Why Dedicated Internet!!

There are a multitude of business internet providers in the market today, all making the promise of providing the best quality internet fit for your business purpose. These overwhelming choices can cause your procurement department to become decision fatigued and end up choosing only on price and ignoring all the other factors associated with a great internet connection. As you know this can cause a business unnecessary operational frustration and worst of all, ruin the budget.
The motivation for this article is to provide clarity on what it means to get the best
quality internet, some things to consider and things to just totally avoid. There might be a few surprises along the way but I’m positive, that you will be more informed after reading this article.
As we move ever more into the digital world, our businesses also become more
integrated and reliant on needing a stable internet connection. Dedicated internet access (DIA) promises just that; it promotes business continuity and guarantees access to your critical data and applications in a secure, fast, and reliable manner. But wait, how can business internet service providers (ISP’s) claim they have the best internet for your business? There are several factors that must be considered when making these claims and I wish to address them below. I understand that these might be terms which you are not familiar with, however they are key criteria to think about when choosing a good quality internet provider:
  • DIA versus Broad Band internet (Shared internet)
  • Speed
  • Security
  • Scalability
  • Redundancy
  • Circuit type
  • Reliability and uptime
  • Latency
  • Support
  • Price
Ever wondered why, after purchasing a fixed bandwidth speed, your internet sometimes drops to a fraction of what you’re paying for? If so, what you’re experiencing is known as contention. In essence, when purchasing broadband internet, the bandwidth you receive is shared among many different customers. As long as each customer uses the internet at different times, everything works perfectly, and you receive the speed that you pay for. However, during busy periods when multiple customers try to use their connection at the same time, then the bandwidth must be divided up amongst each customer, resulting in a drop in your internet speed. Just how much your internet speed drops, is dependent on your contention ratio. This is a measure of how many times your internet has been resold to other customers, so lower is better. When comparing different broadband providers, their contention ratio is extremely important.
Network contention is quite analogous to traffic congestion. Everyone is using a shared road, and while there are only a few cars on the road at a time everything goes smoothly. However, during peak hours everyone tries to use the road at the same time, the roads become congested, and everyone suffers.
Fortunately, there is another option, dedicated internet access (DIA). As the name
suggests, DIA means the internet access is completely dedicated to you, no sharing. Returning to our traffic analogy, this would be equivalent to purchasing your own dedicated lane, that no one else can drive on. DIA is also seen to be more secure, if the link is only built for your own business traffic there are less vulnerabilities, compared to broadband who share the link with multiple other users.
When you know exactly what bandwidth your business requires, based on your current usage, and for whatever reason the company grows or scales back. DIA is also fully customisable and scalable; therefore service providers can scale with you to provide your business the precise service it needs.
DIA service providers protect their network and yours from unforeseen outages by
making sure they have multiple links connecting to one point. The network can be fully redundant giving you the peace of mind that your business operations will not be interrupted.
There are many technologies that can be used to provide you with DIA, however the most common are fibre and dedicated wireless, each with their own pros and cons. The circuit type (I or II) describes if the last mile service provider is the same as the ISP (I) or not (II). This will influence the installation times, latency, service levels and support.
The service level agreement (SLA) will tell you what the expected uptime is, which the service provider guarantees, and it is normally expressed as a percentage, like 99.8%. Since SLA’s are normally calculated over a billing period, it equates to 1.44 hours per month of allowed down time.
Be aware of the latency, which is the delay before the data transfer begins. The lower the latency the faster the connection and this will result in better performance of real-time video, financial transactions and data replication needs.
When it comes to support and especially service providers that specialise in DIA, you must look out for the following. Do they own their own infrastructure (Circuit I). Do they have, engineers and technicians that are willing to work with you to design an end-to-end solution around your bandwidth needs? Do they have someone that can manage the implementation of the selected solution, and can you get hold of them any time of the day? Are their services built into the system that monitors your internet connection which results in an active managing solution? If your potential ISP can answer yes to all the above questions, then you can place them in the maybe list.
It is a well-known fact that DIA outperforms broad band shared internet any time of day. It is designed so that your business processes are not hampered by network outages, slow data transfers, poor quality video calls and so on. DIA can sometimes be more expensive but the argument for consistently producing faster speeds, a true reflection of your bandwidth needs, more security, scalability, lower latency, redundancy, reliability, and a high touch support far outweighs the case made for broad band shared internet. This is not only true for businesses in Rwanda but also around the world.

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