Benefits of Broadband

You have surely heard of DSL (digital subscriber line), cable, and wireless Internet service in TV or radio advertisements. We discussed several high speed options a few years ago in the Trends section of our newsletter, The ITS Connection. While cable Internet provides a good value, it is rarely available for businesses. DSL is often the next best choice on a price/performance basis, asssuming it is available at your location.

Broadband technology provides many benefits to a business:

No usage charges - We have proven DSL is less expensive than most other types of connections to the Internet, even a standard dial-up connection! DSL has lower fees than fractional T1 lines, and no usage charges. Since a business phone line from Ameritech is billed a per-minute charge, if you use the Internet two hours per workday on a dedicated phone line a DSL line is almost the same price:

   $25 (basic phone line charge from Ameritech)
+ $60 (usage @ 2 hrs * 23 workdays/month * 2.2 cents/min.)
+ $20 (monthly ISP charge)
= $105 per month

Low cost - DSL lines in the Chicago area range from $79-$399 for a business ($39-$249 for home use), depending on speed, the type of DSL used, and the vendor. You can see the main factor in the above equation is the usage charge for an analog modem, so if you use the Internet for more than about two hours per day DSL actually can be less expensive. Remember, if you are sharing an account between several employees you need to factor in the total usage on the line. An easy way to obtain usage charges is to check your recent phone bills for your modem line. Even if DSL is available for about the same price as your current dial-up connection, consider the increase in productivity for your employees gained from a much higher speed connection.

Note that a price quote from broadband ISPs includes their charge as an ISP, which typically saves you $20-25 per month once you cancel your dial-up account. We are confident that the ISPs we recommend will provide excellent service and are very competitive with other ISPs in the Chicago area. Please note the pricing and availability of DSL in your area can be subject to many factors, and the prices shown on our web site are subject to change without notice as they are determined by each vendor.

High speed - Broadband connection speeds range between 128kbps and 1.56mbps (1560k). A standard 56k modem connection averages about 40-45k (due to ambient line noise you will almost never get above 50k). ISDN speeds are either 64k or 128k. So you can see that broadband can provide over 30 times faster throughput than a 56k dial-up connection. The maximum DSL speed available for your business depends on your exact distance from the Ameritech central office used for the connection.

Comparing download times
  Digital 1.5M DSL line Digital 384k DSL line Analog 56k modem
Average download speed 1.5 M (1500k) 384k 44k
Download time (1 MB file) 5 seconds 21 seconds 3 minutes, 6 seconds
Download time (5 MB file) 26 seconds 1 minute, 44 seconds 15 minutes, 9 seconds

Everyone on the LAN has access - Routers allow multiple users to use the Internet at the same time. Broadband connections typically allow 250 or more users. Employees who should not have access can be easily prevented from surfing the web simply by not configuring their PC to have access. You can save the expense of multiple dial-up accounts, modems, and extra phone lines.

ADSL plans typically provide access for one PC, with the option for one more. ITS recommends using a hardware Internet gateway to share this connection among multiple users. Single PCs should use firewall software.

24x7 connection - A DSL connection is always more busy signals! No longer will you wait for a modem to dial up and connect to your ISP every time you want to check your e-mail. You can also set your e-mail program to check for mail automatically without incurring unnecessary phone charges.

Available now - DSL and T1 service is available in most Chicago area locations.

Both SDSL and ADSL available - Synchronous DSL (SDSL) simply means that both the downstream and upstream connection speeds are the same. Asynchronous DSL (ADSL) allows the downstream side of a connection to be faster than the upstream side, which is nice for surfing web sites since most of your time is spent downloading text and graphics. ADSL is also less expensive than SDSL. The types available in your area depend on the DSL provider used and your distance from the central office. (return)

Security - Most services include Network Address Translation (NAT) which provides a basic level of security. This feature hides the network addresses of the local PCs, making it harder for anyone on the Internet to access the network. Full-featured firewall software or hardware is also available.