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What is the Difference Between Residential vs Business Internet?

November 16, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Brett Gordon, Independent Technology Author

Internet access has never been more critical than the recent months. From day to day business operations, communicating with colleagues, dealing with clients, and even processing transactions — work and business have been operating from home. With this much internet use, it might leave you wondering: should I upgrade to business internet, or residential internet is ok?

Residential vs. Business Internet

Both are type of internet connection, yes. However, the plans vary, and the prices can be strikingly different. Some might even have the same speed, but one is more expensive than the other? Why?

The variation is in the details and fine print. Significant differences between home and business internet include:

* Faster Internet Speed
* Service Level Agreement
* IP Address
* Upload/Download Speed
* Bandwidth Allocation
* Customer Service
* Price

Faster Internet Speed

One of the main differences between residential and business internet is its speed. Home internet speed ranges from 1mbps to 25mbps while business internet can go as high as 1,000mbps to even 2,000mbps advertised speed – but of course, it comes with higher costs too. For businesses, faster internet speed is required, especially with operations, meetings with clients, and dealing with customers.

Service Level Agreement

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a must for business transactions. There are agreed levels of performance between two businesses (yours) and the internet provider, including bandwidth and uptime, that are consistently tracked and monitored. If something needs fixing, there is also a minimum time on how soon the provider will be sending someone in to work on the issues. 

In a way, this is the promise of the service provider agreed by both parties. Should these not be met, you can negotiate adjustments in pricing or service offers.

There is no specific guarantee on internet speed for home internet, and this can vary depending on how many users are accessing it. Immediate repairs are not promised; this can range from a couple of hours to a few days.

IP Address

Business internet is assigned with a static IP address, while residential internet has a dynamic IP address. Since static IP address is more reliable and secure, they also provide businesses with the capacity to host its network infrastructure for servers and file storage.

On the other hand, home internet with a dynamic IP address can change without notice from the provider and are generally less secure and stable. These are relatively common with residential internet connections that don’t require enterprise-level security and bandwidth use.

Upload/Download Speed

Symmetrical internet speed means that the upload and download of your internet connection are close to each other, if not almost the same. This is important for business operations that upload and download data and files in large quantities. 

Residential internet has asymmetrical speed, as the download is often prioritized. Most home users use the internet for lighter-bandwidth activities such as internet browsing and surfing and media streaming.

Bandwidth Allocation

Since businesses require robust internet connectivity, having a dedicated bandwidth allocation is vital for its operations. This also provides the company with more secure connectivity and higher capacity. This dedicated bandwidth is called Point-to-Point (P2P).

For home internet, the bandwidth is shared in the area among neighbors, and during peak use, there are visible changes in performance such as slow internet speed or connection interruptions. This is also called Point-to-Multipoint or Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON), wherein the connection is delivered to a network of users instead of a direct user.

Customer Service

Since business internet comes with SLA that often covers customer support and a higher price point, it is no surprise that customer service is better. Depending on the business internet package, there are even plans that include VIP customer support. 

On the other hand, residential internet users are promised with top-level customer support as well, but the same goes for all of their customers. This results in, at times, slower customer service compared with business accounts. 

A residential internet user might also experience having to go through several departments first before talking to the right person in case of issues, in contrast with business internet users that often work with account managers.

Price

Since home internet is a simpler version of the business internet, it has lower operation requirements, and is generally offered cheaper. Most home internet plans are available at around $20 monthly, while business internet ranges from $60 to $500 per month or even higher, depending on the plan.

Do you need a business internet connection? 

This depends on how much you use the internet for your business and the number of users. If most of your activities include surfing the internet, checking emails and other communication channels, maybe uploading and downloading small-size files, and quick video calls with your team — a high-speed home internet is often sufficient. 

Suppose your business employs over five people using the same internet connection, uploading and downloading large file sizes, and conducting teleconferences in HD for extended periods. In that case, the business internet is the way to go. This is crucial if you use the internet and communicate with clients and customers, as you would not want to worry about losing the internet while trying to close a deal.

For businesses that rely massively on customer support, business internet is highly recommended. The number of calls to be handled can increase unexpectedly and, at times, might even be come simultaneously. The length of calls with the customers might vary, too. Thus, it is essential that your internet connection can handle all this traffic.

Conclusion

As your business grows and you use more sophisticated tools such as your infrastructure, mail server, and other enterprise-level software, business internet connectivity becomes a must rather than an option. Working with customer data also requires a high level of information security, making business internet connections safer. 

Assess the needs of your business before making the switch. The guarantees of a business internet account are indeed promising, but the costs might be overwhelming for a small business owner or someone working solo from home. 

What internet connection are you currently using? If you switched from home to business internet, how was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

APPLICATION INTEGRATION, DATA and ANALYTICS , SECURITY

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