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To burst or not to burst: Which kind of fibre internet is right for your business?

Why picking the right fibre internet option for your organization requires an understanding of how your company uses the internet.

Woman looking at monitor

Fibre internet services are delivered via fibre-optic cabling, allowing data to travel at the speed of light and providing equal download and upload speeds of up to 100 Gbps. With such speeds, you can upload large files to the cloud, replicate databases between your headquarters and your data centre, or synchronize your disaster recovery stores in seconds—all without worrying about data volume congestion or lag. For companies that frequently share very large files or generate major transaction volumes, fibre represents a tremendous productivity boon.

If fibre is right for you, it’s important to remember that you have a couple of options:

Dedicated bandwidth

If you can accurately predict your monthly internet usage, you can get take advantage of unlimited data at a fixed bandwidth. The advantage to this is that you won’t be charged any overages and your costs will remain predictable. The disadvantage is that, if you suddenly need more bandwidth during, for example, Black Friday when your website gets flooded with visitors looking for the best deals, you risk compromising your website’s performance—and the customer experience. But if such instances aren’t part of your business’s nature, dedicated bandwidth may be the best option for you.

Burstable bandwidth

If brief periods of higher data usage are inherent to your business, fibre internet also gives you the option of “burstable” bandwidth, which means you can increase your bandwidth temporarily to ensure your business continues to perform optimally during times of great data demand. However, be sure to budget for these periods of bursting as they do incur overage charges. Will it cost you more than dedicated bandwidth in the end? That will depend on how much bandwidth you need outside of bursting periods; it could potentially cost you less. At the very least, if you have a good idea of how much more bandwidth you need and when, your costs will remain predictable.

Don’t forget about DDoS protection

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are among the most common cyber threats out there, particularly the “volumetric” variety, which flood your bandwidth with illegitimate traffic, rendering your online properties inaccessible to customers and employees. Depending on the kind of fibre bandwidth you have, your DDoS protection solution will be different. If you have dedicated bandwidth, you have the option of choosing a solution that, when it detects an attack, will drop all traffic headed towards your network—a method called “blackholing.” Unfortunately, that means legitimate traffic gets dropped too. Once the DDoS attack has run its course, traffic will continue to your network as normal, but how much of an impact this will have on your business depends on the length of the attack. That’s why, for a higher fee, you can get an enhanced DDoS protection solution that identifies and drops only illegitimate traffic, allowing legitimate traffic to continue to your network even as the DDoS attack is underway. Bear in mind, however, that if you have burstable bandwidth, you will need to go with the enhanced variety because, since you increase your bandwidth during certain crucial periods, dropping all traffic won’t do; you’ll need to selectively drop only bad traffic for your solution to work with your business model.

If you’re certain fibre internet is right for your business, and you want to find out whether you should go with dedicated or burstable bandwidth, take our brief assessment found here.