What is good internet, anyways?

One question we get a lot here at Computer Systems Plus is “what is good internet” or “do I have enough internet” or simply the statement, “I hate our slow internet”. 

So we thought this would be a great topic to write about, but as our CEO sat down to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard, he realized that it is very difficult to explain the ins and outs of “what is good internet”. 

Why is it hard to explain?

  1. Internet is unique to the business and the needs (or budget constraints) of the business
  2. It’s very “techy,” with a lot of “techy” stuff that can affect your internet. I hope we’re sounding very intellectual right now

So we thought we would hit some key points to help you find the right internet for your business…the whole–teaching a man (or woman) to fish mantra. 

Steps on: “How do I look for reliable internet?”

First up, Know your needs

  1. Know your needs 
    • For example, VOIP phones have a different need then say audio streaming.
    • Both have to do with audio quality but VOIP has low Bandwidth (usually the number involving internet speeds, more to come on that) but has a need for Low Latency (more to do with quality not quantity). So do some research, what uses my internet?   

Second, Don’t get hung up on the numbers

  1. 1Gbps, 100M, 300/20Mbps… do not get hung up on the speed of the internet.
    • Yes, they are important but do not let that be the deciding factor.
      • What is the deciding factor? 
        • Service type
        • Here is where people get lost–because Service Type gets confused with Delivery Medium (These are layman terms to help us, not “techy” terms).
        • Not all internet is created equal, even within the same company.
          • For example, and not to pick on just one company but this trips up most people. AT&T offers Fiber, ABF Fiber, Uvers DSL, and more, an in some markets at all the same speeds (the numbers). For example, you can buy 10Mbps Fiber, sometimes referred to as DIA or Dedicated Internet, for $400ish a month and 250Mbps Fiber for $250 a month. So what’s the difference, especially when both sales reps are telling you they are fiber, and most likely themselves don’t know the difference. The difference is the Service Type. The Delivery Medium is both Fiber, and that’s a lovely word that people love throwing around like it’s new, however the Service Type is way different. How different and which one you need goes back to the first topic to know your needs well. 
          • The First is Dedicated Internet ,think the whole highway is yours–every lane,
          • The second one is a Subscribed or Shared Internet, the highway is shared, and with lots of pot holes, good luck.
            • In fact it’s worse than I40 in February. Fiber makes this one confusing since it is quickly becoming the Medium for most internet. COAX/Cable internet is always Shared, DSL (either Fiber or Copper) is as well. The pit fall and the one that trips people up is Fiber. Which leads to next topic. 

Third, think it through and take it slow

  1. Shop around
    • Budgets, we all have them. If you don’t, I’d love to have you as a client. Identify your budget
    • Never take the first, or second quote, most places will always have two options, some have 5 or 6, if you get a high or really low quote try to find out why. Again if it’s way too low, it’s something different, not necessarily bad or good, but not the same as Fiber. 
  2. Determine the Type of Service you need – determine your needs
    • Price will usually be set by type of Service. In our experience, it’s hard to buy too much internet. If internet is important to your business then it’s worth being a line item on your budget, right?
  3. Shop for internet BEFORE you sign a lease (if possible)
    • Think as if you are buying a house and you have school-aged kids. You always look for where the best schools are in the area and then you typically go look for houses that are zoned for that area. Internet is the same!
    • You may want to see what internet is available when making a location decision for your business, meaning–being in a location with more competition will drive down the price for good internet and save you tons. Which confuses most folks since they usually shop for internet after they have signed a lease.  

Remember the 4 rules when shopping

  1. Rule #1 – if it’s too cheap, then it is.
  2. Rule #2 – Can you can afford a utility bill of X (lights, water, gas, etc)? If so, then you can and should be able to afford the same bill for internet in most cases (yes, I know manufacturing has high electricity bills but if their SAAS cloud service that runs the plant is in the cloud then for sure it is as important as the lights). 
  3. Rule #3 – get lots of quotes, even from the same company. Ask “is there other types of services in my area”.  Remember this runs your company, would you hire the first person you interview? 
  4. Rule #4 – check contract terms, on your current contract and on the new contract.
    • Breaking Terms is expensive, so avoid 5 year terms and make sure before you spend too much time you don’t have another 2 years left on your current one. Most Internet Service Providers will look for 3 year terms.  

Don’t forget your 4 W’s before talking to a provider

  1. WHO – is all using your internet
    • How many employees do you have?
    • Will you have customers coming in and out of your location, using it?
  2. WHAT – devices are you allowing to use the internet
    • We often forget about the:
      • Workstations
      • iWatches
      • Smartphones
      • iPads/tablets
      • Printers/copiers
    • …that are all using up your internet. Be aware of how much you actually need in order to serve all your devices while maintaining a high speed
  3. WHERE – is it having to travel from to get to you
    • Make sure you know where the source of your internet is coming from, so it’s not jumping through hoops to get to you, which essentially will slow it down.
    • You might have said the term, “My internet is moving so slow right now!” – Location is everything
  4. WHY – do you need it?
    • Evaluate this and then examine how much you are willing to invest in the quality of internet
    • Are you making money off of the fact that you can communicate quickly with your customers, i.e., good customer service which ultimately leads to new customer referrals?

The Tech world can be… well, techy. Don’t google it alone, ha. 

Seriously though, there are good folks to help.

At Computer Systems Plus you don’t have to be a client to ask us about good internet options.

We’d be happy to do a consult with you and help give you some good options.