Find out what a point to point leased line is and how it could benefit your business
If your business operates on more than one site, then you need to be able to transfer data reliably between them. It may also be the case that you have a single data centre needing to connect to a number of other sites. Although you can use business broadband to do this, many people want to have a more reliable, secure way of connecting so that they are able to operate a wide area network across their locations with no loss of performance caused by distance or other factors and no security risk from using public networks.
The answer to providing this connectivity is to install private line internet to provide a point to point connection between two sites. This gives you dedicated leased lines allowing you to deliver seamless networking across all your locations.
So, what is a point to point leased line? Point to point leased lines are delivered in much the same way as business broadband connections or internet-connected dedicated leased lines. The main difference is that private line internet will always be provided via an all-fibre circuit with no copper cable involved.
In most cases, dedicated leased lines arrive via a street cabinet; these are the big green metal boxes you see on street corners or at the side of the road. A fibre optic link from the exchange runs to the cabinet and from there a further fibre cable brings the service to your building. Compared to a business broadband connection, point to point leased lines take a little longer to install as they are dedicated leased lines, and they’re a bit more expensive. But the advantages a private line internet delivers are significant and we’ll look at those next.
What is a point to point leased line?
Linking your premises using point to point leased lines has a number of advantages. The big plus is that the line is synchronous. This means that the maximum data speeds are the same in each direction. Broadband, by contrast, is asynchronous, which means that the download speeds you can get are much faster than upload speeds.
You can verify this quite easily for yourself by using one of the free online speed testers that are available. On a standard domestic fibre broadband connection, the upload speed is generally only about a 20th or less of the download speed. This is nothing to worry about while most of your data is incoming, for example when you’re listening to music on Spotify or catching up on TV shows you missed on iPlayer. But if you need to transmit large amounts of data the other way, to send another user files or to backup data to another site for disaster recovery purposes, then an asynchronous connection presents a major drawback. With a point to point leased line, you’ll have no problem uploading specifications to your manufacturing site or sharing large data files between departments in different locations.
A leased line is also exclusively for your use, so there’s no contention. What this means is that the speed of your connection won’t be slowed down by the number of other people in the area using the same connection at the same time as can happen if you rely on broadband. Once the connection leaves your premises, with a leased line it’s all yours. Again, you can test the effect of contention on a broadband connection for yourself by running a speed test at different times of the day. You’ll find that your domestic broadband is generally slower in the evening when most people are online.
You’ll benefit from low latency with a point-to-point leased line too. What this means is that there’s much less delay in responding to requests for data which gives the line a faster feel, so users at remote sites will get similar performance to those at the head office.
Finally, a leased line means that there’s no restriction on the volume of data you can transfer. Again, the best way to explain this is in contrast to broadband, which is often subject to usage restrictions. This means that on broadband there’s a limit on the amount of data you can transfer each month before you pay an extra charge. Even so-called ‘unlimited’ services tend to have a ‘fair use’ clause which means that the ISP can restrict your service if it thinks you’re using it too much. A point to point leased line gets around all of these problems. The speed is the same both ways, the line is dedicated to your use, and there are no data restrictions. This means you can benefit from a fast connection across all your sites.
There’s also, of course, a security advantage. The data on a point to point leased line is being transmitted directly between your premises, rather like having one big internal Ethernet network. It isn’t being sent over the wider internet so there’s minimal chance of it being intercepted. You can also apply your own standards of encryption to the information in order to make it extra secure. Plus, the login standards of your network are applied to the link so you can ensure its privacy.
You are able to determine your own traffic priorities on a point-to-point leased line too, ensuring that the most important information needed for your day-to-day business operation takes priority over less critical transmissions such as archiving or backups.
The business case
Now we understand what is a point to point leased line in terms of technology we need to look at what it can do for your business. There are a number of things to consider. We’ve already looked at the technology advantages of synchronous speeds and greater security. What all of this adds up to is a seamless user experience across your systems for all of your staff wherever they are located.
As well as enabling the transmission of data you can also make use of video conferencing and VoIP telephony. Not only will you find that these services are able to run more smoothly, you can significantly cut the cost of communication by eliminating phone calls between sites.
Of course, all of this depends on having a reliable connection and the service level agreements (SLAs) on point to point lines reflect this. Guaranteed uptime levels are higher than on broadband circuits, typically giving you 99.9 percent service availability. If your business is around the clock operation then it’s important to know that you’ll have a connection that’s always available – to allow orders to be processed at your warehouse for example.
The SLA should also guarantee you a better target fix time in the event of a problem occurring. You’re opting for a leased line because it’s important for the smooth running of your business, so downtime will be losing you money. Getting problems fixed fast is therefore vital.
As businesses become more geographically diverse, it’s more and more likely that staff will be given the chance to work from other locations. This allows them to work closer to home or via several different branch offices should they be in mobile roles. Linking locations using point to point leased line connections means that wherever people are working, you can offer them the same level and speed of service and access to corporate systems and data.
This is because you not only get faster upload speeds thanks to the synchronous circuit (that is the speeds are the same in both directions) but you don’t have to worry about contention with other users. You won’t face any unwelcome bills for exceeding a data allowance either. In addition, you benefit from a reliable, secure circuit with a business-focused support that’s geared to commercial use, so if there is a problem it will be fixed quickly.
If your business operates across more than one location or if you need to service several sites from a central data centre, then using point to point lines is something you should seriously consider. Find out about the latest point to point leased line deals.
For more information on the best leased line solution for your business, get in touch online today.
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