Every business relies on an internet connection at this point, but the kind of connection you need varies widely across industries and business sizes. You may be in the market for a backup connection too, if you need 100% uptime. To choose the best internet for your office, you’ll have to consider a few different characteristics, not just price.
Internet speed and bandwidth are both measured in Mbps (Megabits per second), but they are actually very different numbers. Your internet speed can be measured in a simple online speed test and is the rate at which information can be uploaded from or downloaded to your device on a given internet connection. Bandwidth is the number you see on an internet plan – generally you pay by the amount of bandwidth you want.
What is bandwidth? Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can go through your internet connection. This is why on a multi-device network, your internet speed is typically much lower than your bandwidth—the bandwidth is shared between all active devices.
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The answer here is bandwidth, speed, and uptime. Fiber offers more bandwidth and reliability than a standard cable connection. You’ll see advertisements for “gigabit speeds” with fiber—this is a lot of bandwidth for the average household, but for offices and people working from home, it keeps all of your online applications running smoothly. With 99.999% up-time, fiber is also way less likely to fail than a traditional coaxial connection. For most offices, fiber is the way to go.
Wireless or LTE solutions are becoming more popular, but their use cases are more niche. We don’t recommend using a wireless connection as your only internet connection, but they do work extremely well as a temporary connection or backup solution. In fact, we recommend Wireless WAN backups to all of our fiber customers. Wireless WAN keeps mission-critical systems connected to the internet when there is a failure in the primary circuit—for example, if a cable gets cut due to nearby construction.
WiFi and ethernet are the two ways you can use your internet connection, whether it’s fiber or coaxial. WiFi 6 is the latest “generation” of WiFi. While the quality and speed of your WiFi depends on your connection type and bandwidth, it is also limited by which generation of WiFi tech you are using. WiFi 5 devices are capped at 3.5 Gbps, while WiFi 6 can handle speeds up to 9.6Gbps. If you don’t care about speed or you don’t have an internet connection that would even approach this limit, you’re probably fine with WiFi 5 tech. But since WiFi 6 devices are generally backwards compatible, it’s smart to get ahead of the curve and opt for WiFi 6 when you do purchase new devices.
It’s up to you what technology provides the best internet for your office—but you don’t have to make the decision alone. Consult your Digital Agent on what technology will scale best with your business needs.
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