Shared vs. Dedicated Internet: What's Right for Your Business?
Bandwidth and internet speed are two important factors to consider.
Articles published March 18, 2021 by Kai Johnson
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to think about how they can improve their workplace environments for employees, including upgrades to IT infrastructure. Businesses have grown more accustomed than ever to using internet-based technology to get things done.
When your employees are in the office, they are going to need a reliable internet connection to help them maximize their usage of cloud-based applications and communications technology. An investment in dedicated internet access can enhance collaboration and boost productivity.
Assessing Your Existing Internet Access
Before we compare shared internet access and dedicated internet access for business use, it’s helpful to understand some of the factors that determine how good your internet connection is.
Bandwidth and internet speed are two of the more influential factors to consider when assessing your existing office internet access and determining whether it’s time for an upgrade. Bandwidth is the maximum rate or capacity at which a network can transfer data. Internet speed — typically displayed in megabits per second — measures the actual rate at which data travels. Most internet providers will present you with maximum upload and download speeds when advertising plans.
Video conferencing platforms, cloud-based software applications, social media sites, streaming services, and other essential tech tools all use bandwidth. If your bandwidth maxes out, then you will start to notice a decrease in performance when using web-based services and applications.
Every internet connection should have a specified maximum bandwidth. However, not all internet providers guarantee that your bandwidth will consistently perform at maximum capacity.
What Is Shared Internet? What Is Dedicated Internet?
Shared internet access is similar to the broadband internet access you pay for at home where all subscribers to the service share bandwidth. If your business subscribes to a 100 Mbps shared connection, it will likely receive far less bandwidth during peak business traffic periods. Think about all of those times you had issues with video conference calls early on in the pandemic. That is likely because you were working on a shared internet access plan.
Meanwhile, dedicated internet access provides guaranteed bandwidth. If your business subscribes to a 100 Mbps dedicated connection then that is the bandwidth you will receive. If for some reason you are not hitting the recommended bandwidth, you can reach out for assistance.
Shared internet plans may suffice for smaller organizations but in an increasingly connected world, reliable internet access is a must for conducting business and maintaining productivity. It’s important to assess your current setup and consider the benefits of upgrading your bandwidth before jumping to any major decisions. Cost is often the biggest hurdle for businesses.
Benefits of Dedicated Internet Access
We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” When you invest in dedicated internet access — also known as DIA — you are paying a premium for guaranteed bandwidth. That means your internet access is more consistent and better performing, which can boost productivity.
Following are a few of the most common benefits of upgrading to dedicated internet access.
Better Application Performance
More organizations are using cloud-based applications than ever before to conduct business. These applications, such as Salesforce, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Office 365, are accessible via a stable internet connection. This means that if your internet connection is running slow due to bandwidth issues, your applications might not function as well as you are accustomed to.
Making the switch to dedicated internet access often results in more reliable cloud-based application performance. The same logic applies to your video conferencing software. Even remote desktop connections tend to perform better when using dedicated internet access.
Synchronous Upload and Download Speeds
Dedicated internet access typically includes synchronous upload and download speeds. This means that your bandwidth guarantees the same upload and download speeds. Shared internet access plans typically offer lower upload speeds than download speeds, and no guarantees.
Fast upload speeds are critical for companies with remote workers. Cloud-based applications and VoIP technology rely on fast upload speeds for stable connections and consistent data transfer.
Greater Network Security
Dedicated internet access uses a private network connection, whereas shared internet access uses a public connection. Your network is more vulnerable on a public connection. Companies that deal with sensitive data tend to use dedicated internet access for the added security. Most reputable internet service providers also offer network monitoring and technical support with their dedicated internet access plans, alongside options to upgrade your internet security.
Additional Dedicated Internet Considerations
Dedicated internet access is more expensive than shared internet access. This is often the primary consideration for any business deciding if dedicated internet is right for them.
However, most businesses find that the boost in productivity actually makes up for the increased cost of dedicated internet access. The cost of downtime can be huge for any organization. And naturally, as internet service providers continue to expand their high-speed internet offerings, you are often receiving more bandwidth and faster internet speeds for a similar amount of money.
In addition, dedicated internet access provides greater network security with the ability to add on even more security enhancements, depending on the needs of your organization.
Still Debating If DIA Is Right for You?
Having a reliable internet connection is more important than ever when conducting business. If you’re still uncertain about the benefits of upgrading your internet access or need assistance getting the most out of your network setup, a managed IT services provider can help you out.
The experts at Aureon have plenty of experience navigating the ins-and-outs of business internet access and we can review all of the available options for your organization. We also offer our own fiber optic network that we are consistently working to upgrade and expand. As businesses continue planning the future of their work environments, now is the perfect time to think about what sort of technological upgrades you can implement to increase productivity.
How much bandwidth does your organization use? Can your download and upload speeds keep up with the pace of your business or is it time for an upgrade?