Companies in the Pacific Northwest have several different Internet providers to choose from when purchasing Internet ranging from Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink, Integra Telecom, Verizon FIOS, etc. to name a few. However, not all Internet options are the same with different criteria to consider varying from availability, speed, quality, and bundled packages. Due to the different criteria, the process requires a bit more knowledge about the service to make a thorough decision. The purpose of this newsletter article is not necessarily geared to break down the differences in offerings as providers change prices monthly, rather this is to give readers a few examples to help them buy the right Internet option based on several requirements as every business is somewhat different in terms of how they use the Internet. If your business utilizes cloud hosted services or has Internet connected phones (a.k.a VOIP phones) then you should make quality your number one focus to consider when purchasing the Internet. Line of business applications or services that require sustained Internet need quality and reliability to deliver the proper end result for your business. For example, a slower more reliable connection such as a T1, bonded T1, or T3 for example is better suited for this result. In other words, you need a dedicated business class Internet connection (other options exist than mentioned previously). Yes they are slower than modern connections, but they always work and give you the necessary uptime. We are not suggesting cable, DSL, or fiber will not work, we are simply divulging our experience dealing with Internet issues over the past 20 years. What we are trying to avoid is downtime or low quality connections that will eventually impact the end user ultimately costing your business money. Cloud apps will hiccup and voice conversations will be choppy if there is any latency in the connection. A basic cheap $100-$200 Internet connection will not be suitable if the business requires no downtime or hiccups in the service. Buy a dedicated business class Internet connection. More on quality. If you have a cloud based application or VOIP phones, you can buy more than one Internet connection to accomplish a specific purpose. Router and Internet technology deliver the ability to support multiple Internet connections and has become a best practice in the past 10 years as Internet has become a commodity. If you’re in the market for a bundled package that includes TV, phone, and Internet and emphasize download speed over quality then we would recommend spending $100-$300 on service and forgo the dedicated solution. You may see your speed slow down on occasions and even have downtime if that is ok, but you will get to experience all the different services and pay one bill each month. Availability is another issue we must consider. Some businesses are plagued with only being able to buy services from one provider. Time after time we perform research and figured out that the customer could either upgrade to better services with the existing provider for little or no cost, or another provider in the area who is capable of delivering the service is available and the customer simply didn’t know about them. Don’t hesitate to call and ask for a site survey. Someone from the Internet Company will come out and physically determine if Internet is available. Alternatively, you can determine if 4G cellular service or WiFi services are available as wireless Internet technology is more widely available in the past 5-10 years. Lastly, if you need a boat load of Internet bandwidth, you may consider outsourcing the requirement to a cloud hosting facility where they can handle all the finite details around the complexity of high available systems and connections. Some other things to consider when purchasing Internet is determining if you need static IP addresses. These are helpful to enable remote access services or other services such as email, web, or VPN. Fast speeds are not always the best and dig a little deeper when it comes to availability. You will be surprised that other providers may be in the area. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back in September as next month we are taking a summer vacation break!