Table of Contents
Dedicated Internet Access vs Broadband: Which is Right for You?
Internet access is a utility almost as crucial as water and power for most organizations. Procuring internet services can be confusing, however. Additionally, price points can vary greatly depending on the type of service quoted.
One of the questions we get most frequently from our customers is: What’s the difference between dedicated internet access service and broadband internet service? This article explains the differences to help you determine which solution is right for your business.
What is Dedicated Internet Access?
Dedicated internet access, also called a DIA, is an internet service where the internet service provider (ISP) provides you with a physical internet connection that other customers do not share. The circuit is, therefore, “dedicated” to you. This means the traffic and congestion on the network do not impact a dedicated internet connection. If your neighbor is downloading large files or the service provider’s network is especially busy, this will not affect the performance of your dedicated internet service. This is one of the major advantages of dedicated internet access.
Additionally, the dedicated internet access provider contractually guarantees the amount of bandwidth you receive (e.g., 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, etc.). If you purchase a 1 Gbps DIA service, you should always be able to use roughly 1 Gbps. The DIA service is also symmetrical, meaning traffic can pass in both directions (upload and download) at the contracted rate.
The performance of the network is guaranteed in the provider’s Service Level Agreement, or SLA. This ensures that the internet service provides the upload speeds, download speeds, and uptime per the terms of the agreement, or the provider has to offer credits or other concessions.
What are the Types of Dedicated Internet Access?
Dedicated bandwidth comes in a several service types. DIA service types include include:
Dedicated fiber is a high-bandwidth service and is the most common DIA option. Fiber can be purchased as either “dark” or “lit”. With a dark fiber service, the provider offers only the fiber, and you supply the network infrastructure at either end. With a lit service, the provider includes both the fiber connectivity and managed network infrastructure.
Other names for dedicated fiber are Ethernet over Fiber, Fast Ethernet or Metro Ethernet. For a breakdown between the two fiber options, we created the guide, “Dark Fiber vs. Lit Fiber”.
Dedicated Fixed Wireless
Dedicated fixed wireless is a business internet service that provides connectivity via microwave. It allows you to send and receive data between locations via highly focused radio waves. One of the main benefits of fixed wireless is there is very little investment required to build into a location. This greatly reduces installation charges. All that is required is a small antenna connected to your business via copper or fiber cables.
There are distance limitations to consider with fixed wireless. The service also typically requires line-of-site between your rooftop and the providers’ antenna.
Ethernet over Copper
Ethernet over Copper (EoC) delivers business internet over copper lines. These are also called POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines. Ethernet over Copper is a legacy connectivity type, as it does not offer the internet speeds of fiber or fixed wireless.
MPLS is a popular option for dedicated internet. It is a private WAN service that provides uses labels, rather than destination addresses, to deliver packets. MPLS allows traffic to be routed more efficiently and securely.
MPLS is a protocol rather than a delivery medium. Traffic can be routed over fiber or copper. MPLS-capable routers are required at either end of the connection. You can establish your own MPLS network by procuring, configuring, and maintaining the hardware. Alternatively, you can purchase a fully managed MPLS network from a service provider. SD-WAN technology is becoming a popular MPLS alternative.
What is Broadband Internet?
A broadband internet connection is an internet service where the ISP offers customers a shared internet connection. The amount of bandwidth marketed and sold by the provider is the maximum a customer will get with the service. Unlike the DIA example above, a customer who purchases a 1 Gbps broadband service can expect up to 1 Gbps but should be prepared for incredibly variable speeds depending on network congestion and other factors.
A 1 Gbps broadband connection may perform significantly below 1 Gbps much of the time. Broadband performance is also impacted by location, proximity to network hubs or data centers, and the number of users on the network in the area, meaning the same service may not be equal for all users.
Additionally, many broadband services are asymmetrical, meaning downloads are usually faster than uploads. This is fine for users surfing the web or streaming video but problematic for people looking to push latency-sensitive data to users or applications. Performance is definitely one of the main dedicated internet benefits.
What are the types of Broadband Internet?
Like DIA, broadband comes in a number of connectivity options. These include:
Fiber is a popular broadband connectivity option, as it delivers fast internet speeds for business critical applications and cloud applications. The higher speeds of fiber broadband connections are especially noticeable with download speeds. Upload speeds with broadband are generally more limited, as outlined later in the article.
Wireless is a great option for broadband internet. Speeds continue to improve with the ubiquity of 4G and 5G networks. It is especially good for rural areas that may lack broadband access. Wireless broadband also makes for an excellent, low-cost backup broadband internet connection.
Satellite is another broadband technology that is becoming more popular. It is a great option for high-speed, low-latency connectivity in remote and rural areas. Services like Starlink from SpaceX are providing up to 500 Mbps for as low as $110 per month using satellite internet.
Digital Subscriber Line, or DSL, transmits internet over existing copper wires. DSL comes in two flavors: Asymmetrical (ADSL) and Symmetrical (SDSL). ADSL is meant for users requiring better download speeds than upload speeds. Video streaming is a common use-case.
SDSL offers the same speed for uploads and downloads. This is more geared towards business operations that require upload performance such as video conferencing and cloud applications.
A cable modem allows for data transmission over the coaxial cables used by cable companies. This allows these providers to sell you internet service over their existing infrastructure. Cable modems have advanced to offer speeds of up to 10Gbps.
Dedicated Internet Access vs. Broadband – Which is Right For Your Business?
It is essential to evaluate your business requirements to determine which service suits your needs. Here are a few questions you can ask to help you decide:
How costly is internet downtime?
You can expect greater uptime and reliability with a dedicated internet connection in comparison to a broadband connection. If your internet connection were to go down or have intermittent issues, how big of an impact would this have on your business? If downtime would equal minimal business impact, a broadband service might be a fit for you.
Would an internet outage lead to a significant loss in revenue or customer satisfaction? If so, it may be worth paying more for broadband internet access which will provide better uptime and faster problem resolution.
How important is consistent internet performance?
A dedicated internet connection will provide consistent internet performance. A broadband connection will offer variable performance, depending on the traffic on the network.
A broadband connection might meet your needs if you are a small business that relies primarily on email and web browsing. Suppose you have a more significant number of users on the connection or are running applications susceptible to latency, like unified communications or video conferencing. In that case, a dedicated service will better suit your needs.
How vital is upload speed?
Both DIA and broadband internet services can provide high speed internet access for downloads. A dedicated internet connection is a symmetrical service. This means that uploads and downloads get the same amount of bandwidth. Broadband connections are often asymmetrical, meaning upload speeds are slower than downloads.
You likely need a dedicated connection if your business requires you to upload latency-sensitive data to service customers or applications. If upload performance is not essential to you, broadband might fit you.
How much do you value support?
Dedicated internet access providers offer better customer service resources with the contractually agreed-upon response and resolution timeframes via service level agreements. Dedicated internet access for corporate environments often makes sense, given the higher level of customer support provided.
You will likely have no guaranteed response or resolution timeframes with broadband service. Expect a similar service that you would get at home with broadband.
How important is security?
While cybersecurity is critical for all of us, some businesses are at greater risk than others. A dedicated service is inherently less vulnerable because it is a private connection. You are the only customer on the circuit.
A broadband connection is less secure, as it is a shared connection. If security is critical, dedicated internet is superior to broadband.
What is your budget?
Budget is a major factor when comparing a dedicated internet line vs. shared services. A dedicated internet line costs much more than broadband service. Here’s a real-world example:
Brightlio recently quoted a service for a client in Atlanta where a dedicated 1 Gig service was $1,500 per month. A 1 Gig broadband service was $230 per month. As this customer was servicing customers on its network, and performance degradation and downtime equal lost revenue, they elected to go with the dedicated service. They are evaluating a broadband service for a low-cost backup internet connection.
Dedicated fiber vs. broadband is an even greater price disparity, with fiber being much more expensive. Dedicated internet pricing and broadband pricing vary significantly by location and whether or not providers are already built into your location. If you are looking for cheap dedicated internet access, there are deals to be found, depending on your location. Brightlio will provide pricing for dedicated internet access and broadband at your location. All we require is an address, and we can turn pricing around for you quickly.
Do you need a quote for DIA or Broadband? Brightlio can help!
Have you decided on which service is right for you? Do you still need help choosing? Either way, Brightlio can help!
Brightlio is a telecommunications broker with access to hundreds of broadband, dedicated internet access, and dedicated fiber providers. We will find the best dedicated internet service provider or broadband service provider for your needs and budget. Provide us with the address where you require service, plus the speed you are looking for, and we’ll come back quickly with options that will exceed your expectations.
There is never a cost for quotes or solution designs. Let’s start a new project together today!
a new project together