What is the best technology to connect to the internet?

ADSL, NBN, Wireless, Fibre Optic connections – they’re all technologies connecting your business to the Internet. As internet usage demands from employees or your customers increase, so does your need to provide a connection that doesn’t grind to a halt during peak usage periods.

To ensure your employee or customer demands are met, you need to ensure you choose the right type of internet connection. There may be a number of technologies available in your location, but which one should you choose? Do you need something that’s fast, reliable, cost effective, or all of the above?

ADSL2+

ADSL, or Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line, is the most common internet connection billed as “broadband” in Australia. ADSL2+ has a theoretical bandwidth of 24Mbps (megabits per second, or 1000 bits. 8 bits = 1 byte.) This equates to about 3MB (megabytes) per second. However, not many connections in Australia can rely on attaining this theoretical maximum. Since ADSL2+ uses Australia’s ageing copper network (originally designed to carry phone calls) ADSL2+ is less reliable due to “noise” and signal degradation, and the poor state of the copper network doesn’t provide much relief. Often during heavy rain, some ADSL2+ internet connections often become unusable causing much frustration to internet users. One of the main disadvantages of ADSL2+ is the distance you are from an ADSL-enabled exchange (called a DSLAM) – even as little as 1km can cut your bandwidth in half, or even further.

Estimated ADSL2+ speed based on distance from the exchange

ADSL2+ is by far the most common method of homes and businesses connecting to the internet with over 5 million homes subscribed to ADSL2+ as of December 2015.

NBN

The NBN or National Broadband Network is a government-funded program established in 2009 to connect all Australians to high speed internet. The current Liberal government scrapped the “Fibre to the Premises” program, which promised fibre optic cable running direct to 90% of Australian buildings, with the remainder being connected via wireless or satellite technology. Instead of FTTP, NBN now offers a “Multi-Technology Mix” including “Fibre to the Node,” which means the last “hop” from a public node must travel over a slower, less reliable copper network that is used to deliver ADSL2+. As the NBN is still being constructed, you must “wait” for NBN Co. to build the necessary infrastructure in your suburb. Once completed, you can contemplate signing up for an NBN-enabled plan, on-sold by a retailer who must pay for the privilege of accessing the NBN.

The upshot is, NBN can deliver speeds of 100Mbps (12.5MB/s) – again, another theoretical maximum. What influences that number is how many people use the network as well as your distance to the node if connecting via FTTN. NBN speeds are known to plummet during peak hours or heavy usage by “bandwidth hogs” in the area. A little known fact is that NBN only guarantee speeds to you once every 24 hours.

Many organisations and businesses are waiting for the NBN to be offered to their office. Although the price might be affordable and the notion of having a “fibre” connection is appealing, the performance and quality of the service may not compare to a dedicated fibre link such as a business-grade fibre connection provided by Broadband Solutions.

Mobile Internet

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), 21% of Adult Australians connect to the internet with mobile data services. One advantage to mobile data is that it’s available almost everywhere, including regional areas. A user can download at about 14Mbps over a 4G (also known as LTE) connection and in some cases up to 150Mbps. 4G services are intended for mobile phones and tablets. The cost per megabyte compared to other technologies is costly in Australia with 1GB costing about $10 per month. With access speeds of up to 150Mbps, it can take only minutes to use up 1GB. Plans that cost upwards of $80 a month may only include 30-40GB of downloads, and in an office, it is only suitable for an individual checking email, light web browsing or internet banking while on the go. Mobile internet, also known as Wireless internet is generally considered less reliable than a fixed ADSL2+ or a Fibre connection.

Microwave Broadband

Microwave connections are a high speed, reliable and effective way of connecting to broadband internet to areas that are not readily serviced by Midband Ethernet or Fibre. Transceivers are fixed to your roof and can carry 1Mbps upload/download all the way up to 1Gbps. However, your microwave transceiver must have a clear line of sight between base stations and therefore not suitable at all locations. Although, Microwave Broadband can be a suitable method to connecting to the internet due to the flexibility of being “wireless”. However, it may not be as reliable as a fixed connection such as Fibre or Ethernet Over Copper.

Midband Ethernet

Midband Ethernet is a type of connection that uses the existing copper network that is used by ADSL2+ by bonding multiple pairs of copper together to provide symmetrical speeds between 2Mbps and 80Mbps. However, location and availability depends on the speed available to you. It is delivered to customers as an Ethernet connection and provides benefits for small to medium businesses that have modest data and speed demands, especially if Fibre is not available to their location.

Fibre Internet

In Australia, Fibre is definitely a growing trend with  fibre optic internet plans doubled in growth over the past two years. Fibre is currently the preferred method to connect via the internet due to its reliability, performance and flexibility. You can easily scale Fibre as your internet demands grow. Unfortunately, Fibre is not currently available to all locations and installation costs can be somewhat expensive.

If available, a business can connect to the Internet with Fibre straight to the premises or building. Fibre internet speeds can range from as little as 2Mbps all the way up to 10Gbps (1250MB/s – that’s downloading one full-length DVD every four seconds!) Better yet, a business can purchase an uncontended line, which means other people’s usage doesn’t affect your own (a downfall with the NBN). Broadband Solutions’ Fibre for Business plan offers a secure, dedicated and uncontended link with round-the-clock latency, connection quality and bandwidth monitoring. Unlike Fibre with the NBN, Broadband Solutions guarantee’s service with a 99.95% Service Level Agreement; and many other features.

For more information about how your business can connect to the internet with a plan tailored to your speed and data requirements, speak with us today and receive an obligation free quote.


Does your internet provider offer Bandwidth on Demand?

Business bandwidth requirements consistently fluctuate and having a network you can rely on during peak periods is vital. Businesses no longer need a cookie cutter, of-the-shelf product to service their internet requirements, they need tailored and customisable solutions that support their on-going needs and budget. Broadband Solutions offers Australia’s first Bandwidth on Demand service. Our Bandwidth on Demand helps customers meet fluctuating bandwidth needs, while only paying for the data they use. We do this by installing a high-performance fibre network connection that is capable of delivering hyper-fast speeds, no matter what base plan is chosen. Through our easy-to-use online portal, our customers have the unique ability to burst to faster speeds to satisfy increased demand when required, whether that be a conference, a large series of file uploads, or a special event. Having this flexibility means you are only paying for high network capacity during times that you require it.

Last modified: September 9, 2016