Business Buyer Beware: Dedicated Internet Access Isn’t All the Same

Mar 25, 2021

How to Source Connections Built for Guaranteed Speed and Uptime

Business continuity is more important than ever, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis that has disrupted business operations, both internally and externally. If it wasn’t already clear, you now know that reliable internet connectivity is fundamental for survival in today’s business world. High-quality, dedicated Internet keeps your business connected to customers, partners and staff, and guarantees access to your data and critical business applications whenever you need it.

However, what you may not know is that not all dedicated Internet connections are the same. It’s important to understand critical differences in the types of circuits, reliability, speed, service levels and support.
Dedicated Internet Visual Map

What is Dedicated Internet Access?

Simply put, Dedicated Internet Access, or DIA, is an internet connection that is completely dedicated to your business, so internet speeds don’t fluctuate. For example, if your company purchases a 100Mbps dedicated internet service, you’re guaranteed to receive 100Mbps. It’s also symmetrical – meaning you get 100Mbps for both download and upload requirements.

Shared internet, aka broadband internet like cable, while typically less expensive are connections that are shared with other users, so the traffic throughput is slower. Think of a shared internet connection as a busy highway. When there is a lot of traffic on the highway, it takes you longer to reach your destination. Similarly, when your internet connection is shared, your data will take longer to travel across the network.

In contrast, DIA access is like having the highway all to yourself. With DIA, the internet connection is fully dedicated to your data traffic only. Consistent bandwidth is vital if your company is using real-time applications like unified communications, video conferencing or collaboration software, or has remote users, branch offices or other operational needs that require an always-on connection.

Is Dedicated Internet Access Service All the Same?

DIA differs from provider to provider based on myriad factors, including:

  • Technology: DIA circuits use one of several technologies, including Ethernet over Fiber, Ethernet over Copper (EoC), T1 (DS1), T3 (DS3), or fixed wireless. With technologies that use the copper network like EoC, T1, or T3 network availability decreases as the distance increases. Fiber, which is not impacted by distance is the best option if it’s available at your location since it offers consistent speeds. Ethernet over Fiber also scales easily from 10Mbps all the way up to 100Gbps.
  • Circuit Type: The type of circuit – Type I or II – also makes a difference with installation, latency, service levels, and support.
    1. Type I circuits are connections for which the last mile network provider and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) are the same. With one network and less network hops you can expect shorter installation times, less latency during data transfer, and faster repair times.
      DIA Type 1 Circuits
    2. Type II circuits are connections for which the last-mile provider and the ISP are different. Multiple providers introduce points of failure along the way as internet traffic travels from network to network. Type II circuits have higher latency due to the cross-connections and greater distance packets need to travel. Multiple providers also result in lower support levels since they often pass off responsibility and blame when service disruptions occur.
      DIA Type 2 Circuits
  • Reliability: Depending on the technology and circuit type used for DIA, the level of reliability can vary widely. Be sure to check the provider’s service level agreement (SLA) for guaranteed performance levels and uptime. Keep in mind that if your provider offers 99.9 percent uptime, you should expect more than 8 hours of downtime during the year. Can you afford to be down for an entire day? If not, look for five 9s (99.999 percent), which is only 5 minutes for the year.
  • Low Latency: DIA technology and circuit type can also impact latency, or the delay before data transfer begins. High latency results in poor performance for critical applications like real-time video, financial transactions, or data replications. Type I circuits that travel a single network have less latency as do those using fiber, which transmits data using light (photons) instead of electrons and does not require the signal to be repeated as frequently.
  • Scalability: DIA technology varies in scalability, which may not seem important when you’re small, but if you’re growing or your traffic fluctuates widely (think seasonal retail needs), then it’s vital. Many technologies top out quickly; DS3, for example, is only good up to 45Mbps. Then you have to buy another DS3 whether you need that much bandwidth or not. Ethernet over fiber is ideal for scalability, enabling you to easily grow your bandwidth incrementally from 10Mbps to 100Gbps.
  • Support: As mentioned, Type I circuits are delivered by one provider, so getting support without the finger-pointing possible with Type II circuits involving multiple carriers is an immediate advantage. Additionally, you’ll want to look for a provider that has an engineering team that will work with you from end-to-end – from determining your bandwidth requirements to managing the implementation process and resolving service issues around the clock.

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