Symmetrical Internet access will change how your business performs

Finish Line, Inc. - Seeing the Finish Line

Have you tested your Internet connection speed recently?

If it’s been a while, give it a try using Remember that if others are using the connection at the same time the results will simply show the speed available to you at that time. If you want to try and test the true speed of your connection you will need to wait until the connection is not being used. When you do the test you will find that the download and upload speeds are identical, or that the download speed is far higher than the upload speed. It’s likely that the download speed will be far higher, simply because the majority of Internet connections are designed to favour higher download speeds. Internet connections can be categorized as either asymmetrical or symmetrical. As you would assume, symmetrical connections provide matching download and upload speeds, and are normally more costly than asymmetrical connections. For many years, and even now as part of the design of the NBN, the assumption has been made that most Internet use involves downloading information more than uploading, and in the case of a typical household that is likely to be true. Business Internet use is quite different to domestic use, and the widespread use of asymmetrical connections by businesses is unfortunate in many ways because many business functions and applications actually require greater upload speed, rather than download speed. Consider the following examples –

Hosted, or ‘Cloud’ services

The use of Cloud storage services, such as Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, or Google Drive, requires that the files you wish to store be uploaded to the provider, and the changes you make over time normally require ongoing uploading to ensure that your files remain synchronised. If your upload speed is very slow Cloud storage services simply may not be usable. A typical asymmetrical connection will provide upload speed of around 1Mbit per second, where a typical symmetrical connection will provide upload speed of around 10Mbit per second, a ten fold difference that can easily mean the difference between Cloud storage working, or not.

Communications services, including hosted telephony and video conferencing

Most forms of communications require the same amount of upload and download speed, and in the case of telephony the use of a normal ADSL service can mean that only a handful of calls can be made at a time. Video conferencing requires a lot more performance than telephony, and simply will not work properly without a high upload speed connection.

Remote access

When you remotely connect to your office systems, such as when you may be working from home or travelling, you are downloading from the office and the office is uploading to you. If your office connection is in use and only a portion of the upload speed is  available this can mean that remote access will be very slow. There are many more examples, but the simple truth is that a typical business will benefit greatly from a symmetrical service, ideally providing a connection speed of at least 10Mbit (but as high as you can justify!). At our head office we use multiple connections of different types, but our primary connection is a 40Mbit link provided by AAPT, which provides the upload and download speeds shown below – Internet Speed Note the very low numbers listed for Latency and for Jitter. A key feature of business grade symmetrical services is that they are designed for business use, and are not subject to the variability and overloading that domestic grade services can be, and specific features such as low latency and jitter ensures that communications services, such as telephone calls, are of high quality. At present the NBN does not offer symmetrical services, or even services designed specifically for businesses, but many other providers do. We have found that the combination of a business grade symmetrical service, using an NBN or ADSL service as a backup and to support download-orientated functions, has been very attractive for business customers looking to consolidate and simplify their business communications.

How did your Internet speed test result look?

If your upload speed was a small fraction of your download speed then right now you are missing out on business functions and opportunities – give us a call on 1300 138 761 to find out how affordable a true business grade Internet service can be.

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