A reliable, fast broadband service is now as essential to the success of a business as capital, a solid business plan, and a team of employees. But does every business require a specialized business broadband connection? Or can you get by with a cheaper, home broadband service?
This guide will take you through the essential differences between home and business broadband, as well as the difficulties businesses could face if they choose a residential service.
What is business broadband?
Business broadband is a dedicated broadband connection that’s set up in an office or workspace to support a much larger demand for internet. Typically, business broadband packages are more comprehensive than residential broadband. So expect faster speeds, bigger capacity, more secure and reliable connections, dedicated services, and, as a result, a higher monthly price.
Do I need business broadband?
If you’re running a business of more than ten, you should consider getting a dedicated business broadband connection. There are a number of key features included in business broadband deals that are essential to keeping your business running smoothly. Here’s the difference between home and business broadband:
- Business broadband service guarantee and compensation – If your network has a fault, many of the best business broadband providers pledge to get your connection back up and running the next working day to minimize disruption and inconvenience to customers. Service guarantees with residential broadband are much less common. And if providers do offer these guarantees, the timeframe in which they promise to get you back up and running is much longer. In the event that a business broadband provider is unable to get you back online in the time frame promised in the contract, you’re often entitled to compensation.
- Dedicated customer support for business broadband – If your business broadband connection goes down, it’s vital you get back online as soon as possible, or you could risk losing revenue and damaging your reputation. For that reason, business broadband deals typically offer around-the-clock, UK-based customer support, so you can get help with any problems whenever they occur. In contrast, home broadband typically operates customer support services only during select hours. Business broadband customer support staff also prioritize business broadband callers, so there’s less chance of you being stuck in a queue waiting to speak to an operator.
- Business broadband traffic is prioritized – The speed and quality of your connection won’t be affected by other customers’ usage patterns, such as a neighbor downloading lots of HD video. This also means it won’t slow down at busy times of day, keeping your business running smoothly.
- Better security – If your home computer is hacked, it can be a major inconvenience. But if your business broadband network is compromised, it could be a disaster for you and for your clients. For that reason, business broadband services come equipped with higher-grade security software.
- A router that’s made for businesses – Business broadband routers and residential routers can differ substantially. If you only need to connect 10 – 12 computers, a standard residential router or small business router will be fine. If you’re a larger business, you’ll need a more powerful Wi-Fi router that provides coverage between 1,500 – 2,000 sq ft and over multiple stories. Business broadband routers also provide higher levels of security, including a VPN server and firewall, and filter content, too.
- Static IP address – A residential broadband service gives you a dynamic IP address. This is a unique number to identify your computer, so your IP address will change every time you connect to the internet. With business broadband deals you’re provided with a static IP address. This allows you to use your connection for a host of business-specific features that are critical to the day-to-day operation of many businesses. With a static IP address, you can host your own server, which is vital if your business needs to receive large files. Plus, it ensures clients can connect to your server without complications.
Is business broadband better than residential?
Business broadband packages on the whole focus on providing faster, more reliable connections. There’s little point in getting an ADSL business broadband connection as these are only suitable for occasional internet users. This doesn’t fit the criteria for premises that operate as a business.
And while download speeds are similar to, if slightly faster than, residential broadband, you’re likely to find much faster upload speeds for business broadband connections than home broadband. This is essential when using the internet to upload files, make video calls and work on shared drives.
Why is business broadband more expensive than home broadband?
While home broadband usually has a lower monthly price, this can actually be a bit of a false economy. As we’ve seen above, you could end up missing out on revenue if something goes wrong, and you’re unable to get a quick response from customer support.
Business broadband is arguably also better value because of the extras that come with it. For instance, all business broadband providers also supply customers with multiple email accounts which will be specific to your business and will present a more professional image to clients.
Can I use business broadband for a business I’m running from home?
Business broadband is often more expensive than home broadband, so if your working from home situation looks to be temporary, then you probably don’t need to upgrade to business broadband. However, if your home is set to be your office for the long run, it’s a great option to get business broadband installed at home.
The benefits of business broadband, like increased security and guaranteed bandwidth, are often worth the added expense.
It’s also worth noting that the cost of a business broadband connection can be claimed as a business expense, and therefore can be deducted from your end-of-year tax bill.