Data Overload!

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One of the most dominant trends in communication is that people are relying increasingly on data to get their message across, while traditional “calls” are on the decline. The challenge facing all business, but especially small businesses (due to limited budgets and know how), is what kind of connectivity to invest in.

 

ADSL vs. Fibre vs. Mobile Broadband

Access to the internet, especially messaging services such as SMS, WhatsApp and various social media platforms, is essential for any business. However, the type and size of your business will determine what type of data connectivity you require.

So what are the data connection options for your small business?

Type of Connection

Pros

Cons

ADSL

 

Transmits data via a normal telephone line

Connection does not conflict with traditional voice calls

 

Suitable for a small office (2 or 3 computers) if you won’t be downloading or streaming huge files and you don’t need super- fast speeds, ADSL is perfectly adequate

 

Budget-friendly

 

Readily available in most areas

 

(Remember you can use it as a wi-fi hotspot for cell phones as well.)

Telephone wire based therefore subject to infrastructure constraints – quality and speed may degrade over longer distances

 

Internet speed is affected by the number of users in a particular area

 

Telkom owns the lines regardless of your Internet Service Provider, which means the customer can sometimes be ‘piggy in the middle’

Fibre Optic

 

Light impulses transmit data

Super-fast and guaranteed  - stable regardless of the number of users

 

Same upload and download speed

 

Suitable for larger businesses with multiple users, or if you are a ‘heavy’ data user e.g. video conferencing and live streaming

 

The best option if you need a dedicated data service for cloud storage

 

High protection against cybercrime because access requires physically cutting the fibres which will cause the signal to end – hence its own built-in warning system

 

Technology of the future

Still being rolled out, so not readily available everywhere

 

Expensive

 

 

Mobile Broadband (cell phone)

 

Transmits through cell phone towers

Suitable for very small businesses or if you / your staff are mainly off-site

 

Convenient and allows for mobility and the ability to be in contact with customers whenever & wherever

 

Great as a back-up plan

Cellular data in South Africa is still considered to be very expensive

 

Need to be in range of a mobile tower – distance affects quality and reliability

 

The mobility and convenience comes at a heavy price, e.g. pre-paid customers can pay anywhere between 99c and R2. When looking at the various providers, comparing apples with apples is virtually impossible for the layman

 

The key is to shop around and to get the best dear for your current and short term needs. Beware of being tied into long term and possibly onerous contracts and look for offerings that can grow with your business needs.

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