Sometimes business is about doing to best we can with what we have, other times, it’s about getting the best we can, so we can do better. In this case, I’m talking about internet. Are you chugging along with an outdated connection, or do you have the best internet option for your business? Here’s a look at what you might need, and the options that are available.
The size of your company and the number of computers should factor into your choice of internet connection. If you run a small business, with less than a couple dozen employees whose primary internet use is banking, email and data backup, you can probably stick with ADSL. It’s an affordable option, and if it covers all your needs, there’s not much need for change.
For larger companies, ADSL may struggle with high volumes of traffic. With dozens of computers all connected to the same line, speeds will drop drastically. ADSL uses the standard phone lines to send and receive data, so it isn’t equipped to handle more than a few users at any given time. Fiber can keep up with heavy traffic without dropping speed.
ADSL has a maximum speed of about 40 Mbps, but this is unrealistic at the best of times. Because there are multiple users on a single line, whatever speed your connection is will be divided by the number of devices connected – i.e. a 20Mbps connection, with 10 computers, is essentially 2 Mbps. Distance is also a factor. On an ADSL connection, the further you are from a telephone exchange, the slower your connection. Fiber isn’t limited this way – each device maintains roughly the same speed, as it isn’t limited by volume and data can travel at light speed.
In general, faster means more efficient, in which case, fiber comes out on top. Conference calls need to be good quality, which requires a fast, stable connection. Software downloads need speed. Share sales and purchases need to be instantaneous.
This is where ADSL still has the upper hand. Because ADSL still runs on the twisted pair copper wiring that telephones have been running on more or less since their invention, it’s far more widely available than fiber. You’ll probably be limited to ADSL in Saskatchewan, but have the option of fiber through an internet provider Montreal.
In dollars and cents, ADSL definitely works out cheaper, but you may not be getting a better deal. A lower cost for ADSL also means lower speed and lower bandwidth allocation – even with a higher allocation, you’re unlikely to use it all in the time frame because of the speed. With fiber, you pay more but you get what you pay for – fast, reliable internet. With fiber, you may also be able to include a good VOIP package, which will cut your company’s phone bills hugely.
The choice really comes down to what you need, what you can afford, and what’s available. Fiber is a lot faster, while ADSL is cheaper and more widely available.