Location, location, location.
I thought about writing this post after a friend of mine called me and said he’d found a new office for his business – but he’d heard reports that the broadband on-site was limited. He asked for my advice.
There are three key things you should remember when sourcing broadband for your business:
1) Is VirginMedia’s Fibre Optic (not ADSL – they offer this to non-fibre enabled areas) available in your location?
If so, purchase this and read no further. VirginMedia’s fibre service is unrivalled, both in their routing hardware and down to the wire. If you can’t go with VirginMedia’s fibre optic service you are stuck with ADSL. This isn’t too bad as long as you’re close to the exchange and your exchange has a wide range of operator presence.
2) What services are available in the exchange to which your potential phone line would be connected?
Some people sign up with [Random ISP] Ltd and then experience a poor level of internet service. This is usually because although [Random ISP] Ltd sell broadband to customers all over the UK – they don’t actually have their own hardware present in your local exchange to which your physical line is connected. This means that all communication between the wider internet and your router has to travel through BT’s core hardware first before being re-routed to another BT exchange to hop onto [Random ISP]‘s network. Clearly this is undesirable and users tend to experience lag, packet jitter and, during peak times, bandwidth throttling.
You can check exactly which operators are present in your local exchange by visiting Sam Knows . First make sure you get the correct exchange by entering your phone number and postcode (your line may be connected to any close by). My advice is that if the operator you want has no presence in your exchange, cut your losses and sign up with BT Broadband to receive the best service available.
3) Once you’ve found out which exchange you’re connected to, also check the distance you are away from it.
Many operators will sell you ‘ADSL2+ up to 24Mbps broadband’ – however if your premises is 8km away from the exchange you are likely to get a sketchy 2Mbps which drops on and of throughout the day. Not great if you use hosted services! Use Sam Knows Exchange Mapping to show/hide the coverage of your local exchange. If you are right on the edge of the exchange’s coverage, it’s likely you’ll need some expert help, such as a bonded broadband solution, leased line or in rare cases; satellite broadband. There are other factors to do with your physical line which will affect speed, but none really more so than your distance away from the exchange.
In answering my friend’s question, he didn’t move his business. It turns out that many existing tenants only received slow broadband and the premises was situated on the very edge of the local exchange’s coverage.
- Can I avoid ADSL? If so, go with VirginMedia’s Fibe Optic Broadband.
- Does the operator I’m signing with have a presence in the exchange? If not, just go with BT as you’ll be using their network on your first hops anyway.
- Are you close enough to your exchange to receive a good level of service? Remember, operators will sell you 24Mbps and you may only ever be able to receive 6Mbps. So maybe find a cheaper deal, if available.