Advantages of Leased Line Connections – How Can They Help Your Business?
Find out about the advantages of leased line connections and how a dedicated connection could benefit your business
As more and more businesses move their systems to the cloud, the way they use the internet is changing and they’re becoming increasingly reliant upon the quality and speed of their connections to the web. Whilst many companies still rely on broadband for their internet access, these changes in usage patterns are starting to throw the deficiencies of this type of connection into the light. In a bid to improve their connectivity, more and more companies are turning to the advantages of leased line connections. But what exactly are these and how can they help your business?
Let’s have a look at the difference between leased line and broadband in order to understand how a leased line can benefit businesses. Broadband is the way in which most of us connect to the internet from home. For domestic use, and indeed for many small businesses, there’s nothing wrong with this and it’s far better than the old days when you could only get dial-up access. But for larger organisations or just those that are heavily reliant upon the web and upon the use of cloud-based services, broadband has some significant drawbacks.
Broadband is an asynchronous connection (ADSL stands for asynchronous digital subscriber line). This means that data travels at different speeds in each direction. Download speeds on broadband are much faster than upload speeds; you can check this for yourself by using one of the free online speed testers that are available. On a normal domestic fibre broadband connection, the upload speed is usually around a 20th of the download speed. This is perfectly fine while most of your data is incoming – you’re listening to Spotify or catching up on iPlayer – but if you need to send large files the other way, to another user or to backup data in the cloud, then it presents a bit of a stumbling block. For more information about the differences between broadband and leased line, click here.
A further issue with broadband is that once the line leaves your premises you’re sharing it with other people. This is known as contention; typical UK broadband has a contention ratio of between 20:1 and 50:1. This is akin to road traffic; your street may be able to cope with 50 cars spaced out evenly over the course of a day, but if they all set off to work or start the school run at the same time each morning you’re going to end up with congestion. The same thing happens with broadband. When everyone else is online in the evenings your connection will slow down. Again, this is something you can verify for yourself by running a speed check at different times of day and seeing what difference it makes.
A third issue to consider with broadband is the total amount of data that you’re allowed to transfer. Domestic lines frequently have a cap on the amount of data you can receive each month and you’ll pay extra charges if it’s exceeded. Even where lines are advertised as being ‘unlimited’ they will usually be subject to some sort of fair usage constraint which allows the ISP to slow your connection if it thinks you’re using it too much.
Leased line business benefits
In contrast to broadband, leased lines are dedicated for your use, so you get a guaranteed line speed that won’t slow down at peak times of the day. They deliver a synchronous connection, so you can upload data just as fast as you can download it. This makes a big difference to things like video conferencing that consume large amounts of bandwidth.
Leased line technology
What does leased line mean? The key difference is that it’s a circuit dedicated just for your use, so you’re not competing with anyone else. This has benefits in terms of performance but also for security, as there’s a reduced chance of data being intercepted.
What all this means in practice is that you receive guaranteed download speeds compared to a broadband connection. While the speeds may not seem ultra-quick when compared to some broadband offerings, having a dedicated circuit makes a big difference to the everyday practicality of using the service. It also means you also get faster upload speeds because you have a synchronous circuit; that is the speeds are the same in both directions. In the era of the cloud where many of your critical business systems may be relying upon an internet connection, this is a big advantage. It makes for more reliable use of video calling and VoIP telephony as well.
Another advantage of having the circuit reserved for your use only is that there are no contention ratios, so connections aren’t going to slow down due to additional demand at peak times. This is a key consideration for internet-based businesses, particularly if you intend running your own web servers. There are no usage caps on the amount of data you can transfer either, so at times of peak demand, you won’t face an unexpected bill for exceeding your data allowance at the end of the month.
Service level agreements
Vital for businesses users is reliability, and the service level agreement (SLA) for a leased line will come with a service guarantee. Depending on the type of circuit, it may be able to keep going – albeit at reduced speed – even when there’s a problem. Finally, the support is more business-oriented too, so you should find it easier and faster to get any problems resolved.
Different types of leased lines
Leased lines are usually delivered in one of three ways. The first and most popular connection is the fibre leased line. This fully managed end-to-end fibre solution offers unparalleled levels of reliability and speed and can be implemented in most locations regardless of whether or not fibre is available. Another popular option is Ethernet first mile (EFM). Where fibre Ethernet is not available or would be expensive to install, Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) provides an end-to-end solution using multiple copper wires to connect your premises straight to the Ethernet core network. The third type is GEA (Generic Ethernet Access) or EoFTTC (Ethernet over Fibre-to-the-Cabinet), which is a cost-effective solution where existing fibre or copper cables connect your business to the nearest street cabinet, and then a dedicated Ethernet line carries your data to the core network. If you’d like to find out more, check out our article “What are the different types of leased lines.”
Business advantages of leased line connections
Now that we’ve looked at the technical difference between leased line and broadband connections, we need to understand why a leased line is often better for business. If you’re a small organisation then it’s likely that a normal ADSL broadband service will be adequate for your needs. However, for larger organisations or those that rely heavily on cloud-based storage or as-a-service applications, leased lines begin to look more attractive.
Connecting different sites
Although so far we’ve focused on using leased lines in terms of connecting to the internet, they also have a role in connecting the different parts of a business. If you have several sites reliant for their computing needs on a central data centre for example, then a leased line is an effective way of connecting them. The asynchronous connection makes it easier and quicker to transfer large files around, it’s more secure, and will be better for data-hungry cloud applications as well as internet communication like video conferencing systems and VoIP phone calls.
The rise of the cloud
Increasing numbers of companies are now moving to a cloud-based, as-a-service model for their software, taking advantage of the reduced licensing costs and the ability to have staff work from anywhere. If your office package or your CRM system is not installed on your site and you depend on being able to access it via the internet, then a reliable connection is absolutely essential. This helps reduce the risk to your business; if you can’t access your systems then not only will you lose custom but you’ll suffer damage to your reputation. A leased line connection gives cloud users additional peace of mind that they’ll be able to use their systems whenever they need them and at the same time benefit from a reliable and secure connection that ensures the best performance levels at all times.
If you have a number of employees on a single site, then a leased line is likely to be able to deliver better connection speeds. It’s also useful if you need to work at times when broadband use is likely to be heavy – such as evenings and weekends – so you don’t suffer from contention-related slowdowns. If downtime would cost your business custom, then the guaranteed speeds and SLAs that come with a leased line connection more than make up for the extra cost.
For more information on the best leased line solution for your business, contact leasedline.co.uk and speak to our team directly by calling us on 0808 115 4281 or get in touch online today.Call Us On 0808 115 4281