What is a leased Line?
To find out what a leased line is 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”.
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.
Understanding What is a leased line?
A leased line bypasses the traditional ADSL way of getting an internet connection through traditional telephone lines. It’s a private and dedicated line that goes direct from the provider to you.
Most companies will use one to deliver a stable and reliable internet connection but some may just use it to transfer data on an intranet between their site and a data centre for example.
Since the Covid pandemic hit we have seen a change in the way businesses now operate, with much more opting to allow staff to work from home. This comes with drawbacks as depends on the employee’s home internet connection, which is easier for hackers to gain access to important company information & files.
This is because its a shared connection so it uses the public network to send data. So to better understand why companies use dedicated lines we have highlighted some of the main reasons businesses make the switch to ethernet.
Advantages of Fibre Leased Lines
1.Private & Reliable
A leased line is a ‘private’ connection, either between two or more of your offices or between your office and your telecommunications provider. 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.
You may notice this more when you are at home using broadband, especially around 6-8pm & at weekends when people are at home more. The contention is often what causes buffering when you watch your favourite Netflix show or browse social media
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 a dedicated & private connection, it’s uncontended. You get to keep all the bandwidth for yourself – no sharing necessary for a fixed monthly fee.
When you’re browsing through business broadband offers, what do you pay attention to? Download speed is hugely important – it’s what makes sure we’re not stuck watching jumpy, buffering content or causing you staff to have an excuse to do nothing.
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.
Upload speeds are important for some businesses more than others. If you need to upload data in the cloud for example of CAD drawings are a particularly data-heavy file that architects and engineers often need to use and upload to a system. These need to be uploaded quickly and easily & can be a real struggle if your upload speed is low or unstable.
The other important thing about leased lines symmetrical speeds is they are guaranteed and don’t fluctuate during peak times. You get exactly the speed you pay for and the best thing? If it drops providers will start paying you. This is down to the SLA or service level agreement that leased lines come with.
3. SLA – Service Level Agreements
All Leased line providers will have an SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place. An SLA will consist of terms that need to be met within the contract length. These terms include guaranteed speed, a set fix time (normally around 5 hours, but will depend on the provider), no downtime etc.
Each provider aims to reach 99.99% SLA, some say that they can reach 100% but that is virtually impossible. If a provider doesn’t reach these terms to a satisfactory standard, for example, decrease in speed, then you might be able to claim compensation.
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’. The reason for this is 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 most types of data, including phone line data and VPN data, too. They’re a pretty solid all-rounder, and they’re also remarkably flexible.
Say you choose to have a 100Mb leased line installed for your business and install using a 1Gb bearer. Should your internet need increase you can increase the bandwidth you need. All you would need to pay is whatever the additional monthly cost is.
When we ask what is a leased line? It would often be better to ask what can a leased line do for my business instead. In 2018 over 60 million hours were lost in UK businesses because of downtime.
With the rollout of more fibre-enabled areas that number may have reduced slightly by now, but it gives an idea of just how much you can lose because of your internet connection.
Now more than ever successful companies understand the need for a digital strategy & how important cloud-based applications are to running your operations on a daily basis.
Leased lines are the most reliable & stable connectivity you can have. They allow you to make quicker uploads and downloads, run multiple applications at the same time & should you have any problems the provider will fix quicker than standard broadband customers – most will guarantee within 4 hours.
Disadvantages of fibre leased lines
The cost of leased lines is more than broadband, but in a similar way that the cost of riding a bus is cheaper than driving your own car. Broadband is a shared service that allows prices to be driven down. Generally speaking the lower the price the more people you will be sharing with.
That also means you will experience more downtime & dropouts. Leased lines are dedicated to you and only you which allows SLA’s, guaranteed uptime & symmetrical speeds. The cost of fibre has dropped significantly and you can now get leased lines from as little as £150 per month.
2. Installation time
Getting a broadband line in is usually a pretty quick process. At worst you may have to wait a few weeks for an engineer appointment, although most are just a case of waiting for the new router to arrive and plugging it in. Leased lines will take on average 45 working days to install.
However, this is only if there is no extra work needed. Some providers will take longer than others. Virgin Media Business are known to have one of the longest wait times, although have stated that they have worked hard to improve and bring more in line with the industry standard.
3. Additional Installation Costs
The first step after signing a contract is to get a site survey done, which is why all providers quotes should state “subject to survey”. These surveys are completed by openreach and will let you & the provider know how easy it will be to get the line in.
If there is any additional construction work needed to install these will come at a cost known as ECC’s. ECC stands for excess construction costs and can be a considerable amount depending on the work needed. The highest we have heard was over £500,000 due to needing to dig up an important A road.
However, if you do get ECC’s come up on the site survey & you don’t think its worth doing you have the right to cancel your order.
Leased Line : The best business connectivity you can get
Fibre leased line providers supply a full-fibre service from the onset of your line for your premises. It’s only employed by your company, so there is no drop in speed or reliability in peak times just like you get with broadband. A service level agreement will mean should your relationship ever drop below the agreed amount, you are going to begin earning cash off your next invoice.
The prevalence of cloud-based techniques, video conferencing, skype telephone calls/interviews, cloud services & other data-heavy small business functions means that many companies rely heavily on their net connection. It has caused many businesses to update to fibre broadband, which improves traditional copper lines but does not provide the identical reassurance that the leased line will.
Business broadband is usually offered on a huge scale by the main three providers. Each provider will have millions of clients for both the home and business relations. This frequently means that you don’t get a stable or regular contact within the company and its difficult to find who must take accountability within the business and repair the problem.
When considering upgrading to a leased line, the principal difference company owner focus on is your price. However, there is so much more which divides the providers, and we feel the more information you have, the better equipped you should decide on what is ideal for your company.
The most restrictive portion of having a leased line for many tiny companies is the cost. Leased lines can begin from as small as £150 per month, but it depends on where you are and bandwidth. Internet access in many parts of the country cost around £50 a month, whereas leased lines maybe 10 x that. Leased lines are a B2B, you may find a regular point of contact and 24/7 active monitoring of the network. Therefore, if some flaws seem likely, we can fix them before they affect your relationship.
A dedicated fibre optic leased line won’t only guarantee the speeds but also comes with a host of additional advantages, so many businesses is now using one. Normal SLA levels should be above 99.5percent period, 24/7 pro-active network tracking — This implies any possible faults are picked up before they happen and Free Installs — This could usually apply on the standard 3-year term.
A leased line internet connection eradicates some sharing and buffering providing you with a secure, dependable connection at all times. But while fibre broadband will undoubtedly give you a high-speed online service, it’s still shared support. That usually means the line can undergo dropouts, periods of relatively slow solutions and no promises on times to fix if it will go wrong.
You will find quite a great deal of differences between the dedicated lines and broadband. However, despite the fact it is cheaper, it may cost a great deal more in the long run if it has downtime. They are not for everybody and will be a commitment so that it’s important to understand if they are perfect for you. To help you achieve this, we have summarised what we feel are the most significant benefits and pitfalls of your enterprise’s leased line. They provide all you’d want for your very best network connectivity. For many companies, the best solution might be a single leased line at each location.
Leased lines have been symmetrical data connectivity frequently used as private networks. The usage of ethernet or fibre instead of conventional phone line broadband makes them appealing to companies due to all the extra benefits they provide like faster fix instances, better visibility etc. As leased lines are dedicated to you, they are the most secure connectivity accessible, since they do not ever touch a different network.
With regular business broadband, the link can drop out, which causes network downtime & may cost a business a small fortune in lost earnings. Various studies have demonstrated that UK businesses in 2018 dropped a whopping 60 million hours on internet downtime. It’s possible to work out the cost of downtime for your own company & leased lines are often cheaper.
Additional broadband and fibre connections have been shared, so the speeds differ, and also service may struggle when too many individuals are using the internet simultaneously.
A leased line employs the identical technologies as fibre-optic broadband, mainly since they are both made with fibre cables. This allows them to send packets of information through a fibre line working with the speed of light.
Leased Lines Technology has changed the world a lot from the last 50 years, and it shows no signs of slowing. It has impacted all our daily lives, but it also has mandatory big modifications in UK networking and connectivity. Providers understand that even small companies now need a lot more bandwidth than they would have five years back.
You’re able to find a 12-month contract, even though this could incur an install charge. If your rural or exceptional steps have to be taken to find the point in, you can also incur installation expenses. A site survey could only determine these, and you would be able to withdraw your contract in the event you obtained any. ECC’s rarely happen, and if they do, then we will always attempt to help locate an alternative route or alternative to assist.
The UK has been using greater bandwidth generally, which we could see evidence of every day. It’s the exact same for businesses — VoIP telephone systems are one of the most well-known types now, and they require the internet to make a call. Video meetings and budding through Skype have also become more and more common in today’s fast-paced business world.
Some companies won’t need to be connected to the internet via their line, and they can link to a data centre conduct their own network in the UK. But, most we speak to will use a leased line for their office’s net link, allowing their company to acquire a fixed bandwidth (line rate ) and also the ability to transfer a massive amount of large files. Rather than sharing a point, as you do use traditional broadband service, a leased line is more dedicated to you. This means no more flowing at peak times and speeds that stay consistent.
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 are 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’.