These days, companies in St. Cloud depend on reliable access to The web as the lifeblood of their company. All companies, big and small, need fast and reliable access to The Internet.
Internet access will become increasingly important to us in the coming months and years. Our dependence on access to The net will only grow as time goes on.
From video chat to voice over IP, email to data sharing and data archiving to Internet commerce, the internet is everywhere you look. What is the best solution for you? A cable modem may be satisfactory. Maybe you need Metro Ethernet. You may need Gigabit Internet. What does your St. Cloud, Minnesota organization need? Does it require 10 Meg Internet access, a 100 Meg access to The Internet point, a 50 Meg circuit or a 5 Meg circuit?
Your organization must assess its real needs. This must be done before an appropriate service can be chosen. Is Internet use limited to website surfing or emailing only? Is it used for real-time data connection with cloud servers? Do remote sites depend on you hosting the data in St. Cloud, Minnesota?
How would an outage to your high-speed Internet affect your company? How much downtime can your business withstand? Is uptime essential to the success of your organization? You must answer these questions before you buy.
In all-encompassing terms, businesses need high-speed access to The web. Deciding on the right broadband internet is not easy. It requires a thorough cost-benefit analysis. While many providers like to spout technical terminologies such as:
… be sure not to forget what capability and technical solutions meet your business’s specific needs.
For most companies in St. Cloud, Minnesota, some or all of the employees need access to the internet. access to The net may be needed to conduct research, use third-party applications or to order supplies.
Perhaps the size of your work force may determine the solution that best fits your needs. An Internet circuit of 5 -10 megabytes might be enough for your business if you only have a few people working for you. If you have 50 employees who are using the web simultaneously, you may need more.
You may not need as much high-speed access to The web if your employees work primarily on an intranet system with limited graphics and video. On the other hand, Internet speed becomes dramatically more important when they are required to regularly download things like documents or videos.
Are you regularly performing backups? Synchronizing your backup data after doing remote backups from every desk requires you to support simultaneous connections out to the web.
Are you using Google drive, DropBox or another file sharing service? As a file is saved, it is pushed to the cloud and then synced back to other people’s computers. Supporting file sharing, while supporting every other service, requires sufficient bandwidth.
Are you interested in high-speed company Internet? Depending on where you are located, you may want to look into the viability of gigabit Internet and Metro Ethernet. These are typically found in “lit buildings” in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Providers have already wired these buildings. Adding this high-speed Internet to your office may be surprisingly affordable and easy.
Introducing Metro Ethernet to a new building can be expensive. Bringing a connection to a suite within the building is not. In fact, obtaining high-speed Internet access with Metro Ethernet or gigabit Internet can often take 30 days or less depending upon availability.
Consider whether your organization hosts its own servers that run APIs, websites and/or data to outside buildings, offices or companies. Are your company headquarters with a hosted application accessed by 50 branch offices? Are you a retail chain hosting the POS system for 12, 000 stores? Does your legal practice host all of the data for 3, 4 or 5 offices in different sites?
When data, programs, or information is hosted centrally, those outside your office must gain access. For those people, no Internet connection means no work gets done. Is the intranet solution you are choosing sufficiently reliable? Is it stable enough to support simultaneous connections from different sites?
A cable modem or fairly cheap 10-megabyte circuit may be enough in certain scenarios. For example, these may meet the needs of a single office surfing the web. Metro Ethernet, gigabit Ethernet or other high-speed dedicated circuits is advisable for the headquarters where high-speed access to The web is important. High speed is important but they also must be able to support multiple distinct connections. A cable modem would probably not be enough.
Bringing in a cable modem, which seems to save money, may actually come at a price. Your low monthly bill may mean that the bandwidth is shared among multiple tenants. While you may subscribe to a cable modem with a 30 Meg connection, you may be unable to reach those speeds during peak hours. Often, within a given community, cable companies may only deliver a particular amount of bandwidth. The bandwidth branches off to the multiple buildings, offices and tenants within them. During crucial working hours, you may not get to the 30-meg speed you have been capped at. What will the consequences be if you expect 30 but only get half that? What if you get even less?
Other carriers do offer dedicated and guaranteed bandwidth. If you want your very own bandwidth that is not used by anyone else, you should consider this. The full capacity of your circuit should be attainable during all hours regardless of neighboring buildings, people or offices.
You can receive guaranteed bandwidth with Metro Ethernet. You can receive it in increments of five, 10, 50 or one hundred megabyte circuits. Gigabit Internet providers offer gigabit speeds from your office to the internet.
In these scenarios, providers deliver a large quantity of high-speed to a building. The quantity must be enough so that it can split the circuit and deliver to every tenant. Whatever amount has been guaranteed in each tenant’s contract is the amount they receive.
While certain providers offer superior Internet bandwidth products in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the reality is that it is possible for a circuit to go down. In what way can you diminish the risk of an outage?
The answer is redundant circuits.
There are two types of redundancy to consider.
With the first kind, you receive several circuits but they all come from the same carrier. This provides some protection when there are certain failures. Multiple circuits can help for example, when there is a physical line issue or a problem with a router port. Even multiple circuits can fail, such as in the event of a large-scale carrier outage or when there damage to an external line. This offers some protection and assurance but does not eliminate all threats.
The other type of redundancy requires you to utilize circuits from different 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. You know the truth: that they are individual circuits and are there to back each other up in case one goes down. You will get more substantial protection from this diversity redundancy. If one carrier has a problem, the other likely will not.
You want maximum redundancy. In order to achieve this, look for redundant circuits from different carriers with different physical geographic pathways in St. Cloud, Minnesota. In other words, try to obtain circuits entering the building from different sides of the building. The circuits would be attached to telephone poles (or underground conduits) in different directions leading to different data centers or central offices. What if there is some kind of catastrophic incident such as a fire or accident that impacts circuits within a region? Now, you have redundancy in an alternative physical direction.
Although Internet access comes at a price, the price of unreliable access to The web is tremendous. Contemplate these situations:
Are you on a cable modem and your carrier is providing circuits to dozens of other office suites in your building? During the course of a regular work day, any or all of these other businesses might be performing massive file downloads. Tenants might be taking a large volume of calls or be regularly streaming video. As available bandwidth shrinks, what will happen to your calls? What about the quality of your calls? Will you lose calls? Perhaps you will sound choppy or will be inaudible.
You may be an accounting firm that shares databases, a retail chain company utilizing a point of sale system or a law practice sharing files. Regardless of the specifics, your office is the hub for your enterprise. All of your places, you may have 2, you may have 500, you may have 4, 000, count on your main Internet connection to access and receive data. If your circuit goes done, what will happen next? Is it just irritating? Is it going to cause tremendous problems? Can your satellite or remote office do any work at all? Process new orders? Circulate necessary data? Do you know what your company needs? Be sure to fully understand your requirements. It will help you choose the correct solution. Perhaps you have hundreds of clients or customers that use a hosted solution that your software organization is running. Is an API utilized in your company so that your customers can access and communicate with your system? What if these other systems have difficulty connecting your servers? Will your customers remain loyal to you if they have to withstand multiple outages?
Does your business completely rely on the internet? If your circuits go down, you cannot make calls. No calls could be answered either. Basically, you are done. Is redundancy enough? Many of the finest call centers with the best reputations already understand and use redundancy. They should consider if they have sufficient protection. Are the carriers that you are using reliable enough? Do you consistently get quality service that provides clear and reliable calls?
Obviously, there are a variety of choices. Your organization needs and budgets will drive your decisions. To recap:
If you are a small business, with just one location and not concerned about redundancy, a single five meg, 10 meg or 50 meg Internet access circuit may be adequate. Is your building lit? If so, find out about gigabit or Metro Ethernet services. They may be reasonably priced options. Prices vary based on your location and availability of circuits; speak with our engineers to find your best option.
Mid sized companies with a single office in St. Cloud, Minnesota, need higher speed Internet access. Metro Ethernet, gigabit Internet and other higher-speed Internet circuits are your options. Optimally, multiple carriers and multiple circuits will give you the most redundancy. Achieving this may cost extra but it won’t double your costs. For example, one 100-megabyte circuit may cost more than two smaller 50-megabyte circuits. Again, costs vary. Availability also varies. Speaking with one of our experts will help you determine the options available in your specific location.
Companies with different locations, whether 5 or 50, are at the highest risk. Redundancy is extremely important to them. Having several providers would afford extra protection. You can minimize the risk of downtime at if you also have redundant equipment like routers or switches. Have you looked at Metro Ethernet providers, gigabit Internet providers and other high-speed access to The net circuit providers? You should do so before making a decision. The best mix of carriers and services can maximize the productivity and efficiency of your company.
If you can place yourself in this category, it is essential that you have Metro Ethernet, point-to-point circuits and gigabit Internet circuits. Having redundant hardware as well as redundant circuits from different providers will ensure your needed uptime. You do not want any slowdowns or interruptions that often occur during spikes in usage. Avoid this by having sufficient bandwidth. Having both your hardware and your circuits capable of supporting many different, fast, and simultaneous connections is essential. It cannot be one or the other.
Your organization faces great risk of less than adequate bandwidth and failing circuits. The right circuits must meet your demand while keeping you within your budget. Selecting the appropriate mix of circuits and hardware can overwhelm you.
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. You want your business to run smoothly. We will look at your current usage levels and demand levels and design a plan that meets your needs at a cost that makes sense for you.
An appointment for an assessment can be made by calling our office or clicking here to complete the contact form on the side of this page. It can take as little as 48 hours to provide a complete assessment.