One of the most important decisions that small to medium sized businesses have to make is whether to use broadband or leased lines to connect their offices to the internet.
Both broadband and leased lines provide internet access at a fixed subscription cost but how that connection reaches your office is different. When it comes to broadband vs leased lines there are vast differences between the price, reliability and the connection itself. We have compared the two in order to help you decide whether you need to choose regular broadband or upgrade to a leased line.
What is broadband?
Broadband is what a lot of small businesses use to connect to the internet. Broadband is typically provided through copper, or fibre, wires that connect to the green box that you will see in residential and corporate areas. The copper, or fibre, wire connects your business as well as various other local businesses to the exchange through the green box.
As broadband doesn’t offer a dedicated connection between your business premises and the local exchange it means that you are sharing your internet connection with other businesses and neighbours in the area. This results in differing speeds, impacted by other peoples usage, which results in its significantly lower price than leased lines. Broadband offers variable bandwidth that is asymmetric which means it is significantly faster for downloads than uploads and the speed is unpredictable.
Despite differing speeds broadband is still a popular choice with SMEs due to its lower price tag. It is also the most widely advertised form of connection.
What is a leased line?
A leased line arguably offers a lot more for your money than broadband as it gives you a dedicated connection between your premises and the local exchange as opposed to a shared line with other businesses. A leased line offers fixed bandwidth with identical, synchronous, upload and download speeds that is not in contention with other users meaning you get constant high upload and download speeds.
A leased line means that your connection speed is the same all the time even during busy times throughout the day. In addition, you don’t have a cap on the volume of data that can be transferred and you will not be charged for exceeding a maximum amount. Plus, added benefits include the allocation of a static IP address as well as increased security and privacy when compared to broadband lines.
The benefits of a leased line do however come with an increased price tag and they do take slightly longer to install. This is due to leased lines requiring a new circuit to be installed as opposed to just an existing phone line being necessary.
The term “connectivity” covers a wide range of features including upload and download speeds as well as interruptions and general performance. It is arguably the main deciding factor when looking to choose between broadband and leased lines.
If fast speed is what you’re looking for then a leased line would be more suitable. It offers upload and download speeds of up to 10GBPS as opposed to the broadband offering of 1MBPS upload speed and 17MBPS download speed.
With broadband, your connection may get interrupted, especially when there are high volumes of people using the same connection as you. This can lead to slower upload and download speeds. With a leased line, however, your connection will not be interrupted and because it is going to your business and your business only the upload and download speeds will stay the same.
When choosing an internet source reliability is key in terms of both uptime and speed.
As mentioned, the speed of your internet will vary based on whether you have broadband or a leased line. If you have broadband there will be contention for your internet, with the typical UK broadband contention ratio being between 20:1 and 50:1. This means that with broadband your speed will not be reliable, it is likely that at certain times throughout each day your speed will slow down.
When it comes to having internet, a service level agreement (SLA) can be a huge factor for SMEs as it is vital that your internet is up and running and, if something goes wrong, that it is being fixed as a priority.
Leased lines offer strong SLAs and any issues that occur are likely to be fixed within a matter of hours.
Price is an undeniably big factor when it comes to choosing between broadband and leased lines. This is because the price difference is undeniably large.
Broadband lines are the cheapest option whereas leased lines come at more of a premium.
The question is, whether the monetary cost is worth the benefits you receive with a leased line.
Which is right for your business?
You are probably asking yourself whether your business needs broadband or a leased line based on the features discussed. Ultimately, it depends on whether you can afford to have your internet drop during a video call with your clients? Or, whether you need such high upload and download speeds?
In other words, you need to decide how dependent on the internet your business is.
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