People complain about the traffic in Wilmington, but I was in Atlanta recently. Now that’s traffic.
The only way to even approximate what your commute time will be in that town is to pay to use the new Express Lanes. The cost varies, interestingly enough, based on how bad traffic is at that time. It used to be that you could count on filling up the car with your coworkers and carpooling – zipping by all of the other unlucky souls sitting in that backup on I-185. You can still do that in much of Atlanta, but it often backs up, too.
It’s an interesting approach, because it helps you determine the true value of your time. How important is it that you’re home in time for your son’s baseball game or daughter’s viola concert?
You can think of the Internet that way. How important is your time online? How important is the reliability of access to your data? Can you save time, money or both when you have lots of people prepared to share the cost of the specially built and dedicated express lane?
If data is absolutely critical to the operation of your business, you have two options: run fiber to the building or secure an alternate copper-based dedicated Internet connection such as a T1.
Any other solution puts you back on the other lanes with everyone else. If you are doing most of your connecting between midnight at 6 a.m., then perhaps you can rely on the cable company’s shared high speed Internet. But remember, you are sharing it. So, if suddenly everyone needs to watch the Hammerheads game live, you’re pushing your way upstream, against the tide. It will. Be. Sloooowwww.
The idea of dedicated Internet is foreign to most small business owners. We get by with what we’re used to. When it begins to feel slow, small businesses upgrade to business class but often find that it’s no faster than before the upgrade.
If you utilize cloud services, it becomes even more important to be sure you have access. When your data – and often your software itself – is based in the cloud, knowing you can consistently rely on access to what makes your business successful is absolutely critical.
When shopping for Internet access, you’re likely to hear a lot of numbers. In fact, there is a wide range of speeds, which can support multiple offices and data center access. What’s important is to know what your company needs to be successful.
Let’s break it down:
Cable and DSL services offer what is called “best effort.” In other words, they make sure the highway is cleared of debris, and has sufficient number of lanes for most situations. But add more users (lanes) and that eight-lane highway (bandwidth) is still too small for the number of cars.
These services are traditionally pretty fast, such as “50 x 5” (50 MB download x 5 MB upload), but in exchange for these speeds, you lose consistency. If you are an app developer or someone who can work offline for everything other than email, then a service such as this can work fine and be very cost effective.
Dedicated Internet Access (or DIA service) is traditionally delivered through a T1 line or MetroEthernet. They are generally synchronous, meaning they are provided as 5 x 5 or 100 x 100, but more importantly, they come with a service level agreement (SLA). This SLA provides a level of comfort knowing that you absolutely will get the speed and service that you pay for, and the provider has an incentive to you keep you happy. This service, in my eyes, is a requirement for those moving their systems offsite to the cloud or data centers.
If you have a cloud-based business and do not have DIA service, your business is at risk – even if the data center and cloud services have 100 percent up-time. If you are going to take full advantage of the cloud, the value of dedicated Internet service will be paid out hundreds of times over, as you will be certain that you will never have to be throttled back due to overuse.
The cost for DIA is coming down, but it is still higher than best-effort services, and can even be slower in comparison. The key is getting what you need.
If Internet access is important to your business, consider a dedicated line. It provides a strong foundation for data and for voice communications. You’ll have the highest performance available, enabling fast anywhere access from your mobile devices. It is more expensive, but even like the express lanes, it’s a matter of assessing the value of access to your data.
Shaun Olsen is the CEO and President of CloudWyze. CloudWyze was created to help businesses focus and perform at their optimal level by crafting and executing custom technology plans for businesses of every type and size. To learn more about CloudWyze, visit www.cloudwyze.com. Shaun can be reached at [email protected] or 910-795-1000.
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