Small-business owners work hard to protect every precious dollar they earn. To be budget-conscious, these entrepreneurs often default to residential internet service to keep their companies connected to the web. However, despite the added cost, business-class internet service provides additional benefits that can provide multiple advantages for your business.
If you’re considering residential vs. business internet for your company, you’ll want to know whether the benefits of business-class internet outweigh the higher cost. Read on to learn more and determine when you should make the switch from residential to business internet services.
Have you ever wondered why your internet speed lags or why you don’t have internet access during certain times of the day? This may be because you’re sharing your internet connection with other residential customers and nearby businesses during peak usage times.
Residential internet customers are required to share their connection with nearby customers, which is one of the reasons why Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer lower prices for residential internet.
Business-class internet, on the other hand, offers a dedicated connection to the internet. With this service, only your small business will have consistent speed and uptimes—regardless of the time of day. If you’re willing to pay more money to have the assurance of consistent internet speed and connection, for you and your customers, it may be time to consider business-class internet.
Internet bandwidth, or the amount of data transmitted across an internet connection, is likely the first variable that most customers consider when choosing a service provider. In simpler terms, bandwidth is the maximum internet speed you can get with an internet provider’s service under ideal conditions and is not necessarily the internet speed you will experience with their service.
Internet speed is a vital metric of performance and determines how smoothly you can, for instance, stream shows on Netflix and how quickly you can back up company data to the cloud.
Typically, business-class internet plans will offer higher internet speeds to give companies better connections. Most service providers advertise their internet speeds with a single number (e.g., 20 Mbps). However, a high-speed internet connection is a composite of both download speed and upload speed. Download speed is needed for streaming and downloading content, while upload speed affects your ability to upload files to the cloud or to back up data to a server. Both download and upload speeds are needed for activities such as video conferencing.
Residential internet offers high download speeds and much slower upload speeds—another reason why these providers can offer lower prices. Business internet, though, typically offers comparable upload and download speeds—otherwise known as parity. Depending on the internet activities you and your employees perform online, faster upload speeds may help you be more efficient.
So, how much bandwidth do you need for your business? Well, it depends on the number of users you have (customers, employees, etc.) and the magnitude of the users’ performance needs.
An IP address is the online address of your network. Most service providers offer a dynamic IP address, or an IP address that changes periodically. For an additional fee, though, you could buy a static IP address, which is permanent and will not change.
A static IP address will also make your network more reliable and secure. You may need a static IP address for your business if you need to host your own server. You may also need a static IP address if you have remote employees who need to access the company network or if you need to set up a virtual private network (VPN).
Enhanced customer service may be another reason to choose business-class internet over residential plans. Internet service outages can cause businesses to lose time and money. For this reason, most service providers have service-level agreements (SLAs) for business customers—contracts that guarantee a predetermined level of performance for their services, as well as compensation when the services do not meet those performance levels. Business customers also enjoy priority access to customer service and 24/7 technical support to further avoid lost business opportunities.
Business-class internet service also gives you access to additional services, including VPNs, data backup, security, and Wi-Fi network setup. Keep in mind that these services often require additional monthly charges.
Evaluate your internet access needs and determine whether the benefits of business-class internet outweigh the additional cost.