Business broadband explained
By Dan Howdle | Wednesday, March 6th 2019
In this guide
- What is it?
- Business vs home broadband
- Business broadband providers
- Static IP addresses
- Business broadband and phone
- Frequently asked questions
First thing's first: If you're representing a huge company with hundreds or even thousands of employees, this page is not for you. Here, we're looking at business broadband deals offered by providers that typically cater to the consumer.
Business packages from the likes of BT, XLN, Plusnet and TalkTalk, then, are typically aimed at small-sized businesses and those who work from home. We'll assume that's you as we take you through the ins and outs of what you should look out for when assessing these types of deal.
What is a business broadband deal?
As with consumer broadband packages, business broadband deals come in two types, each more suited to certain applications than the other.
- ADSL – Believe it or not, business packages are still sold using this somewhat ageing technology. ADSL means the broadband signal is carried by copper wires, which are substantially slower than fibre optic. ADSL business broadband isn't without its uses, though. Those who cannot get fibre and those who operate small businesses from home such as various types of freelancer may find the 10-11Mbps average offered by ADSL to be perfectly adequate
- Fibre – Fibre business broadband deals offer speeds around 76Mbps, which unless your business is extremely web-focused is adequate for most small enterprises and probably overkill for home workers
Business vs home broadband – what are the advantages?
A business broadband deal differs from a home deal in a number of key ways.
- Service and support – Though support for when your broadband goes down or you are confronted by other technical issues is generally good for both business and consumer broadband packages, business broadband acknowledges that problems with broadband for your business have the potential to cause more harm than simply not being able to stream Netflix. For this reason, business broadband deals tend to come with a raft of additional protections alongside ramped technical support
- Web hosting – You can often opt to host your business' website with your business broadband provider as well as opting in for other related services such as email servers and cloud storage for your company
- Static IP address(es) – An IP address is the numerical address of you computer or computers on the internet as a whole. Most consumer broadband packages offer non-static IPs, which means your computer or computers' address changes regularly. The advantage of static IPs (addresses that don't change) is they can be used to run a website from home, or to access your home or business desktop remotely
- Faster upload speeds – Where consumer broadband packages offer upload speeds that are considerably slower than the advertised download speeds, some business broadband deals offer either faster upload speeds, or what's called 'symmetrical' speeds, where the upload and download are the same. Faster upload speeds are useful to businesses for cloud computing, remote office applications, hosting websites and more
Who provides business broadband deals?
Cable.co.uk doesn't feature all the business broadband providers out there, but instead focuses on consumer broadband providers who also offer business broadband deals. Currently, then, the business broadband deals you can compare on Cable.co.uk are from the following providers.
- BT Business – Offers two different ADSL packages which offer differing levels of service, with the more expensive package offering IT support, device protection, a static IP and more. The same two levels of package are available on its two 76Mbps offerings
- Plusnet Business – Offers two packages – one ADSL up to 18Mbps, and one fibre up to 76Mbps. Both offer UK-based 24/7 support, flexible contract options and a host of business-oriented features you won't see in its consumer offering
- TalkTalk Business – Offers two business packages, one ADSL, one fibre, upt to 17Mbps and 76Mbps respectively. Static IPs are extra, depending on how many you need, but TalkTalk will provide 7-day support and free network security
- XLN – XLN doesn't do consumer broadband, but specialises in a service exclusively for small businesses. In that sense it has the jump on these other providers. It does one thing and it does it well. XLN offers ADSL and fibre at up to 17Mbps and 76Mbps, at competitive prices and with a service/support promise to answer the phone within six seconds
Static IP addresses and why they are important
An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies each computer or device that is connected to the internet. IP addresses may be permanently assigned (static) or allocated whenever a device connects to the internet (dynamic). If you have a dynamically assigned IP address, such as comes with typical consumer broadband packages, your address will likely change every time you reboot your router. Static IP addresses, however, always remain the same, making them more suited to certain tasks.
That said, most small/home businesses do not need a static IP or IPs. Here are the main reasons you might need one – if none of these sound useful to you, you almost certainly don’t.
- You have your own web server – Even if you are running an online business, you’ll most likely be hosting it elsewhere. Likewise for your own email server. Still, if hosting a web server is something you definitely need for your business, you will need a static IP
- You use a VPN – Stands for virtual private network. It allows you to share data between computers as if they were connected physically via a LAN, even when they’re not. An example of this may be accessing your main home or business computer remotely
Business broadband and phone deals
Perhaps surprisingly, the ''phone' aspect of business broadband and phone deals doesn't differ all that much from what you'd see in a consumer broadband package. You will, however, see an emphasis on free anytime calls, though, which makes obvious sense as businesses tend to do their calling during, you know… business hours.
Frequently asked questions
What's the best broadband for working at home?
Truth is if all you do is work from home and don't actually run the sort of business that has specific business-related online requirements, a regular consumer broadband package is almost certainly going to serve you just as well as a business one. You can compare broadband deals available in your postcode using our comprehensive tools.
Is business broadband more expensive than consumer broadband?
Sometimes, though most often not. If business broadband does wind up more expensive, it'll have less to do with the cost of the broadband and line rental, and more to do with the things you add on such as static IP addresses.
Is business broadband faster than consumer broadband?
Regular business broadband like you see on this page? No. It's identical in most cases. However, if you sift you may find slightly faster upload speeds offered by some business broadband packages.
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