The price of leased lines is falling and they are becoming more accessible and affordable.
Essentially, a leased line is a permanent network connection between two points; typically the local telephone exchange (also known as the PoP – the Internet Service Providers Point of Presence) and a company’s premises. They offer an ‘uncontended service’, i.e. the connection is completely dedicated to you.
Is a leased line right for your business?
- Users: A leased line is usually recommended for organisations with 20+ users
- Internet Usage: If your user count is below 20, a leased line may still be a good idea if your internet usage is high. For example, regular use of video conferencing, or if you have employees accessing your network from various locations, i.e. remote workers or multiple offices.
- Back-up Plan: What would happen if the internet connection failed? Would you lose money? Then opt for a leased line. It should come with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Service Level Guarantees (SLGs) – meaning problems are usually fixed quicker than ADSL ones.
How is the cost calculated?
- Location: The price is driven by the distance the provider is from your building.
- Competition: Talk to a supplier that works with a wide range of potential networks to ensure the best search of the market takes place. In rural locations there will be fewer suppliers and possibly less competitive rates.
- Bandwidth: The more bandwidth you require the higher the cost. Some suppliers will have deals on certain speeds so it’s worth asking for a variation of speeds on your quotation.
- Technology: Leased lines would traditionally be provided using fibre optic cable. However EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile) and GEA (General Ethernet Access) are newer options which provide the same service at a reduced cost.
Finally, look at the overall advantages of opting for a leased line in comparison to other broadband connections:
Leased lines offer far higher speeds; they can be bought at speeds of 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 1000Mbps or even 10,000Mbps. ADSL is advertised as being ‘Up to 8Mbps’. ADSL2+ is advertised as being ‘Up to 20’ or 24Mbps’. The real speeds available drop dramatically the further you are from the exchange.
No Slow-Down at Peak Times
ADSL is usually a ‘contended service’; i.e. the bandwidth from your local exchange to your ISP is promised to 20+ customers. At peak times when many customers are surfing the web, this lack of backhaul capacity causes your Internet connection to slow down. Leased lines, in contrast, are dedicated to you, and you alone.
Many people think they have a 4Mbps connection or a 6Mbps connection. However, that’s just the download speed. The upstream speed is usually closer to 800kbps. If you want to use online backup, transfer files via FTP, or let staff connect to their work PCs from home using Remote-Desktop-Protocol then the upload speed is important. Leased lines are symmetric, so they offer a much faster upload speed.
Some broadband connections run over a standard copper phone line which ends up in a bundle on the way to the exchange. Transmissions in other phone lines in the bundle can induce currents in yours, causing transmission errors on your connection. Leased lines are more reliable as they use fibre-optic cable. They also come with higher-grade more-expensive hardware, which is more reliable.
What should I ask my preferred provider?
- Protection: Bespoke SLA’s for your business are a real selling point – so ensure you’re receiving this service when signing up.
- Contention: Ask for an uncontended service and get it in writing.
- Ability: Speak to an independent telecoms supplier who can look around for you and find you the best quote from a variety of suppliers. When doing this it’s important to check that the supplier will be able to resolve any issues should they arise.
Leased lines can provide an unbeatable level of internet connectivity, although it may not always be necessary for your business. When buying, always ensure the solution is bespoke to your business. Any good telecommunications supplier should put your business and its needs first when recommending a broadband connection, but it’s always handy to know the basic facts.
About the Author
Nolan Braterman is from Frontier Voice and Data providing businesses with working, flexible, bespoke and price competitive communications solutions for more than thirty years. FVD is an independent supplier and carries a comprehensive, business grade suite of products to suit any type or size of company. See: http://fvdata.co.uk/