What are the key leased line benefits?
Find out about the advantages of a leased line and how it could benefit your business.
If you’re looking for a way of connecting your business to the internet, then you’ve probably come across leased lines. But what exactly is the difference between leased line and broadband connection and what are the advantages to your business?
Broadband vs leased lines
In order to understand leased line benefits we first need to know a bit about broadband. Most of us probably have broadband at home, so we’re familiar with the kind of service it offers. The advantages of broadband are that you can get it almost everywhere in the UK, fibre is available in most places too, and it comes with a relatively low price tag attached.
On the downside broadband is an asynchronous connection – what this means is that downloads are faster than uploads. You might typically get around 30mbps or more downloads from a domestic fibre broadband link, but uploads will be only around a 20th of that speed.
Another issue with broadband is that it becomes a shared connection once it leaves your building. This is known as contention and means that performance can vary considerably depending on how many people are using the connection to download data. You may well have noticed this at home in the evenings when more people are online streaming movies or catching up on TV.
Another thing to understand is that broadband comes in different flavours. When it was first introduced in the late 1990s broadband was delivered using the ordinary copper telephone connections from the exchange to your location. In some places, this is still the case and copper broadband delivers the slowest speeds. It’s affected by distance too, the greater the distance you are from the local exchange, the slower the connection that you will get.
Now, however, most areas of the country have access to fibre optic broadband, but this too comes in different types. The most common option is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) where the optic fibre terminates at a street cabinet and the final stretch to your house is completed over existing copper cables. If you have ‘fibre’ broadband at home it’s most probably FTTC, this is faster than all-copper broadband, but because a copper circuit is still used for part of the way the performance will vary depending how far you are from the cabinet, although this is less of a problem than on an all-copper circuit.
If you live in a city or urban area that’s served by a cable provider you may be able to get fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband. Here the fibre service is delivered directly to your building, FTTP is the fastest broadband option; theoretically it can deliver download speeds of up to 200 Mbps or more but this is very much determined by the individual provider.
Leased line benefits
So how is a leased line different? In terms of how it’s delivered it isn’t all that much. Like broadband it can be copper or fibre or a combination of the two. Fibre leased lines offer a full fibre connection. Ethernet over fibre to the cabinet (EoFTTC) arrives via a street cabinet with a final short fibre hop to your premises. All copper leased lines can employ a technology called Ethernet first mile, which uses a combination of twisted pair cables along with some signal processing hardware to give you fast connection speeds over a copper circuit.
Where leased lines differ is in how they operate. As the name implies, a leased line is a connection between two points, usually your site and your service provider’s data centre, but they can also be used to link your own sites. Unlike broadband you rent a leased line for your exclusive use.
One of the major leased line benefits is that it offers a synchronous link, there’s no contention and no limits on the amount of data you can transfer. Synchronous connection means that upload and download speeds are equal, so you don’t have to wait to transfer large files or upload data to websites. It delivers smoother performance with cloud-based applications and with bandwidth-hungry communication like video conferencing and VoIP.
In addition, because the line is exclusive to you, there’s no contention from other businesses or individuals using the connection, so a leased line will maintain its performance levels even at peak times.
There will also be no restriction on the amount of data you are allowed to transfer. Broadband – even where it’s advertised as unlimited – is often subject to usage restrictions which limit data or charge for excess usage. Click here to find out more about the different types of leased lines.
So, now that we understand what it is, what are the leased line benefits to your business? To an extent, it’s about how your business makes use of the internet. If you only light, tasks such as send email, access the web the web and use a bit of cloud storage, then a broadband connection – a fibre one in particular – will probably meet your needs. But consider that you may well come up against contention from other users at peak times – if you’re in an area with lots of other businesses this may even occur during the day.
If you’re a heavy internet user; if you make use of as-a-service cloud applications; if you store a lot of data in the cloud; or you run your own mail or web servers, then the difference between leased line and broadband really makes itself felt. The equal two-way speed of a leased line and its unlimited data will be a big advantage.
Leased lines, of course, can be used for more than just accessing the internet. They can be used where you have branch offices accessing your main site remotely, allowing everyone fast network access. If you use services like video conferencing or VoIP phone calls they will benefit from using a leased line too, thanks to reliability and synchronous speeds.
The more people who will be using the connection within your company is an issue to consider too. As your business grows, then you should start to think about installing a leased line instead of broadband. Many businesses are now looking at getting involved with integrated supply chains, where they exchange data with suppliers and customers to make operations run more smoothly. Using a leased line will facilitate the easy exchange of data and allow all users of the system to benefit from a better user experience while accessing your network, thereby improving productivity.
You’re reading this because reliable access to the internet is important to your business. Because leased lines are aimed at commercial users their service level agreements reflect that fact and ensure guaranteed service levels.
When you’re buying a leased line the service provider should offer you a guaranteed level of uptime to ensure that the circuit is available when you most need it. You also need to consider what happens if something goes awry. Leased line SLAs will offer you a better target fix time in the event of something going wrong. If you’re relying on, for example, cloud access for your day-to-day business operation, this type of guarantee is essential.
When you’re considering switching to a leased line it’s vital to look not just at the technology, but also at the service provider. Look at what they’re offering in terms of SLAs but also consider the skills and experience the service provider has to offer. Membership of professional bodies along with accreditations from major equipment and software suppliers will provide evidence that they have the skills needed to maintain a high-quality service that reflects its importance to your business.
While broadband offers a connection that is fine for home users and may indeed be adequate for small and start-up businesses, once you start to grow and make more extensive use of the internet, its deficiencies become clear. Opting for a leased line not only promises stronger performance, its reliability, backed by SLAs makes it a strong contender where using the net is key to your business.
If you’d like to read more about the differences between leased lines and broadband, click here.
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