It may be a service that you’ve taken for granted as always ‘just being there’. But evaluate the importance of business internet in today’s digitally-run world and you’ll realise just how critical being online is to the lifeblood of your operations.
Chances are, you’re here because you’re evaluating your business internet options, or maybe you require a temporary business internet solution. It’s no secret that the working environment is changing. Remote working, flexible workplaces, the need to connect on the move and a higher-than-ever rate of office relocations means that business internet has become an increasingly hot topic.
Here we cover the basics of business internet. We explain the best solutions available for different business scenarios, and cover the pros and cons for consideration. By the end of it you should have an understanding of which business internet solution best fits your needs.
Business internet for a fixed office location
If you’re evaluating a new or existing internet provider for your office space, the most reliable internet connection will typically come from a fixed fibre connection into the building. The fibre can be dedicated to just your business or shared amongst many businesses within the same building.
If you’re in a shared office space then the first natural step is to talk to the building management company and explore the option of using the existing fibre. This would have the immediate benefit of removing expensive installation fees.
You’ll want to understand the bandwidth capabilities and how many people are using the fibre, so you can get a feel of whether it has the capacity to cope with your demands too. Performance can degrade if the fibre is being shared between too many users.
Whilst a fibre connection is generally the most reliable form of business internet solution, It is worth noting that is not necessarily your only choice (depending on the contractual terms for your office space) and there may be reasons that you opt not to share this resource.
If you feel a dedicated line is required, you could explore the many providers on the market that offer dedicated leased line services.
Whilst it is more costly to have your own dedicated line, this will offer you the best performance, you have control over your contractual terms and there won’t be contention issues with other users sharing the line.
If however, you’re looking for an agile business internet option then installing a leased line isn’t a sensible investment for the long term as it can’t be relocated. This is where you may want to explore more portable business internet options. We cover this further down this guide under ‘roaming office spaces’.
If you’re moving offices, then you may be in the process of getting a fixed fibre or leased line option like above installed. But this can take time. Providers like BT most likely won’t be able to get you up and running for 30 days or more, so you may need a temporary internet connection to tide you over until your more permanent solution is up and running.
These can often be installed within a day or two, and the contract-free options available on the market give you the flexibility to extend the term of your hire until your fixed line has been installed and is working.
A temporary internet connection of this nature often comes as a small, portable box that carries its own 4G or 5G business grade internet connection. You can simply plug it in and connect to it like you would your home router. Except it’s made for a larger number of users and comes with more bandwidth. It’s simple, fast and mobile so a great option for a fix between services.
When speaking to temporary internet providers for an office relocation here’s a quick checklist of things to clarify:
- Installation timescales
- Is it engineer installation or self-installation?
- Are there any limitations to the service given your office layout/size (make sure you are aware of structures that could impede signal like metal walls).
- Cancellation terms
- Support/maintenance costs or anything likely to add extra charges
- Support SLAs
- Service requirements (e.g. power)
- Capacity limitations. Understanding what your team need to do over the internet e.g. streaming, download speeds based on the nature of the job can help ensure adequate service provisioning.
Performance and reliability of temporary internet for relocations and temporary business internet needs is so good nowadays that some businesses even opt to use this as their long term internet solution. If it works for you, then it’s a solid option.
If you don’t have a fixed office space and instead work on the road, across multiple locations or move about fairly frequently with your business, then installing a fixed fibre internet connection isn’t going to work for you.
There are, however, excellent alternatives. By using either a 4G/5G connection, or satellite connection, you can move your internet service with you much more easily and at a fraction of the cost of installing a new fixed fibre every time you move (and the ongoing cost of having multiple fixed lines).
A business WiFi provider can help assess your different workplace locations and come up with the most cost effective solution or solutions to fit your needs.
It is likely that you may have to spend on additional engineering resources when you move to a new work location to ensure continuity of service, but this cost can be weighed up against that of a permanent installation with its contractual ties.
Connectivity has even been installed in work vans which is a real game changer for field based workers, maximising their time spent out on the road.
Short term connectivity
You may work in events, in film and TV, on construction sites or have a business that tours across the country. There are many businesses that have made leaps thanks to the invention of mobile, short term connectivity. We could be talking hire for just a few days. Temporary WiFi solutions that use 4G/5G can be hired on a daily basis.
Working in the middle of a field with just a laptop may even be possible, but if there’s no power available then make sure that the solution contains an in-built power source.
Getting a portable WiFi box shipped to you for weekend use is now a common occurrence. Think connectivity for brand activations, sales promotions, festivals and events. Anything’s possible providing you’ve got the right supplier.
Regardless of the length of time, location or purpose of your internet connection, it’s important to distinguish between personal and business grade internet solutions.
Personal WiFi dongles come in the form of a USB stick or wireless device with an inbuilt 4G or 5G connection that you can connect a laptop to. While they are great for professionals to access the internet on the go (think trains, planes, hotel rooms) they can be slow, and only support a single device, meaning they won’t provide suitable business internet access for a productive office environment.
For an internet connection to support professional businesses, you’ll need business grade hardware. Then you can connect more than one user at a time, download large business files, live stream media and be confident of reliable uninterrupted video calls, business SaaS tools access, email and other typical business activities all running simultaneously.
For more business internet advice, contact our team of experts at email@example.com.