On the surface, it may appear that the variety of Internet connection options offered by ISPs (Internet service providers) are virtually all the same, however, there are important differences between them, which can significantly impact call quality, for the business Internet phones that your company uses. Organizations typically choose one of the following four Internet connection types to run their business Internet phones, with some options being better than others, as explained in the following section.
Internet Connection Options for Business Internet Phones
- Cable Internet is used by a large number of businesses, instead of other options like DSL or fiber optic Internet. With a cable Internet connection, all data is transmitted over standard cable lines, while allowing for concurrent cable TV viewing and digital phone use. Cable Internet services offer download speeds from 50 to 100 mbps and upload speeds from 2 to 10 mbps, which is sufficient to support around a dozen concurrent users or a POS (point of sale system). Cable Internet can support a similar number of concurrent users, as a DSL connection, however, slower speeds may be experienced by your business during peak times of use in your physical vicinity. The lack of control over bandwidth and the potential for slower Internet speeds at random times, makes cable Internet a less than ideal solution for running business Internet phones.
- DSL is one of the best business Internet solutions, offering reliability for your business Internet phones. DSL uses your company’s existing physical phone lines for Internet connectivity, while providing VoIP QoS (Quality of Service) support to help ensure call quality for your business. DSL is also generally the most affordable option among the Internet connection types that offer the best support for business Internet phones.
- T1 is one of the most reliable business Internet solutions, with most providers offering a 99.999% uptime guarantee for their services. T1 Internet services offer superior speed and performance for the Hosted VoIP services and SIP trunking services that your company uses. However, T1 connections can cost your business more money each month, than other high-sped connection types. On the other hand, the reliability and high download speeds that T1 connections offer can provide your business with productivity gains that makes the extra cost worthwhile.
- Fiber Optic Internet is the fastest and newest connection type available in business Internet solutions, but the technology has been around for years, used by telecommunications companies as the backbone of their infrastructure. Fiber Optic Internet is not only super-fast, it is also super reliable, however, the service is not currently available in all areas. Fiber optic Internet can also be expensive. But where available, fiber optic Internet is in a class of its own, offering download and upload rates between 10mgbs and 10gbps, making it an ideal business Internet solution for real-time applications such as VoIP and SIP phones.
Important Considerations for Business Internet Solutions
It’s important to keep in mind that as a general rule, you get what you pay for, as the best connection speeds for your business Internet phones come at premium price. It’s also important to read the fine print before choosing a business Internet solution, to ensure that unlimited high-speed access is guaranteed by your provider, because many Internet service providers are now imposing caps on data usage, automatically reducing download speeds once your business reaches a pre- determined data transfer limit during a given billing cycle, which can seriously impact your business productivity. This pushes your business into a corner, with two equally undesirable options of either a.) moving to a higher cost monthly billing plan or 2.) moving to a different monthly billing plan that imposes overage fees once you reach your data transfer limit.
Estimating how much bandwidth your business Internet phones will consume is also critical, which can be calculated based on a recommended speed, of 3 MBps Up and Down per concurrent call / IP phone user. You need to also consider other concurrent transactions that will be competing for bandwidth on the Internet connection that your IP phones are running on, such as web browsing, file transfers, sending and receiving emails, web-based office services, point-of-sale systems, etc. to make sure that enough bandwidth is available for voice communications, without degrading call quality.
There are many things to take into consideration when comparing the available high-speed Internet connectivity options for your business Internet phones, and as outlined in the sections above, Internet service providers for business have different billing rules, provisions and pricing structures, which ultimately impacts how much your business will pay to run its business Internet phones, with out running into call quality issues. It’s up to you to do the research and judge which business Internet solution is best for your organization.