Updated: Apr 6, 2022
In this modern age with internet connectivity available nearly everywhere, it is an area often ignored. Treated like a utility - it just works. However, having this mind set can cause serious repercussions for you and your business as internet access is not properly considered. This article outlines a few items around your connectivity to consider:
Not all connections are the same:
Most internet connections for business use are either Cable/DSL, or Fibre. Fibre is a more expensive option for the same speed so why use it? Here's why:
Fibre internet is normally the same speed in both directions, which is 500 megabits per second (MBPS) download AND upload. Cable is typically fast on the download. For example, 500 MPBS but upload may only be 20 MBPS. Upload is important if you are transferring data to the cloud or more importantly, it transfers your camera feed to people in your video calls. With a low upload speed shared with many people you may find poor performance such as low-quality video calls.
Fibre normally comes with a service level agreement: if something goes wrong the provider will be bound by a contract to get it working in a fixed time period or face a penalty (normally money back to you). Cable/DSL connections are normally "best endeavors" and therefore you have no come back in the case of a major outage.
While there is more risk with Cable/DSL sometimes it is possible to get two different Cable / DSL lines and aggregate them together giving redundancy and a higher combined speed. This is very variable as an option and depends on what services are available in the are.
Fibre is not available at all locations and getting it installed can be costly (it might require construction work). It can also require a minimum contract so not ideal for short term rental locations.
How essential is it?
If the internet was to fail in the main office, could you work from another location? The same for the home office. Many organizations are moving to a hybrid environment where there is limited office space in the main office. In the event of a major issue in the main office the staff there work from home and vice versa. This can be an excellent method of providing disaster recovery not just for internet but other core items to productivity like a power or water outage.
So, I can work from anywhere? Not so fast!
Some people have taken the approach that since they can work from home maybe they can just work from the cabin or other remote locations. Before doing that be wary of a few things:
Most wireless plans for cellphones have a limit on the data you can use before overage charges occur. Normal web browsing can use little data, but video conferencing can quickly burn through this data and lead to large overages.
Still on cell phones, be wary of cell signal. Remote locations may have fine voice or text coverage, but their internet speed might be limited even with strong cell signal. Try it out prior to committing to a long term move to a location.
All though hotels, bars and other commercial establishments may have free Wi-Fi it is likely to be speed restricted and may even block certain types of traffic. This can mean that Teams call you were going to have might be choppy or may not work at all. .