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

Updated: 3/8/2023Originally Published: 03/25/2021

A Business Owner’s Guide to Dedicated Internet Access

Your enterprise operations need reliable business Internet connectivity that guarantees access to your data and critical business applications whenever you need them. Many APX Net customers turn to our Dedicated Internet Access Solutions (DIA) to provide the low latency, always-on connection they need.

But not all dedicated Internet connections are the same. Your business needs to understand the differences in:

  • Types of circuits
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Service levels
  • Support

Before we dive in, let’s cover what DIA and how it differs from common Internet access types like broadband.

What is Dedicated Internet Access?

Dedicated Internet Access, or DIA, is an internet connection that is completely dedicated to your business.

DIA is particularly beneficial to businesses that need constant access to cloud applications or often stream videos or webinars. Any communication – whether it be high-volume emails, instant messages or Zoom calls – is enhanced by the speed and capacity of DIA. The dedicated bandwidth also makes transferring and sharing files easier— especially if those files are typically very large (like in a creative organization like a marketing agency, architecture firm or engineering practice).

Dedicated Internet Visual Map

Common Internet Access Types

DIA isn’t the only type of connection available to businesses. Below are a few of the common Internet access types available in today’s market:

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) – DSL broadband is a wireline technology that transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines installed to homes and businesses. DSL operates on pre-existing phone lines so can be quickly installed when infrastructure is present. However, DSL operates at very slow speeds typically not fit for today’s modern enterprise as rural DSL speeds are generally between 128Kbps to 3Mbps. Circuit quality is also impacted by the distance from an ISP’s central office, so the further out a location is, the less reliable the connection. DSL is technically a dedicated connection, but for the reasons above is typically not an acceptable connectivity option for most businesses.
  • Business-Class Cable – Cable broadband uses a modem to access the Internet through the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to a user’s television. Cable connections are typically on a shared circuit.
  • Fiber-Based Internet – Fiber Internet refers to an Internet connection that transfers data through fiber optic cables. Within the fiber optic cables, data is converted into light signals that pass through thin glass wires inside the larger protective cable. Transferring data in this way (by light signals) is what makes fiber-optic Internet incredibly fast. Distance from a central office does not degrade the quality of the connection. Fiber connections are typically on a dedicated circuit.

Ready to Try DIA for Business?

Business Considerations Before Purchasing Dedicated Internet Access

Before making a decision on whether DIA is right for your business, you should consider your bandwidth needs, business requirements and costs.

What are Your Bandwidth Needs?

Multiple factors can affect network performance, but one of the most significant is network bandwidth. Bandwidth measures how much data can pass through the network in a fixed period. The more devices connected to your network actively using the Internet means that more bandwidth is required to access the data on each device at any given moment.

But how do you determine how much bandwidth you need? You need to determine the following factors:

  • How many employees do you have?
  • How many active workstations and connected devices do you have?
  • Which applications are running on the connected network devices?

Need help determining your bandwidth? Contact APX Net for a free consultation.

Dedicated Internet Access vs. Shared Internet

What does DIA Offer When Compared to Shared Internet?

A DIA connection provides enterprise business customers with key advantages of shared Internet connections, including:

  • Guaranteed Bandwidth – When an enterprise purchases 1Gbps of bandwidth, they always have access to that 1Gbps of bandwidth for themselves and it’s not shared with other business customers.
  • Improved Collaboration & Performance – Today’s technology, like VoIP phone systems, cloud applications, videoconferencing, video streaming applications and remote desktop or desktop as a service (DaaS) applications will perform better due to lower latency and jitter when compared to a shared connection.
  • Synchronous Upload & Download Speeds – DIA offers symmetrical upload and download speeds, which is vital for businesses with remote users, VoIP calling and cloud applications. Shared Internet access upload speeds are typically slower than download speeds and are asymmetrical.

DIA vs. Broadband

The alternative to dedicated internet is shared internet. Shared internet connections, aka broadband internet (like cable), while typically less expensive, are shared with other users, so the traffic throughput is more crowded and slower. When using DIA instead of broadband, businesses notice the difference in speed, security and scalability.

  • Speed

The No. 1 reason to secure dedicated Internet is so your 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 bandwidth.

However, when it comes to broadband, data passing traveling along your shared Internet connection takes longer to move across the network.

With DIA, the Internet connection is fully dedicated to your data traffic only. Consistent bandwidth is vital if your company uses real-time applications like unified communications, video conferencing or collaboration software, or when your company has remote users, branch offices or other operational needs that require always-on connections.

Keep in mind that broadband service providers advertise their maximum speed, which is likely to be achieved when very few people are using that shared connection. With DIA, there’s no fluctuation in speed and adheres to the provider’s service level agreement (SLA).

  • Security

All businesses are concerned with the data security. DIA is superior to broadband when it comes to security because data travels point to point instead of transmitting over a line everyone is using. Fewer entities with access to your network means fewer points of failure.

DIA is often referred to as the “prioritize and protect” option for this reason. Businesses are inherently more insulated from threats while using a network dedicated to only their traffic. Additionally, dedicated internet access often comes with supplemental firewall and monitoring options offered by an MSP, delivering an extra layer of security.

  • Scalability

Dedicated internet access is customizable. Not only do you start with exactly the capacity you need, but you also can easily scale up and scale down. You get all the bandwidth you pay for when you need it and can scale your network as needed.

Shared Internet vs. Dedicated Internet Routes

DIA vs. Broadband for Hybrid Work Environments

Remote work is here to stay and most companies allow large swaths of their workforces to continue to work from home at least some of the time. Some will operate office-free, but most will seek to capture the best of both (office and remote) worlds through a combination of work-from-office and work-from-home (or work-from-anywhere) scheduling.

This hybrid model employs broadband connections from employee homes. But, what about the office?

Here, DIA delivers distinct advantages, including:

  • Hybrid Work Connection Redundancy: You know how all those Unified Communications (UC) apps advertise the ability to help you keep your operations running during office outages by virtue of sending your employees home, where they can work from their remote connections? The same principle applies in reverse. In fact, remote employees experience more Internet downtime than employees working from the office. That’s because they rely on broadband connections that are subject to all the challenges we’ve been covering here. Having a reliable DIA connection available at the office when employees experience outages – or even excessively slow connectivity – from broadband providers ensures operational continuity.
  • Congestion-Proof Office Workdays: Consider the broadband connection challenges with network congestion we’ve already discussed. When your employees come into the office, they become your business’s source of network congestion. A dedicated Internet access connection ensures maximum productivity from your office no matter how many employees are onsite.
  • Onsite Security: Cyberthreats skyrocketed when companies scrambled to enable work-from-home business models and hybrid work environments. Sensitive data and infrastructure are more likely to be housed (or accessible) onsite. Secure DIA connections to that infrastructure should be central to any cybersecurity or cyber resilience strategy.

You can learn more about DIA versus broadband connections in our blog, “Why Dedicated Internet Access Wins Over Broadband for Your Business”.

How Much Does Dedicated Internet Access Cost?

DIA sometimes is more expensive than broadband if you’re looking solely at connection costs. However, when you factor in security, the impact of reliable speeds on productivity, and higher support levels and uptime, SLA-backed DIA delivers reliable return on investment (ROI) and peace of mind.

Moreover, DIA can be right-sized for your company via a customer-specific quoting process that gets you the best possible balance of speed and security for your business.

Ready to Try DIA for Business?

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.

Dedicated Internet Access Pricing

DIA sometimes is more expensive than broadband if you’re looking solely at connection costs. However, when you factor in security, the impact of reliable speeds on productivity, and higher support levels and uptime, SLA-backed DIA delivers reliable return on investment (ROI) and peace of mind.

Moreover, DIA can be right-sized for your company via a customer-specific quoting process that gets you the best possible balance of speed and security for your business.

Ready to Try DIA for Business?

Last Considerations Before Choosing Dedicated Internet Access

A couple of final key factors to consider before purchasing a dedicated Internet access connection is whether your business needs SD-WAN and additional connections for network redundancy.

Does Your Business Need SD-WAN?

SD-WAN or software-defined wide area networking leverages widely available Internet connections and works equally well when integrated with an existing MPLS network or as its replacement.

SD-WAN allows your organization to use the public Internet or your private WAN (wide area network), or both, to manage your network traffic. It provides network redundancy and security and centralizes network management for IT teams.

Compared to a traditional WAN deployment, SD-WAN enables businesses to deploy their WANs 100 times faster with three times the cost-savings.

SD-WAN is also typically used for enterprises with multiple locations to assist in connecting geographically disparate branch offices together. You can learn more in our blog, “Multilocation Businesses: How to Connect Multiple Offices Intelligently”.

You can learn more about SD-WAN and if it’s right for you in our blog, “What is SD-WAN? And How Can it Benefit You?”.

Does Your Business Need Additional Connections for Network Redundancy?

Business Internet connections can fail for a variety of reasons from an issue with a last-mile provider to natural disasters to overloaded networks and everything in between. Backup Internet connections and Internet failover solutions are critical to protecting enterprises and small businesses alike from service interruptions.

Internet failover allows your network to “fail-over” to a secondary, backup connection in the event that the primary connection is disrupted. Your business may need to consider deploying a secondary connection, such as a fixed wireless Internet access solution to backup your fiber connection.

You can learn more about Internet failover solutions in our blog, “Everything You Need to Know About Internet Failover for Businesses”.

Ready to Try Dedicated Internet Access Built for Business?

Contact an APX Net Data Networks Specialist today!

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