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There is no question that every business today needs to be connected. Every company, from a one-person shop to a massive corporation, benefits from a good internet connection.
But not all types of connectivity suits every business, which often has the wrong kind of online service. This can hinder performance and wastes money. Our quick guide will help you with your choices and select the best online connectivity for your services.
LTE & Mobile
There are three scenarios under which you can consider mobile business internet, which primarily means LTE/4G as well as some future 5G products. This type of internet is ideal if, 1) you are always on the move, 2) you can't affordably access fixed-line internet, or 3) you don't want to spend a lot of money up-front to get connected.
Mobile internet is ideal for small business owners, as well as anyone who travels a lot, such as reps and repair technicians. Such a service can connect through a phone, or you can use a MiFi router hotspot that supports multiple devices.
Yet mobile isn't excellent for every situation. The data is more costly, so large downloads and online backups aren't always feasible. Your performance can also vary depending on where you are and the coverage available. Lastly, mobile internet is 'as is', meaning its performance can't be guaranteed at all times.
Use for: On the move professionals, areas with no access to fibre.
Fibre is comfortably the most powerful, fastest and highest-value internet choice you can currently make. A fibre line is very fast, its data is very cheap, and it can provide guaranteed performance. If you see your connection dropping below its expected speeds, you can legitimately expect your service provider to fix that. If you already use ADSL, you can consider fibre as its powerhouse cousin.
Fibre internet is ideal for everyone. Anyone from a sole proprietor to a large multinational should use fibre if they can access it. It helps create an always-online workplace - save files online, have high-definition video conferences, and do much more. There is no type of internet today that is faster, more stable and more affordable in terms of data.
The downsides of fibre are few but significant. Fibre isn't available in every area, and it can be hugely expensive to lay down the lines to connect a building. Connecting fibre also has upfront costs such as installation and the modem. Still, such once-off fees are minor when compared to the overall value. Many companies often have fibre alongside other connectivity choices.
Use for: Heavy internet usage, always-on internet, online backups, cost-effective internet
Wireless internet is similar to LTE. It also uses radio waves to connect you online. But how each work is very different. Mobile internet such as LTE is designed to move around, so you can take the internet with you. Wireless internet is fixed to one location.
Then why consider wireless internet? If you can't access fibre, and you find LTE to be not stable or affordable enough, wireless covers the two options. You can connect to wireless internet as long as your area has coverage, and you'll get a price as well as performance that compares well to fixed-line internet such as ADSL or fibre.
The downsides of wireless are few, but worth mentioning. An obvious one is that if your area has inadequate coverage, it will impact the performance of the wireless. Wireless requires installation and testing, which can take time. It's also not quite as cost-effective as fibre.
Use for: Areas where fibre isn't available, cost-effective internet
If all other options aren't available or not suitable, then you can also look at satellite internet. It's affordable and can work in rugged and remote places. Some companies use satellites for their remote branches or as a backup choice if other connectivity services don't work.
The upside of satellite is that you put nearly any location online. But at the moment, satellite internet is not keeping up with other connected services. It offers only a fraction of the speed LTE or fibre can reach. Satellite internet's data is also quite expensive and not ideal for continually access online services. But even slower connectivity is better than no connection at all!
Use for: Rugged and isolated areas, minimal internet usage
All in one
Some companies benefit from more than one type of connection. For many, what they use is not as important as being connected when they need it.
For such circumstances, consider an all-round connectivity service that offers multiple ways to stay online. For example, Vodacom Business Connect provides all of the above choices, selecting the best fit at the time and place when you need it. Available at different subscription tiers, you can select what fits your budget. Then use the internet while your provider's experts choose the best connectivity for your needs.