Small Business IT Guide – Internet Connections

What are the steps to get an internet connection for by business?

This can very depending on your requirements and your location however you generally need the following:

Your chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) will let you know what connection types and approximate speeds are available. Once you choose a package they will start their process to get you connection active. Depending on if the connection is already active or has been active recently this can take some time, generally expect it to take a couple of weeks. If you have any servers or other devices that you need to access remotely you should also opt for one or more static IP addresses.

On your premises you will need a modem and router. These are often combined together and most (ISP) include them in their service. You may want to supply your own for increased customisability, performance or specific requirements.

Inside your network you need to think about how you are going to connect your devices to the router. A wired network connection is the preferred option if possible as is provides the most constant connection, but not always practical due to logistical, financial or practical constraints. If you need to use Wi-Fi take in to account how far it is from the router to where the devices are going to be used. The distance, number of wall and their construction can have a big impact on the speed of your Wi-Fi. Consider getting additional wireless access points if devices are going to spread out or on multiple floors.

Once the internet connection is active, if you have a router supplied by your ISP you should be able to just plug it in and then connect to it via a network cable or Wi-Fi to get access the internet.

What dictates the speed of the internet connection I can get?

Location, location, location! 

Most internet connections in the UK rely on the cabling that runs from your premises to you closest street cabinet, then from there to the exchange. Older connection types were greatly effected by the condition and length of these connections, meaning the further from the exchange you were, the worse your internet speed was. This is why internet connections are often labels as “Up To” a certain speed as it isn’t certain how the connection is going to perform until you start using it.

With modern fibre connections many of these variables are removed as fibre optic cables suffer less from interference, they don’t erode like copper does, and they can carry more information at once. Rolling out these newer technologies can been expensive and logistically difficult. It isn’t always just rural areas with lower populations that tend to have slower broadband, often large densely populated cities can have pockets of old equipment in areas where overhauling them isn’t practical.

Internet Connection

What types of internet connections are available in the UK?

  • ADSL: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is the slowest and oldest broadband type you can get. It’s run through a fixed-line network of copper telephone cables that come from your nearest exchange, into your street’s cabinet and then across into your property. Due to this, the typical download speeds are on average about 8-10Mbps, as the copper cables can only transmit a limited amount of data. The speed can also be affected by any damage or just wear and tear on the line. However, these speeds can be slightly higher or slightly lower depending on how old they are and how far away your home is from the exchange – the newer and closer they are, the better. ADSL is available to almost all properties in the UK.
  • ADSL2+: ADSL2+ is an improved version of ADSL, which offers faster download speeds of up to 24Mbps. It is also available to almost all properties in the UK.
  • FTTC: Fibre to the Cabinet is a type of fibre broadband that uses fibre cables all the way up to the local green cabinet on your street, and then copper phone lines make the final part of the connection to your home. This type of broadband is available to the majority of properties in the UK and offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 18Mbps. This is sometimes also called VDSL2.
  • GFast: GFast is a type of fibre broadband that uses a combination of fibre and copper cables to deliver faster download speeds of up to 300Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps. This is similar to FTTC however it requires that specific GFast equipment has been installed in your local cabinet. It is only available to a small number of properties in the UK.
  • FTTP: Fibre to the Premise replaces the last section of copper cabling from the cabinet to your property with fibre optical cables. This is sometimes branded as Full Fibre. It offers the fasted connection openly available, with up to 1000Mbps download speed. It is available to roughly a quarter of the UK. To check availability using the Openreach Fibre Checker tool.
  • Cable: Is separate to the main Openreach network and is generally operated by Virgin Media. It uses coaxial cables to deliver the internet connection to your premises rather than copper cables. As it doesn’t use the Openreach network it can often provide better speeds in areas where newer technologies such as GFast or FTTP have not been rolled out yet.
  • Leased lines: Leased lines are dedicated, high-speed internet connections that are ideal for businesses that require a reliable and fast connection. They are available in different speeds and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. They are more expensive than other types of broadband, but they offer guaranteed speeds and reliability. There are three types of leased lines: Ethernet over Fibre to the Cabinet (EoFTTC), Ethernet First Mile (EFM), and Ethernet Access Direct (EAD). They often also have failover connections available to provide business continuity if the main connection goes down.
  • Mobile broadband: Mobile broadband is a type of broadband that uses a mobile network to connect to the internet. It is ideal for businesses that need to be mobile or have multiple locations. It is available in most areas of the UK however the download speeds depend on your 4G or 5G signal coverage.
  • Satellite broadband: Satellite broadband is a type of broadband that uses a satellite dish to connect to the internet. It is ideal for businesses that are located in rural areas where other types of broadband are not available. It is available in most areas of the UK and offers download speeds of up to 30Mbps.

What is the difference between Internet and Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi and Internet are two different things. The Internet is a global network of interconnected computers that transmit and receive data to and from one another. On the other hand, Wi-Fi allows devices to access the Internet within a certain range of your router or wireless access point.

In other words, the Internet is outside of your network, Wi-Fi is inside your network. Wi-Fi depends on the Internet, but your connection to the Internet can be either wired or wireless.

Who are Openreach?

Before BT was privatised in 1984 it operated the public telephone network in the UK. After this Openreach was formed as part of the new BT Group to maintain and upgrade the communication infrastructure in the UK. Most general internet providers currently still use the Openreach network to provide ADSL, FTTC, GFast and FTTP services to their customers. As a consumer of these service s you cannot communicate directly to Openreach, if you have any faults with you internet connection you need to contact your service provider who will liaise with Openreach on your behalf.

Internet Connection

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If you need a new internet connection or assistance with your existing one please contact us via one of the contact methods below or the contact form.

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