Having trouble deciphering your FTTPs, ADSLs, to your MIAs? Here’s a guide to the main broadband services available to businesses throughout Northern Ireland and what you should consider when choosing your next connectivity solution.
The main challenge facing business is its physical location. Generally, the further you are from the exchange the slower the speeds. Ofcom recently reported that 97% of premises in Belfast can now receive superfast broadband (>50Mbps), dropping to 63% in Fermanagh and Omagh. So those based in the countryside generally suffer from slower connection or pay a premium for faster speeds.
The good news is that if Gigabit (1000Mbps) connections are available in your area, there is a Government ‘Gigabit Voucher Scheme’ offering SME’s grants up to £3,000 towards leased line connections.
ADSL and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband are the two major broadband connections used throughout Northern Ireland. ADSL products can deliver speeds up to 24mbps, whilst fibre services can deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps.
Ethernet First Mile (EFM) uses bonded copper cables to deliver faster broadband connections, by pairing copper cables together. EFMs offer many of the same advantages as a Leased Line or Managed Service by guaranteeing bandwidth, offering greater security and 1:1 contention ratio.
Leased Lines create an end to end connectivity solution linking office locations or delivering high speed uncontended internet access. They deliver symmetrical upload and download speeds with a 1:1 contention ratio, and boast very competitive uptime and Service Level Agreements (SLA). For those that require a dedicated internet connection for their offices then you may require a Managed Internet Access (MIA). MIA’s create a tailored internet connection that is managed by your business, ensuring it’s specified exactly to your business requirements.
For larger MIAs deployments a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) may be required creating a high-performance telecoms network between sites, that does not touch the public internet.
SIP Trunks are a specialist internet connection dedicated to delivering Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). SIP Trunks guarantee Quality of Service (QoS) by reserving bandwidth to voice traffic only.
Choosing the Right Connection for Your Business
You should always review your connectivity requirements before engaging with any Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Rainbow. You should consider:
What Do You Use Your Internet For? Do you send emails and download the odd file or are you a heavy user reliant on online platforms, cloud storage and VoIP services?
Technology Connectivity Requirements? You might be surprised by how data heavy your technology is. Before you know it, your connectivity can be overwhelmed by the bandwidth requirements. You should also consider future plans to use cloud-based applications. This is why a SIP Trunk partitions your internet connection, ensuring voice and data traffic remain separate. We’d recommend allowing at least 0.2mbps per a user when calculation bandwidth for voice traffic.
How many people will require access to the internet at any one time? As at home the more people using the internet the slower it is.
Are ISDN Lines at End of Life? Traditional telephone lines, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), are due to be retired by 2025, with all business voice traffic being transferred to a VoIP connection.
Do I Need a New Phone System? Traditional phone systems work on an ISDN or analogue line, but by 2025 they will need to replaced or upgraded by adding a SIP Trunk connection. The good news is that both an upgrade and or a total move to VoIP system can save you money and deliver additional features and functionality.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend? The faster the connection and the hungrier your business is for data, generally the higher the prices. However, the good news is that with the Gigabit Voucher Scheme help is available for leased line connections.
What if Fibre Isn’t In My Area Yet? If fibre isn’t available in your area, it is still worth shopping around, as there may be other solutions that will improve your connectivity and deliver a better service.
What you should consider when choosing an ISP
Service Level Agreement (SLA) – Your SLA outlines what support you will receive and repair times, should your connection go down.
Quality of Service (QoS) – QoS guarantees that your voice traffic isn’t jittery, scratchy or just hard to hear. There are several ways to ensure that you receive the crystal-clear caller experience you’d expect from a modern phone solution.
End to End Support – How will your ISP support you if a fault occurs? Not all ISP’s are equal, so knowing how they can support you is vital. Do they have their own engineering teams and or access to their wholesale partners support and provisioning platforms and their partners engineers?
Contention Ratio – This is the number of people who can access the same bandwidth as yourself. The more people accessing the same bandwidth at the same time, increases the lag time for your request to be actioned. The lower the contention ratio the better.
If you’d like to find out more about the Gigabit Voucher Scheme or discuss your businesses connectivity challenges or options, call Rainbow on 0800 018 8082, visit our website www.rainbowcomms.comor email firstname.lastname@example.org