Everything you need to know about
LEASED LINES IN 2018
From installation advice, how to minimise delays, picking a provider and the new Government grants available for 2018/2019. Blah Blah, should roll this bit on the meta description
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO LEASED LINES
Before we get started, let's make one thing clear. This article isn't about trying to educate you on the finer details in how leased lines work. If you want to get all technical visit WERHRHSFDSEFSE (ask them to link back)
This guide is for business owners and I.T managers that simply want to know the following.
1. What leased line products are available in 2018
2. What's the difference in price, service and delivery (in plain english,)
and what's best for my business
3. Where should I purchase a leased line from?
Why does it make a difference
Oh, and we will also tell you how in 2018 you can get a grant for up to £3,000 towards installation costs. Yep, you heard that right.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LEASED LINE AND A BROADBAND CONNECTION?
Let’s start with answering the obvious first question. A leased line is a dedicated, fixed-bandwidth, symmetric data connection. “What does that mean?” I hear you ask – let me explain.
We’re all familiar with a standard internet connection. We get home, connect our phone, tablet or TV and start to stream, browse or download content. But it’s 5pm, and everyone in your street is doing the same thing, so downloading a file, or streaming Netflix is sluggish and before you know it you’re buffering all over the place.
With a dedicated leased line, the bandwidth you require has been given to you and only you have access to it. This means that your connection won’t be hampered by peak times throughout the day. The technical word to describe this is “uncontended”.
If you own or run your own business, you’ll already be aware of the impact slow internet connections can have. Downloading or sending large files, VoIP conference calls – all can be interrupted by a poor internet connection.
The other good news about leased lines is that they’re “Symmetric”. This, in simpler terms, means that you’ll be able to upload items, like large files, at the same speed as your download speed. Cool, right?
This is exceptionally useful for modern cloud applications (such as file sharing) and VoIP, where the speed you send data at, is as important as the speed you download it at.
Having access to the fast upload speed that leased lines provide will allow you carry out un-interrupted VoIP calls, uploading big files to a client or your cloud storage with no delay.
Before jumping in and ordering your leased line, make sure you have checked to see if you are eligible for the new Gigabit voucher scheme. After the success of the connection vouchers scheme a few years ago, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have setup a similar scheme for 2018/2019.
It's a really easy process and if you are looking to install a leased line, by picking an accredited supplier you can get a contribution ranging from £500 to £3,000.
ABOUT THE GIGABIT VOUCHER SCHEME
The Scheme is for SME's currently looking to upgrade to a Gigabit-capable connection.
Once the £2 Million Pound fund has been exhausted, or by March 2019 (whichever comes first) the scheme will end, so if you are looking to upgrade your connection, it's worth checking when your current supplier contract is finishing or making enquiries sharpish as everyone is unsure how the long the scheme will be available.
It's also worth mentioning that if you do wish to apply there are a few conditions you will need to meet as an SME.
*Under 249 Employees
*Turnover less than €50 Million
*The minimum connection available is 100Mbps and you
must at least double your current service.
HOW TO APPLY
First of all, you need to find a provider that has registered with the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport.
The link below shows all registered suppliers and the area's which they cover.
GIGABIT VOUCHER SCHEME LINK
TIP 2. DON'T ORDER YOUR LEASED LINE YET. YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO
GET A GOVERNMENT GRANT!
WHAT TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL LEASED LINE PROVIDER
HOW WILL THEY ASSIST THE INSTALLATION PROCESS?
You really need to view the installation of your fibre optic leased line as project. There are various queries to handle, appointments for surveys of your premises to be present for and engineer visits to be aware of.
You need your chosen provider to have a team dedicated to managing installations whilst, keeping a close eye on how things are progressing and clearly communicating updates to you as soon as they have them. There’s also often a lot of industry jargon involved, and you will rely on this team to explain things to you in plain English so you know what is happening every step of the way.
WHAT SUPPORT WILL YOU GIVE
Where is the support team based, and what hours do they work? How will you raise issues to them?
Whilst a provider will not necessarily help you setup all the computers, switches and wireless access points in your office network, will they at least hold a handover call to help you plug your gateway or main switch into the termination equipment on site and ensure that your connection is up and working?
HOW RESILIENT IS THE SERVICE?
Fibre optic services are extremely reliable. Unlike copper based broadband services, they aren’t susceptible to environmental factors like electronic interference and water ingress in the network. And when they do go down, they are treated as a priority fix, usually with a five-hour target for a fix if there’s a total loss of service (versus several days for standard broadband services).
However, five hours will feel like an awfully long time if your whole business has gone offline. That’s why you should ensure that your provider includes some form of backup circuit to at least keep you online, even if it’s on a slower service. Ask whether there is a broadband backup included, and if you consider your connection as business critical ask whether they will even provide a second fibre optic leased line through a different route into the building. Another option could be to have a backhaul supplier to help make downtime even less likely.
HOW WILL THE BACKUP BE HANDLED?
One final thing to check on any backup service that the provider gives you is – how do you switch over to it? The most basic way is that if your primary circuit goes down, you manually plug your equipment into the backup line.
However, a much better solution is for the provider to ensure that this happens automatically, with a box on site handling the shift to the backup service within seconds of it detecting that your main circuit is down.
WHAT VISIBILITY OF THE CIRCUIT WILL THE PROVIDER HAVE?
Ensure you know what type of service you are buying. You can purchase a fibre optic leased line as “wires only”. This has the benefit of you simply plugging in your equipment to the termination point and configure your network as you see fit. However, it will give your chosen provider very little visibility of your circuit, potentially slowing down support resolution times if you have an issue.
Alternatively, they may provide a managed router as part of the circuit, which will provide them with some visibility of your circuit that they can remotely monitor. They may even be able to set up some quality of service rules for you, allowing you to prioritise traffic that you think is important.