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1 Five Hosted VoIP Features WHITEPAPER: is cable INTERNET access really business-ready?

2 overview Cable Internet access has been packaged and sold as a business offering. But take a moment to consider cable s origins: Cable networks were built to deliver residential TV service. If there was a disruption, you could probably get by without TV for a while. For a business, on the other hand, slow cable Internet service or a complete outage has much larger and broader ramifications. Although there are situations where cable can be a suitable and affordable fit for business use, it may fall far short of meeting many companies internet service and networking needs, especially in light of business adoption of real-time (and bandwidth-hungry) applications such as Voice over IP and streaming video. defining business class The following are three criteria for an Internet service to be considered business class: > > Dedicated (not shared) bandwidth > > Delivered over a reliable infrastructure built to meet the mission-critical nature of conducting business > > Offers business-class uptime and other service level agreements (SLAs) comparison questions To help you select an Internet service for your business that meets these criteria, this white paper provides three questions to ask access providers. It goes on to describe the high-speed options that many businesses today are adopting. Three simple questions will help you discover broadband access service that will fit your needs and budget. 1. Will the actual service speed serve our business needs? Because cable bandwidth is shared, the speed it delivers at any moment depends on how much bandwidth other nearby users are consuming. If you operate your business in an area where a lot of other businesses subscribe to cable Internet service from the same provider, your usage and theirs will likely peak at the same time. As a result, performance could be noticeably slower, and may even impact your applications. The cable provider s fine print likely says that service speeds will be up to the promised bandwidth. Page 2

3 Ask yourself: Will sometimes-fast internet let your people provide optimal customer service and be as productive and responsive as you need them to be? Cloud Cable bandwidth is shared among subscribers Megapath With services such as Ethernet, T1, and MegaPath Asymmetrical Ethernet, all the bandwidth you subscribe to is dedicated to only your business 2. Do you guarantee service availability and quality? Slow service or an outright outage can have far-reaching impacts on customer service, productivity, revenues, and ultimately business viability. Access that is truly meant to serve businesses often comes with uptime guarantees of 99.99% or greater over T1 or Ethernet circuits. > > Quality of Service. Access services vary not only in their reliability but in terms of quality of service. Cable internet service is prone to latency issues. For applications that run over your Internet connection, such as voice calls and video streaming, latency can cause performance to degrade which results in a suboptimal experience. Your customers may not appreciate it if your Voice over IP calls turn choppy or get dropped because the video production shop next door suddenly started downloading a feature film. Page 3

4 > > Class of Service. Latency comes about because cable providers do not support Class of Service (CoS), which prioritizes one type of traffic over another. When running on a cable connection, voice calls and video streams have the same priority as any other user data on the shared cable service. > > Traffic Prioritization. A true business-class service can give real-time or mission-critical applications like voice calls and payment card transactions a higher priority, for example, and assign lesser priority to Internet browsing. A businessclass service also comes with SLAs that cover the quality of service including: > > Performance factors such as packet delivery rates Consider the fact that your customer interactions and commercial viability require a broadband access service that performs faithfully at a level that consistently meets your needs. > > Round-trip delay > > Installation timeframe > > Service Guarantees. Business-class services often come with uptime promises backed by service credits. (You ll get a credit on next month s bill if the service doesn t perform as reliably as promised.) In contrast, most cable providers deliver their service on a best-effort basis and do not offer uptime SLAs, if they offer any service level agreements at all. 3. Will I need to set up and manage network security myself? This is something that few businesses consider in their search for Internet access. Many companies don t have a large budget for the data and network security tools and in-house expertise needed to set up and maintain them. Yet cable service leaves customers to deploy and manage their own data security tools, or risk breach or theft a costly and very risky proposition. Page 4

5 the right fit is out there If a cable provider s answers to these three questions surprise and disappoint you, there are alternatives. For many businesses, only alternative solutions such as Ethernet and T1 will provide a business-ready level of bandwidth performance, reliability, and security that are truly business-class. You ll find a wealth of business-class Internet access options at varying speeds and price points, which ensures that you ll be able to match the bandwidth needs of each business location with a service that meets your budget. great alternatives to cable Today, there are Internet access services to meet the diverse needs of businesses of all sizes. Business-class symmetrical services With services such as symmetrical Ethernet and T1, applications can use the full available bandwidth in either direction. Circuit speeds are fixed regardless of provider or location. Symmetrical Ethernet and T1 circuits give users get the same speed in both directions: upload and download. Symmetrical services are well-suited for Internet access at most business sites. Symmetrical services offer true business-class connectivity for today s data, voice, and video communications that keep you connected. Business-class asymmetrical services Asymmetrical Ethernet, cable, DSL, and wireless services can be the right fit for businesses with limited connectivity demands. They also can work well as a fill-in access service or to meet failover or business continuity/ disaster recovery needs. Asymmetrical Ethernet is a great choice and an ideal alternative to cable. Even though it is similar to cable by delivering low-cost, asymmetrical bandwidth, it is better than cable because the bandwidth is dedicated (not shared). MegaPath Asymmetrical Ethernet is built for business because it is delivered over an infrastructure that is designed to meet the highly demanding needs of businesses and therefore can support today s performance-critical applications such as video and voice. Page 5

6 Broadband Access Comparison Table Service Attribute Cable Ethernet T1 Symmetrical speeds Asymmetrical speeds Bandwidth Asymmetrical, Shared Symmetrical Dedicated Asymmetrical, Dedicated Symmetrical, Dedicated Speeds Up to 10 Mbps download / 2 Mbps upload Up to 1 Gbps Up to 50x10 Mbps Up to 12 Mbps Availability Best effort 100% with monitoring or failover 99.99% with monitoring or failover 100% with monitoring or failover Performance Guarantee Business Application Support No SLA SLA SLA SLA Limited Strong Moderate Strong Voice Services No CoS CoS/QoS CoS/QoS CoS/QoS Security DIY End-to-end network security from the provider End-to-end network security from the provider End-to-end network security from the provider Service Provider Focus Residential customers Business customers Business customers Business customers next steps When it comes to Internet access services, you have more choices than ever before. To learn more about how the many outstanding networking solutions from MegaPath can help your business thrive, please give us a call or visit our website

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