Broadband internet is integral to modern life, and no less important to modern businesses. Connectivity is key to the smooth operation of most companies, whether that's sending and receiving emails, conducting video conferences, or receiving and drawing down orders.
What business leaders don't always appreciate is the true value of high speed internet. While we often think of fiber broadband as a better way to stream Netflix at home, it has far broader applications for businesses. Here are just 5 ways fiber broadband can benefit your business, and enhance your digital presence.
1. Greater bandwidth
One of the biggest limiting factors for a traditional ADSL connection is the lack of bandwidth. The nature of old copper telephone cables means that only so much information can be sent in parallel at any one time. If a large number of people are using the internet at the same time -- firing data back and forth down the line -- there may not be enough space to send them all at once. This can drastically inhibit your speeds, and prevent people from undertaking even the most basic tasks, whether that's uploading a file or sending an email.
While copper can only carry a limited amount of data at any given time, and heavily prioritizes downloads over uploads, fiber has no such limitations. Fiber optic cables consist of many individual strands, with data being carried at nearly the speed of light. More real estate and faster speeds mean that there is far more bandwidth for your company to use -- meaning no more 'bottlenecks' where everything slows down at peak times.
2. Better reliability
As a conductive material, even shielded copper telephone cables are susceptible to outside interference. Inclement weather conditions can cause speeds to slow down, as can other electromagnetic interference, such as from nearby heavy machinery. Copper cables are also much more susceptible to damage, and impart resistance the further the data travels - all of which can seriously impact the speed and reliability of your network.
Fiber broadband, as the name suggests, uses fiber optic cables. As the data is being transmitted via light rather than an electrical current, there is no possibility for electromagnetic interference. Fiber optic cables are also more resistant to accidental or deliberate damage, do not degrade over distance, and cannot be wire-tapped -- meaning that there will be little to stop your digital operations.
3. Video production
Video is becoming increasingly important for many businesses, to the extent that an increasing number have their own video editors. Whether it’s for your social media profiles or key landing pages, videos provide a window into your business, and help to humanize your brand. They are also a great way to engage people online, and to keep them on your website for long periods -- a metric that is valued highly by search engines.
Producing and editing videos means working with a lot of large files. Projects using 1080p footage will often run into the tens of gigabytes, and 4K footage will be even bigger. This could mean dozens of videos featuring interviewees, ‘B-roll’ (filler footage), pieces to camera and more. All of this will likely need to be backed up to the Cloud, and downloaded and shared between individuals -- not to mention uploading the finished video.
Whether you’re producing your own videos or downloading them from an external source, media is increasingly growing in size as well as importance. Fiber broadband allows you to transfer large files at as much as 10x the speed of a traditional ADSL connection, ensuring that you can keep pace with the file sizes of modern videos, photos and documents - and prevent your employees from staring at a frozen progress bar.
4. Cloud applications
Traditionally, most employees’ interactions with the internet were limited to sending emails and some light browsing. Today’s businesses not only have various social media platforms to contend with, but also a whole range of digitized business solutions. From productivity and organizational tools such as Slack and Teams, to video conferencing apps like Zoom, to VoIP telephony and Cloud storage, the strain being placed on business broadband connections is bigger than ever.
A traditional ADSL connection can quickly buckle under the weight of all this traffic, and put your business in serious jeopardy. Not only might you lose productivity as your employees find themselves unable to connect to online services, or have to wait to download files, but you might also not be able to conduct phone or video calls reliably. In a world where Zoom calls are quickly replacing in-person meetings, this could be catastrophic.
Fiber broadband ensures that you have both the bandwidth and the speed to cater to all of these online services. Businesses with fiber can relax in the knowledge that crucial Zoom calls won’t be interrupted by drop-outs due to others downloading files, and employees won’t have to wait around to perform important tasks. Fiber can even allow you to shift your PBX to a VoIP phone system, saving you money and providing the flexibility to take calls from anywhere.
5. Remote training
One of the many industries transformed by the coronavirus pandemic was business training. Previously, almost all training took place in person, either in the workplace or at a dedicated training facility. While e-Learning was a valid option for training, it was often underused and undervalued by employers, as it has undeniable drawbacks. With most e-Learning courses, learners would read or listen to information and then answer questions, with no real human element.
The pandemic forced most training providers to move their classroom courses online, and spawned the remote training course. Many providers now offer a classroom equivalent training experience online, with qualified tutors teaching candidates using Zoom or similar video conferencing apps. The significant reduction in overheads has made this kind of training more cost-effective, and a great way for employees to learn from the workplace.
The problem with doing this using a traditional ADSL connection is that you may not have the bandwidth for it. In order to train effectively, each individual will have their own computer with a separate camera and microphone. Transmitting this amount of data is almost impossible over a traditional ADSL line -- denying your employees an ideal chance to upskill or learn critical safety skills.
With businesses relying more and more heavily on internet services, and the size of many files increasing, there can be no doubt that the future is fiber optic. By investing in fiber broadband today, you’ll not only solve present issues with low bandwidth and slow speeds, but future proof yourself against the increasing demands of digital business.