In the modern age of Internet, when you are looking for Internet connection, there comes 2 categories in the mind, one is Broadband connection and Other is Leased-line connection.
Just to recall before Fibre, broadband connection was there, but it was provided using copper co-axial wires, and other solution was Dial-up, which internally were also using copper wires. Over a time data transmission technology grown significantly and now we have Fibre and wireless data transmission solutions.
One of the important perspective is Braodband is designed for Home or Small usages, Leased-line is designed for office, enterprise, consistent and large group usages, lets understand how and difference in their design and delivery.
There are major 3 differences between Broadband and Leased-Line
Broadband and leased lines connections are provided in different ways. They both still come through a cable, but the difference is to do with how they get to you.
When we take out a broadband package, we are getting your Internet from the local ISP provider, there is a wire connection to our premises delivering the Internet. From the cabinet to the exchange, there is either a copper wire or fibre that delivers the Internet. So it is a series of cables that bring us the Internet.
The difference lies with how that cable is split between all of the other local premises getting broadband. We might be sharing that wire with the five other customers next to us. With a leased line, you get a dedicated line that is only coming to you. No sharing.
In the next level of Enterprise Leased-line connection, they deliver the fibre line with Ring topology built at their “NOC“, and at the NOC they will pull fibre cables from different STM to provide redundancy so that in case one fibre line goes down, other line can take over and internet still works with same performance.
There are different type of leased-line
- Compressed Internet Leased Line – Contention ratio will be 1:4
- Shared Internet Leased Line – Content ratio is configurable
- Standard Internet Leased Line – Dedicated liner line
- Premium Internet Leased Line – Fully dedicated, dual line, ring topology
2. Inconsistent bandwidth (speed)
With broadband, since we share the cable with others(who is using broadband just like you), we are effectively splitting the Bandwidth(or speed). Suppose bandwidth is 30 Mbps or even 50 Mbps connection, your speed will depend on how many other people are using the broadband at the same time. You might think, great, I’ve got this new Business Broadband with a 30 Mbps connection over Fibre but realistically at peak time, you might only be getting a couple of Mbps because everyone else is also using their unlimited downloads. And do not get fooled by what speedtest is showing you, best way to check the Bandwidth is to download a file, lets say a file is downloading at 500 kbps, then you have the Bandwidth of approx 500*8 = 4 Mbps. But even if speedtest show 4 Mbps as speed, still you’ll notice that download doesn’t happen consistently at 500 kbps, this is because of contention.
Contention is quite common in Broadband or even in shared/compressed leased line because at the same point of time when you are downloading and trying to use internet heavily there might be 3-4 users who are trying to download large files, so contention will reduce your bandwidth at run-time, and so there will be inconsistency.
3. Service level agreement
What happens when internet goes down? What if internet is not gonna come for few days? What if provider says it will be fixed in 24 hours but they take 3 days.
These are the typically 3 questions which worry us a lot about the service reliability. Broadband connection is designed for low cost and for common usages, so they do not provide any SLA for the downtime or fixes. Few broadband provide may promise that they will resolve the issue (or downtime) in max 2 business days, but in practical cases it might take 3 days and we can not do anything about it.
Where as Leased-line connection comes with very strong SLA, there will be a dedicated team and account manager for you who will take your complain and will resolve the issue in given amount of time period, may be 4 hours or may be 6 hours. They will also promise some fixed amount of up-time, may be like 99.5% up-time, which is a great promise. Generally 99.5% up-time looks pretty awesome but 0.5% down-time means approx 90 minutes per month they can go down without breaking SLA, so while choosing Leased-line ensure that if up-time can be increased as much as possible.
Few other minor differences are
- Broadband always comes with data limit for a month, leased-line is unlimited usages (no data limit)
- Broadband is cheap, may be in $20 (or Rs 1200), you’ll get 50 Mbps line with 100 GB of data usages.
- Leased-line is expensive, may be in $300 (or Rs. 20000), you’ll get 10 Mbps line, with unlimited data