With access to a fast and reliable internet connection in the workplace becoming more important by the day, it is essential for business owners to understand the ins and outs of their internet connection.
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when choosing an internet connection is whether your business would be better suited for a Shared Internet Access (SIA) or a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA). In this post, we’ll examine those two options and discuss why you might choose one over the other.
But first, we will help you understand the key factors that determine the quality of your internet connection.
Understanding Your Internet
Before we begin the comparison between Shared and Dedicated internet access, it will be helpful to understand the main factors that determine the quality of your internet connection. The main two factors are going to be bandwidth and internet speed. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data your connection can handle at any moment, while internet speed refers to the maximum rate you can transmit that data. Both are measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or more recently, gigabits per second (Gbps).
What does that mean for you? Social media sites, streaming services, video conferencing platforms, VoIP phone systems, and cloud-based software applications all use your bandwidth. If these tasks max out your bandwidth, you will see a decrease in available internet speed that will affect the performance of these applications. That could result in low-quality phone calls, freeze frames during zoom meetings, or long delays while uploading or downloading files. Most internet service providers will advertise a maximum bandwidth, upload, and download speed, but not all providers are able to guarantee your access to these bandwidth and internet speeds. This is the essence of the difference between Shared Internet Access and Dedicated Internet Access.
Shared Internet Access (SIA)
Shared Internet Access is based on the internet access model most people are familiar with in their own homes. Since the internet access is shared, the bandwidth is being used by all subscribers simultaneously. In the typical residential setting, that would be you and others in your neighborhood or surrounding area.
For a business, the access would be shared by all businesses within the office complex or adjacent vicinity. If a large proportion of customers sharing the internet access are utilizing the connection simultaneously, the maximum speed you receive will be diminished.
The biggest and only benefit of having an SIA is going to be in the cost. While you are sharing the access to say 100 Mbps of bandwidth, you also get to share in the cost of supplying that 100 Mbps. For smaller organizations that do not have essential daily business functions that rely on internet access, a Shared Internet Access may be all that is required.
Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)
Dedicated Internet Access provides a consistent and guaranteed amount of bandwidth. Therefore, there is no “up to” amounts of bandwidth. If your contract calls for 500 Mbps of bandwidth on a DIA, then that is always the amount of bandwidth available to you.
The benefits to an organization choosing to use a Dedicated Internet Access over a Shared Internet Access are quite evident. First, since you have access to all the bandwidth you were promised, you don’t ever have to deal with your connection slowing down during peak usage times. Also, a DIA are almost always symmetrical, which means the upload and download speeds are the exact same. If your office is regularly downloading and uploading files to other offices, clients, cloud servers, or video conferencing, the upload speed available to you becomes a critical concern. Shared Internet Access connections will provide their customers with a much lower upload speed than download speed.
The final and, depending on the amount of time you have to deal with customer support, most important benefit of a DIA connection over an SIA connection is the level of client engagement you receive. Many SIAs choose not to guarantee any level of performance or response time in case of an outage.
Many customers are left spending hours navigating through a cycle of automated customer service troubleshooting when experiencing an issue with their internet services. Once they are finally connected to a real-life customer support representative, that person will not be familiar with any individual account.
With a DIA, the technical support offered to clients is considerably more attentive. Accounts are under direct management by one designated and knowledgeable account manager who is acquainted with the individual account and capable of handling most technical issues. DIA clients can contact their account manager directly without having to navigate the automated cycle.
For the reasons listed above, you can expect to pay a premium for Dedicated Internet Access when compared with Shared Internet Access since one customer will be assuming the complete cost of the connection. While some smaller companies or retailers without internet dependency will find a DIA to be out of the budget for their straightforward internet use, most businesses today will find a DIA is a necessity. From the most reliable connection and speed, guaranteed uptime, increased productivity, and personalized customer service, the benefits of DIA for businesses prove time and time again to be a worthwhile investment.
Consequently, you eventually find yourself having to ask if your affordable Shared Internet Access is actually saving you money? Do fluctuations in bandwidth cause your employees to slow down their work or decrease their performance? Dedicated Internet Access may have a higher investment, but the guaranteed bandwidth and reliability saves you time, money, and increases productivity.
If you have any questions about establishing Dedicated Internet Access at your business, please reach out for advice on our Contact page.