What is a Leased Line?

Remember the days of having to rifle through the encyclopedia to find a definition? Those were fun, right? Yeah, not really. Luckily, today we can just type our search term into Wikipedia, but let’s be honest here – sometimes we leave Wikipedia a little – or even a lot – more confused than when we went in!

Let’s use the example of leased lines. If you type ‘leased line’ into Wikipedia, here’s the first sentence:

“A leased line is a private bidirectional or symmetric telecommunications line between two or more locations provided in exchange for a monthly rent”.

Pardon me?

While this sort of thing will cause some people’s ears to perk up like a dog that just heard the word ‘walk’, for the majority of us, it doesn’t really mean much, and it doesn’t really leave us feeling any more clear about what a leased line really is. So let’s make things much more simple. What is a leased line?

Understanding Leased Lines

The Wikipedia definition of a leased line isn’t wrong, but it’s just not described in a way that’s particularly accessible. So let’s pick out a few key phrases and examine them in a little more detail.

Private

A leased line is a ‘private’ connection, either between two or more of your offices, or between your office and your telecommunications provider. It’s your own secret club that no one else has the ‘special knock’ for. If you’ve ever noticed that your business broadband is running slowly during peak times, the reason is that other businesses are all competing for bandwidth. Business broadband isn’t a private connection, it’s shared with others and you’ll have a ‘contention ratio’, which is usually around 20:1 for business customers. This means you’ll be sharing your bandwidth with 19 other users. A leased line is private, it’s uncontended. You get to keep all the bandwidth for yourself – no sharing necessary!

Symmetric

When you’re browsing through business broadband offers, what do you pay attention to? Download speed, right? Good! Download speed is hugely important – it’s what makes sure we’re not stuck watching jumpy, buffering content when the latest cat video goes viral. But… and I hate to say it… download speeds are kinda last season. A good download speed is still vital, but upload speeds are the new ‘in’ thing. Unlike business broadband, a leased line offers a symmetrical connection, which means that download speeds and upload speeds are the same, rather than one trailing behind the other. What this means is that your business can fully utilize the latest technologies, like voIP services and conferencing.

Telecommunications

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed something that seems a little strange: the Wikipedia definition of leased lines says ‘telecommunications’, rather than ‘internet’. Why? Well, leased lines aren’t just for internet. Don’t get us wrong – when someone mentions a leased line they’re usually talking about their internet connection, but a leased line can also be used to carry pretty much any kind of data, including telephone data and VPN data, too. They’re a pretty solid all-rounder, and they’re also remarkably flexible. Say you choose to have a 100 Mbit leased line installed for your business. Does that mean you need to pay for 100 Mbit of bandwidth? No way! You can choose your own personal setup.

Leased Lines: Simple, yet Effective

As you can see, leased lines really aren’t as complicated as some definitions make them out to be. In a nutshell, they’re just dedicated, private connections that can be used however you want. Many businesses use them to make sure they’re getting the best speeds from their provider, and others use them to create a speedy connection between multiple offices to help keep things running smoothly.

What shocks many businesses is that they find leased lines pretty familiar. They’re really no different to use than your standard business broadband, but they are much more effective for streamlining processes and boosting productivity because they tend to be faster and more reliable. You can learn more about the benefits of leased lines in another of the Leased Line Comparison library’s ‘Top Ten Reads’.

The Difference Between Dedicated Internet and Boring Business Broadband. Check it out now!

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