Internet Access

Internet access is no longer a luxury for modern businesses, it is an absolute necessity.  But how do you choose the solution that’s right for you?  You have the option of choosing a DSL line, a cable modem or a T1 – what are the benefits/drawbacks of each?  How do you know that making that 2 or 3 year term commitment is not going to hurt you a year from now?

These are all important questions that need to be asked before committing to an Internet solution, and we are here to help provide the answers you need.  While a face-to-face discussion or phone conversation is best when trying to decide on an Internet solution, below is a brief tutorial on some of the general options most businesses have to choose from.  We are capable of providing any of these services and have working relationships with many major ISP’s to assist with integration into your network.

DSL lines provide Internet connectivity via phone lines. This technology emerged in the late 90’s and has become one of the most common conduits to the Internet for businesses and residences.

At one time there were hundreds of DSL companies offering service, but over time that field has narrowed to just a few. The 3 most common providers you will find now are AT&T/Yahoo, Verizon and Covad.

DSL lines come in different flavors of price and speed. Usually, base DSL lines offer download speeds of 768Kbps and upload speeds of 128Kbps and peak at around the 6Mbps mark. These lines are known as ADSL lines, or (A)synchronous DSL lines. SDSL, or (S)ynchronous DSL lines offer equal download and upload speeds, similar to a T1 line. Usually SDSL lines cost substantially more than ADSL lines and are becoming more and more scarce.

Generally, residences are good ADSL candidates, as mostly web surfing and downloading of files is done at home. Businesses usually opt for SDSL lines, as hosting web sites, running a mail server, and accessing data remotely perform best with greater upload bandwidth.

Cable Internet provide Internet connectivity via traditional cable tv lines. This technology has found itself to be mainly a residential service, as most businesses do not have cable tv lines and service readily available, however recently, may cable companies such as Verizon, Cox and Time Warner have invested heavily in a modern fiber-optic infrastructure which is being specifically marketed toward businesses.

Cable can be installed into businesses depending on the building and service area. Usually, these companies will require an existing coax run to the building, so verifying this with the local cable provider is necessary before this option should be considered. Once service is established, cable Internet offers speeds equal to, and sometimes greater than DSL lines, albeit with the drawback of using a “shared” pool of bandwidth with other customers in your area.

T1 lines provide Internet connectivity via dedicated copper lines. Unlike DSL, T1 lines utilize the entire available bandwidth of a line by combining 24 voice channels and digitizing the signals for use as data or PBX voice lines.

A T1 line, therefore, is ideal for businesses that cannot get DSL or Cable Internet access, or need the reliability, SLA and synchronous upload/download speeds a T1 line provides.

T1 lines are established via 3rd party providers, such as Covad or Telepacific, or or directly with the phone company such as AT&T or Verizon. Once service is established, T1 offers speeds of 1.5Mbps, and offer synchronous upload and download speeds. T1’s can be bonded to provide greater bandwidth, such as using two bonded T1’s to provide double the capacity, or 3Mbps up/down.

Wireless Internet provides Internet connectivity via terrestrial RF antennas. Unlike satellite Internet, wireless connections are a line of sight technology requiring a clear view of the transmitting tower. A dish-like antenna sends and receives internet traffic over a microwave signal. This allows speeds from 384Kbps up to 9Mbps or more!

Wireless connections are ideal for people needing a rapid implementation of service, as most installations can be done in as little as 2 days, as opposed to DSL or Cable’s 2 weeks, or T1’s 4 weeks. Wireless connections are also more affordable than a T1, and scale to higher bandwidths.

Satellite Internet provides Internet connectivity via geosynchronous satellites. Just as satellite televison provides tv broadcasts, satellite Internet utilizes this bandwidth for Internet traffic.

Usually, satellite Internet is a “last resort” of sorts for those who cannot receive any other traditional type of broadband Internet. Anyone who has a clear view of the southern sky can receive service, therefore even someone in the middle of nowhere can get broadband Internet access.

Satellite Internet has 2 major drawbacks from traditional broadband, however.

First, because the Internet signals need to travel from the earth, 250 miles up into space, then 250 miles back down, satellite is a very “laggy” service. Meaning that requests for information can take as long as 4 to 6 seconds, as opposed to terrestrial services taking as few as 30 milliseconds. This lag causes web surfing delays, and prevents any type of low ping activities such as remote access and gaming.

Second, satellite service costs much more per month, and much more in initial equipment costs than terrestrial service.

There are many other various Internet implementations, from your own private MPLS cloud, to Business Ethernet, to fiber optic services such as FIOS, and everything in between. We can help you find the right choice for your current needs, and maybe even show you ways to improve your business in ways you haven’t thought of…give us a call to find out how!