Fed up with slow internet? Is a 4G Data SIM the answer?
If your business is in a rural or remote location, you’re most likely making do with a slow internet speed. Whilst you might be able to get by, just getting by isn’t good enough in today’s digital, “always on” economy. We’re all doing more and more on-line, we’re running our phones over the internet, our accounting software, our CRM not to mention the basics like email and web surfing. Not forgetting the essentials like Spotify & Netflix, come on, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love catching up on (insert your favourite TV show) during their lunch break!
The point is, whatever you’re using you internet connection for, I guarantee you’re using it more now than you were three years ago, and what’s more, I’ll bet you’ll be using it more in three years’ time than you do right now, (that’s a figure of speech, I’m not actually betting with you). So, we all need more, and we all want higher internet speed and if that’s not available coming out of the wall from your chosen provider, you wonder, Is a 4G Data SIM the answer?
Let’s all be clear, there is a hierarchy of internet speed, for those not familiar, lets recap, and let’s see where a 4G Data SIM might slot in. And speed aside, what other considerations are there?
The best of the best is a dedicated fibre optic leased line. Unlike the broadband services like you currently have, leased lines are a dedicated fibre optic connection from the nearest exchange directly to your building. Dedicated fibre services are rock solid, never slow down, never shared and have a proper 24/7/365 business grade Service Level Agreement (SLA) in the event of a problem. The speeds are theoretically unlimited, you can buy whatever speed you need but today we’re regularly installing gigabit, that’s a thousand megabits per second (mbps), even if we’re not enabling the full throughput, for example you might only need 200 of that 1000 enabled. But remember the prices are not directly proportionate to the speed, for example, 200mbps is only about 10% more that 100mbps, not double.
Next best is fibre broadband, its faster in most locations, whether it’s fast enough depends on what you need from your service. But you can’t select a speed, you get what you’re given, remember the upload will still only be about a quarter of the headline download speed and that could be quite restrictive, like a new pair of pants. Also remember the SLAs can be quite flaky, usually around 40 working hours, 5 days, so be careful if an internet connection is the lifeblood of your business.
If you can’t get a fibre broadband then you’ll be stuck with copper broadband and that really is the slowest of the slow, fine for a few emails and a little web surfing, but not much else, and still with that flaky 40 working hour SLA.
So what about 4G data SIM? Is that the answer? It could well be. They do have their limitations and they require specialist 4G router to get the best out of them. You also need to be very careful about the amount of data you’re planning on pushing over them. If you go for a tariff with a cap in place, 20gb for example, and you connect that to a 4G router with several users connected to it, you could burn through that data allowance in no time at all, leading to what could be some nasty over charges. If you go for an unlimited data SIM you need to check the T&Cs of your agreement carefully. Many expressly forbid using unlimited data SIMs on 4G routers and most have a “fair use policy” which if you exceed, you’ll be liable for excess charges.
The other thing to consider is if you require a static IP address. Fixed line services, leased lines, fibre broadband, copper broadband will come with a static IP address which allows you to connect to services in your office from remote locations. Most data SIM have dynamic IP addresses which regularly change (for security purposes) if you’ve set up services which require a static IP address, like remotely viewing CCTV, remote desktop or remote support you’d have to be constantly updating those settings, very frustrating. You can get static IP SIMs but they are very specialist, comparably quite expensive, and usually have minimal data allowances. So, if you need speed, but aren’t too hungry on data volume and don’t need a static IP, then yes, 4G could be the right option for you.
If you’re unsure if a data SIM is right for you, please give us a call and we’ll happily talk you through all your options.
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