Both residential broadband services and business leased lines are capable of providing an internet connection, so what are the differences? If your business is wondering whether to choose a residential connection or a leased line for business use, this quick guide is designed to explain the key differences.
Leased lines provide businesses with a dedicated connection between their premises and the internet service providers network. This means the bandwidth is available solely to your business and your service will not be affected during peak times. In contrast, residential broadband is shared between other broadband users which use the same street cabinet. During peak times when other users are trying to access the internet, it is likely your service will be slower.
Thanks to the dedicated connection, leased lines also tend to have lower latency and jitter than residential connections. If your business regularly uses video conferencing, streams videos or requires quick connection to databases or financial trading data, a fibre line with a high bandwidth is likely to be important.
There are leased line providers which can offer speeds of up to 10Gbps, whereas the maximum speeds provided by standard residential lines are much lower. Leased line connections also provide symmetric connection speeds, so upload and download speeds will be exactly the same. In comparison, residential lines could provide download speeds of up to 20Mbps and upload speeds of just 1.4Mbps.
It is also worth bearing in mind that when you sign up for a leased line connection, your business will be provided with a fixed connection speed. It may also be possible for your service provider to prioritise your traffic, for example, you could also ask for telephony calls to be prioritised above the usual web traffic. In comparison, most residential connections are provided with best possible speed figures, which means the actual speeds achieved may be lower than expected.
Although many residential broadband providers offer great levels of customer service and a reliable connection, businesses with a leased line connection will benefit from Service Level Agreements. This means that providers will guarantee to provide certain levels of service, with compensation if these targets are not met. For example, certain faults are guaranteed to be fixed within just a few hours, which means any downtime for businesses is kept to a minimum.
Alongside these service level guarantees, leased line providers may also offer a service availability or uptime guarantee. This is typically set at 99.9% over a certain period of time, so if your service falls below this level you will be entitled to compensation or a refund. Although, there are a handful of broadband providers which do offer an uptime guarantee, so it is always worth checking the fine print.
In general, broadband services are used by residential customers which do not need the bandwidth and reliability that business users often depend on. Although, some smaller businesses will choose residential broadband services, if the business does not require a high-speed connection for multiple users.
The majority or residential broadband services are provided with dynamic IP addresses, whereas leased lines are offered with either a single or a small number of fixed IP addresses. This is ideal for businesses which need to provide customers with access to their internet connection, as the IP address will always remain the same.
Leased line contracts tend to be offered for longer periods of time, with 24, 36, 48 and even 60-month contract lengths common. In comparison, residential broadband services are offered with shorter contracts, which are usually 12, 18 or 24 months long. There are some providers which offer shorter leased line contracts; however, your business will probably be charged a large installation fee, whereas residential installation is often free of charge.
Residential broadband tends to be much quicker to install, with most connections typically up and running within 10-15 working days. In comparison, leased lines will take longer to install, so your business may have to wait between 60 and 90 working days for the connection.
Typical residential broadband connections will simply provide a link to the core internet providers network. However, if your business would like to link multiple sites or offices, this may be possible with a leased line circuit. This would create a network with a wider area, which would allow for data and IT resources to be shared such as SANs and servers, without having to travel via the internet.
Standard residential broadband is delivered via phone lines, so these can also be used for a phone service. In comparison, leased lines tend to be provided via cables with no phone lines in place, even the EFM copper cables are not capable of being used as phone lines. If you have a leased line connection and want a telephone, you will need SIP trunks or a subscription to a Cloud PBX service.
The best option for your business will depend on the exact requirements of your business. Leased lines are more expensive, so you need to weigh up how important the improved connection and speed is for your business. If your business only has a handful of people using the internet, a residential connection may be adequate. However, for larger businesses which rely heavily on a strong, fast connection, a leased line is likely to be worth the investment.
Here at BusinessComparison, we have partnered with the leading UK providers of leased lines, so we can help your business find affordable services with the features you need. To find out more about our leased line comparison services, please contact our dedicated team today.