the worry out of accessing and sharing data today, and in the future.

 

What is Mbps? Your guide to what makes your internet zoom… or crawl.

Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

The driving force behind bandwidth you never really knew about.

What does internet have in common with cars? Power.

More specifically, the measurement of power, as well as speed—important features in an age defined by consumers seeking bigger, better, and faster. When dealing with internet the term “Mbps” frequently crops up in association with connection speed, prefaced by a number (i.e. 75/75 Mbps). But like most tech-heavy terms, a complicated concept is reduced to a cryptic acronym. The actual meaning is rarely defined, resulting in more confused Google searches than should be necessary.

For simplicity, think of it this way: Mbps is to internet what horsepower is to cars.

Meaning: Mbps is the unit of measurement used to convey how fast your internet is, just as horsepower is the unit of measurement used to convey how fast a car is. When you hear “the all-new Mustang has a 300 horsepower engine,” you’re prompted to imagine the full might and combined energy of 300 horses pulling your car at top speed to adequately illustrate the power behind its engine.

 

So does it work, then, to think of the combined speed and power of 300 tiny virtual stallions racing through your computer’s wiring, fueling your connection to the internet and accounting for its overall speed?

Maybe not. But, the concept remains more or less the same.  

Cool story. But… what is it?

To put it simply, Mbps is the speed at which your internet operates, which then directly translates into the speed at which your business operates. It includes every upload speed and download speed between 1 and 999 Mbps, the most common internet speeds sought by users being 25, 50, 75, and 150 Mbps.

What is Mbps?

Internet speed is measured in “megabits per second”, or Mbps. A megabit is a million bits, or tiny pieces of data, that group together to transmit information over your internet connection. A higher Mbps speed allows for faster online functions, such as quicker download rates and clearer video calls, streaming, and online gaming.

 

Internet service providers pair Mbps with a number, sometimes even two. Those numbers indicate speed as it relates to upload and download times; for example, 75 Mbps download/45 Mbps upload. Generally, download speeds are faster than uploads. Fiber is the only high-speed internet connection that allows for equal upload and download speed.  

Take a trip down the Web’s memory lane.  

How far has the megabit come?

Mbps has dominated the most recent internet era, introducing users to speeds that rarely deal with buffering and setting the bar high for what people expect online speeds to be. But Mbps would not have taken us to where we are today if its not-so-distant predecessor, Kbps, hadn’t been around to jumpstart the fledgling tech industry first.

Short for “kilobits per second”, this was what powered the era of dial-up internet. Kbps fueled speeds that were adequate for the infantile internet of the 1970s-80s, and was not really required to support a large network or user base.

Kbps is now regarded as an antique sitting quietly on the shelf of years past, every once in a while catching someone’s attention and prompting them to reflection: “Look at how far we’ve come.” It’s a lot like the nostalgia that’s unearthed in collectors and enthusiasts by things like vintage vinyl or classic cars.  

However, unlike the revered light vinyl and cars are often held in, no one of this day and age would choose to revert back to a 56K operating system. Waiting 15-20 hours to download a movie is hardly preferable to a movie or video that is instantly available via today’s internet.

But how far has internet really come in the past few decades? How has computer hardware and software developments and the competitive nature of the market shaped the way it functions today? Take a look at the timeline below to see some of the highlights of the ever-changing story of the internet:  

1968-Present

    It’s not stopping here. The tech industry is gunning for an even faster future, and it’s relatively safe to say that within a few short years, the megabit will be phased out by the gigabit, ushering in the dawn of the Gbps era, which will then be eventually edged out by the terabit era.

    Already available and used by many, gig internet is the next exciting frontier of high-speed internet, a broad door that is opening an entirely new realm of possibilities for business, communication, entertainment, virtual reality, gaming, and so much more.

    The internet is an industry that will never stop trying to outpace itself.

    Investing in technology is the same as investing in your business.

    People have always been driven by an obsession for the latest and greatest gadgets and gear. Technology lies at the heart of that drive, particularly internet tech—nearly everything nowadays is online in some way and demands bandwidth. Our collective society would have a hard time functioning without it. Its presence dominates the atmosphere of our work, school, and home lives, and has formed a lifeline that we depend on to keep up with the world around us.  

    What is something like Mbps to your business?

    Frankly, it’s your network connection—to your customers, vendors, partners, suppliers, and technicians. It’s the fuel behind the well-oiled machine; what tracks your business’s finances and inventory and scheduling. It’s also how fast people find you. If it slows down, your business is likely to slow down, too.

    The price you pay for internet and the speed you choose not only affects the work you do now, but also as far a year out. The tech pace is constantly changing, and businesses with it, so it would make sense to pay for a bit more than what you’re used to to accommodate that potential growth. Need to check your business internet speed? Visit our speed test page.

    The need for speed can grow your business.

    It’s interesting to think that four letters and a couple of numbers have such a crucial impact on an integral part of our everyday lives, but without Mbps, our internet wouldn’t have any fuel to run.

    Let’s circle back to our car metaphor.

    Cars get you where you need to go, and the higher the horsepower, the faster you can get somewhere. Mbps is the expressway for your business, a clear route to growth and productivity. The faster the speed, the faster you can operate and improve.

     

    The power that’s paired with Mbps doesn’t have to be intimidating. When you know what your needs are and how to fulfill them, the power is yours to command. Technology will continue to progress and Mbps will evolve in tandem with the next inevitable phase of the internet, but keeping up will ensure your business ultimately stays ahead of the curve.  

     

    Verizon Fios vs. Comcast Xfinity: Who Wins the Battle for Better Internet?

    Wednesday, 8 August, 2018

    The new frontier of internet is calling your name.

    When it comes to internet the gauntlet is thrown down daily between service providers, each claiming superiority in speed, reliability, and the quality of the connection. Cable, once the long-reigning leader of the digital world, has been unseated and left in the dust by fiber-optic technology, the current unparalleled champion of telecommunications. For internet customers who are tired of cable’s antics, it seems impossible to find a solution that’s not… cable. Enter fiber, which may seem like a foreign choice when all you’ve known is the Comcast crawl, however—a fiber network changes the internet game in ways you didn’t even know were possible.

    So if placed side by side, how do Xfinity and Fios measure up to each other? Let’s take a look.

     

    Best business internet provider

    When comparing Comcast vs.Verizon business internet, consider that only Verizon gives you upload speeds as fast as download speeds. You can enjoy speed parity at 75, 150, 300, or 500 Mbps, whereas Comcast cable cannot match its upload and download data rates (for example: 150/20 Mbps). Verizon speeds help your business stay ahead.

    Choose wisely.

    As the top competitor to Verizon, Comcast Xfinity makes a valiant effort to remain innovative. Despite leading the pack as far as cable companies go, there are several areas in which it just doesn’t measure up to Fios.

    Fiber-optic internet isn’t trying to be a better version of cable. It doesn’t need to—it’s already so much more. The mere fact that Comcast can’t deliver upload speeds as fast Verizon (up to 880 Mbps) should be proof enough that Fios operates on another level. And while Verizon and Comcast both offer a 30-day money back guarantee, that’s about where the similarities end. Each service provider offers convenient bundling options, however Verizon Fios TV has superior picture quality, and Business Digital Voice provides unlimited calling nationwide as well as over 30 calling features at no extra charge.

    Price is another thing to consider. Verizon business internet starts at $84.99 per month, and some areas even enjoy special, lower pricing. The top speed Verizon offers is 1 Gbps internet, with a price tag of $214.99 per month*. Now brace yourself—Comcast offers 1 gig internet but at over twice the cost, ringing in at nearly $500** a month. And with no speed parity and a basic copper line that delivers a lackluster signal, it’s clear who the better option is.

    * For year 1. Year 2: $229/mo. **Prices as of June 2018  

     

    Verizon Fios internet Cable internet

    Fastest internet speeds available (up to 940/880)

    Cable offers only 150/20 Mbps for business enterprise internet.

    Equal upload and download speeds (up to 500/500 Mbps)

    Cable upload speeds are never as fast as download speeds.

    100% fiber-optic network

    Cable uses copper lines and mixes in fiber where available.

    Fastest Wi-Fi available*

    Cable’s slower internet speeds also affect Wi-Fi throughput.

    *Based on internet speeds plans and maximum router throughput available.

     

    Getting down to the wire.

    It might sound silly, but choosing your internet plan is not a decision to take lightly. Picking the wrong plan could cost you money and hours on the phone or sitting in front of a device that’s not working. The resulting frustration is itself a time waster, but can be easily avoided.

    Fiber is designed with power in mind. Verizon business internet is a 100% fiber-optic network, harnessing that power through glass components rather than copper lines, which transmit the internet signal through flashes of light at speeds that far outpace any other medium. Cable’s history stretches back to 1948 and is a conglomerate that has thrived off of household television since then, only breaking into the internet market by necessity to keep up with the competition. So the question is, do you want a network that caters mostly to your TV set, or one that optimizes all of your internet, TV, and phone services? There aren’t enough HD or premium channels in the world to overshadow what fiber can do, and cable providers like Comcast know it. The presence of Fios is real and growing—Verizon is constantly expanding its fiber footprint and pushing the boundaries of internet capabilities.  

    In addition to speed, only Verizon gives you premium tech support service and priority handling*, so you know nothing is going to slip through the cracks and that you’re covered right from the start.

    *Free for the first 2 months when you order internet with a 2-year term

    So how does Comcast compare to Verizon? It doesn’t.

    If you’re still up in the air, or nervous to leave what you’ve always known, it’s understandable. Tracking down new internet service is an undertaking that can be tedious and time consuming. But if you’re interested in 99% uptime and service level agreements that make your business run more efficiently, then a Verizon Fios network is your match through and through. Fios has been awarded the #1 spot for internet speed by PC Magazine 10 years in a row, recognizing Verizon excellence at its best, and a simple speed test will erase any doubts in your mind that your current Comcast connection just isn’t cutting it.     

    If you don’t believe us, ask Verizon customers. Every day over 5.92 million internet subscribers enjoy Fios in all its glory. That’s almost 6 million people who are getting work done faster, streaming high-definition video with no buffering, and benefitting from smooth, uninterrupted connections on all of their devices. You can be one of these people by making the switch to Fios and wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.

    What you need to know about business VPN

    Thursday, 5 July, 2018

    What is a VPN?

    VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and provides security and privacy when connecting to the internet.

    Normally, when you connect to the internet, you go through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and your ISP can see what you’re doing. Most internet activity is innocuous, like looking up directions or reading the news, and ISPs generally monitor for things like malware and hacking attempts. When it comes to your business, however, you want what you access to remain confidential. This includes client and internal communications, financial statements, customer information, proprietary data, and anything else related to your business.

    A VPN helps keep your business secure by creating a tunnel, like a tunnel into a mountain, that runs between your devices and your company servers. VPNs use end-to-end encryption so all your internet traffic is wrapped in a secure environment. In other words, using a VPN means you can respond to a client email from the hotel lobby or other public Wi-Fi, and your employees can work remotely without worrying about prying eyes.

    Another benefit of using a VPN is the ability to grant and revoke access. As a medium-sized business, you may hire 20-plus contractors—like freelance graphic designers and web developers—but be hesitant in providing access to all your data. With a VPN, you can grant access to what they need and then revoke access when they’re finished, keeping you and your business data safe.

    VPNs can also let customers or clients securely access information. You can share data with patients for better care, or share proprietary drawings with a client and get feedback without sending unencrypted email attachments. With a VPN, there is no more worrying about someone else gaining access or stealing information.

    What types of mid-sized businesses use VPN?

    Mid-size businesses with less than 500 employees often use VPN to protect corporate data. Some examples include hospitals, doctors offices, law firms, accountants, companies with remote or distributed workforces, and companies with multiple offices. A VPN makes it possible for employees to securely access information from any location, be it a hotel, another office, or coffee shop—so even a small business with a remote workforce is able to minimize the risk of data theft.

    How much does a business VPN service cost?

    There are a number of VPN options available for businesses. Some charge a monthly fee per user, or a monthly fee for a set number of devices, while others charge an annual fee. Prices range from as little as $10 a month per user or device, to more than $400 a year. It’s important to note that many business VPN providers offer a free trial period.

    Can I afford to go with an unfamiliar provider?

    If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, $10 a month per user is tempting. But with the explosion of VPN providers on the market in recent years, you’ll find that not all VPN providers are the same so it’s important to do your research.

    Here are some questions to keep in mind while researching VPN providers:

    • Has the provider been around long enough to establish a good reputation?
    • What level of encryption is offered?
    • How is the customer support? Is it all online, or can you reach a person when you need to?
    • Is it easy to set up and use every day, or is the experience cumbersome and confusing?

    Other things to think about:

    • Are there any additional features you need, and does the VPN provider offer them?
    • Can the VPN provider grow with you?
    • Can it handle additional traffic?

    At the end of the day, a business VPN takes the worry out of accessing and sharing data, and you want the best VPN available for your business.

    Isn’t VPN for enterprises?

    VPNs used to be strictly for enterprises because installing and maintaining a VPN was expensive. You needed an IT department and technical know-how for proper configuration, setup, and training.

    Today, you can sign up for VPN service like you sign up for Netflix or Amazon Prime, and be up and running quickly. Your subscription fee covers support as if you have your own IT department, making VPN available and accessible for small and mid-sized business, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to protect their internet activity and online communications. Depending on the VPN service you select, some configuration may be necessary, and can be done following instructions. For example, setting up a VPN on your laptop can be as simple as changing the IP address under Settings.

    What you need to set up business VPN

    Three things are generally needed to set up a business VPN:

    • VPN Client
    • VPN Server
    • VPN Router

    When you sign up for a VPN service, you also download its VPN Client, which connects to the VPN Server, or servers. Most business VPNs operate many servers across continents, so even if you’re in Europe, you can still connect to your corporate network in the US.

    You use the VPN Client on a device, like your smartphone or laptop. Logging into the VPN Client connects you to its network of servers so you can remotely and securely access your corporate network. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi.

    As a business, though, you want to secure and encrypt all your network traffic, not just traffic from specific devices. A VPN Router secures and encrypts all network traffic, and while many routers today come with built-in VPN clients, you can also install a piece of software—called firmware—to add support for VPN and additional VPN security protocols at the network level.

    The three components work together to create an infrastructure that protects your company data by keeping out unwanted visitors and preventing cyber attacks.

    The VPN security difference

    Antivirus software and strong passwords are good security measures, and using a VPN only strengthens your company’s network security. Business VPNs employ a variety of enhanced security protocols, like Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS), that keeps your data safe as it travels from company server to device and back.

    Other security protocols used by VPNs include:

    • Internet Protocol Security or IPSec
    • Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
    • Point – to – Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
    • OpenVPN
    • Secure Shell (SSH)

    VPNs often use more than one protocol so your corporate network remains safe from malicious third parties.

     

     

    Verizon Business Preferred: Your stress-free tech support.

    Thursday, 21 June, 2018

    DIY tech maintenance is a thing of the past.

     

    Time is valuable, but to a business owner it’s irreplaceable. Why waste any of it on things that you shouldn’t have to do yourself? Many small businesses face challenges when it comes to time and staff management—owners and employees alike often wear many different hats and their time is eaten away by issues like IT maintenance. That kind of downtime can equal a loss in revenue, not to mention focus and productivity. But technology maintenance doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders. Verizon Business Preferred is the exclusive white glove tech support that will keep your business running by taking care of tricky tech fixes. You get nothing but the best features with Tech Support Pro, a Service Protection Plan, and Priority Call Routing.  

    Tech Support Pro

    With Tech Support Pro, you get access to experts who can help with the setup, configuration, and installation of your devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our premium technical support staff will also aid in connecting any new devices to your wireless network. And since 38% of small businesses are making internet security one of their top investment priorities within the next 12 months, you can rest assured knowing that our techs can install the latest security software during setup so your system stays free of viruses, spyware, and malware. Even better, we keep it up to date, so you won’t have to worry about all of those update notifications you tend to skip over. Verizon Tech Support Pro has it covered.

    Service Protection Plan

    Did your internet cut out in the middle of your workday? Has your front desk phone line disconnected abruptly and won’t go back online? Not to worry. If you have Verizon Business Preferred, you get a Service Protection Plan with your package. One of our professional service technicians can be dispatched directly to your office to run diagnostics, and can repair the inside wiring of up to 30 separate lines. This applies to all Verizon phone, Fios TV, and broadband connections, so you’re covered no matter what device is causing the problem. The Service Protection Plan gives you prompt, in-person technical support to take the stress off of trying to handle everything on your own, so you can get back to business.

    Priority Call Routing

    Waiting endlessly on hold with patchy elevator music in your ear doesn’t have to be your life anymore. When you call the Business Preferred toll-free number, your call is bumped to the top of the queue, saving you time and making your experience altogether more pleasant. We know our customers have endless to-do lists, and calling tech support is never a welcome task, but Priority Call Routing makes it quick and painless. That’s what makes Verizon the most sought-after and reliable service provider in the industry—our customers are our priority, and it’s important to us that they feel the same way.

    The search for faster internet is over.

    Verizon Business Preferred makes your internet experience easier, but you need internet to make it work in the first place. When it comes to speed and reliability, Verizon Fios is way ahead of the curve. Fios offers a secure internet connection at competitive prices to launch your business ahead of the competition, and only a pure fiber-optic connection gives you upload speeds to match download speeds. If you want benefits like 99% uptime, 24/7 customer service and speeds up to 500 Mbps, then Verizon is your network. You don’t have time to worry about your business internet, so why worry? Verizon has over two decades of industry-leading experience—we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you.   

    How much bandwidth do I need for my business?

    Wednesday, 28 February, 2018

    When deciding on services for your business, one of the most important is internet from a reliable provider. The question isn’t quite as cut-and-dried as just picking a provider and internet plan, though. Internet service packages are generally priced based on speed, and your speed is dependent on your internet usage.

    So how much speed does your business actually need? Read on to find out.

    Start by assessing your current speed.

    The first step in figuring out how much internet speed you need is determining how much you currently have. While checking your plan will tell you the maximum speed available to you, a variety of factors can affect the actual speeds your devices have access to.

    A better tactic is using a tool like our internet speed test to check your real-world speeds. This free, easy-to-use tool quickly tells you how much bandwidth your device are using.

    How much bandwidth do I need? speed barometer

    Run the speed test now.

    It’s also a good idea to retest regularly and calculate your average speed. Also test on different days, at different times, and under different circumstances to get a complete picture. For example, check during early morning hours and later in the afternoon, and test both on Wi-Fi and wired connections.

    A wired connection is more consistent and more accurately represents the amount of bandwidth you’re getting from your provider. For that reason, even if your office typically uses a wireless connection, plug in for at least a few test runs. Getting numbers from both connection methods can also help you diagnose possible bottlenecks in your wireless network.

    Consider external factors that affect your connection.

    Once you’ve determined your average speed, compare those numbers to your current plan. Even though your high-speed internet package offers plenty of speed on paper, the actual day-to-day speeds you’re seeing could be less than what your business needs.

    Line congestion can cause actual speeds to fall below the advertised maximum speed. That is, if a lot of users are on the network at once, it slows everyone down. Ideally, a network should be robust enough to handle that scenario (fiber networks are especially good at handling heavy traffic), but even the strongest networks can get bogged down from time to time.

    The devices used could also be limiting your internet speed. For example, you could have an internet connection of 250 megabits per second (Mbps), but if your device only supports 100 Mbps, you’ll never experience the full speed available to you.

    This issue can arise fairly often with older wireless equipment. Old routers and laptops may not support the newest wireless standards, and the hardware generally needs to be replaced to fix this problem. Check the manuals that came with your devices and make sure the specs match up. 802.11ac is the most common modern Wi-Fi protocol in use, with support for speeds up to 1.3 gigabits per second (Gbps), and that’s what we recommend you look for on any new router or other wireless device you purchase.

    The type of internet you choose can also play a big role in the speed you experience. Cable internet can slow down when more people are online. However, fiber-optic internet provides consistently fast speeds regardless of if you’re running multiple devices. When assessing fiber optic vs cable, speed and reliability always go to fiber optic internet connections.

    Other factors that can limit the speed you see include the following:

    • The size and shape of your office. If you’re using Wi-Fi, walls can significantly reduce signal strength.
    • Outdated software. Install any updates for operating systems, apps, and devices to reduce any lags in internet speed.
    • Using a residential internet plan for your business. A business internet connection often includes additional features that can increase your speed. Businesses using residential internet rather than business-specific plans are not getting the most effective internet service for their money.

    Do the math.

    Now that we’ve identified current speeds and potential bottlenecks, it’s time to determine your usage and estimate what your business actually needs. While common tasks often take less internet bandwidth than you might expect, the number of users performing those tasks at the same time can quickly raise your business’s bandwidth requirements.

    Use the following steps to estimate the connection speed your small business needs to function optimally:

    1. List all common online activities done at your business. This includes anything that requires internet access. Consider potential future tasks as well. If there’s a reasonable chance you’ll need to upload large files on a regular basis soon, factor that in.
    2. Use the reference list below to estimate how much bandwidth each activity requires. This should give you a good idea of how much speed common business tasks require.
    3. Determine how many people will be performing those tasks at one time. Then add a couple to that number, to be on the safe side. While you don’t want to pay for more internet than you need, you also want to build in a small buffer—few things kill productivity as quickly as watching a spinning loading icon.
    4. Multiply the number for each task in step #2 by the number you calculated in step #3. This gives you your total bandwidth for each activity.
    5. Add all the totals from step #4 to get a total estimated office speed requirement. Compare this number to the current speed you got from doing your speed tests. Does it seem accurate? If your internet connection feels too slow, your estimated requirement is likely higher than what you’re currently getting. If it’s not, this is a good indication you may have other issues with your network, such as outdated equipment or too small a Wi-Fi range.

    Here are bandwidth estimates for common business activities:

    • Basic email, 1 Mbps
    • Cloud backup, 2 Mbps
    • Cloud-based services, 5 Mbps
    • Cloud computing, 2 Mbps
    • Data transfer, 2 Mbps
    • Email with attachments, 15 Mbps
    • File sharing, 5 Mbps/500 Kbps
    • General web browsing, 0.33 Mbps/333 Kbps
    • General Wi-Fi use, 1 Mbps
    • High-definition video (HD video), 4 Mbps
    • Instant messaging, 5 Mbps/500 Kbps
    • Online banking and bookkeeping, 2 Mbps
    • Online research, 33 Mbps/333 Kbps
    • Social media scheduling, 2 Mbps/200 Kbps
    • Streaming a webinar, 5 Mbps (high definition video may require more)
    • Streaming online training courses, 5 Mbps (high definition video may require more)
    • Uploading photos, 5 Mbps
    • Uploading large files, 2 Mbps
    • Video conferencing, 4 Mbps
    • VoIP calls, 1 Mbps/100 Kbps
    • VoIP video calls, 28 Mbps

    Keep in mind these are only estimates. Multiply each of these activities by the number of people in your organization who might be performing them to determine the total amount of bandwidth usage your business requires at any one time.

    A good rule of thumb to allow yourself some headroom is to calculate demand with the above steps and then double it. This ensures your business is ready for busy times and that your infrastructure won’t fall apart when it’s needed most.

    Verizon is the #1 business internet provider

    Get the blazing speed and rock-solid reliability that only a 100% fiber connection can provide.

    If you need an internet service provider that has your back 24/7, Verizon has you covered. Verizon Fios business internet is built to handle the network bandwidth of busy businesses. With service-level agreements (SLA) in place to ensure minimum downtime, Verizon is always on when you are.

    Only fiber-optic internet provides upload speeds equal to download speeds so you can share more content faster.

     


    *Griffith, Eric. “The Fastest ISPs of 2017,” PCMag, June 2, 1027. https://www.pcmag.com/article/353936/the-fastest-isps-of-2017

    Business internet vs. residential: What you don’t know could cost you

    Thursday, 2 November, 2017

    “Why should I pay so much for internet service?”

    It’s a valid question, especially for small-business owners squeezing as much as they can out of every scarce dollar. With fiber broadband-wired neighborhoods popping up everywhere promising low cost pricing and high speed internet, the choice between business internet vs. residential seems simple. This Quora thread sums it up: residential internet is cheaper, and now it’s almost as good as a business-level connection, so why pay the difference? You have a handful of employees, and they can easily get by on fewer Mbps than MegaCorp downtown. But, is this the right choice for your business?

     

    Business internet vs. residential

    Business internet has more features and benefits than residential, and is worth the higher cost. Residential internet often has restricted upload speeds and comes with only best-effort service agreements, while business internet demands faster upload speeds in order to perform operations. In addition, ISPs provide guaranteed service and uptimes for business internet.

    Saving a few bucks now could end up costing you down the line, since the differences between business internet vs. residential are critical—would you line up at FedEx Office self-serve instead of buying your own office printer? Or have an Uber driver make your client deliveries? The choice is really that cut-and-dried.

    Here are the most important factors for your business internet vs. residential consideration:

    Parity

    Residential, and even some business internet providers, keep prices down by offering impressively fast download speeds while glossing over their far slower upload speeds. For streaming movies and web surfing, download speed matters. If you’re creating content and need to get it to clients, upload speed really matters—the same goes for backing up your data offsite. Business internet connections usually offer identical download and upload speeds, known as parity.  In residential connections, throttled upload speed is the norm: 20Mbps down, 2Mbps up is a standard package, which would be advertised as “20×2,” or the upload speed left out completely.

    Service Level Agreements

    A service-level agreement (or an SLA) is a contract between a service provider and its customers stating what services the provider will furnish, as well as defining performance standards. Service providers use SLAs to manage customer expectations, as well as to clarify when they’re not liable for performance issues or outages. By being made aware these parameters, business customers (residential customers usually receive less-binding “best effort” promises) know what to expect from providers, and can compare them to the SLAs of other vendors. SLAs also define means of compensation should the service level not be met, either through credits or a refund.

    Static IP

    Business internet connections typically come with static Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, permanent numbers assigned by the Internet service provider (ISP). If it’s not included, you can add a static IP when you set up your service. A static IP address is also known as a fixed address. This is ideal for hosting a web site or email server from your location or for connecting to a whitelisted server so you can use a service that another business provides. Also if you have heating and air conditioning controls or video cameras at your business, you can access these controls remotely with a static IP.

     

    Residential internet connections typically use dynamic IP addresses that are temporary and change each time the computer or device accesses the internet from your network. Your ISP will set this up so it happens automatically using a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). When it comes to security, both dynamic and static IPs are comparable, as long as you have a good security program or firewall installed.

    Price

    The lowest cost shouldn’t be the deciding factor in the business internet vs. residential debate. Think about what your business could lose in the event of an internet slowdown or, worse, a complete outage. The initial savings of going residential could easily be wiped out by loss of connectivity and productivity, and it might end up costing you even more in the end. It won’t, however, cost you anything to compare business internet features and pricing besides a few minutes of research into what might be best for the future of your business. To help get you started, click the following link to learn more about Verizon Fios business internet.

    Speed

    Business internet speeds tend to be anywhere from two to five times faster than those of residential connections, meaning more people can get more done, more quickly. Twenty employees sharing a 5Mbps residential-style connection at the office can makes little financial sense when you’re counting on it to help complete transactions and make you income. And, as annoying as the dragging downloads and eternal uploads of a slower residential connection can be for you, they’re even more tedious for your customers. It may predate the internet, but the old saying “time is money” still holds up.

    When it comes to learning more about speed, feel free to check out our article: How much bandwidth do I need for my business? If you’re considering what makes Fios and fiber optic connections so much faster, we recommend reading fiber optic vs. cable.


    *Griffith, Eric. “The Fastest ISPs of 2017,” PCMag, June 2, 1027. https://www.pcmag.com/article/353936/the-fastest-isps-of-2017

     

    Fiber Optic vs. Cable—Which One is Best for Business Internet?

    Monday, 23 October, 2017

    Your small business needs fast, reliable internet at a reasonable price. So what’s your best option? Businesses almost always need a higher speed than you can get with traditional DSL, so that narrows your choices to fiber optic and CATV cable that comes with your TV service.

     

    Fiber optic vs. cable

    Fiber and cable internet speeds vary, but only a fiber-optic connection gives you equal upload and download speeds. Fiber business internet is an upgrade from cable or HFC, which starts at 25 Mbps. Fiber-optic internet provides 75, 150, 300, and 500 Mbps internet speeds. In addition, fiber to the premises (FTTP) uses 100% fiber lines.

    Fiber optic vs cable

    What’s the difference?

    You’re already familiar with cable internet, sold by the same companies that offer cable TV service. Traditional cable transmits data as electrical signalsFiber internet uses fiber-optic wiring—tiny strands of plastic or glass—to transmit signals using light, which is a faster way to send data.

    To compete with fiber’s speed, some cable providers are now offering a hybrid type of internet service, called a fiber-coax network (HFC). HFC uses both optical fiber cable and coaxial cable to carry broadband content. Fiber optic cable carries much of the load, running from distribution centers to hub locations near businesses and residences. From here, existing coaxial cable can be used to bridge the last mile to individual subscribers.

    There are three big advantages of a pure fiber optic internet connection:

    • It’s more reliable.
    • It’s faster.
    • It’s often a better value.

    fiber vs cable graph

    How fiber internet works

    A fiber-optic cable includes a core of glass fibers through which light is transmitted. That core is covered by a cladding layer, which helps transmit the light by causing reflections. A coating strengthened by aramid yarns—the material used in bulletproof vests—covers the cladding. It’s then covered by an outer jacket, usually made of polyethylene. Various types of cable, for instance gel-filled ribbon cable or loose tube cable, can be used to protect the network from damage.

    Why fiber is more reliable

    Unlike HFC or traditional cable internet, the glass or plastic used in fiber doesn’t conduct electricity, so it’s not susceptible to electromagnetic interference. That means nearby power lines or high-voltage electrical equipment won’t hamper the signal

    One advantage of fiber optic vs. cable is that some fiber internet services, such as Verizon Fios® internet, use passive optical network (PON) technology, meaning power isn’t required within the system. Because there are few moving or electrical parts, PONs are efficient and less can go wrong, making this technology a reliable choice for businesses.

    Cable vs. fiber: the speed difference

    Another advantage of fiber optic vs. cable is that fiber’s faster. With traditional cable or HFC internet, the signal from electrical pulses sent over copper-core cables will erode over long distances and slow your data down. Cable bandwidth is shared among subscribers, which slows during peak traffic periods when more users are on the line. Also cable companies do not deliver symmetrical speeds on the upload and often limit the gigs you can upload on the network, which can bring productivity to a standstill. 

    With fiber, cable slowdowns don’t apply. Light impulses transmitted using glass fiber are hardly affected by distance. Fiber download and upload speeds are synchronous. Parity is ideal for businesses that send info, sell online, use VoIP or videconferencing, or access cloud-based solutions for efficiency. And there’s no limit to how much you upload. 

    In addition, fiber internet can be delivered on a dedicated line to your business, so you’re not sharing bandwidth. That means your service won’t slow when other users are downloading large files.

    It’s no surprise that in PC Mag’s 2017 report on the fastest internet service providers (ISPs), some of the top performers use fiber-optic or advanced hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) networks.

    According to PC Mag, the leader for 2017 is Verizon. In speed tests, Verizon ranked 71.8—the highest speed score for any business ISP in this annual report.

    PC Mag found the top major business ISPs, in order of speed, were Verizon, XO Communications, recently purchased by Verizon, Cogent, Level 3, AT&T Business, ViaSat and Comcast Business.

    The magazine ranked providers based on a speed test that collected download and upload speeds in Megabits per second (Mbps). PC Mag used those results to calculate a speed index giving 80% of the weight to download speed and 20% to upload speed.

    Why speed matters

    Speed is becoming critical as businesses rely more on cloud-based applications. A survey by RightScale shows that 82% of organizations are using the cloud in some capacity.

    Small businesses are turning to the cloud because it gives them access to more computing power, more data storage, and cloud-based applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

    cable vs fiber photo

    Optical fiber cable provides upload speeds as fast as download speeds, which can be critical for businesses storing large files in the cloud. Need to check your connection speed? See our speed test page.

    Which is a better value?

    Fiber-optic internet can be more expensive in some areas, but the increase in productivity may be worth it. While slow speeds may seem like a mere inconvenience, over time they can actually hurt your ability to compete.

    An oft-cited study by SanDisk estimated that the average worker loses one week of productivity a year because of slow connection speeds.

    Slow speeds can frustrate employees and hurt morale. More important, a slow connection can hamper your ability to respond quickly to customers; you don’t want to be waiting for cloud-based CRM data to load while your customer is on hold. If you’re wondering how much bandwidth do I need – click the link and read the article we have on that (often confusing) subject.

    How much should you pay for business internet?

    Business internet prices vary widely, depending on connection speed and local competition. According to one Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report**, small businesses spend a median of $106 per month (adjusted for inflation^) on broadband services.

    Fiber solutions start at 15%-20% less than that, so fiber internet costs aren’t prohibitively expensive for most businesses.

    business people working

    You’ll need to check with your local providers as you’re making the decision on fiber optic vs. cable for your business. Often you can get better prices if you bundle services or sign a two-year contract

    If you’re running your business out of your home, you may want to consider upgrading to business-class internet. It is more expensive, but generally you get a more reliable connection and better access to professional IT help if things don’t work right. We have a short article on the subject of business internet vs residential if that applies to you.

    Connecting your business with fiber

    If you opt for fiber internet, you can use various connection types to link to your computers, including twisted-pair cable, coax cable, wireless, and fiber optic patch cable (or fiber patch cable).

    While you don’t have to use Ethernet cabling, if you do, it’s best to use Cat5e or higher Ethernet cables.

    If you use optical fiber for connections within your business, you’ll probably need multi-mode optical fiber. Single-mode fiber is used for transmitting signals long distances, while multi-mode fiber is used for shorter distances (up to 1,000 meters).

    How to get fiber internet

    One disadvantage of fiber optic is that it is not available everywhere, while cable internet is nearly ubiquitous.

    Access to fiber is growing. In fact, most of the internet backbone is fiber, but in parts of the country, so-called “last mile” connections—from the fiber backbone to homes and businesses—are still copper-based. You may not have fiber to the premises (FTTP) in your area.

    Fiber to the curb (within 1,000 feet of your business) or fiber to the node (within a mile of your business) are more common but may not give you the superior speeds you’re hoping for.

    Verizon has the nation’s leading FTTP fiber-optic network service, called Fios internet. Verizon Fios business internet has many advantages, including the option to add a dedicated line to your business.

    If you’re wondering “Is Fios in my area?” With one click, you can check Verizon Fios availability in your neighborhood.

    Contact Verizon for the fast, reliable connections your business needs.


    *Griffith, Eric. “The Fastest ISPs of 2017,” PCMag, June 2, 2017. https://www.pcmag.com/article/353936/the-fastest-isps-of-2017

    **FCC, “Business Broadband Capability Survey Results November 2010.”

    ^Bureau of Labor Statistics, “CPI Inflation Calculator.”

     

    The ultimate guide to small-business internet part 5: price

    Monday, 2 October, 2017

    According to the most recent data from the FCC, 10 small businesses spend a median of $106 per month (adjusted for inflation 11) on broadband service.

    Among business broadband plans, an obvious rule of thumb about price is the higher your speed, the more you’ll spend. But there are other factors that influence price as well: network type, population density, and geography.

    Prices vary by network type

    Satellite, although it generally offers slower speeds, may not be much cheaper than competing products because maintaining the network is costly and complicated.

    DSL networks are reliably maintained at a low cost, and speeds are limited, so you can generally expect low- to mid-level prices.

    Cable is also reliably maintained, but since it offers higher speeds, the network may have a slightly higher cost. That cost and the higher speeds may raise the price.

    Fiber is a newer, more advanced technology with higher infrastructure costs, since (1) fiberglass is more expensive to manufacture than copper or coax and (2) building a network into a new area costs more than laying new lines on an existing one. Fiber-optic internet is affordable for many businesses already, and it continues to become more affordable as the footprint expands.

     

    Prices may vary by geography

    Some internet providers have consistent prices across the country, but some don’t. Prices may be lower or higher in certain states or cities depending on services and speeds available there.

     

    How to save on small-business internet

    Look for deals

    • Take advantage of seasonal deals. Most internet providers run deals year-round, changing them on a seasonal basis. These seasonal deals usually offer a lower monthly cost and at least one other incentive, like free installation, a cash rewards card, or reimbursement for early-termination fees.
    • Subscribe for limited-time offers. Another way to save is by looking out for flash deals, which tend to offer higher discounts. Flash deals happen just a few times a year, sometimes around major holidays. But the timing mostly depends on behind-the-scenes factors like the provider’s business numbers and marketing strategies, so if you’re determined to pay the lowest price, you’ll need to subscribe to the brand’s emails to find out about these sales.

    Bundle with business phone, TV, and more

    Bundling is the easiest and most convenient way to save money on internet service. When you bundle multiple products together, you pay less for each service and get more in return.

    • Add phone or TV. Phone and TV are two of the business services that are most often added to an internet plan. Phone service is key to sending a professional image and improving relationships with customers, and TV can help customer-facing spaces attract visitors and sometimes turn them into regulars.
    • Add specialized products. Many internet providers also have special products that are unique to their brand, like security and device protection, conferencing software, and more. These services could take the place of other products you’re currently using, saving you money and making it more convenient to manage all your tech tools from one provider, or provide benefits that you’re not getting now.

    Summary: What to remember about price when you’re looking for business internet

    1. The median cost of small-business broadband is about $106 per month (adjusted for inflation). 12,13 
    2. Many providers run seasonal ongoing deals. You can also watch for shorter-term promotions by subscribing to email updates.
    3. Bundling could save you time and money and bring returns. Tip: Before exploring pricing online, make note of other business expenses you have or needs that aren’t being filled so you can quickly identify bundling opportunities.

     

    Back to Part 4: Security

     

    10. FCC, “Business Broadband Capability Survey Results November 2010

    11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “CPI Inflation Calculator

    12. FCC, “Business Broadband Capability Survey Results November 2010

    13. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “CPI Inflation Calculator

    The ultimate guide to small-business internet part 1: network type

    Monday, 2 October, 2017

    The market for telecommunication services looks different from many other markets in the United States: The companies and products available to you depend on your zip code, and within each zip code, you have about two to four companies to choose from.

    These market differences are cost-related. Behind every residential and business internet connection, there’s an extensive infrastructure the provider has to install and maintain long-term. Since these infrastructures are such a sizeable investment, it’s difficult for a new provider to come along in an established area; they’re more likely to vie for new areas than risk millions on a redundant network.


    Main network types and their characteristics

    The network—what it’s made of, how it’s configured, and how quickly and reliably it sends and receives your data packets—is the real product offered by your internet service provider because it’s the most influential factor determining how your internet performs.

    The four main types of internet network available today are satellite, DSL, cable, and fiber.

    1. Satellite
    • How it works: The provider sends your internet signal to satellites orbiting Earth. The satellites receive the signal and direct it back toward Earth to the dish installed outside your business.
    • How fast it is: Popular advertised download speeds range from 5 to 12 Mbps (Megabits per second), and popular advertised upload speeds range from 1 to 3 Mbps.
    • How reliable it is: Satellite connections can be impacted by weather, and even static landforms like mountains can interfere with the signal.
    • Where it’s available: Satellite is widely available in rural areas, where many consumers and businesses still rely on dial-up for internet access. Satellite is also available in urban and suburban areas, but there may be more physical barriers that could interfere with the signal.
    1. DSL
    • How it works: DSL is run on the copper telephone infrastructure and sends signals through a direct line to each subscriber. However, unlike dial-up, DSL internet signals can be sent over a phone line without interrupting the phone signal itself.
    • How fast it is: Popular advertised download speeds range from 0.5 to 45 Mbps, and popular advertised upload speeds range from 384 Kbps to 6 Mbps.
    • How reliable it is: DSL is a fairly reliable service since the phone line creates a direct path from the provider to the customer.
    • Where it’s available: DSL is generally available in urban and suburban areas, as well as most rural areas.
    1. Cable
    • How it works: Cable networks are built somewhat like a tree, with lines branching off the main “trunk” out to nodes, which then branch out to individual users. Cable networks are generally made of a combination of coax cabling and sometimes fiber as well.
    • How fast it is: Popular advertised download speeds range from 15 to 300 Mbps, and popular advertised upload speeds range from 768 Kbps to 35 Mbps.
    • How reliable it is: Cable is a fairly reliable service, although the local node configuration may slow speeds during peak usage periods.
    • Where it’s available: Cable is widely available in urban and suburban areas, as well as some rural areas.
    1. Fiber-optic
    • How it works: Fiber-optic networks are made of long strands of fiberglass rather than metal wiring, and data is sent in pulses of light. Providers can configure a fiber network to send data through direct lines, like DSL, or through nodes like cable.
    • How fast it is: Fiber-based internet is capable of faster speeds, with download speeds ranging from 75 to 940 Mbps and upload speeds usually equal to downloads. Equal download and upload speeds is a feature unique to fiber internet.
    • How reliable it is: Fiber-optic internet is highly reliable because light is such an efficient transmitting medium. Fiber sends data packets more reliably than copper or coax, even in node configuration.
    • Where it’s available: Fiber is primarily available in urban and suburban areas.

     

    How to get business internet at home

    If you’re a bootstrap operation run from a home office—as 52 percent of small businesses are 5—you don’t have to rely on residential internet. You can get business internet at home.

    Business internet accounts often come with service benefits you won’t get with residential internet:

    • Priority troubleshooting and network repair: Providers understand how connectivity problems can hurt business, so they may respond to network issues with more urgency.
    • Higher top speeds: Sometimes, providers offer higher speed tiers to businesses, since they may need more bandwidth than average residential customers and may also get more returns from investing in higher speeds.

    Summary: What to remember about internet types when you’re looking for business internet

    1. Network type is the main differentiating factor between any competing internet services because it influences the speeds and reliability that your connection will be capable of.
    2. Satellite is more readily available in rural areas with limited access to the other types of internet access.
    3. Fiber-optic networks offer faster upload and download speeds.
    4. Business internet accounts usually offer quicker responses to connectivity issues.

     

    Onward to Part 2: Speed & Reliability

    Back to the Intro

     

    1. FCC, “Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report 2016
    2. FCC, “Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report 2016
    3. FCC, “Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband Report 2016
    4. Based on Verizon Fios® speeds for small business
    5. Forbes, “16 Surprising Statistics about Small Businesses

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