Businesses need excellent levels of connectivity to survive in the modern marketplace, where success is measured in milliseconds and data rates can make all the difference.
There are a variety of different connectivity options available to commercial enterprises at the moment, so it is necessary to choose carefully and ensure that you are getting the right solution for your firm.
Here is a list of some of the main technologies used today, which should help you find the type of connectivity that suits your requirements.
Basic ADSL broadband is still widely used by businesses, largely because it is affordable and available in almost any location as long as you have a copper landline connection. ADSL download speeds vary, with single lines offering theoretical maximums of around 24Mbps, although real-world performance will vary.
For small companies or the self-employed, a business-oriented ADSL service will be an affordable, adequate connectivity solution.
Operating on the same principles as ADSL, but with symmetric data rates, SDSL is designed for companies that want matching download and upload speeds. This is desirable because it means you can run an on-site server for data and web hosting without crippling performance for those accessing it externally.
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) is a hybrid connectivity solution that combines high-end fibre optic technology with older copper landlines to improve line speeds without dramatically increasing the cost of the network provider's infrastructure.
FTTC is being rolled out quickly across the UK and allows for download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of over 20Mbps on a single line. It uses copper cabling for just the last few metres, which means that speeds from the local telephone exchange are maintained at much higher rates.
Fibre to the premises (FTTP) is the full-blown fibre experience. It expands on what is possible with FTTC by running fibre optic cabling right into individual buildings, rather than just to a street-level cabinet.
FTTP download speeds are creeping north of 300Mbps on certain packages and will hit 1Gbps in the future. In addition, if you live in an area with FTTC coverage, you may be able to request an FTTP connection for your business to give it a speed boost.
Leased lines have long been used by businesses to provide direct connectivity between two or more locations.
Originally this would have allowed for direct telephone communications between a number of offices without involving the PSTN, although leased lines have since evolved to allow for data transfer and digital networking.
This is beneficial because it means you can effectively run a closed network within your company even if it is actually divided across multiple sites.
Point to Point (PtP) Ethernet is an improvement on leased line technology, allowing you to link multiple locations via super-fast digital connections that allow you to transfer data at speeds not currently possible via standard commercial broadband services.
You can enjoy download and upload speeds of multiple gigabits per second, which is particularly useful if your company regularly collaborates on data-intensive tasks that involve multiple staff members who may not be based at the same site simultaneously.
Whichever type of connectivity you pick for your company, make sure that it is one which will serve you well in the long term as well as meeting your immediate needs.
The market is competitive enough to help you find packages that are priced fairly and you should always think about how you might need to upgrade in the future. Plotting your connectivity progress should not be difficult if you take the time to compare the various solutions.
This article is supplied by Jamie Garner, an employee of Daisy Group - an independent provider of business connectivity and telecoms solutions.