The importance of internet speed for your business
With the National Broadband Network (NBN) set to be completed next year, the majority of business premises should be moving away from their ADSL connections – if they haven’t already.
For many, the increased cost that comes with an NBN connection seems like needless overhead, but in the perpetually connected world of 21st century business, a fast, reliable internet connection is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
ICT Operations Manager at REIQ, Stephen Collins, says the emergence of online infrastructure places more reliance on your connection’s bandwidth and speed.
“As more and more systems, like your CRM, Realworks, etc., are cloud based, it’s important to have fast, reliable internet to avoid delays in page loading times,” says Collins.
“Not only are long loading times frustrating for users, they also lead to a decrease in productivity.”
As such, the importance of a good internet connection becomes increasingly more important as your office grows, or else download and upload speeds slow to a crawl when many staff are connected at the same time.
Since the rollout of the NBN includes three different connection types, the nature of your setup could be out of your control.
Areas where fibre-optic cable is connected to your premises (FTTP), download speeds can typically reach 100 megabits per second (Mbps). For reference, the average speed of ADSL connections (what we used before the NBN) is about 8Mbps.
If you’re in an area where fibre-optic cable is laid only as far as a nearby exchange, known as a node (FTTN), you’ll still be using the old ADSL cabling (copper) between your premises and the node. FTTN’s speeds are typically between 50 and 100Mbps, but could be much, much lower, depending on the physical distance between you and your nearest node.
There is also the possibility that fibre-optic cable is laid right up to the exterior of your building, known as fibre to the curb (FTTC). FTTC speeds fall somewhere between FTTP and FTTN, because while there still will be some copper cabling between your curb and your office, it should always be considerably faster than an FTTN connection.
Regardless of your specific connection, your internet service provider (ISP) will still provide options for speed and data allowance, usually measured per month. As Collins suggests, investing in a connection that is both fast and reliable is often worth it.
In the worst case scenario, a sub-par internet connection may be prone to outages, which have the potential to bring your business to a stand-still.
“Losing internet access for a few short minutes would probably result in only minimal impact to a business, but a few hours could be disastrous,” says Collins.
“Depending on the severity of the outage, it could bring productivity to a grinding halt for your online systems.”
Some ISPs offer modems with built-in backup systems that will automatically connect to wireless broadband (usually 4g or 5g) should the wired network suffer an outage.
For larger businesses though, a business continuity plan (BCP) should be considered.
“Every business should have a BCP,” says Collins.
“This helps lay out the foundations of a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate disruption risks to the business in a disaster, and it should include internet outages.”