With the increased use of web-based and cloud-based applications, your internet connection has become critically important. However, it’s commonly treated like your electric utility, ordered and forgotten. We find that many organizations pay too much or have inadequate service or both with an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that made sense years ago.
There are many technologies available in WNC including DSL, T1, cable, point-to-point radio, Ethernet-over-copper, MPLS, fiber, and satellite. Each has its own characteristic data rates, reliability, price ranges, and geographic availability. Some integrate well with your phone service needs and can be bought as a package. Data rates range from 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) to 50 Mbps or more. Commonly, the download speed (data coming into your workstation) is much higher than the upload speed (asynchronous) which works well for web browsing. For IP phones, many EHR and database applications, and connection to remote offices, performance might be substantially improved with a synchronous link (both speeds the same).
We have many ISPs in WNC offering some or all of these solutions. First, determine your needs. Your software providers specify minimum recommended requirements. Consider connections to your remote offices and the demands of automated nightly offsite backups. You may want to install a secondary service with automatic rollover if your operations will suffer in the event of failure. Talk to your staff to determine what’s not working well. Get quotes from several providers and check references for the service you select. Some services have monthly data limits (costly when exceeded) and some vendors have long contract terms. Your IT provider can guide you through this process, and don’t forget – they need to be on site during the changeover!