A business relies on being connected more than ever; to not do so could easily mean a decline in your business efficiency and your ability to react to your customer’s needs.
Your business is defined by your connectivity. Your connectivity is how you interact with your customers, suppliers and staff but it is also defined by the speed of which you connect and interact with them. It is key for the day-to-day running of your business and its systems.
Your broadband and Wi-Fi needs to be adaptable and flexible to your needs but ultimately, it needs to be reliable. Strong connectivity means an increase in:
Productivity – Efficiency – Happy Customers (and Staff) – Business Resiliency
Home Broadband vs Business Broadband
Some small businesses believe that home broadband is as good as business broadband. There are some great home broadband deals being advertised and it may seem like an obvious, cheaper option for your business but quite often, that is not the case.
For a simplified, visual version of the difference between home and business broadband, click on our video, to the right.
We like to use a motorway analogy to describe the difference between home and business broadband.
Home Broadband is like a motorway, you have a speed limit but sometimes with the amount of traffic, you get held up it slows you down, sometimes, stopping. Business Broadband is like a toll road, less likely to be clogged up and you can do your full speed but you pay a little bit extra.
We differentiate between the two for a reason. As technology progresses and as your business grows, the standard home broadband won’t be able to keep up with your needs.
Benefits of Business Broadband for Small Businesses
- Static IP addresses – You will have your own static IP address, assigned to a fixed, permanent address that is unique to you and won’t change. This means you will be able to access your computer from anywhere in the world via remote access, run CCTV or a server and host your own website.
- Customer Support – When you sign up to a business broadband package you receive extra levels of technical support. With an enhanced care level, you will be ahead of anyone else when it comes to getting a problem fixed.
- Speed – A lower contention ratio means a faster connection. We don’t enforce traffic management, unlike other providers and we don’t artificially slow down your connection. You will enjoy your unlimited download allowance at the fastest speeds at any given time. Your higher connection speed means pages load faster, emails send quicker and VoIP systems run smoothly.
- Security – Your business broadband package will provide enhanced security features that the standard broadband package will not offer such as shielding you from cyber security threats like malware, viruses, trojans as well as hacker attacks.
Business Broadband Connections suitable for Small Businesses
There are multiple broadband connections available, most of which wouldn’t suit a small business or would be overkill for a small business. For a small business, we would recommend FTTC, SoGEA, G Fast or FTTP. If all options are available, we would recommend FTTP as it is far more reliable and future proofs your business as you can get much higher speeds. FTTP is slightly more expensive but we are only talking a few pounds more.
Fibre Broadband (FTTC) / SOGEA
FTTC is Fibre to the Cabinet is where fibre-optic cable is used from the telephone exchange to the green, roadside cabinet and then, copper cable to the business. SoGEA has the same data rates as FTTC and the same technology involved without the need for a physical phone line.
FTTC and SoGEA can achieve speeds of up to 80Mbps for downloads and 20Mbps for uploads.
G Fast is similar to FTTC but with faster speeds. There is simply an added box at the cabinet which has the technology to ensure the speeds are super-fast, however, availability is limited due to distance from the cabinet.
G Fast can achieve speeds of up to 330Mbps for downloads and 30Mbps for uploads.
FTTP is Fibre to the Premise is where fibre-optic cables are used to transmit from the exchange all the way to the business’s premises. FTTP provides bandwidths of up to 1Gbps for downloads and 50Mbps for uploads.
Generally, a small business would not require Ethernet unless FTTC or FTTP was not available or if you needed a dedicated bandwidth to run certain applications, but this is a rarity.
Secure, Resilient Business Wi-Fi for Small Businesses
Wi-Fi is extremely beneficial when you have visitors to your office who have a laptop, tablet, or mobile that need to utilise a strong, secure signal. Another key reason that Wi-Fi is essential is its use in business collaboration; such as when you need to use AV equipment such as video conferencing or screen sharing on a TV for presentation purposes.
Strong Wi-Fi connectivity means an increase in:
Team Collaboration – Flexible working - Productivity – Profitability – Efficiency – Happy Staff and Visitors
Advantages of Business Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is essential for internal use as it can increase business productivity and enhance business collaboration by the following:
- No desk restrictions – your staff can pick their laptop or device up and move to another desk or perhaps a conference room and still remain connected. Ultimately, it means they aren’t tethered to one location when their job could take them all over the office.
- Increase Team Collaboration – a huge benefit if teams can take their work to a colleague to work on a project but still be able to access key business information.
- Operate Collaboration tools – such as the ability to connect to AV technology to present presentations to internal or external people.
- Simple Infrastructure – you are no longer dictated to by wires and cables when your business grows or when you have an influx of visitors.
Do you need a Public Wi-Fi network?
Some small businesses like boutique hotels, shop, cafes, restaurants and gyms may want to install a Public Wi-Fi solution.
Public Wi-Fi network is essentially opening your wi-fi network to the public so that everyone can access it. A Public Wi-Fi network is ideal if you have a physical location where visitors will be spending time such as a hotel, shop or restaurant.
There are of course, security risks to consider which is why as a key rule you should keep all business operations on a separate network specifically for internal users.
Despite some risks, owning a Public Wi-Fi network can be hugely beneficial, for the following reasons:
- Marketing – you can have a fixed log-in page, where for users to obtain free Wi-Fi, they need to supply their emails and naturally be exposed to your promotional messages on the page.
- Increase footfall – if you advertise that you offer free Wi-Fi, that can be a huge draw for potential customers, especially, if they are looking to meet a business colleague.
- Increase repeat purchases – some people just need to sit down or burn time, so they’ll turn to their devices. If they can freely access your Wi-Fi, they may spend longer because they are more comfortable, which in turn can increase further purchases.
Wi-Fi security is a key concern for small businesses and it should be but you shouldn’t reject the idea of going wireless when there are things that can be put in place to minimise your risk.
One of the simple security measures we can do is install a wireless Local Area Network (LAN), which will require a pass code, so only approved members of staff will be able to access the connection.
As far as Wi-Fi security, specifically, we utilise the following products which mean that you have a strong and resilient network:
- Policy Enforcement Firewall – with deep packet inspection to ensure that each connection and user session is secure. Unlike traditional firewalls, our next-gen mobility firewall is aware of user roles, device types and app flows.
- Wireless Intrusion Protection – throughout your network to prevent denial-of-service, man-in-the-middle and other security threats. There is no need to separate RF sensors and security appliances.
- Policy Management – identifies all devices and users so that if an unknown device tries to connect, it is rejected and you are notified.