Reliable access to The net is the lifeblood of Grand Rapids companies and their company. Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and everything in between, count on reliable and fast access to The web.
We are going to become increasingly reliant on Internet access as the months and years progress.
The net has a significant presence in our lives. From email to information sharing, data archiving to e-commerce, and VOIP to video conferencing, the internet is certainly ubiquitous. What do you need? Is a cable modem enough? Metro Ethernet may be what you need. You may need Gigabit Internet. What is best for your business in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Will your organization needs be met with a 50 Meg circuit, a 5 Meg circuit, 10 Meg Internet access or 100 Meg access to The net point?
You must, before selecting a service, assess the actual needs of your company. Is the internet primarily used for emailing or web surfing? Is the web used for real-time data connection with servers in the cloud? Are you hosting data in Grand Rapids? Do remote sites rely on you?
What if there is an outage and your high-speed Internet is interrupted? Can your company afford a long pause or lull in productivity? Is uptime required? You must answer these questions before you buy.
In all-encompassing terms, businesses need high-speed Internet access. Choosing the correct broadband for your organization requires a cost benefit analysis. While many providers throw around terminologies such as:
… you must not lose sight of the real issue, which is understanding what technical solutions best meet your needs.
At any company in Grand Rapids some employees, if not all employees, need some type of access to the web if they are to properly perform their job duties. Whether it is to communicate with shippers, do research or place orders, access to The Internet is required.
The solution you choose may be based on the number of employees you have or expect to have. If you have a smaller workforce, you may do fine with a smaller Internet circuit. For example, if you only employ a handful of people, a 5 or 10 Meg circuit may meet your needs. If you have a larger workforce, you may want to consider more. This is especially true if they all need to use the net simultaneously.
If your employees are merely accessing an intranet system with limited graphics and video, your need for high-speed Internet may be reduced. When they are frequently downloading things, whether documents, graphics or videos, however, speed is necessary for efficient job performance.
Does your company regularly conduct backups? Synchronizing your backup data after doing remote backups from every desk requires you to support simultaneous connections out to the web.
Do you use a file sharing service like Google drive or DropBox? This is how a file sharing service works: You save a file. Then the file is pushed to the cloud, and is then synchronized with other people’s computers. Supporting file sharing, while supporting every other service, requires sufficient bandwidth.
Depending on where you are, you may want to look into high-speed business Internet access such as Metro Ethernet and gigabit Internet. These can usually be found in Grand Rapids in “lit buildings” that have already been wired. Adding this high-speed Internet to your office may be surprisingly affordable and easy.
While it may be the case that bringing Metro Ethernet into a new building can cause a big dent in your wallet, bringing the connection to a suite or offices within that building does not have to. Also, securing high-speed access to The net using gigabit Internet or Metro Ethernet often takes less than 30 days, depending on its availability.
Does your company host its own servers running websites, APIs or data feeds for other offices or companies outside of your own four walls? Is your main business office with a hosted application accessed by 40 or even 50 branch office sites? Does your office host the point of sale (POS) system for every single store in a large retail chain? Do you run a law office that hosts the data for satellite offices in different cities or states?
Access to data and programs by people outside of your main location becomes necessary when you host information centrally. If the net connection is interrupted or fails, those people are unable to accomplish any work. When deciding on the right intranet solution for your organization, ask yourself: Is the solution going to adequately support simultaneous and multiple connections from my different sites?
An inexpensive 10 Meg circuit may be enough if you have one office that needs to surf the net. A cable modem may also be adequate in this situation. For headquarters, Metro Ethernet, gigabit Ethernet or other high-speed Internet dedicated circuits is advisable. Multiple diverse connections require support, in addition to high speed. A cable modem would likely not provide the necessary support.
Bringing in a less-expensive circuit like a cable modem often comes with a price. There may be a lower monthly rate, but bandwidth is usually shared with many tenants. The cable modem you subscribe to with the 30 Meg connections may not always reach those speeds, especially during the busiest or “peak” hours of the workday. Many cable companies only deliver a set amount of bandwidth within a community. Whatever that amount of bandwidth is, it branches into all buildings in the community and to all tenants in those buildings. While you may be capped at thirty-megabyte speed, will you ever reach that speed during organization hours? Is it a problem if you get a quarter or even half of the speed you expected?
Guaranteed bandwidth and dedicated bandwidth are solutions that some providers offer. In this situation, your bandwidth is not shared but is fully allocated to your organization. You should receive full capacity of your circuits during all hours. This is true even though you may have many buildings, businesses and tenants nearby.
As an example, look at Metro Ethernet. They provide guaranteed bandwidth in various increments. You can receive guaranteed bandwidth in increments of 100, 50, 10 and 5 megabytes. Want to reach gigabit speeds? You can by using a gigabit Internet provider.
Here, carriers deliver enough high-speed to the building, so that it can be split among various tenants. The carrier has the right amount so that everyone gets the contracted speed that has been promised.
Despite outstanding Internet bandwidth products offered by carriers in Grand Rapids, circuits do go down. In what way can you diminish the risk of an outage?
Redundant circuits may be the answer for you.
We are primarily talking about two kinds of redundancy.
With the first type of redundancy, you receive multiple circuits from the same carrier. In this situation, the redundancy helps protect you from port issues or physical line issues. If that carrier has a wide reaching outage or there is a line broken or damaged outside of your building, both circuits may go down. While there is some protection, there is also some risk.
Circuit redundancy can also be achieved in the following way: Import circuits using two different and distinct carriers. Advanced routers and IP address allocations can be utilized to make it look to your users and the public that you have a single circuit. Truthfully, they are entirely separate. They are redundant and exist in case one of them fails. Diversity redundancy provides greater assurance, comfort and protection. You will still have a live, fully functioning carrier if one fails.
When considering redundant circuits and carriers, try to be sure that the carriers you look at in Grand Rapids, Michigan have different physical geographic routes or pathways. Doing so will maximize redundancy. Essentially, this just means that you do not want both of your circuits to enter the building on the same side. They should come in on different sides. Ideally, the circuits will be going in different directions and toward various central organization spaces or data centers. In this way you have redundancy in different physical directions. If there is an event that causes a regional circuit problem, you have an alternative that is unaffected.
While Internet access is not free, it pales in comparison with the cost of not having reliable access to The net. Consider the following:
Is your business on a cable modem? How many other tenants is your carrier servicing in your building? Are 14 other offices getting circuits? Any of these tenants may be taking many calls, conducting huge downloads or streaming video during your regular office hours. As they use more bandwidth, there is less for available to meet your requirements. What happens to your phone calls? How will it affect the quality of that telephone call? Will calls be arbitrarily dropped? Will you sound muffled or choppy to your customers?
Your office may be the working center of an entire organization enterprise. The kind of business does not necessarily matter. You may be a law firm doing file sharing, an accounting practice sharing databases or a retailer operating a distributed point-of-sale system. All of your offices, whether you have 3 or 3, 000, rely on your primary Internet connection to successfully access data. What will happen if your circuit crashes? Would you merely be annoyed? Would there be catastrophic consequences? Can your satellite or remote office do any work at all? Process new orders? Share information? Picking the right a solution can be difficult. Before doing so, be sure you fully understand your requirements. Maybe you are a corporation that designs and sells software and you run a hosted solution that is used by hundreds and hundreds of customers. Maybe you operate a service that allows other systems to communicate with yours via API. This may be to collect miscellaneous data, calculate prices or shipping prices or other information. What if other systems can’t connect to your office servers? Multiple outages may annoy your customers.
Does your business completely rely on the net? No outbound calls can be made should your circuits go down. In addition, they will be unable to answer incoming calls. You are essentially out of business. Is redundancy enough? Can you truly rely on your carriers? Are they as dependable as they claim? You should be getting high quality service that ensures your calls are consistently clear and reliable.
You clearly have many options. Your business needs and your budget will have to come into consideration when deciding on your solutions. To summarize:
If your organization is small, with one location or office, you are likely not concerned about redundancy. For you, a single 5, 10 or 50 megabyte Internet access circuit may suffice. Metro Ethernet service or gigabit service may also be a reasonably priced option if you are in a lit building. Prices vary based on your location and availability of circuits; speak with our engineers to find your best option.
Mid-sized businesses in Grand Rapids, Michigan should be equipped with higher-speed Internet. Gigabit Internet, Metro Ethernet and other higher speed Internet circuits are options to consider. Ideally, multiple circuits from multiple providers will provide you with the greatest redundancy. Achieving this may cost extra but it won’t double your costs. Using one 100-megabyte circuit instead of two 50-megabyte circuits, is one example. Remember, costs vary. So does availability. You need to speak with one of our experts to determine your options in your specific location.
Any company with more than one location suffers the greatest risk of problems. Redundant circuits are a necessity. Different providers are desirable. In addition, consider redundant equipment. Redundant routers and switches can minimize risk also. Here also, examine the Ethernet access services, gigabit Internet and Metro Ethernet providers. Take a careful look at other high-speed Internet access circuit providers before choosing the right one. The best mix of carriers and services can maximize the productivity and efficiency of your company.
For businesses that fit this description, it is essential to have gigabit Internet circuits, point-to-point high-speed Internet circuits and Metro Ethernet Internet circuits. If you want to ensure your valuable uptime, have redundant circuits from multiple providers as well as redundant hardware. You need enough bandwidth. The bandwidth must be sufficient to handle spikes in usage with no slowdowns or interruptions. It is crucial that not only your circuits have the ability to support a vast number of multiple and simultaneous connects, but your hardware must have the ability to support them as well.
The danger and risk of failing circuits is tremendous. So is the risk of having less bandwidth than you need. The circuit or circuits you have must stay within the parameters of your budget while still meeting your company needs. There is tremendous pressure on you to choose the best combination of circuits and hardware.
We have experts to help. Our engineers will do an analysis of your needs and requirements, and develop a free action plan for you based on their findings. After reviewing your current usage and demand levels, we will generate a cost effective plan that provides your business with the resources it needs.
Please call our office for an assessment appointment or click here to complete the contact form on the right side of the page. We can often provide assessments within 48 hours.