With an abundance of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) out there all attempting to lure your business with numerous ‘bang for your buck’ deals, the decision to choose the best fit is often a hard and perplexing one. Do you choose price over quality or quality over price? What is the difference between symmetric and asymmetrical services? Do I need all these add-ons for my business? What contract am I getting myself into?
Here are a few points that you should weigh up to make a more educated choice about what ISPs and solutions to choose:
Connectivity & Speeds
We all want fast Internet speeds at the most economical pricing. When looking at different connectivity solutions like Fibre, ADSL, Leased Lines and Wireless services check which Internet speeds would better be equipped to handle your business communication needs and demands. ADSL, Leased Lines and some Wireless services are asymmetrical solutions where download speeds are much faster than upload speeds. On the symmetrical side, Fibre and some Wireless solutions provide equal download and upload speeds with much lower contention rates. Now you need to ask yourself what kind of connectivity do you need? Do you need dedicated connectivity with guaranteed uptime that is able to handle a high capacity? Or do you just need a simple connectivity to access Internet and VoIP services?
Before signing the dotted line
Depending on the type of services and connectivity that a business requires certain solutions either come with or without a routers. Some include installation and others charge you for it. Length of contracts may also affect pricing – the longer the contract, the cheaper the price. These are all things to bear in mind before signing the dotted line.
It is important to know what the terms and conditions of your service are. There may be limitations to the type of activities you’re allowed to do like running a web or file server or other restrictions you don’t know about unless you read the fine print. For instance, look at what conditions are contained in the ISPs Acceptable Use Policy.
ISPs offer a variety of different features and packages which add extra value to the way you conduct and secure your business communications. Applications and features like anti-virus programs, branded email, online backups (to mention a few) are all common practice in modern businesses. Only having one point of contact for all your communication needs can be a big plus.
Reliability & Guarantees
The ability to utilise countless features and applications is completely pointless unless you are receiving the service that you have been promised. ISPs with strict Service Level Agreements (SLA) ensure that you receive the service you are paying for. Check ISP SLAs to see what service they guarantee to deliver to you. These SLAs may differ per connectivity and service.
In order to measure the customer support you need ask yourself these important questions:
If your business experiences connectivity downtime or other problems, how easily do you get the correct support person? Does the service provider offer phone, email and 24/7 support services? Is the installation process a complete pain or does it proceed with ease? What do other customers have to say about the ISPs service?