Here we provide a very brief explanation of the types of internet connections currently available to businesses and organisations in the UK so you can make some simple comparisons. You can click on the links in some of the main sections below to get more detail.
Broadband is a generic term which is mostly used to describe a low-cost high speed connection (see ADSL). In fact, broadband could be used for any high-speed connection. It is, therefore, an over-used and misunderstood term - you could argue that any of the types of internet connections available are forms of broadband.
This is the most common type of internet connection and the one you see advertised on the TV. ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. The Asymmetric part means the speed each way is different. This is what most people refer to as 'broadband'.
The download speed is always faster than the upload - for most small businesses, this is OK. However, for certain businesses, this will not be ideal.
ADSL normally has no service level agreement meaning than it can take a while to resolve faults. It resides on a normal line, which can also be faulty and worsen fault finding processes.
Whilst you can obtain speeds of up to 24Mb download, the speed varies and is dependent on many different factors. ADSL can cost from £ 15 per month and cost as much as £ 50 per month. For more detail see the following page:
This is no longer used in business although some customers still use these connections (they should replace them) - it is listed here just for completeness. ADSL is similar to SDSL apart from the speed of download is the same as the upload with SDSL but much lower - never more than 2mb however. That is why it is no longer sold - there are much better internet connections available for a similar price (eg FTTC Ethernet or EFM).
We have not provided any more information on SDSL as it is now outdated (2013).
It is possible to 'bond' 2 or more ADSL connections together. This is particularly relevant for premises where speeds are very slow due to the distance of the premises from the local BT Telephone exchange - in such circumstances, bonded ADSL could be the only cost effective way to obtain even a reasonable speed.
Fibre broadband is relatively new to the UK and has only been introduced by the BT 21st Century network roll out from British Telecom over the past 2 or 3 years (since about 2010). Also known as FTTC or 'Fibre to the Cabinet', Fibre broadband offers far greater download and upload speeds than conventional ADSL broadband. This is because the vast majority of the connection from your premises back to the BT exchange is fibre optic cable - it is typically only the last 200 metres or so (or less) that is much slower copper cable that enters your premises.
In other words, from your premises to the nearest BT cabinet that serves your premises is copper cable - it then becomes fibre from the cabinet back to the exchange.
There is more information on our dedicated page on the link below.
FTTC Ethernet is sometimes called GEA (Generic Ethernet Access). It uses the same infrastructure as fibre broadband. So if you can get fibre broadband, you should be able to get FTTC Ethernet.
Speed can be up to 20Mbps and it is synchronous (same speed up and down). There is a Service Level Agreement - the service is uncontended (not shared so it is all yours! - Note this is not the case with all suppliers).
EFM is a relatively new type of internet connection. EFM stands for 'Ethernet First Mile'.
EFM is relatively simple - it is bundles of copper cables presented together. As there are multiple cables, the speeds are faster - typically up to 20Mbps. Also, speeds are the same both ways so EFM connections are more attractive than ADSL connections in certain scenarios. They are also far less costly than leased lines and still offer reliability - see our dedicated page on the link below:
A leased line is a dedicated internet connection purely for your use. These days, a leased line is a dedicated connection to the public internet.
If your business or organization wants the most reliable and/or fastest connection possibly with service level guarantees and fast fix rates, then a leased line is what you need. Of course, it is the most expensive option on this page. There are various 'flavours' of leased lines. For more information, see our page below:
MPLS is normally used for an organisation with multiple sites requiring different types of information to be sent between the sites.
In case you are interested, MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Layer Switching. We have a dedicated page with much more detail on MPLS here:
LLU - Local Loop Unbundled
This rather strange term refers to BT Exchange areas where non-BT suppliers have bought or rented space in the BT exchange so they can install their own (normally faster) equipment. The local BT cabling servicing the various premises served by the exchange is then used to provide connections to businesses and residential customers alike. In other words these suppliers are using BT's local loop of cables to provide service.
In some areas, enterprising suppliers have also had fibre cabling installed where BT will not install it. For instance, in rural areas, some non-BT suppliers have identified rural areas overlooked by BT and tried to fill the gap - one such company local to us who have done this is CallFlow Solutions in East Peckham, Kent. Although they are actually our competitors in many ways, we are working with them in order to provide customers with decent internet connections where BT will not!
Call us if you need advice on this.
Satellite and Wireless Broadband
Sometimes, the way to obtain a reasonable broadband speed is to find a specialist supplier offering Satellite broadband or Wireless broadband. We have had limited success with such solutions but this is available in certain areas - if you have any success stories, be sure to share them with us so we can publish them on this page.
Callflow Solutions, mentioned above, have been rolling such services out across rural areas in Kent.
If your premises are rural, then we don't have to tell you how difficult it can be to get a decent business internet connection! Read the preceding 2 paragraphs on LLU and Satellite and Wireless Broadband and give us a call for best advice.
As you will probably know, using a Smart Phone is another way to gain access to the internet, using either 3G or, now, 4G (only limited availability at the time of writing). So you can use an iPhone, iPad, Samsung smartphone, HTC device or similar with a data bundle included from your mobile phone provider.
We are able to supply almost any type of mobile and mobile phone package.
You do not have to have a mobile phone to access the internet whilst on the move. You can also obtain a USB 'dongle'. This is a little USB stick (like a memory stick) that can be connected to your laptop, PC or router allowing you to gain access to the internet using the Mobile network. Again, we can provide these as part of a mobile phone package to suit your requirement.
There is also a clever way to use your computer device (laptop, tablet or iPad) that does not have mobile internet via a smart phone device that does have mobile internet (in other words it has a SIMM card inside) - this is called 'tethering' and it basically allows mobile internet access from a non-mobile device via a device that is mobile. On Apple's iPads and iPhones, it is called a personal hotspot (as opposed to tethering).
Note this page and the various pages noted here are constantly being updated - if there is any information missing that you require, please let us know.
We hope that this brief overview of options available for commercial use has helped you. If you feel this is well written and informative, please be sure you share this page using the various buttons available on the page and help us spread the word that we are here to help and partner with businesses and organisations - thanks in advance!
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