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A guide to business broadband packages

Broadband for business and broadband for home/personal differ greatly in term of what they offer and common customer requirements. For businesses, a good internet connection can be vital for several reasons.

From a workflow perspective, staff obviously need a good connection to be productive. Furthermore, workflows can be improved and made more secure with intranet and extranet technologies for file and information management (these options basically provide you with your own private network that needs to be logged on to).

From a sales perspective, quick website functioning and customer service are vital nowadays, and many businesses have overhauled their value chains and routes to market with the aid of internet technology.

So fast internet can change how staff work, how fast they can work, and how your business interacts with customers, partners and the market.

One of the main functions of business broadband is that it allows for static IP addresses. What this means that the “address” of your internet connection stays the same, compared to home broadband IP addresses which change over time based on users connecting (they are reused for security and efficiency concerns).

So they function almost similar to a phone number looked up by a connection. This means that there are two reasons why static addresses are helpful to businesses: for their employees to connect for example via VPN and for customers to connect to services they provide.

It’s worth bearing in mind that one reason for dynamic (not static) IP addresses is the extra security they provide since changing up makes it difficult for hackers to infiltrate a connection to a specific computer, so if you choose for a static address then make sure you have the adequate security in place.

While keeping personal data is important with home broadband, security for businesses takes on a whole new dimension, especially when sensitive data and operations are at stake. What this means is that there are more security concerns for business users, such as spam-filtering email, safe hosting connections, and a whole range of security best practices (such as password guidelines for employees). This is all underpinned by the need for effective anti-virus protection software, and also hardware security measures.

One of the earliest priorities of mobile broadband providers was to enable professional users to effectively work on their commutes and while away from the office. In the early days of the internet, this was only good for rudimentary email sending, but now thanks to the advent of 3G and especially 4G, along with advanced smartphone technology, working away from the desk is efficient. In fact, most mobile broadband connections, with speeds of around 21Mbps, are more than enough for business use – with personal users more likely to find the speed limiting.

Many business packages include mobile broadband contracts as well, so staff can avail of high-standard connections at their desks and on their phones which won’t cost the company too much overall. And VoIP is a good option for business, so it is included with some plans. Another option that could impact your bill is the choice of dedicated vs leased lines; with the added expense of dedicated lines allowing greater connection speeds.

Businesses can avail of even more options than home broadband users thanks to the range of providers that specialise in the market. Zen, XLN Telecom, and Toople are examples of these niche business broadband providers. Of course the major providers like BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk also offer very useful business packages (with very high speeds possible with Virgin Media, for example).