Broadband for Business
If you’re a startup or small business, upgrading to business broadband could make a genuine difference to your experience. While not mandatory, there are some compelling reasons why all small businesses should consider upgrading.
If you’re not of a size that requires a dedicated connection or leased line, business broadband is the next best thing. It may seem like an extra expense but the benefits far outweigh the costs!
In collaboration with Broadband Genie, we put together this guide to outline some of the key differences between home and business broadband. We’ll also list some of the benefits of upgrading to a business-class connection.
Home Broadband vs Business Broadband - What's the Difference?
If you’re on the fence about business broadband, perhaps it might be useful to see what it offers compared to home broadband. Some of these benefits will be more useful to some SMBs than others.
Business Grade Router
Most business broadband will provide a business-grade router as part of the package. Not all do, but some will. The advantages of such a router include better onboard security, stronger WiFi aerials meaning better coverage and higher-grade hardware.
If you don’t use your own router, you could find you have much better WiFi coverage with a business router. Just be aware that not all business broadband offers them.
Some business broadband routers will also have backups in case your primary link goes down. For example, BT’s 4G Assure product includes a standard business broadband connection with built-in 4G router to serve as an emergency backup.
Specialist Customer Service
Business customers will typically be routed to more experienced customer service staff. This can be a huge help if you need assistance with any aspect of your account.
Most of us will have contacted a phone or broadband provider at some point and come away disappointed. That doesn’t happen anywhere near as much when you’re dealing with priority support.
As an added bonus, most business broadband support will often be 24/7/365, something home broadband doesn’t usually offer.
If you run cloud services, have your own web server or other internet-enabled service, a static IP address is essential. If you don’t use a proxy server or load balancer, using a static IP makes creating secure networks simple.
You can pay for static IP addresses with most broadband but they can often be part of a business broadband package.
SLA, Service Level Agreements, are a big benefit of business broadband. You’ll get specific targets if you have issues rather than ‘best effort’ you get with residential broadband.
Your calls are usually answered faster, correspondence and queries handled faster and any faults or downtime will be handled much quicker!
Typical business SLAs will be measured in hours and not days. If an SLA is missed, you may be entitled to compensation. That’s something else you don’t get with home broadband!
Some business broadband packages will offer faster upload and/or download speeds to customers. Other providers promise traffic prioritisation for areas where contention or high traffic can cause delays, latency or slow speeds.
Not all business broadband providers make such claims but some do. If you’re a connected business where speed is key, this is a key selling point of business broadband. Just check the provider(s) you’re looking at to see if they include these benefits before you sign up!
More Security Options
While not intended to replace your own protections, they are a useful extra layer of security that can help keep you secure.
Preventing threats at the network level is a valuable extra protection. It means many threats won’t even reach your network, leaving your connection free to serve the business and your own security systems to look out for other types of threats.
Broadband for the Home Office
Working from home is more popular now than at any time before and that shows no sign of slowing down. If you’re running a business from home, it may be worth upgrading to business broadband.
If you depend on being connected to run the business or provide services, we would suggest business broadband is essential.
What would your business do if your broadband went down? Could you wait up to 7 days for a replacement router to be sent? Do you have an emergency backup that could maintain productivity while you had no internet?
These are all questions you need to consider if you work from home. Residential broadband will have similar speeds and will be cheaper than business broadband but it doesn’t have SLAs, dedicated customer service and faster response times.
The 99% of the time you’re using broadband, you’ll never see those benefits. But, that 1% when you really need it, then it could be more than worth the extra expense! For more information, read Broadband Genie’s guide to broadband and working from home.
Is Your Home Broadband Connection Fast Enough?
In the vast majority of cases, home broadband and business broadband speeds will be largely the same. Upload speeds for business are usually more generous due to the need to upload or share files.
Otherwise, the two should be very similar.
If you’re planning to use VoIP, Zoom and other video conference tools, bandwidth is less of an issue than reliability as voice and video apps use very little bandwidth.
What’s more important is latency, the delay in traffic getting from one end of the connection to the other. If your provider offers traffic prioritisation, latency shouldn’t be an issue.
File Sharing and Business Broadband
If you regularly upload or share large files, business broadband can offer significant benefits.
Many packages offer more generous upload speeds to improve productivity. They will also usually have zero or large data allowances or more generous fair use terms.
If you share large amounts of data like video files, audio files or system images, you could get a lot out of a business connection.
The Rise of VoIP for Business
With more people working from home, staying in touch with each other is more important than ever!
VoIP is now an integral part of business and has taken over from landlines. VoIP providers offer services that are cheaper than a landline, doesn’t need complex hardware like switchboards and can include video, voice, chat, desktop sharing and collaboration tools.
Despite its capability, VoIP only needs around 100Kbps for a voice call. Apps such as Zoom, Skype and Google Meets need around 3Mbps speed for voice, video and collaboration.
VoIP Options for Business
Telephones for small businesses have never had it so good when it comes to communications. There are lots of options out there able to provide reliable video and audio calling as well as those collaboration features we just talked about.
Viable options include:
Some of these are free for small businesses and individuals while others, like Microsoft Teams is part of Office365. Each offers a range of options for staying in touch with clients and colleagues.
Do You Need Business Broadband?
The answer to that question lies with you. What we would say is, if you can maintain productivity without broadband and you can access decent speeds already, you may not need business broadband.
If you depend on being connected, being fast to respond to customers, being always available or offer web services, you really should look at investing in it.