As bandwidth becomes more available and affordable, businesses must ask tough questions of prospective service providers. Before making a connectivity decision, they must understand precisely what is being offered – or risk being saddled with a solution that does not meet their requirements and is possibly detrimental to their business.
So says Andre Joubert, GM of MWEB Business, who points out that the biggest benefit to businesses of lower bandwidth costs will be their ability to extract greater value for money – more speed for the same cost (or even lower costs).
“Businesses will therefore be in a position to upgrade their access speeds and thus their productivity without incurring additional overheads,” he explains.
The challenge for businesses, however, will be to choose the connectivity option that best suits their needs in terms of performance and price.
“The greatest risk to business productivity as bandwidth becomes more affordable and available will be the plethora of bargain basement deals that will become available – deals based on compromised performance,” he warns.
Joubert notes that leased Diginet lines will remain the “Rolls Royce” of connectivity solutions for the foreseeable future. They allow for real-time communication within the organisation, as well as reliable, always-on connectivity at a controlled cost that need not be prohibitive. The service is uninterrupted, the line quality consistent and the infrastructure is scalable.
However, the high performance, reliability and security offered by leased line connectivity is often unnecessary for many businesses. For most, ADSL offers a viable alternative.
“The trick is to choose the right ADSL connection – at the right price,” he says.
For businesses with high traffic volumes, uncapped ADSL is ideal. But not all uncapped ADSL services deliver the same level of performance. Many ADSL options are designed for home users and may not suit the requirements of a business.
Businesses opting to go the ADSL route should therefore check all the specifications of the service being offered: whether the uncapped service is also shaped and throttled; if any valued-added services are included; and whether round-the-clock technical support is available.
For organisations requiring even higher levels of performance than can be delivered by a standard ADSL connection, but which also cannot justify the expense of a leased line, bonded ADSL is the way to go.
Bonded ADSL works by “bonding” up to four standard ADSL connections to create a single virtual connection – greatly increasing the available speed of the connection – at a price well within reach of most businesses.
Finally, for businesses that require extremely secure connectivity between branches, remote offices and distant end-users, an ADSL-based Virtual Private Network (VPNs) – particularly one that is uncapped – offers an affordable alternative to a private leased-line wide area network (WAN).