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How do you choose the right Internet service provider for your business?

How do you choose the right Internet service provider for your business?

By: Jenny Bourbiel

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Before you contact Internet service providers for price quotes, you need to consider a few questions...

1. Is a reliable Internet connection important to the success of my business?

For many businesses, a reliable Internet connection is crucial.  At home you may be ok with service that’s on-again, off-again, but will your business operations and customers be ok?

Commercial-grade Internet services are suitable for both voice (VoIP) and data transport.  They provide clear-performance standards such as 100% Committed Information Rate, 99.99% uptime, 99.5% packet delivery, low latency and low jitter. All of which are important to real-time applications such as VoIP, CRM, and ERP systems.

Residential-based services, such as DSL or cable Internet are not business-grade.  While phone and cable companies pitch these to small companies as business services, they are not business-grade offerings.  Unlike business-grade broadband, performance of residential Internet is based on the carrier’s current customer traffic, and therefore lacks dependability and consistent throughput.

2.  What happens if my Internet service goes down?

 

A business-grade ISP backs its service with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA guarantees a minimum level of performance such as 99.99% uptime. There are no service guarantees for DSL or cable Internet.

 

3. How do I know how much bandwidth my company needs?

 

Determining the correct amount of bandwidth is difficult at best.  The abundant use of broadband-enabled personal devices such as smart phone and tablets adds complexity.  Unlike residential use, businesses tend to use more symmetrical bandwidth, meaning upstream and downstream speeds are the same, such as 10 Mbps X 10 Mbps.  Residential services are mostly used for streaming media, which is why download speeds are far greater than upload speeds.  DSL for example, typically can deliver up to (remember it’s best effort, not dedicated bandwidth) 6 Mbps downstream and 1.5 Mbps upstream.

 

For companies that are unsure about how much bandwidth they need, business-grade ISPs that are customer centric oriented, such as Skyriver can provide bandwidth utilization reports to help you determine exactly how much bandwidth you need. Because Skyriver has engineered its broadband service for easy scalability, you can quickly increase or decrease your bandwidth based on actual usage.  And should your needs change in the future, you can change your bandwidth at any time.

 

While smaller companies, especially entrepreneurs may be enticed to go with residential services such as DSL to keep monthly costs down, many quickly switch to a business-grade service once they’ve suffered through unreliable connections, slow speeds and unresponsive customer support centers.  Before you choose an Internet service provider for your company, make sure you understand your business needs so you can choose the provider that will help your business thrive.

 

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