We throw around the term Broadband a lot in the technology world, but what is it really.  Not everyone has it, especially in rural America. But if someone offers you broadband service, what questions should you be asking.

Investigating Broadband

How much bandwidth am I getting from Broadband?

First what is an ISP (Internet Service Provider)?  An ISP delivers internet connectivity and bandwidth to you.  Simple enough.

So then what is broadband?  from the internet it is defined as: “a high-capacity transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously.”  What the heck is that and does it mean anything to me.  Probably not.  It seems to be the buzz word that has driven up interest and sales for ISP’s.  There is only a few things you really need to know.  How much bandwidth do I get coming and going, what’s the cost per megabit/second and what is the guaranteed service level?  So for instance the phone company provides DSL (a broadband service) but if you are paying consumer rates there is no guaranteed service level and in fact even if you are paying commercial rates you will find there is no service level.  So if you go down they don’t care.  This is why that last question is almost the most important.  What is my guaranteed service level?  Next is speed.  Most broadband providers will quote you and inbound and outbound asymmetric speed (inbound is higher than outbound), some will quote you symmetric speed (inbound and outbound are the same).  Symmetric is better if you are running a website, mail server or some other service in which  you need to send out as much as you receive.  Lastly there is the cost.  Broadband is the cheapest in general, per megabit/second.

One of our important things we do for our clients is help them decide what is the best ISP solution and interface with that ISP to get the services delivered to them.