What are Contended Leased Lines?
When you read about some of the advantages of leased lines, you’ll read about symmetrical speeds, great service level agreements, and, of course, a 1:1 contention ratio. A key reasons companies need a leased line is so they have a private, dedicated connection with reliable and stable speeds.
However, it’s important to be aware that not every leased line service will be completely uncontended. While a ‘contended leased line’ may sound like an oxymoron, there are actually still a few contended services out there.
Contended leased lines are definitely somewhat of a rarity, but they do exist. The question is: are they good or bad?
Contended Leased Line: Cons
Let’s start with the downsides of a contended leased line. The first concern that usually comes to mind is that really one of the primary advantages of a lease line is to address contention.
While a business can opt for symmetrical leased line speeds that are capable of carrying data faster than standard broadband cables, the exact speed that is received will be largely dependent upon the number of other users sharing the leased line connection, and the activity of these users.
Leased line speeds may be slightly slower, or more unreliable, during regular office hours, for example, and faster during off-peak times.Much like when you are at home using broadband, you may notice that buffering starts at the same times every evening/weekend. The reason for this is all the other users are online at those times too.
Contended Leased Line: Pros
Now let’s look at the pros of a contended leased line.
Firstly and perhaps most appealing is the price. While leased line prices have been dropping considerably over the past few years, many small businesses are still wary about paying more for a leased line due to budget restrictions. A contended leased line, which is shared between multiple users, may offer the speeds and service you need at a reduced price.
An example of this is a business park with 10 businesses may have poor broadband speeds that none of the businesses can cope on. If all 10 businesses get a 1Gb leased line together and split it equally they would all have 100Mb line at a lower cost than a 100Mb leased line just for them.
Secondly, a contended leased line is still likely to be less contended than a business broadband service. BT Broadband, for example, can have a contention ratio anywhere between 20:1 and 50:1, while a contended leased line will usually have a contention ratio of between 5:1 and 10:1.
This means that you can expect slight buffering but not as bad as what you get at home, unless you have extremely heavy data users sharing.
Compare Leased Lines
The best way to find out whether an internet service provider offers contended or uncontended leased lines is to compare packages online at Leased Line Comparison.
A contended leased line may not be a suitable choice for all businesses, particularly those with greater needs and a requirement for super fast, guaranteed upload and download speeds.
However, it’s an option that is for certainly well worth considering for many, especially for smaller businesses or for businesses wanting to upgrade on a budget.