Archive for month: January, 2019

How Do I Know When it’s Time to Upgrade to a Business Internet Plan?


How Do I Know When it’s Time to Upgrade to a Business Internet Plan?

How to identify the signs that your company may need to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet

Deciding when to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan is a key decision in any company’s growth. When your company’s Internet connection slows down, or worse, goes offline, it can cost you lost sales, harm your reputation, and cause operational delays. For example, when your business upgrades to a new CRM, or grows an in-house team adding new devices to your network, it’s not a given that current bandwidth and existing infrastructure are equipped to support the transition. Thus, it’s important to understand the network requirements your business needs to operate. Specifically, it’s imperative to realize when it’s time for your company to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan.

What is Business Internet?

When you upgrade to “Dedicated Business Internet”, you’re moving to a dedicated Internet connection. Unlike shared Internet circuits, a dedicated circuit provides private Internet access to a single location. This means bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner guaranteeing they receive the bandwidth they sign up for. Keep in mind that upgrading may require switching telecom providers.

While shared Internet circuits may be adequate for residential or small business use, as businesses grow, the cost of downtime and inefficiency inherent in shared solutions becomes prohibitive. Research shows that companies on average experience 87 hours of downtime each year. This equates to an average cost of $42,000 lost per hour, for a total cost of over $3M/year. As multiple devices proliferate and companies come to rely on their employees’ ability to communicate and facilitate online transactions, (such as collecting payment) the impact and cost of slow or unreliable Internet access grows exponentially.

Benefits of Dedicated Business Internet

Dedicated Business Internet offers many benefits to companies that need more reliable connectivity.

  • Guaranteed Bandwidth
    When you don’t share your circuit with other companies, you know you will get the download and upload speeds promised. Not sure how much bandwidth your business needs? Learn “How to Determine the Amount of Bandwidth Your Company Needs”.
  • Faster Throughput
    Dedicated Business Internet gives access to to low-traffic backbones so connectivity is fast from origin to destination. If Internet access is like getting on the freeway, then Business Internet users get both faster onramps and a pass to the carpool lane because their Internet traffic is routed onto low-traffic backbone circuits that experience fewer delays.
  • Matched Upload and Download Speeds
    Unlike shared circuits which typically have inconsistent download than upload speeds, Dedicated Business Internet connections offer packages with guaranteed symmetrical upload and download speeds. This becomes useful for businesses that require robust file transfers, online streaming, and video conferencing.

Dedicated Business Internet Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Speed and performance for a Dedicated Business Internet connection are guaranteed with very specific, enforceable Service Level Agreements (SLA). Shared Circuit SLA’s typically claim to make their “best effort” to provide contracted services, without any recourse if the circuit gets crowded and performance drops. Dedicated Business Internet SLA’s list specific deliverables for service. As an example, here is the guarantees that come with GeoLinks’ Business Internet SLA:

  • Response Priority: Critical: 4hrs or less
  • Network Quality of Service
  • Network Availability: Target of at least 99.999% uptime
  • Round Trip Latency Under 40ms
  • Jitter under 10ms
  • Packet loss target < 0.1%

Should You Get Dedicated Business Internet?

Now that you know the benefits of moving to a Dedicated Business Internet circuit, how do you determine whether or not it’s time to upgrade. One of the first questions to ask is whether you are experiencing network problems on your current shared circuit. Here are a few examples of businesses that would typically require Dedicated Business Internet:

  • Hotels where broadband service is part of their offering to guests.
  • Medical practices where reliable communications and data access can literally be a matter of life and death. They may also be subject to regulation requiring them to maintain reliable connectivity.
  • Real estate offices and banks, both of which handle large volumes of electronic transactions and often transfer large files in bulk to support purchases or financial arrangements.
  • Restaurants or retail establishments with POS systems. If their Internet goes down, so does their POS system. This prevents them from collecting debit or credit payments.

If you’re currently experiencing any of the network issues mentioned above, or are in a business where reliable internet is essential to your day-to-day operations, then it’s time to seriously consider upgrading to Dedicated Business Internet. Still not sure if the benefits outweigh the hard cost? Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of upgrading.

How to Calculate the ROI of Dedicated Business Internet

The basic formula for ROI in any business is net gain/cost. Choose a time frame as the basis – with larger IT upgrades like this you’ll want to consider at least a year, if not more. Compare the costs associated with keeping your current shared solution. Then compare the costs or cost savings of upgrading. Keep in mind that some costs are hard, while others are less tangible.

Here are a few examples of hard costs and cost savings to consider:

Hard Costs:

  • Installation and hardware fees
  • Monthly recurring ISP charges

Cost Savings:

  • Improved internal and external communications
  • More reliable video conferencing, VoIP, and web access
  • Reduced risk of employee and systems downtime
  • Increased capacity for growth and expansion
  • How much would it cost you if your internet went down altogether for 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? What would you pay for peace of mind?

Once you have costs and benefits of both scenarios, you can compare ROIs and also look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The final decision whether to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet should take into account the tangible business benefits, ROI, and TCO as well as the harder to quantify benefits such as improving your business infrastructure.

Let’s Recap

Do your day-to-day business operations require reliable Internet access? If yes, it’s time to upgrade. Have you recently changed your company’s internal systems, such as onboarding a more robust CRM? It’s time to upgrade. Are you expanding your team or increasing the number of devices (such as computers) connected to your network? It’s time to upgrade. All in all, does it give you peace of mind to have a contractual SLA that you can rely on? It is time to upgrade.

To learn more about GeoLinks’ Business Internet Plans, chat with one of our team members today.

Entrepreneur mag honors Camarillo firm

Read Full Article Online Here

Entrepreneur mag honors GeoLinks - skyler ditchfieldGeoLinks was honored in December as one of the best small businesses in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine.

The Camarillo-based telecommunications company, which built its business on bringing high-speed internet access to remote areas using radio waves and wires to get to people traditional cables alone can’t reach, was named to the Entrepreneur 360 list of small businesses “that are mastering the art and science of growing a business,” the magazine said.

Honorees were judged on five metrics: impact, innovation, growth, leadership and business valuation. To view the full list, visit entrepreneur.com/360.

Skyler Ditchfield, cofounder and CEO of GeoLinks, said in a statement he was thrilled by the selection and hopes his company can continue to grow and expand its philanthropic efforts, which include providing internet access to Red Cross shelters in disaster areas and helping implement wildfire detection and prevention systems across the state.

“I am humbled and honored that Entrepreneur recognizes GeoLinks as a well-rounded, innovative company that truly is making an impact,” he said.

GeoLinks was the only Ventura County business to make the list. To learn more about the company, visit geolinks.com.

—Cameron Kiszla

What are the Best Rural Internet Options?

The Pros and Cons of Different Rural Internet Options

It is reported that more than 24 million Americans don’t have access to broadband Internet. According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2018, 162.8 million people “do not use the Internet at broadband speeds.” Why? Whether it be due to inflated costs, poor availability, slow deployment, terrestrial restraints, misguided land and airwave regulation, or all the above, communities across the country, predominantly in rural America, lack adequate broadband infrastructure. The inequalities in finances, education, and social status, encountered by those without access to the Internet, versus those who do, has been coined the U.S. Digital Divide.

According to GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, there are “Five Crucial Steps Needed To Close The U.S. Digital Divide”. The final, and arguably most imperative item listed, is the need for America to adopt a technology-agnostic hybrid approach. While technologies such as 5G and Fiber were perhaps 2018’s most prominent buzzwords, Fixed Wireless, DSL, Satellite, and Cable, all play an equally vital role in closing the divide.

So, what technologies are available in rural America? Here are the pros and cons of various Rural Internet options:

Pros and Cons of Internet Options

Fixed Wireless Broadband

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. While capable of servicing both suburban and urban communities, Fixed Wireless Internet is most widely known for its ability to quickly reach and connect rural America.

Pros of Fixed Wireless:

  • Quick to deploy – Fixed Wireless networks can be deployed in a fraction of the time of competing wired technologies.
  • Cost effective – by avoiding costly trenching, fixed wireless networks are far less expensive to build and have a lower impact on the environment.
  • Widely available – because it uses radio waves, fixed wireless networks can reach areas “off the grid”, such as rural America.

Cons of Fixed Wireless:

  • Line of Sight (LOS) – because circuits require direct LOS, trees or large buildings in the connection path can cause signal interference.
  • Bandwidth can be more expensive than DSL, Cable, and some Satellite providers.

dsl-cable geolinks - rural internet

DSL Broadband 

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) broadband is a wireline technology that transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. Because it operates on pre-existing phone lines, when infrastructure is present, DSL can be installed quickly.

Pros of DSL:

  • Accessible – because DSL runs through phone lines, it is more widely available nationwide. (According to broadbandnow.com, DSL has 90% coverage nationwide.)
  • It’s relatively inexpensive – the cost to install and maintain is less than many other broadband technologies, such as Fiber.

Cons of DSL:

  • Slow speeds – DSL speeds are generally between 128 Kbps – 3 Mbps.
  • Inconsistent network quality – because circuit quality relies heavily on the distance from an ISP’s central hub, a major problem for many rural areas, speeds and network reliability are inconsistent.

Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed Wireless - GeoLinks

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet beams data from your provider to a satellite in space, and then back to a dish at a user’s home or business. Historically, the technology has been primarily used to connect rural areas that don’t have access to wired services.

Pros of Satellite Internet:

  • Expansive availability – because it transmits to a satellite in space, it’s available virtually anywhere on earth.
  • Decent speeds – delivering speeds up to 100 Mbps, Satellite is faster than DSL.

Cons of Satellite Internet:

  • Latency issues – Satellite has inherent latency issues – this is especially problematic with video conferencing and VoIP applications.
  • Unreliable – circuit quality is susceptible to moisture (weather) and objects, such as trees and vegetation.
  • High cost – Satellite Internet is one of the most expensive broadband technologies on the market.

cable geolinks - rural internet

Cable Broadband

Cable Broadband utilizes a modem to provide access to the Internet through the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to a user’s television set. Mainly used to service residential customers, cable networks are considered shared circuits.

Pros of Cable Broadband:

  • Easy and quick to install – because it uses existing infrastructure, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Capacity to be substantially faster than other types of broadband connections such as satellite and DSL.

Cons of Cable Broadband:

  • Unreliable connection – Cable connections are shared with nearby users causing performance issues, such as varying speeds, during peak usage times.
  • Rural limitations – due to the lack of infrastructure extending outside of urban communities, cable is often not available.

  cellular-tower-geolinks - rural internet

Cellular Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband delivers Internet over a mobile network – the same networks utilized by your smartphone. Mobile broadband can be accessed via portable wireless hotspots and wireless modems from anywhere that has a cellular connection.

Pros of Mobile Broadband:

  • Easy access – assuming there is reception in the area, it has the potential to be immediately available.
  • Quick and easy install – the ‘plug and play feature’ of this technology eliminates the need for physical cables, phone lines, or an electricity source.

Cons of Mobile Broadband:

  • Inconsistent coverage – If you live in a remote area, you may not get cellular reception, preventing access altogether.
  • Unreliable performance – Average mobiles speeds fall around 3 Mbps and fluctuate depending on location and the number of people connected to the network.
  • Capped data usage – To prevent network saturation, mobile broadband plans typically come with a data cap– go over and bills can get quite expensive.

flexible fiberoptic - geolinks

Fiber Broadband

Fiber broadband provides Internet access by converting electrical signals carrying data to light and sends the light through transparent glass fibers. It is one of, if not the most requested broadband technology on the market.

Pros of Fiber Broadband:

  • Speed – Fiber is capable of delivering multi-gig speeds making it one of the fastest broadband options on the market alongside fixed wireless.
  • Scalable and flexible bandwidth – once installed, bandwidth can be increased or decreased almost on-demand.

Cons of Fiber Broadband:

  • Not available everywhere – Fiber is currently available in only 25% of the country.
  • Expensive and slow to deploy – fiber optic cable is extremely costly to deploy and requires trenching (which is often stalled by lengthy permitting processes.)

While there are advantages and disadvantages to each Rural Internet option, when used together, these technologies can create a ubiquitous solution capable of delivering multi-gigabit bandwidth to all communities across the country. If the U.S. can collectively adapt to building out technology-agnostic hybrid networks, we can one day close the digital divide.

Want to see if GeoLinks’ Rural Internet Option, ClearFiber™, is available in your community?

 

 

 

What Does a Fixed Wireless Internet Installation Look Like?

Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect

 Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect - GeoLinks

Fixed Wireless Internet provides high speed broadband access to a single location via radio waves. Capable of delivering gigabit speeds with identical jitter and latency as fiber, Fixed Wireless Internet circuits can be installed in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of competing technologies. Want to learn more about Fixed Wireless Internet? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8GvGOKCpnk

So, what does a Fixed Wireless Internet installation look like?

Prior to Circuit Installation

In order to deliver high speed Internet access, a Fixed Wireless Internet service provider must first confirm a client’s location has an express line of sight (LOS) to a nearby Base Station (telecom tower). While different providers may administer varying methods to confirm LOS, most wireless internet service providers (WISPs) encounter situations where a site visit is sometimes needed to confirm serviceability. Typically, a roof access form (RAF) is required from the building owner or property management company prior to conducting a site visit. Assuming access is granted, onsite techs can then confirm LOS and test signal strength from the intended installation point.

Not sure how much bandwidth your business needs? Check out our simple guide by clicking here. 

Installing Fixed Wireless Internet Circuits

Every WISP has its own unique installation process and preferred equipment. For the purpose of this post, we will specifically examine GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ Fixed Wireless Internet installations. Fully insured with coverage that meets property management and owner requirements, all GeoLinks’ installations are done by our team of experienced technicians that take into consideration visual aesthetics, and building and city code compliance.

Fixed Wireless Internet Installations – What to Expect - GeoLinks

GeoLinks Installation Equipment

Subscriber: When installing a ClearFiber™ circuit, a “Subscriber” unit, also referred to as Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), is placed on the roof of the client’s building. While Subscribers can vary based on the service ordered and location of the customer premise, the average GeoLinks’ Subscriber dimensions measure 24 – 36in in diameter and weigh between 5 – 20lbs. The Subscriber is responsible for transmitting the wireless signal from the Base Station to the customer premise, and vice versa.

Non-Penetrating Roof Mount ­- The Subscriber is mounted directly to a non-penetrating roof mount. This is a 36in self-supporting, square angle steel frame with a 60in x 2in diameter mast designed specifically for antenna installation. It does not damage or require any mounting to the roof.

Rubber Mat and Blocks – Included as part of GeoLinks’ installation is an outdoor anti-skid rubber mat, placed directly under the non-penetrating roof mount. This outdoor weatherized mat is used to protect the roof and measures 36in x 36in x 1/8in. Depending upon Subscriber height, 6in x 8in x 16in concrete blocks are placed evenly around the base to stabilize the roof mount. The average install requires 6 to 8 bricks with each brick weighing about 30lbs.

Cable – Once the Subscriber is installed and secured, an exterior outdoor rated Cat5e cable is run through a pre-existing vent or access point of the roof directly to the customer’s network room. This cable is plugged into a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) power supply that powers the subscriber and delivers service to the customer.

How Long Does it Take to Get Installed

Just like most business services, Fixed Wireless Internet installation periods vary from provider to provider. GeoLinks prides itself on having one of the industry’s shortest installation periods. Our expertly trained technicians can connect businesses in as little as 24 hours. For larger circuits, we average between 7 to 10 business days.

Questions?

GeoLinks in-house Client Consultants are available to assist with any questions you may have regarding your business installation or service. To speak to a GeoLinks’ Client Consultant call (888) 225-1571 option 2.

Want to see if GeoLinks is available in your area?

Check Availability Here

 

 

Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless?

Does Weather Affect Fixed Wireless? GeoLinks

Can Weather Affect a Fixed Wireless Internet Connection?

The majority of businesses today have become intrinsically reliant on the Internet. From serving as an accessible means to communicate globally, to hosting e-commerce stores, to conducting online credit transactions and transfers, it has become paramount for businesses to have a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. From DSL, to Copper, to Fiber, to Fixed Wireless, there are a variety of broadband technologies to consider when shopping in today’s business marketplace.

When exploring fixed wireless connections, there may be a variety of questions that come to mind. For example, Is fixed wireless reliable? Is fixed wireless affected by weather? Does fixed wireless perform just as well as a wired connection? To answer these questions, let’s first take a step back and ask the foundational question, what is fixed wireless?

what is fixed wireless - geolinks.com

What is Fixed Wireless?

Fixed wireless provides high-speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point and point-to-multi-point signals, fixed wireless technology can be deployed in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of terrestrial fiber. Unlike a standard WiFi connection, fixed wireless networks can be directionally focused to produce dedicated speeds of up to 10 Gbps. With the ability to operate over licensed or unlicensed wireless spectrum, when configured correctly the technology can withstand extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, high winds, and severe temperatures, both hot and cold.

Why has Fixed Wireless Developed a Bad Reputation?

Although trusted and utilized by global militaries and law enforcement for upwards of a century, over the years of perfecting fixed wireless for commercial use, many small carriers deployed inexpensive equipment operating across only one frequency. This caused a multitude of problems, including interference from other links in the surrounding area. The result? A deceiving reputation for being slow, unreliable, and inferior to wired networks.

Another common misconception that has been tagged to the technology is that it is equivalent to satellite Internet. Notoriously known for its high latency, it’s important to note that satellite Internet operates by transmitting signals from a dish to a satellite orbiting more than 20,000 miles above sea level. This is drastically different than a 20 mile point-to-point fixed wireless link.

Today’s Commercial High-Speed Fixed Wireless Technology

As with all types of broadband connections, speeds and service will vary from provider to provider. From technical equipment upgrades, to improved and simplified network management through software, commercial fixed wireless networks have advanced over the years. Top that off with the ability to combine and switch between more diversified spectrum links, both licensed and unlicensed, when deployed properly, modern fixed wireless networks can deliver gigabit connection speeds rivaling fiber connections.

weather and fixed wireless - GeoLinks.com

Fixed Wireless and the Weather

When we think of our Internet connection transmitting data wirelessly, the effects of weather can be a natural concern. Thus, it’s no surprise why fixed wireless providers are often asked, “Does weather affect fixed wireless?”

The answer? Yes, it can – and that is one of the primary reasons the technology gets overlooked. However, with informed engineering and experience, fixed wireless networks can be unaffected by weather. For example, before building out any wireless network, GeoLinks’ in-house engineering team first looks at an area’s terrain, historic weather patterns, rain fade, and thermal ducting. Then, based on the data collected, and considering the distance of the shot and required bandwidth, they choose the best frequency or frequencies and carrier-grade equipment for that specific region and build. Creating multiple failover paths, every GeoLinks network eventually connects to a fiber optic backbone to ensure true network redundancy. The result? A stable high-speed fixed wireless network designed to withstand the elements.

GeoLinks Case Studies – Proof of Concept

Does weather affect fixed wireless? GeoLInks.com

Multi-site Location:

A great case study to prove the potential of a well-constructed fixed wireless network is GeoLinks’ project with a global coffee distributor. In 2016, the distributor was slated to open a series of new locations in Southern California in just 20 days and needed more than 30 circuits to support both their public Wi-Fi and POS systems. The company initially contracted to provide a terrestrial connection was projecting massive delays and restrictions of available bandwidth. In order to meet their quickly approaching deadlines, the company looked to contract an outside local provider to administer a temporary solution–enter GeoLinks.

GeoLinks successfully delivered more than 30 redundant circuits to all of the new store locations in just 14 days, enabling the stores to open as planned.

Although originally hired to serve as a temporary backup solution until their copper network could be installed, with the promise of further delays and all locations running seamlessly on GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network, the distributor canceled their copper installations all together and made GeoLinks their primary provider.

Furthermore, Southern California was hit with a massive storm in the Spring of 2017 causing outages across the state. California’s poor irrigation caused underground reservoirs to flood for nearly two weeks straight. As terrestrial cables live underground, many of the client’s pre-existing locations operating on copper experienced ample outages and downtime. All of their ClearFiber™ locations, on the other hand, remained unaffected and avoided any outages or downtime.

Catalina Island - Does weather affect fixed wireless? GeoLInks.com

Santa Catalina Island:

Santa Catalina Island is located more than 20 miles off the coast of California, consequently making it an ongoing problem to secure reliable high speed Internet access. Before 2016, the majority of island residents were forced to live with either using an unreliable satellite or cellular connection or simply having no access whatsoever. At one point in time, the island commissioned an outside network builder to try and deliver a fixed wireless connection that would solve this problem. Unfortunately, however, the design was dramatically impacted by weather and atmospheric ducting causing consistent drops, outages, packet loss, and high latency. All in all, island residents and businesses were still left with an unsustainable network.

In 2016, GeoLinks was brought in by an affiliate partner to design a custom solution that would deliver Catalina its first ever reliable and redundant multi-gigabit network. By understanding the inherent issues of thermal ducting and rain fade, and by examining weather 50 years of weather patterns, the GeoLinks team, lead by CTO, Ryan Hauf and CEO Skyler Ditchfield, were able to conceptualize an innovative network design in under two weeks’ time.

Having ample tower coverage supported by fiberoptic backbones throughout Southern California, GeoLinks’ team of expert engineers were able to construct a fully redundant network in just 60 days. By using multiple paths over various frequencies to deliver long-haul middle mile, the network was built to seamlessly failover when rain or packet loss was detected, preventing the island from ever experiencing a perceived outage.

GeoLinks – The Best Fixed Wireless Internet Provider

So, let’s answer our initial questions. When engineered properly, fixed wireless is a reliable technology that can withstand extreme weather conditions and perform equal, if not better than, a wired connection. With innovative companies like GeoLinks building businesses and anchor institutions multi-gigabit networks that guarantee ultra-low latency, virtually no jitter, 99.999% uptime, fixed wireless may very well be the best Internet solution for your business.

Not sure if you’re within the GeoLinks coverage area? Inquire here.

 

Check out: Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity