We have provided premium IT services of all sorts to a range of SMEs for many years. We’ve learned a great deal about broadband in that time; here are our best pieces of advice on the subject:
1) Check Your Provider’s Offerings
Technology is always improving, but a lot of broadband service providers don’t go out of their way to deliver the full benefits of those improvements to their clients. If you’ve been locked into the same deal with the same provider for an extended period, it’s worth checking to see if you can get better service, lower prices, or both. Simply inquiring can open up a wealth of new possibilities.
Be aware that you may have to sign a new contract with your provider to earn service improvements, speed upgrades, or cheaper pricing. Before you make any commitments, do your due diligence. Check with your neighbors to make sure you’re not in a “notspot,” a place where broadband service is troublesome regardless of your contract terms.
2) Exercise Caution With LLU Operators
In many regions, broadband service is provided by “local loop unbundled” operators, or LLUs. If this is how you’re getting your service, switching providers may get you better speeds. If you’ve already made the switch, make sure you’re using up-to-date routers to get the full benefits of the speed your provider offers.
3) Bundle For Savings
Survey your local broadband market to see if anyone offers a “bundle” deal that can combine all of your business communications needs into one contract. If you do this and compare deals on broadband, this strategy often delivers satisfactory broadband service at an unbeatable price.
4) Test Broadband Speed At Different Times
The actual speed you get from your ISP is going to vary throughout the day based on local traffic congestion. Use the tools your ISP provides to test the speed at different times throughout the day. You should see the fastest speeds in the early morning, and this is the measure you should use when negotiating with your current provider or looking for a new one.
5) Get An ADSL Faceplate Filter
You need to have one of these in your master socket for maximum broadband performance.
6) Check For Electrical Interference
If your organization is experiencing regular connectivity problems, take the time to experiment with shutting down electrical equipment on your premises. Other electronics or heavy electrical equipment may be degrading the stability of your network. If you do find a connection here, consult with an electrical engineer to find a workable solution.
7) Don’t Use IE6
Some businesses are stuck using sub-par software through sheer momentum. When it comes to web browsers, there’s no reason (certainly not an economic one) to stick with the feature-poor offerings of IE6. Make the switch to a more fully-featured free browser, like Firefox, Opera, IE8, Vivaldi. or Google Chrome.
8) Limit Background Applications
You can cut down on your total bandwidth usage by shutting down applications that keep a network connection open even when they’re not in use. (Examples include Spotify, Skype, and streaming video players.) In extreme cases, you may want to limit broadband access during office hours to focus on business-critical work.
9) Strengthen Your Wi-Fi
Use business-class wi-fi hardware to maximize the reach of your wireless network. In permanent positions where you know broadband access will always be required, use Ethernet cables.
10) Communal Infrastructure
If your organization is in an area where local broadband service leaves much to be desired, consider pooling your resources with other businesses to install private fiber exchanges or enterprise-level wireless solutions.