Comparing Dedicated Internet Access and Broadband









Generally speaking, providers offer two kinds of Internet access — Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and broadband Internet access. The two differ significantly in terms of price, performance, and uptime. DIA services are just what they say — dedicated. The fiber or fixed wireless connection is dedicated to the customer. The actual downstream and upstream bandwidth between the customer premises and the Internet is fully guaranteed and synchronous (same up/down.)

Broadband Internet access is never synchronous and its not dedicated.  It comes in many types of service delivery including DSL, cable, fiber, and wireless connections.  However, Broadband service is shared among the other customers of the provider, making broadband services less expensive than DIA. How much less expensive is broadband? Much less.  Over 200% less.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Really Get With Broadband?  Given the enormous price difference, broadband can be very appealing to price-sensitive, IT managers. This is particularly true given the fact that broadband often sounds like it provides more bandwidth than DIA.  By reviewing the chart below and comparing various access services it would seem Cable service offers the same download speed as Fixed Wireless at less than 20% of the price of the DIA service, yet that doesn’t mean the DSL is necessarily the better choice (see figure).


Comparison of Broadband Access Services

With broadband service like cable and DSL, the actual bandwidth received will depend on a variety of factors, most notably the contention ratio. The contention ratio reflects the number of customers sharing the service bandwidth. Services with a lower contention ratio generally have a higher quality of service.

Contention ratios are expressed as a ratio of number of customers sharing that bandwidth. For example, DSL 4Mb/512Kbps (1:8) means that the service is shared with expected peak usage by eight customers with the minimum speed provided at 0.5Mb/ 64Kbps.  It is, therefore, important to understand the impact of a shared service has on the link performance.  Depending on who you share your service with, you may always see your full bandwidth, but then again, you might not.

DIA services should never be overbooked (a 1:1 ratio) as they’re guaranteed. Broadband shares the bandwidth among customers with contention ratios range from 1:2 to 1:60, depending on service provider and price.

Read the fine print.  Often, providers do not explicitly spell out contention ratios, deferring instead to the guaranteed minimum bandwidth (“up to” speed.)  Another important distinction: they rarely will include or even discuss the contention ratio or up link speed in the company’s marketing information or service description.  Latency, packet loss, mean time to restore service and other key performance indicators are similarly not discussed and absent from company marketing information and service descriptions.

SD-WAN, Internet Management, Invoicing and More

For enterprises deploying an SD-WAN solution, selecting the right ISP and Service are equally important.

More than likely, SD-WAN deployments require sourcing internet access with multiple ISPs. Managing multiple ISPs with different SLAs, NOCs, languages and invoices increases complexity not only in the selection phase but also during the operational phase.

When it comes to project management, remember that while you may receive a quote for internet access from a provider, the installation time frame rarely includes the site-survey, which determines whether access facilities exist.  So, when you are told the installation will take ten weeks, that means “after we have two weeks for a site survey, we will tell you if we can meet the ten-week installation time-frame”. If the facilities do not exist, it could be as long as a year. So you need to be informed.

Doing it in house may be difficult for some businesses. Fortunately, GetGoing will manage all last mile infrastructure for your organization as a fully managed service.  When evaluating other vendors consider a number of factors including installation interval, KPIs, geographic reach, 24/7 support and monitoring, centralized reporting, and billing.

Tired of waiting on your Internet service provider?