What is a Gigabit and why Does it Matter?
Gigabit Ethernet and gigabit internet are the latest buzzwords. Find out what is a gigabit and what difference it could make to your business
Let’s start with the technical stuff. Ethernet over CAT5 cables in offices has generally run at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps). Gigabit Ethernet runs at 10 times this rate, 1,000 Mbps which equals one gigabit. This needs a different cabling standard, CAT5e or CAT6 (also known as the 1000 Base-T standard) in order to work.
What this means in practice is more bandwidth available on the network, so you are able to transfer data faster. However, you need to make sure that your devices – routers, network cards and even cables – are gigabit compatible so that you can take full advantage of the faster network. Gigabit networks are backwards compatible, but this simply means that older devices can still communicate with them. They won’t, however, run at gigabit speed.
Okay, now that we know the answer to what is a gigabit, let’s look at how it relates to the internet. If you have an existing broadband connection, the chances are it’s running at megabit speeds. Probably somewhere between 15 and 200 Mbps depending on the type of connection.
Gigabit internet is able to provide a 1 Gbps internet connection. It does this via a direct fibre optic connection to the premises (FTTP) rather than the way most fibre broadband is currently delivered using fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) where the last part of the circuit to your property comes over copper wires.
You might be wondering what is a gigabit internet connection going to do for my business? Many companies already benefit from Ethernet internet connections. These overcome the principal drawbacks of conventional broadband. Specifically, they offer a fully synchronous connection where the data bandwidth is the same in both directions and the connection is exclusive for your use so there are no slowdowns caused by contention with other users.
Many business Ethernet connections use a fibre to the cabinet (EoFTTC) technology and deliver megabit speeds. However, with a full fibre connection from the ISP to your premises, end-to-end speeds of up to 10 Gbps are possible, so what are the benefits of this additional bandwidth?
In the modern world, businesses are increasingly turning to online products. Whether it’s as-a-service infrastructure, cloud storage and software, or IP-based communications systems, all of these things need a fast, reliable connection to the internet in order to ensure reliable operation and that you get the most from your cloud investment.
Ethernet connections have the added benefit of being backed by a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees connection speeds as well as ensuring that any problems are fixed on a clearly defined timescale. This makes Ethernet internet a good choice for companies that must have a reliable connection for their operations.
If you’re moving your applications to the cloud or switching your voice communications to VoIP, then it’s worth considering an Ethernet leased line internet connection. Currently what are termed ‘gigabit capable’ lines are available which offer speeds of 100 Mbps and should be capable of faster connections in the future. This means that it’s possible to get a fast connection now and have a degree of future proofing too.
Incentives for smaller businesses
The cost of Ethernet internet connections has, in the past, made them the preserve of larger organisations. Smaller and medium-sized companies may have been put off by the price. But the Government is keen to encourage businesses to join the high-speed internet revolution and is offering incentives to get smaller businesses to sign up.
The gigabit voucher scheme gives businesses between £500 and £3,000 towards the cost of infrastructure for a gigabit-capable connection. In order to qualify, businesses must have under 249 employees, a turnover of less than £50 million and have received less than £200,000 in public grants in the last three years.
Currently, the voucher scheme is restricted to certain areas of the country but is expected to be extended once the second wave comes into operation.Call Us On 0808 115 4281