What is the difference between an inexpensive “shared” Internet connection and a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) circuit for your company?
Data center and cloud applications simply perform better with a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) circuit, instead of the average, cost-effective “business” Internet access types like coax cable, Fios, U-verse, and FiOptics.
The preeminent flavor of DIA is Metro Ethernet Fiber from the likes of Spectrum, Comcast, AT&T, Windstream, CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell, Nitel, and others. Which provider is available to you often depends on your location. Regardless of circuit provider, DIA circuits and thus Metro Ethernet Fiber always include the following 5 benefits:
(Benefits provided by Network World here.)
1 – Guaranteed Bandwidth
With DIA, your company is guaranteed to receive the bandwidth you purchased, 100% of the time. If your company purchases a 100MB dedicated fiber Internet connection, you will always receive 100MB, or close to it.
This is helpful because a company can decide on the speed they require, purchase it and rely on it to be a consistent speed every minute of the day.
This is different than “shared” connections, where the speed your company signs up for is the maximum speed you will receive (like at 3:00 AM), but usually you will only get a portion due to other Internet activity on the same “loop.” With shared connections, the actual speed is unpredictable and fluctuates throughout the day depending on the ISP’s network traffic. Hence, the 3 a.m. reference when virtually nobody is online.
2 – Synchronous Upload and Download Speeds
If your company purchases a 100MB DIA circuit, both your download and upload speed/bandwidth are always guaranteed at 100MB. Fast upload speed is important if your company has a lot of remote users, cloud apps, VoIP, etc.
Less expensive, shared Internet connections typically have a fast download speed and a significantly slower upload speed. For instance, it’s common to see an inexpensive shared Internet connection with a maximum download speed of 100MB and a maximum upload speed of only 10MB.
3 – Better Throughput
Has your company ever experienced slow Internet speeds, yet your speed test says your bandwidth is high?
If your company doesn’t have time for this kind of nonsense, DIA might be the answer.
This is a little-known secret in the ISP world, but as any ISP network engineer will tell you, the bandwidth your company buys is not the circuit’s actual throughput. It’s just the bandwidth at which the circuit accesses the ISP’s backbone network. Once your traffic hits the network, however, it only moves as fast as the network will allow.
The best analogy is a freeway on ramp (i.e. your circuit), vs. the actual freeway (i.e. the ISP’s backbone network). The on ramp might be huge and wide-open but if the freeway is packed with traffic, it’s going to take you a long time to reach your destination. DIA is essentially your own highway dedicated to you.
ISP’s don’t advertise this but they keep their DIA customers on a high-capacity, under-subscribed backbone network. Shared Internet connections often run on jammed, over-subscribed networks. Therefore, despite having the same circuit speed, a 100MB DIA connection will almost always be faster than a 100MB inexpensive, shared Internet access connection.
4 – Service-Level Agreement
With real-time applications like VoIP, Video and Remote Desktop growing in popularity, things like latency, packet loss, and jitter have become extremely important for your company’s Internet connection. Shared connections often struggle in these areas.
Piggy-backing on the benefit of better throughput: Since DIA traffic runs over a better backbone network, ISP’s usually slap a snazzy guarantee on the quality of your Internet traffic, called a Service Level Agreement (SLA). A typical DIA SLA will guarantee:
- Network Uptime
- Packet Loss
- Jitter (only guaranteed with some ISP’s)
If your company has DIA and your ISP fails to meet its SLA, they will give you a monetary refund, based on the details outlined in your original contract.
5 – Better Guaranteed Response Time
DIA circuits almost always come with a significantly better guaranteed response time than inexpensive, shared business Internet connections. ISP’s typically provide a 4-hour guaranteed response time for DIA trouble tickets and a “best effort” response time for shared Internet connection trouble tickets.
If your company has a DIA circuit, rest assured your issue is a much higher priority to the ISP than a customer with a $100/month shared Internet access circuit. Again, you get what you pay for, including customer service.
So, the next time you hear an ISP touting a 100MB “business” connection for $100/month, you’ll know why it’s so inexpensive. Don’t get me wrong, the inexpensive connections are extremely useful but they are apples and oranges compared to a fiber DIA connection.