When you’re first starting out, and use the internet just for email and uploading and downloading small files, it might seem like residential internet service is all you need for your business. Business internet service looks more expensive (it is) and unnecessary (it isn’t). Whatever your size, even if you’re running your business from your home, here’s what you should know and understand about the benefits of business internet service.
What’s the difference between residential and business internet services?
There are many perks to paying more. Among them are faster speeds, more offerings, greater security and guaranteed service. You won’t have to worry as much about connectivity issues that can negatively impact your productivity, customer relationships and profitability.
Here are 7 key benefits that business internet service offers:
1. Faster speeds
When it comes to bandwidth on your network connection, your business likely has a growing need for speed. Business internet can meet that need by offering speeds up to 1000 Mbps (Megabits of data per second). With non-fiber residential internet, your top speed option may only be around 25 Mpbs.
Another big plus of business internet is that it offers faster uploading speeds than residential copper internet. This is important when your employees perform activities like backing up data to a server, uploading files to the cloud or video conferencing.
If you want the speediest business internet connection, fiber is the answer, if it’s available in your area. Fiber is much faster than DSL because instead of using copper cable lines, it transmits data via beams of light through glass fibers.
2. Unlimited data usage
Many residential internet services have a cap on the amount of data homes can use each month. If you go over the limit, you’ll be charged extra for the overage. It’s much easier to find an internet service provider (ISP) that offers business internet service with no limits whatsoever on data usage.
Unlimited usage means you can upload and download as much data as necessary, as often as you need to, without having to be concerned about tracking overage charges.
3. A dedicated, more secure connection
With residential internet, you could be sharing bandwidth with your neighbors through the same internet line. This can bog down your connection as well as your productivity, especially during peak hours.
To avoid this, business internet often offers a fixed-bandwidth dedicated connection, also referred to as dedicated internet access (DIA), used only by you and your employees. You won’t ever have to worry about neighbors interfering with your uploading or downloading speeds.
4. Static IP address
Your internet protocol (IP) address is the unique number that identifies your computers, servers and other devices, allowing them to communicate with other devices on the internet. Most ISPs assign customers a dynamic IP address, meaning that it may occasionally be changed.
With business internet service, however, you may have the option of obtaining a static IP address, which is also called a fixed or dedicated IP address. This is beneficial if you’re hosting email or web servers, because the address never changes and allows other internet-connected servers and computers to quickly find your specific devices through the Domain Name System (DNS), which is how the internet maps domain names to IP addresses.
Among the other advantages of a static IP is that it allows your employees who work remotely to easily connect to your virtual private network (VPN). In addition, if your business uses internet phone service, aka Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), instead of a landline, static IP also makes it easier to use communication applications like teleconferencing.
5. Guaranteed service level agreement
A guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) is a contract that defines the quality and quantity of the services your ISP must provide to you or otherwise be subject to paying penalties, such as service credits.
An SLA usually guarantees your monthly bandwidth as well as the amount of network availability (also known as internet uptime and downtime). This is often indicated as a percentage, such as 99% uptime guarantee.
Along with service components, an SLA may also contain provisions such as a mean time to repair (MTTR), which guarantees that a technician will fix any internet issues you may have within the specified time.
6. Focused, expert customer support
Having business internet service usually means the customer service representatives you contact will have more expertise in issues that affect businesses. They may have greater technical knowledge as well.
Look for an ISP that promises 24/7 customer support. When you run your own business, you could be working, or have an issue to troubleshoot, at any time.
7. Introductory bundles built for business
When you’re looking for your ISP, you might find an offer that will put together all the services you need, such as internet, phone (even VoIP), plus security and some business advantages, like cloud storage for your data. Make sure your ISP is able to keep up with you as your business grows.
The bottom line
Opting for business internet service instead of residential may help your small business grow and thrive, thanks to a faster, more reliable connection. Although it may cost more, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind these benefits will bring you.