5 Things Every Business Should Know Before Signing Up for Internet Service

When leasing office space, one of the most important things businesses need is technology - and that includes fast, reliable Internet. Unfortunately though, you won't find that in every office building. Before signing a lease, it’s important for office tenants and brokers to ask about the broadband capabilities in the building and do their research about what those speeds really mean for the business.

Internet access is measured in Megabits per Second (Mbps), which is the actual speed of your Internet connection. For example, 1,000 megabits per second, or 1 gig, can mean downloading 100 photos, or 100 songs or downloading an HD movie in seven seconds. While your company might not be downloading too many songs or movies, any connection that can move that quickly is going to help your company crunch data, take VOiP calls, upload to the cloud, use SaaS tools, research, program, and generally handle business in the best and most efficient way possible. When it comes to high-speed broadband, looking for a building that has fiber (or where it can be realistically installed) can mean a better experience for employees, and ultimately, the business.

Broadband access can help office tenants run their business efficiently, keep customers happy, and transfer data quickly, without a lot of lag time. When considering an office’s broadband capabilities and trying to determine what they actually mean for the business, consider these 5 essential tips:

1. Take the time to learn about what your company really needs when it comes to bandwidth - and not just now - but in the coming weeks and months. For example, if you only have five people in the office doing light web browsing and emailing, then a 4 to 10 Mbps download/upload speed can work for you. If you plan on growing your number of employees or using more cloud applications in the near future, then this speed is not going to be fast enough for the work you’re going to need to do on a daily basis.

2. Make sure that when looking at Internet speeds, you are looking at both the download AND upload speeds that you are signing up for. Carriers will often offer what are called “asymmetrical” speeds, which are much higher download speeds than upload speeds. This means that anytime you want to save a document to the cloud, have a video chat, or add an attachment to an email, you could be waiting several minutes because your upload speed is much slower than your download speed.

3. Another tip is to read the fine print, since service providers will oftentimes advertise between 99%-99.99999% uptime. Sounds good right? But what this actually means is that your connection will be down for anywhere between 7 hours to just a few seconds per month. The difference is huge and is often overlooked.

4. Not all internet connections are created equal. When signing up for service, make sure that you understand whether you are signing up for a basic broadband package, which will often be from a cable company and advertise “up to speeds”, vs. a dedicated connection that is guaranteeing your subscribed speeds.

5. If your company has 10 or more devices connected to the internet and is using tools like cloud applications, video conferencing, or HD streaming, then look for a connections of 50 Mpbs download/upload or greater. This will allow your company to seamlessly operate without worrying about wasting valuable time every day waiting on your lagging connection.

These general guidelines (along with advice from a trusted IT technician, consultant, or CTO) can help guide your business’s relocation decision and help you make sure you receive the best speeds for your business.

In addition to wireline broadband, if you’re an entrepreneur or manager, you know the value of being available for your business at all times. For the times you can’t be in front of your computer, having lightning-fast options for wireless access for your company's location can mean the ability to use laptops for more flexible office arrangements, and the ability to send and receive information in real time on your smartphone, instead of missing important emails due to slow Wi-Fi. What exactly is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi is the term used for wireless connectivity used in offices through the use of multiple Wireless Access Points or Hot Spots. These Access Points are typically connected back to a traditional wired connection within an office. For Wi-Fi, the range for Wireless Access Points in an office is usually about 66 feet depending on obstructions, and the more access points within an office, the better the Wi-Fi coverage will be.

The better connected the building is, the more options the office tenant has in determine the best telecom and IT scenario for their business. That’s why understanding the basics of broadband can help guide a relocation decision, and help managers determine if a building or space can support the technical demands of their business.

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