What Is DIA? Dedicated Internet Access Explained

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Dedicated internet access (DIA) has many names (dedicated fiber, dedicated ethernet, ethernet over fiber), but serves one main purpose: guaranteed bandwidth for quality of service. Nothing is worse than unreliable internet access in a work environment. You want  flexible and scalable network connectivity that ensures you’re always connected to mission critical applications. So what is DIA? Read on. 

With the fast-paced evolution of technology, it’s become abundantly clear to business leaders that a weak and unreliable internet connection can significantly slow productivity and waste time and money. A shared internet connection or “best effort” service (often provided by a cable company), serves as a perfect example of a weaker connection in the business world. While it may be an alternative solution that also provides bandwidth, it is not “dedicated” nor as reliable as DIA. 

Shared Internet Connection vs. Dedicated Internet Access

A shared connection gives internet access to anyone within your internet “loop” or general radius. For instance, if your business is near a residential neighborhood, bandwidth can be slowed significantly at peak hours. For instance,  when children get home from school and hop on their Xbox or Playstation. While this type of connection may be ideal outside of the professional world (perfect for watching videos, using social media, gaming or other typical web-browsing behaviors), most mid-market to large organizations will opt for DIA over a shared connection. DIA internet access is the better choice because of the dedicated synchronous speeds and better SLAs (Service-Level Agreement) that come with a dedicated connection.

Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between having a shared internet connection vs dedicated internet access.

5 Key Differences Between Shared Internet and DIA

1. Guaranteed Bandwidth

With DIA internet access, your company is guaranteed to receive the maximum bandwidth you purchased 100 percent of the time. If your company purchases an 80 megabyte dedicated fiber internet connection, you will always receive 80 megabytes (or very 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 every hour of the day.

With a shared connection, the actual speed is unpredictable and fluctuates throughout the day depending on the ISP’s network traffic. The speed your company signs up for is the maximum speed you will receive (but not the minimum) and only during certain hours of the day (like at 1 a.m. when virtually nobody in your area is online). Typically, you will only get a portion of your bandwidth throughout the day due to other internet activity on the same “loop.”

2. Better Throughput

What is DIA? It’s the remedy to your slow internet speeds. If your company can’t maintain normal operations due to slow internet, investing in dedicated internet access is definitely the answer. A little-known secret in the ISP world is that the bandwidth your company buys is not the circuit’s actual throughput. It’s just the bandwidth through which the circuit accesses the ISP’s backbone network. Once your traffic hits the network, it only moves as fast as the network will allow.

Think of the circuit as a highway on-ramp and the highway as your ISPs backbone network. The on-ramp might be huge and wide-open but if the freeway is packed with traffic, it will take you a long time to reach your destination. DIA is like having your very own private highway dedicated to you. Pretty convenient, right?

Always remember, ISPs keep their DIA customers on a high-capacity, under-subscribed backbone network. Shared internet connections often run on jammed, over-subscribed networks.

3. Improved Network Security

Cybersecurity for your business should be of the utmost importance. Especially if you handle any sensitive data (i.e., sensitive client or employee data). Additionally, cybersecurity is an essential part of your business’s financial security. One way to strengthen security is by using dedicated internet access. By not having to share your internet connection with those outside of your organization, you easily strengthen your overall security posture and insulate your network against breaches. With DIA, you can worry less about the threats from other networks. This allows you to better allocate your business’s resources toward tackling other weak links in your digital security.

4. Peace of Mind (SLA)

With real-time applications like VoIP, video and remote desktop being the new normal, things like latency, packet loss and jitter have become extremely important for your company’s internet connection. Shared internet connections often struggle in these areas. Referring back to the benefit of better throughput, because DIA traffic runs over a better backbone network, ISPs usually offer a guarantee on the quality of your internet traffic, otherwise known as a service level agreement (SLA).

5. Faster Response Time

DIA internet access circuits almost always come with a significantly better guaranteed response time than inexpensive, shared business internet connections. ISPs typically provide a faster, four-hour guaranteed response time for DIA trouble tickets and a “best effort” response time for shared internet connection trouble tickets (i.e., issues will be resolved on a first come, first served basis despite the level of urgency).

What Is DIA? Doing Internet Accurately

The right way to connect your business could be dedicated internet access. From a single site to large, globally distributed locations, ATC offers a broad range of flexible and scalable network solutions to assure businesses are always connected to mission-critical applications. Our multi-protocol (MP) and virtual private networks (VPNs) set the standard, providing the highest quality, secure inter-office connectivity available while ensuring your voice, data and video applications are performing seamlessly. Contact us for flexible and scalable network solutions and start your digital transformation today.

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