“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” This famous line by Michael Corleone in The Godfather, a bona fide Francis Ford Coppola movie classic, has raised more disputes than the Don has ordered hits about whether it’s really possible to keep business and personal lives separate.
At the end of it all, most agree that business is personal, because we all crave a deeper connection with our work and that means our personal lives get involved in our work every day.
But if there’s one time that you need to take Michael Corleone at face value, it’s on the fact that when it comes to your business, you need a proper, broadband fibre-to-the-business connection (FTTB). Nothing personal, but a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) package for personal use may not cut it when it comes to having the speed, capacity, service levels and the productivity needed to keep your business connected 24/7.
“That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with the speed and efficiency of a fibre-to-the-home connection (FTTH) for your home, because there isn’t, it’s just that FTTB and FTTH are designed for very different functions. Think of it as the reason why you go to the GP when you have the flu and go to the neurosurgeon for brain surgery. They’re both perfectly suited for the task at hand, but you wouldn’t want to muddle the two!” explains Chris Attie, senior relationship manager at MetroFibre Networx.
“More and more businesses rely on high-speed internet connections to remain competitive and deliver the instant service and feedback that customers demand. In addition, many business applications, software, e-mail, storage and back-up solutions sit in the cloud, which means you need a superior, stable, symmetrical and hyper-reliable internet connection to maintain business productivity and efficiency levels,” adds Chris.
“MetroFibre Networx offers a range of business fibre solutions for companies of all sizes – from the design agency, to the admin office, to the law firm, to the film production studio to massive conglomerates and JSE-listed entities.
“What’s crucial is that a FTTB connection provides the requisite back-up, service and support you need to keep your business operating 24/7, 365. Business Parks and centres are typically equipped to handle the fibre business solutions (in some instances fibre in typical residential areas/streets may not be suitable for business requirements).
“Secondly, your business fibre solution is likely to be the backbone of many of the future developments in your business – from ditching your traditional and outdated switchboard for Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), to cloud storage, back-up, firewalls and security, to entirely cloud-based computing for a truly mobile office.
“This is not always possible on a simple, highly contended consumer fibre solution,” adds Attie.
Why go with a proper business connectivity solution?
- Service level agreement – A FTTB offering has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees that your business receives the kind of service and speed promised by your provider. Business services have guaranteed issue resolution times if and when things go wrong. In fact, with MetroFibre you will be proactively notified of any problems and what is being done to fix them, and when your service will be returned to normal. FTTH connections typically are based on “best effort” services with resolution aimed for within four days – understandably this would not be suitable for businesses that rely on their internet connection to remain productive and functional. The key difference comes down to the level of reliability needed and the service level guarantees in place.
- Bandwidth Symmetry and Speed – FTTB offerings also have guaranteed line speeds – both for upload and download speeds, and you won’t find your speed being throttled when usage goes up. You should, as a business, be able to upload as fast as you download, which is particularly important for companies that back up data through cloud services or have any business applications in the cloud. Typical home fibre solutions have lines speeds anywhere between 10-100Mbps, but business lines can go anywhere up to 1000Mbps or even more if needed for specialised applications.
- Contention ratio – A business fibre connection has a low contention ratio which means it can handle many users connecting to the internet at the same time, without affecting the line speed. A home line is likely to have medium to high contention rates – so as more users connect to the line via Wi-Fi or Ethernet/LAN cable, the slower the line speed will become as everyone is competing for the same bandwidth.
- Hardware – Home users can get away with a single basic router to enable an internet connection, but businesses typically need networks and more advanced hardware to run their operations. Ideally you will also want a solution that is scalable and can grow as the business grows. As MetroFibre provides both the infrastructure and the connection as an ISP, it means you can upgrade your business package when you need to without penalty and won’t be stuck with two-year redundant contracts that don’t evolve with your business. You can only get this kind of service with a truly business-minded service provider.
“There’s an old adage that you get what you pay for, and a more important one that says there is a difference between price and value,” Attie says. “Granted, the price you pay for a proper business fibre solution is going to be more than a home consumer offering, but the reasons outlined above provide valid justification for this.
“The price is not only dependent on the line speed, but on a multitude of factors from service levels, contention rates, technical support, ease of upgrade, terms and conditions and scalability for growth. It all comes down to the value you attach to your business connectivity, and what it means for your growth, productivity and ability remain competitive in a cutthroat economy.”