Sure your business needs a broadband internet connection that’s fast and cost-efficient. But it also needs to be reliable, and high-performing. In the first part of this two-part series, we tell you what you need to know to properly select a broadband connection.

Your business is looking for a broadband connection–or it probably already has one, which you aren’t happy with. Now you’re on the lookout for a service provider that can meet the internet connection needs of your business.

But you’re confused. How do you choose a broadband connection for a business?

Price is definitely a factor. So is speed.

But your business needs more. What about reliability and consistency? What about service levels and having great customer support? What about other bundled services?

Before you invest in a broadband connection for your business, here’s what you need to know:

Speed is Important—But Performance is Even More Important

Most people buy a broadband connection based on one parameter: How fast is the connection?

That’s ok—if you are buying a connection for your home.

As a business that probably leverages a lot of cloud services, that employs Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to connect with suppliers, contractors, and employees, and that cannot afford swings or drops in internet performance, what you need is a broadband connection that’s consistent and high-performing.

What does high-performing mean? It means your video and audio calls are clear, without gaps, without delays, and without the picture suddenly stopping. It means that when you and your staff transfer files, you can download them without any errors.

If you want all of that, what you need is a broadband connection with a higher class of service.

There are four classes of service:

Class of Service Jitter Latency Packet Loss
Class A Real Time  0.5ms 4ms 0.2%
Class B Near Real Time 1ms 8ms 0.2%
Class C Mission Critical 3ms 15ms 0.1%
Class D Best Effort Best Effort 30ms Best Effort

Based on network performance data provided by Nucleus Connect Pte Ltd

Most broadband connections that are sold to consumers fall into Class D, or what’s called Best Effort. This won’t do for your business because these connections are neither high-performing nor have consistent speeds.

What your business needs is a broadband connection with a Mission Critical class of service. This will ensure you have less jitter, latency, and packet loss.

Without getting overly technical, jitter, latency and packet loss all affect the way packets of data flow. The more jitter, latency and packet loss your connection has, the more likely you will see a deterioration of services—including pictures on video calls that don’t render properly, voice calls that are garbled or have delays, and poorly-performing virtual desktop infrastructure.

Ensure You Get the Bandwidth You Pay For

There’s another challenge with consumer-grade broadband connections. You might have paid for a 25Mbps connection, but it doesn’t mean your ISP can promise you 25Mbps all the time—it can only promise you speeds of up to 25Mbps.

Big difference.

Why can’t a consumer-grade broadband connection offer 25Mbps all the time? Because these connections are shared among a great number of consumers.

In telecommunication parlance this is called contention ratio. That 25Mbps best-effort service broadband connection you bought? It may be shared among 50 other users, or a contention ratio of 50:1. That’s 50 people fighting over the same bandwidth. The lower this ratio, say 20:1 or 10:1, the higher the probability that you will get a consistent 25Mbps connection.

Splitting connections among a high number of users is how ISPs can offer you rock bottom broadband connection prices. They are cost-effective–but not business-ready.

Business-ready broadband connections can offer your company a Committed Information Rate (CIR) on your upload and download speed. That’s telecom jargon for: If you bought a 25Mbps connection, you are more likely to get 25Mbps bandwidth all the time.

What’s the bottom line? It is critical to carefully consider the services and applications your broadband needs to support.  Typically, a connection speed of over 2Mbps is easily sufficient to carry out most online activities like emails and internet browsing without problems. You need to consider:

► Do your business activities require consumer-grade or business-grade connectivity?

► Is latency, jitter or packet loss important to your business?

► Is consistent upload and download speed important to your operations even during peak hours?