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Should I Get Business Fiber Optic Internet Installed?
Businesses need a reliable Internet connection to thrive, it’s no longer an option. Business fiber Internet providers are expanding their offerings to cover more locations that were not serviceable in the past. Taking advantage of a business fiber service can result in increased productivity, network performance, as well as business continuity. But as with any service, there are pros and cons to a business fiber optic Internet connection. Basically, there are two types of business fiber optic Internet connections, dedicated fiber or shared fiber Internet service.
Dedicated Fiber Internet
With a dedicated fiber Internet connection, the bandwidth is dedicated to your business only. The availability of dedicated fiber Internet is very good and covers most metro areas as well as more rural locations. Dedicated fiber bandwidth speeds are always consistent, uptime is very high, and network latency, packet loss, jitter are low. Also, the service is backed by performance and reliability guarantees, which is known as a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This type of fiber Internet service provides the highest level of performance and uptime available. Most larger businesses that rely on Internet connectivity for internal or cloud-based applications will choose a dedicated fiber Internet service. The only major downside is the cost is higher than a shared fiber service.
Shared Fiber Internet
A shared fiber Internet connection is as described, a shared network. With this type of service, it is a shared amongst other businesses within a building or local area. The reliability and performance of a shared fiber connection can vary, with peak times sometimes experiencing limited bandwidth along with high latency, packet loss, and jitter. Because it is a shared bandwidth connection, providers will not offer an SLA or much in the form of performance guarantees. Also, the availability of shared fiber connections is more limited and usually only in metro areas but not everywhere either. Cost is the biggest selling point of shared fiber Internet service, with a relatively low price point for a given bandwidth speed. Popular shared fiber services include AT&T Business Fiber, Verizon Fios, Frontier Fios, and Centurylink Fiber+. This type of fiber service is geared towards retail and small business where cost controls are the highest priority. Also, a shared fiber optic Internet installation is much less involved since network facilities are shared.
Dedicated Fiber Installation Requirements
For this article, we chose to focus on a dedicated fiber installation, since that is a much more involved process for providers and customers, and the preferred choice for most larger businesses. When you decide to order service and make the transition to a dedicated fiber optic Internet connection, the first step is a site survey by a provider technician to review site requirements. In most cases this would be done by the local phone or cable providers technician, since they have the largest fiber coverage area in most markets. Other providers will purchase wholesale fiber access (fiber local loop) from them in order to install dedicated fiber Internet to customers. As far as site requirements, some might already be in place, if not an electrical contractor can assist in addressing most issues. Here are the site requirements in order to install dedicated fiber optic Internet.
The path begins at the fiber providers network, usually at the property line, and ends at your router. Sometimes the router and original demarcation location are one and the same. Typically technicians need to trace a functional path from their fiber network to the building demarc. If you work in a large office building this might require negotiating with a building owner. The path will need to be 2-4″ conduit with a pull rope and bend requirements. Additional inside wiring/conduit work may be needed if the terminating endpoint for the circuit (ie office suite) is beyond the building demarc. Plan ahead and schedule your business fiber installation with consideration that this first step might take some time to complete.
Routers, modems and network devices must have sufficient power to sustain a fiber optic connection. Typical power requirement is 15-20amp and 110-120V AC outlet in close proximity to this equipment.
Grounding is essential to avoid maintenance issues. Business fiber installation requires equipment/racks to be grounded by a ground rod or building bus bar, by a large wire. All equipment connected to power needs to be properly grounded using 3 prong outlet.
• Space & Environment
Lastly, there are specific space and environmental regulations that must be followed to ensure a safe fiber optic Internet connection. The installation location must meet certain temperature, humidity, and dust requirements, due to the sensitivity of equipment. Also, the space must have a fire retardant backboard to mount equipment on or racking. In addition, the power, ground, and customer router must be in close proximity.
Fiber Optic Installation and Turn-up
Once site requirements are completed the next step is to install the fiber, test, and schedule turn-up. Most of this part of the installation is done within the provider’s network including fiber placement, splicing, and infrastructure to support the service. After that is done they will pull fiber to the site, connect equipment, and test. If everything tests OK, the final step is to schedule a turn-up with the customer, usually with the tech contact or IT manager onsite. There is no downtime during this process since service is installed parallel to any existing Internet service, even another dedicated fiber service installed already.
The whole dedicated fiber installation process takes about 60 days for most locations, but can be extended if additional network construction is needed. Although the dedicated fiber installation process takes longer than shared fiber Internet, cable, DSL, or satellite the rewards are well worth it. Bandwidth availability, uptime, latency, packet loss, jitter, are all superior and will support any business application at the highest level (QoS). Most businesses that require this level of performance and reliability will choose dedicated fiber over a shared Internet connection.