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Your business needs fast, affordable, reliable Internet connectivity, but how do you choose from the dizzying variety of ISP (Internet service provider) options? Allow our Austin IT managed service team to lay out some basic pros and cons.

 

Shared platforms – A shared platform divides a single Internet connection among multiple users, with each user's bandwidth reduced according as more users go online or transmit larger amounts of data. This platform may be more than sufficient for small businesses or organizations that don't rely heavily on digital video and other media hogs – but you may outgrow it quickly. Digital cable is a reliable choice that retains its signal quality along the entire distance of the connection. DSL, which runs over phone lines, is cheaper than cable and more accessible in some areas, but the signal can degrade with distance.  Note that these services are mostly “best effort”, which means the provider will do their best to provide quality service, but they do not guarantee any particular “good” outcome. 

 Dedicated channels – A dedicated Internet channel is a direct line to the Information Superhighway. Each user on your network gets a dedicated sliver of bandwidth. These systems are commonly referred at as Tier 1 systems; you may also hear a words like T3 , Fiber, DS3, etc.   As you might imagine, dedicated channels are more expensive than shared platforms. But they're also can be much faster and guarantee dedicated bandwidth to your business. Almost all of these come with a SLA, or “Service Level Agreement”, which outlines exactly what the provider will provide and how they will provide it, provisions for service issues, etc.  These providers take downtime more seriously than do shared providers since they are contractually obligated to perform. 

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 Whichever ISP you choose, it might make sense to maintain more than one pipeline. Even the most powerful connection can be cut or damaged, and redundant connectivity is a must if you want to keep your organization's potential Internet downtime to an absolute minimum. Gravity System can provide you with a multi-level shared platform that prioritizes your most critical connections. Contact us so we can hook you up!

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