Starting a business is both an exciting and daunting experience. Considering concept, name, logo, office location, office furnishing and even the internet set up is enough to drive anyone mad. Luckily we can help you out a bit. Here are five things to know about your internet set up.
Considering connection types
It’s important to note the size of your business. For most small businesses with two to four people, an ADSL2+ service is fine. ADSL stands for Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (more on that in a bit). Providing that you’re relatively close to the exchange and you have good quality copper wiring, a single ADSL2+ service will be enough to cater for your entire office. However, if you’re in the business of graphic design, architecture, printing or another business that involves sending large files over the internet, you will find that an ADSL2+ connection will not cut it. This is because of the way DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) technology works. ADSL service, such as ADSL2+, delivers data on a single channel. As the name suggests, the speed of an ADSL2+ connection is asynchronous. That means that, while you may be able to download to your heart’s content at a 24Mbps down and 1Mbps up data transfer speed, the moment someone starts sending a large file on your connection, you will experience slow-downs. It’s the same concept as running water through a single hose in one direction and trying to run water through the same hose in the opposite direction. The strongest current will win, killing the other flow of water. In terms of DSL services, the stronger current is the upload speed. So when a file bigger than 1Mb is sent, the internet connection is slowed down to make room for it.
Enter ethernet connections. Ethernet connections are delivered with two channels. One channel is dedicated for downstream data while the second channel is dedicated to upstream data and never the two shall meet. Ethernet services are ideal for offices with six or more people and for businesses which deal with uploading (sending) large files, so consider investing in an ethernet connection if your business falls in this category.
Invest in a failover connection
Being offline, particularly for businesses that rely so much on the internet, can be debilitating. For businesses which MUST remain online at all times, a failover connection is the best solution. A failover connection is a secondary or redundant connection which serves as an emergency back up in the event that the main connection goes down. Failover connections are usually delivered through a different technology than that of the main connection. Ethernet over copper cabling, ethernet over fibre cabling and DSL services are slaves to the local exchange. This means that if the outage is exchange based, having an ADSL2+ service as a failover connection for an ethernet connection will not work, as both services will be affected by the outage. In this instance, a wireless connection such as 3G, 4G and wireless ethernet would be best, as these connections are delivered through a different network.
As your business grows and gets into the swing of things, your need for a faster internet connection will also grow. Switching from one internet technology to the next can take a long time, and that old internet connection you’ve outgrown will not do you any favours while you wait for an upgrade. Depending on the speed of your company’s growth, you may want to invest in the more expensive fibre optic connection from the get go. Fibre optic connections are capable of delivering higher speeds than copper, and the upgrade is usually just a non-intrusive build at the carrier’s end. Providing that you have equipment that is future proofed, downtime can be minimised to just an hour or less.
In contrast, changing from an existing copper-based connection (such as ethernet over copper or DSL) to fibre will take several weeks, if not months, to complete. You will also receive periodic tech visits from your carrier and internet service provider, which will only add to the disruption in your day-to-day activities. Fibre is not available everywhere, so speak to your service provider and see if you can get fibre at your location.
IT is your friend
Having a fast internet connection is great and all, but it means nothing to a poorly configured private network. While not every business can justify having its own internal IT department, there are IT companies out there who offer their services for a fraction of the cost. Armed with the latest technological know-how, IT technicians can advise you on how to secure your network and also ensure that you do not have bottlenecks on your network that can cause slowdowns.
Protecting your small business online is vital. There are many ways to secure your network to protect your assets. Antivirus, antimalware, antispam and all sorts of other protective software are available in the market. While some software options will complement each other, there are some combinations that cancel each other out, so speak to an IT professional for advice on getting the right protection.
Starting a new business can be exhausting. Hopefully these tips can at least help you get your internet connection sorted. Unsure of anything we’ve said here? Leave a comment below and let us know!