Who Needs Dedicated Internet Access & Why?

Learn more about the differences between shared and dedicated internet access (DIA) and determine which is the best fit for your operation.

business people internet world
Rob Rodier

Nov 12, 2021


Many businesses, whether startups looking for fast and efficient ways to move to the next level or established companies that want to improve efficiency and productivity, may be overlooking an important fact: you have choices when it comes to internet access. If your average workday includes multitasking during a long upload, repeating yourself during a low quality video conference, or downtime while you wait to connect with your internet service provider (ISP) on the phone, know that this doesn't have to be the case.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between shared and dedicated internet access (DIA) and determine which is the best fit for your operation.

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access

Shared access is usually the most inexpensive option because it’s provided over network infrastructure that numerous ISP customers use. This typically comes in the form of coax from the cable company and business fiber from the telephone company. However, an issue that some organizations face with shared service is inconsistency. With shared service, you purchase bandwidth at maximum speeds. Depending on internet traffic at different times or on different days, speeds can vary, impacting productivity. Also, shared service often offers adequate download speeds, but uploading may not occur at the same rate. This can be an issue if, for example, remote locations routinely share large files with collaborators in other offices.

Dedicated internet service eliminates those problems with consistent, synchronous, and guaranteed bandwidth. A good analogy is comparing DIA to the express lanes on a highway. While merging and exiting vehicles use shared lanes that can become congested with traffic and encounter delays, traffic in the express lane moves freely at consistent speeds - just like dedicated internet access.

ISPs who offer DIA also provide their customers with service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee specific uptime percentages and quantified performance levels, such as latency, packet loss, and jitter, which is something they won’t guarantee with shared service. DIA providers also guarantee their response time when their DIA customers submit tickets, known as Mean Time to Respond (MTTR).

Who Needs Dedicated Internet Access?

So, who needs dedicated internet access? There are several indicators that a business will benefit from upgrading from shared service to dedicated internet access, such as:

  • A large number of employees who use the internet

  • Business activities that include a high volume of uploading and downloading

  • High-definition

  • Large operations that rely on VoIP communications

  • Data center

  • Cloud-hosted

Businesses in a broad range of markets and industries can improve their workflows and productivity with dedicated internet access. For example, DIA is vital for call centers with cloud-based phone systems. It’s also essential to e-sports and online gaming where reliable, consistent service is non-negotiable.

Dedicated internet access is also essential for omnichannel retailers that do business online, coordinate operations with supply chain partners, count on real-time inventory information across the organization, and prioritize providing optimal experiences to build customer loyalty and revenues.

Healthcare systems with multiple facilities and primary care partners will benefit from DIA’s guaranteed bandwidth that enables reliable access to mission-critical data, facilitates collaboration, and makes it easier for patients to connect with healthcare providers.

Collaborative teams’ in video production, software development and engineering will also see ROI through an enhanced ability to upload large files or high volumes of data and streamlined communications.

When Should a Business Upgrade?

It’s also worth noting that for some companies, the move to dedicated internet service will make better business sense as they grow. DIA is generally more expensive than shared service, with costs that range from $60 to $600 for the most basic shared plans and $500 to $9,000 for premium dedicated services. Small and medium-sized (SMB) businesses that aren’t experiencing a loss of productivity or efficiency on shared internet service may not see ROI from upgrading to DIA. However, when the company expands to new locations or increases the size of its workforce, the gains in efficiency and productivity that dedicated internet access delivers can far outweigh the cost.

Transitioning to DIA and the costs you will incur may also depend on an evaluation from your ISP, especially if they’ll need to invest in connecting you to an existing network or bring DIA service to your area to accommodate you. Not all buildings have the proper infrastructure to support these dedicated connections, so it can be expected that the construction costs paid by the carrier to bring these buildings “on-net” will be amortized by the and billed as part of your monthly recurring charge. In the COVID-19 era, some professionals are considering residential DIA; however, be prepared for your residence to undergo that same evaluation from the provider before they commit to providing you with that service.

Life in the Fast Lane

It’s human nature to adapt to circumstances. If you currently use shared internet service, your employees take things like slow upload speeds, jitter, and data loss in stride; they’re just inconveniences to overcome throughout the day. If that inefficiency is hindering your company’s workflows, it’s time to take a hard look at the productivity and revenue gains possible with dedicated internet access.

Lightyear can help you find the DIA service that’s right for you. To get started, click here.

Enjoy this blog? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Dedicated Internet Access Pricing.

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