EFM vs Leased Lines – choosing the right business connectivity option
The internet has transformed many aspects of our day-to-day lives. We shop online, manage our banking online, keep in touch with our friends and family via social media and stream our entertainment. It’s also transformed the world of business connectivity too, bringing improved communication, as-a-service software and affordable cloud storage within reach. However, none of it is possible without a fast, and reliable, internet connection.
When it comes to choosing an internet connection for your business there are several options on offer. While business broadband may seem to be the default choice, there are some other options which may suit your business better. The most common are leased lines and Ethernet first mile (EFM), but what exactly are these and which is likely to be the best choice for your business?
What’s a leased line?
A leased line provides a dedicated connection between your business and your internet service provider’s data centre, so you don’t have to share with other people in the surrounding area. The connection is also synchronous, meaning that speeds are the same in both directions. This ensures that you don’t get the delays in uploading data that you may experience with normal broadband. Whichever leased line technology you choose, a leased line means that you get a fast connection in both directions and you don’t have to worry about contention.
Ethernet First Mile provides a dedicated line to your business but it does this using a twisted pair cabling system. The twisting cabling system works over a longer distance by combining pairs of cables together into a single Ethernet connection, offering your business a reliable fast connection.
Most EFM solutions use two pairs of cables which should deliver speeds of up to 20 Mbps. If you need more speed, there’s the option of a four pair circuit which can give you up to 35 Mbps.
The use of extra cables and circuits allow for errors and ensures the connection is reliable. Using multiple circuits ensures that, if one fails, your EFM connection can still operate until the problem is fixed.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of EFM vs leased lines?
As we’ve already pointed out, both types of circuit will give you a dedicated connection so there’s no contention with other users in the area at peak times of the day. Both also give you synchronous connections with equal upload and download speeds.
A leased line will generally be faster than EFM because of the technology used. However, it takes longer to get a leased line circuit installed because it usually means running a new cable to your premises. If you need a reliable, fast connection in a hurry, using EFM can deliver what you need quickly using your premises’ existing connections.
With both EFM and fibre Ethernet leased lines, you’ll also benefit from service guarantees. When choosing a supplier, the service level agreement is perhaps the most important consideration. Ensure you look carefully at factors such as site availability and service guarantees and make sure that they suit the needs of your business. Check to see what procedures are in place to resolve any issues and look carefully at what the financial effect on your business would be should your connectivity solution not be fixed quickly.
Which business connectivity option is right for you?
There’s no easy answer to this; it depends on how you use the internet. Increasingly, companies are moving systems to the cloud which not only highlights the need for fast connections but places further emphasis on reliability as well. Both a leased line and EFM will be advantageous in delivering Internet-based communication such as video calling and VoIP phone calls. The choice between the type of connection comes down to the speed you require and that will be determined by the number of people using the connection.
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