The landscape of data transfers is forever changing. As technology grows we’re forced to send and receive larger files to meet its needs. As a consequence, faster data transfers are required and one technology grows to care for another’s growing needs. This cycle is continuous, and time and time again we’ll be required to upgrade our connectivity in order to meet a growing need for data. So in the ever-changing world of data connectivity, where is one to begin deciding what connection their business needs?
Don’t be mistaken, there are plenty more reasons to upgrade your current connection than the evolution of technology. If you’re establishing a new business, your current business is growing, you’re changing locations or more there’s a need to know what you need from a data connection.
Your Businesses Data Needs and How to Meet Them
First and foremost, you need to know what your businesses demands for data will be. How many employees do you have? Are large downloads common place? Will you be frequently sending large email attachments or other files? How important is data security to your business? What is your data connectivity budget? When deciding the type of connectivity that’s appropriate for your business you’ll need to know the answers to these questions and know which are your priority. Each of the various kinds of connectivity available will cater to different needs, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with what’s available from a connection.
Static IPs – If you’re planning on using a Virtual Private Network, a static IP is a necessity. It means that instead of being a “dynamic IP address”, an IP that’s constantly changing, it will stay as one IP address assigned by your provider.
Symmetrical & Asymmetrical Connections – A connection is referred to as symmetrical when its upload speed matches its download speed. For example, 100Mpbs up and down. This is necessary if your business is going to be doing a lot of heavy uploading as the upload speed is usually significantly slower on an asymmetrical connection.
DSL, ADSL & Coax – These basic forms of connection are what you’ll most commonly be dealing with in a home or small business. DSL is the most affordable and ideal for businesses with limited bandwidth needs (less than twenty employees). ADSL is similar, but slightly higher grade. At a top speed of 20 mbps it can offer double the potential speed of DSL. Coax is the fastest of the three, reaching speeds of up to 52 mbps.
Fibre, T1 & T3 – These higher grade connections all offer symmetrical speeds and static IPs. A T1 connection will cap out at a lowly 1.5 mbps but cost less than the others. Just slower than a typical coax connection, a T3 connection can reach speeds of up to 45 mbps. These two are generally only used where Fibre isn’t available, however. Fibre connections are the newest and fastest form of data connectivity reaching speeds of up to 100 Gbps. If a coax connection isn’t meeting your needs, this is how you should be looking to upgrade.
Private vs. Public Network
Privacy and Controlled Speeds Across Multiple Locations
Likely the easiest question you’ll need to ask yourself is if your connection should be public or private. Private networks are incredibly beneficial to those businesses requiring absolute privacy or frequent, significant data transfers between one office or many. Generally, a private network is used in addition to a public connection. Simply put, the public Internet is where you are right now. Visiting this webpage or any other you might find in a typical Google search is all the realm of the public Internet. It’s accessible to everyone and therefore always vulnerable to malicious attacks. A private network (or Wide Area Network) is your own off-grid form of the Internet. As the name suggests, this network doesn’t interact with the public Internet leaving it completely safe from those not intended to have access. Being such a small, manageable form of network it also means that your speeds are guaranteed.
Private Line & Wavelength – Both private line and wavelength are used to connect two locations to a private network. Both are available as a Fibre connection, but private line can utilize copper (a connection like DSL) as a cheaper alternative. While comparable to wavelength, private line has mostly been replaced that and other private network solutions.
Ethernet & MPLS/IPVPN – These solutions are present if a business needs to connect more than two offices to a private network; both are available in either a copper or Fibre connection. The key difference is MPLS/IPVPN’s ability to segment data. This means your connection can prioritize certain types of data to ensure certain services are uninterrupted. For example, if you’ll be making lots of important voice or video calls over your network this is the connection for you.
IVPN – While its security isn’t bulletproof like other forms of private networks, an Internet Virtual Private Network tunnels through the public Internet to create private channels. It’s cost effective and commonly used to privately connect different offices. It is, however, still essential to use typical forms of security when using a VPN. Since its utilization of the public Internet leaves it susceptible to malicious attacks.
As both technology and your business grow, ensuring that you have an appropriate network connection is a task to be on top of at all times. Without an appropriate connection, you may be missing out on the valuable time and resources needed to run your business as efficiently as possible. Keeping up to date is easy, however, by simply educating yourself of the various kinds of network connections available and working with trusted Internet service providers to get what you need out of your connection.
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