Insights from the Sales Desk – Commercial broadband vs. residential broadband.

[47/365] iPhone 3.0 Internet Tethering & MMS on O2 UKLearn which businesses choose commercial-grade broadband.
Ben Dodson / / CC BY-NC

A question we hear from commercial broadband Internet consumers who are unfamiliar with the industry landscape is, “Why am I paying so much at the office for bandwidth? I have a 20 Mbps download broadband connection at home from the cable company and I’m only paying $40.” It’s a valid question. Pricing for business grade bandwidth that is committed to the customer and carries a business Service Level Agreement (SLA) has pricing that is vastly different than residential grade bandwidth.

In the case of a cable Internet provider, the bandwidth pipe for the home user is actually much larger than 20 Mbps. In this example, the broadband Internet service is throttled or rate-shaped to up 20 Mbps on the download and up to 5 Mbps on the upload for each home, but the source node for that bandwidth can be 100 Mbps or even much greater. It’s also true that the source node could be subscribed to as many as 200 other homes in the area, all of which could also have been offered up to 20 Mbps download. The bandwidth is oversubscribed. In other words, everyone is sharing and while it is likely that a broadband speed test will reveal that you may be getting close to 20 Mbps, there is no assurance that bandwidth will be available to any one household on a consistent basis.

Cable Internet is a “best effort” service, so there is no remedy to the homeowner if the bandwidth is not available, or if the high speed Internet service is degraded by packet loss or excessive latency. A business grade circuit has dedicated bandwidth to the business broadband customer, and assures that the service will have minimal latency and minimal packet loss. It comes with remedies for the customer according to the SLA if the business Internet service does not perform to commercial standards.

In reality, best effort service like DSL and cable Internet are more than adequate to meet the needs of some businesses. If the business just needs to do Internet surfing and email, a residential based network is a good value. But if the business leverages the Internet for productivity and enterprise applications, then it makes sense to get committed bandwidth with robust performance and a strong SLA to assure that all of the days will be productive.

Learn more about business Internet solutions from Skyriver. Skyriver Pro delivers dedicated bandwidth to 3 Mbps,  Skyriver Enterprise delivers fiber-grade Internet solutions with dedicated bandwidth scalable up to GigE. Skyriver Private Network connects multiple locations privately and securely.