We’re currently running fully managed ADSL 8mb Max Premium broadband connections at our two branches. The problem with this is that ADSL is asynchronous, the download bandwidth being around 7mb and the upload bandwidth being around 700k. We are finding that the 700k upload bandwidth is too small for sharing data between the branches, as the speed is then limited to the upload connection – 700k.
Today I had a meeting with a telecoms expert to advise us on our options, which seem to be:
- LLU (Local Loop Unbundled) – this would boost download bandwidth to up to 24mb, but leave the upload bandwidth unchanged, there might also be a small quality improvement. Maybe.
- SDSL – Synchronous DSL has the same upload and download bandwidth, unfortunately that bandwidth is just 2mb. And is probably only available at one of our branches. Cost is around £370 install and £275 per month.
- EFM (Ethernet First Mile) – based on ISDN30, this uses twin twisted copper cables, which means that the service quality degrades the further you are from the exchange. We would hope to receive close to 10mb bandwidth upload and download. Cost is around £2000 install and £500 per month.
- E1 Leased Line – a fibre product, offering 2mb upload and download bandwidth. Install cost is around £3-5000 and £270pm.
- LES10 Leased Line – a fibre product, offering 10mb upload and download bandwidth. Same day support. Install cost is around £3-5000 and £500pm.
- LES100 & LES1000 Leased Lines – beyond our budget.
So the cheapest solution, SDSL, which actually would reduce our download bandwidth, would still cost three times what we are currently paying, and we would need to pay six times what we are currently paying, in order to get the service that we need.
Other options that we could consider are:
- Multiple ADSL lines – load balanced
- Multiple ADSL lines – bonded
For example, we could double our costs by purchasing two separate ADSL lines, and bonding such that the download bandwidth became 14mb with a 1.4mb upload bandwidth. But is bonding reliable? Our telecoms expert could not remember a successful example of ADSL bonding, i.e. where the customer didn’t end up ditching the solution after a short time. Is that true do you think?
Ideally I would upgrade our connection for something that gave us 20mb+ download and 2mb upload. Hmm, what about Virginmedia . . .
Virginmedia offers a 20mb connection for £50pm, but with an upload bandwidth of just 1mb, this wouldn’t actually address our main problem.
So it does seem as if there is no cost-effective solution, and the price gap between ADSL and Leased Lines seems very large – an additional £10,000pa for our business.