By: Robb Lichtman
Today’s businesses rely on Internet speed more than ever. The speed of your Internet service impacts how quickly employees access email or find important information. It also affects the quality of your customers’ experience when they access applications on your website. In fact, enhancing the customer experience is a major driver of satisfaction and loyalty—both of which are vital to your bottom line. From marketing your business, providing good customer service, to operating your business, Internet speed can highly affect your business.
To understand the benefits of faster Internet speeds on your company, it helps to understand the different Internet options and what they mean for you.
When it comes to small/medium-size businesses and the Internet, bandwidth means the rate of data transfer measured in bits per second, regardless of whether you’re uploading or downloading an audio file, application or medical record.
You may think that just because you have a high-speed connection, the speed is the same for both uploading and downloading. Regardless of the connection type, the download speed is usually faster than upload speed. For example, someone may tell you that you have a 10 Mbps (10 million bits per second) connection. In reality, that connection will only support 10 Mbps download, but the upload speed may barely hit 1 Mbps. This can be a major factor for business productivity.
What’s the difference between Internet connections?
Surprisingly, there’s a lot more difference between Internet connections than most people realize.
Cable – Cable has become a major consideration for many small businesses.
Multiple users can share a cable connection offering very high connection speeds—up to 100 Mbps download, and 5 Mbps upload. The speed from coaxial cable connections does not degrade with the distance from the Internet provider’s hub.
Fiber Optic – Fiber optic connections are expanding into business and residential areas. Fiber optics use glass—transferring data using photons at the speed of light. Fiber optic connections are blinding fast, delivering 100 Mbps or more. To get the most from fiber optics, every piece of the connection media must be fiber optic. Fiber connections can be cost-prohibitive for most small businesses, but cost effective for larger Internet-dependent businesses like hospitals or schools.
Determining whether your business would benefit from higher Internet speeds depends on the type of business you have, how many employees work at your location and their job tasks, and how your customers interact with your web-based services.
Physician offices, nursing homes, dental offices, diagnostic centers, and eye care facilities tend to use the web in their daily operations and require significant information movement. The shift to electronic medical records, large MRI-scan or X-ray file transfers, and managing customer appointments require enormous bandwidth. Also, emerging trends in healthcare IT enable healthcare providers to access clinical and patient data via the Internet like never before.
As a healthcare provider, the faster your data transfers, the more patients you can process and service. Installing 50 or 100 Mbps Internet connections moves the critical information that you need quickly, speeding up the patient diagnosis process. Faster information access improves office efficiency, reduces administrative costs, and improves quality at the point-of-care.
Consultant services encompass a wide range of small businesses, including insurance offices, advertising and creative agencies, architectural firms, local banks, and law offices. Architectural firms rely on costly CADD software packages to service their customers. Ad and creative agencies move vast amounts of data including streaming Flash media, files created by Adobe® InDesign®, Dreamweaver®, photo-realistic rendering, and web content management systems. Financial services depend on a wide variety of analysis software include trading and business intelligent applications, like S&P or Thomson Reuters, and other web-enabled tools.
If your business fits in the business services category, boosting your Internet speed could pay back big dividends. Services like web and video conferencing require higher speeds of at least 30 Mbps and beyond, and allow you to collaborate with customers more effectively, turn around projects faster, and gain peace of mind that your web-enabled tasks perform at peak efficiency.
While the Internet is an amazing place, full of new information and the latest fads, Internet speed is what really drives your business. Faster downloading and uploading of files and media help your employees stay efficient and enhance your customer’s online experience.
Today’s businesses need an Internet partner that delivers the performance, reliability, and value-added services critical to your business.
Charter Business has the knowledge that you need and the answers you require, and can set you firmly on the path to success. A complete networking solution from Charter Business® Internet scales as your business requirements grow—delivering a cost-effective, high-performance solution that fits your unique business needs.