If you’ve shopped around for broadband recently, chances are you would have come across both business and residential broadband packages, which are now offered by many ISPs'(Internet Service Providers). While many providers charge extra for ‘business broadband’, it’s often not obvious what the advantages are. To make things clearer, we’ve outlined the 6 key differences between a home/residential and a business broadband package. The difference between the two comes down to how the internet connection is delivered.
1. Contention Ratio
The contention ratio is perhaps the most important difference between a residential and a business broadband package. It relates to the number of users sharing the same server and will affect the speed of your connection. The higher the contention ratio, the greater the number of users that may be trying to use the actual bandwidth at any one time and, therefore, the lower the effective bandwidth offered and hence lower the speed of the connection, especially at peak times.
Although ISPs (Internet Service Providers) rarely publish the contention ratios, it is generally accepted that a residential ADSL service is shared by around three times more users than business ADSL.
As well as offering lower contention ratios, business broadband packages generally provide faster connection speeds. While 2MB or 4MB speeds are standard for many residential packages, business broadband usually offers speeds of around 8MB or higher. Faster speeds are crucial for any business running their own website, for keeping in contact with staff or clients via email, sending or receiving large files, and a number of other web-based operations.
While protection is important to all internet users, a major breach to a business’s online security could be disastrous. Because of this, many business broadband packages will come with enhanced security features to ensure that your business data is completely secure. Business grade broadband usually comes with a free security package, including antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, abuse control, spam control, and online backup.
4. Technical Support
Business ADSL services are usually backed by a 24/7 technical support team that specialise in business connections and understand business requirements. As many businesses rely on their broadband connections for daily operations, it is vital that if something goes wrong, help will be immediately available. Business ADSL subscribers will generally get priority over home users for technical support and provide immediate support for any technical faults.
5. Service Level Agreements
Business grade broadband services are usually backed by written Service Level Agreements. Being an essential service these are very important and ensure that the ISP (Internet Service Provider) is fully committed to performance targets. These usually cover installation lead times, service restoration and availability, latency and packet loss. Residential broadband services do not usually come with Service Level Agreements and are generally a best effort service.
6. Static IP Addresses
An IP address is a unique identifier of the location of the computer hardware that is accessing the internet. Because it is more cost effective for the ISP (Internet Service Provider), residential broadband connections are usually made using dynamic IP addresses, which the ISP allocates from a pool and changes from time to time.
Business grade broadband services come with a static IP address, which is a dedicated IP address and does not change. Static IP addresses are necessary when running a server and business IT networks.