Article | 02 August 2022

7 questions to ask when choosing an internet service provider for your business

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Adhi 800x800
Written by
Adhi Theawarajan, Product Manager Malaysia

Selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your organisation is an important decision as online access is critical for day-to-day operations - no matter the nature of your business.

You might be dazzled by promotions offering ultra-fast speeds, ‘free installations’, and ever-lower prices, but signing up for a 'cheap' service might cost more in the long run. So to help you stay on point, we've listed the top seven questions to ask when securing internet access for your business location(s):

1. Is wired service available at your location?

Most urban areas have a high fibre coverage rate for corporate use, but if you're in a remote location, industrial site, store-in-store, or an area under construction, there is a good chance that fibre isn't present yet. For such scenarios, you should consider wireless LTE/5G internet access.

Wireless networks can be deployed at any branch or remote location in less than 10 days. No need to wait for permits or wire connections to be deployed.

2. What indoor wiring work needs to be done?

An often overlooked issue is the wiring work that needs to be completed at your site. If a fibre point is available, it may be possible to reuse it, but these are often located at entrances, close to stairwells, or in other locations that aren't necessarily where you need internet access. If this is the case, you need to take care of the (LAN) wiring on your premises first.

If no fibre point is available yet, it's a different story. The fibre operator will need to work out an arrangement with the building owner, which will likely require new construction, adding longer waiting times and additional costs. It's at this point you should consider a wireless alternative, which can be a temporary solution until fibre is set up or can even become your primary network once you realise it provides the performance your business requires. If implemented correctly, modern LTE and 5G can completely replace fibre.

When choosing wireless WAN, Blue Wireless can offer a site survey to ensure the best connectivity performance, whether it is defining the location of your router, the need for external antennas, or the best equipment for your use case.

3. How long will it take to install?

Installation lead times can vary drastically depending on your location, network capacity, and the availability of the fibre point within your premises. Even if all this is optimal, fibre can take a month to install – but can take much longer if any elements are missing or additional construction is required.

Make sure delivery times are stated in the agreement so you're not stuck without internet access when your business or office opens. Alternatively, choose a provider that can rapidly offer a temporary wireless service first (usually no longer than 10 days) and can switch to fibre once the line is ready.

4. What is the contract term?

The common contract term for internet access is 24 months, largely because this matches the length of most property lease contracts. So, if your lease is shorter or you need access for a shorter period or a specific project, make sure you don't get stuck with a longer-term contract. Some providers do offer shorter terms or flexible contract terms that allow changes without enforcing any penalty fees.
Blue Wireless can offer three-month contract terms that are ideal for project work or temporary locations.

5. What is the service level agreement (SLA) - and is backup included?

This is essential. Reliable internet connectivity is a lifeline for your business. Services grind to a halt when your connection goes down – and sooner or later, fibre will go down. So, even with SLAs on uptime in place and support commitments, ensure you get a line with automatic back-ups.

Wireless internet offers a much more diverse backup solution versus a second wired line into your premises because many commercial buildings share a common telecom riser. In contrast, wireless can be reached via multiple cell towers in the vicinity.

Besides offering true diversity, wireless WAN offers out-of-band management. This means we can remotely troubleshoot your networks without needing on-site staff.

6. What router is included in the service? Is it under warranty?

With intense price competition, providers usually sell off cheaper consumer routers to businesses under the guise of a managed enterprise-grade device. These don't provide the security or control needed to cater to sophisticated enterprise networking requirements. If the router dies, is there any replacement? And how fast can a replacement be deployed?

Because of these risks, more businesses are embracing Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) to rent enterprise-grade routers instead of owning them. This passes on the risk and complexity of leasing, licensing, and on-site replacement to a service provider like us, allowing you to focus on your core business.

7. What other professional services are possible?

Most providers now offer voice services on the same line as your internet, eliminating additional hassle and cabling. Other services, such as cloud-based security and web filtering, represent worthwhile additions, with the latter allowing you to ensure your staff is not draining bandwidth streaming videos during office hours.

It's also worth asking how your ISP handles wireless connections and new IoT developments. Of course, you could source these additional services yourself, but outsourcing to a specialist streamlines the process and ensures you can access the services that your company needs.

Making the right choice

Competition between ISPs is fierce. With every player claiming to offer the best performance at the best price, making a choice is becoming more and more complex.

At Blue Wireless, we understand how essential robust network solutions are to modern businesses. As the first global service provider for wireless connectivity, we have experience delivering reliable LTE/5G solutions in over 80 countries. Our hands-on team of professionals can answer the seven questions above and more, ensuring your business gains access to an ISP you can depend on.

Make the right questions or contact us to learn more.

Think outside
the box wires

Our global team of experts is looking forward to helping your enterprise gain all the benefits of LTE/5G connectivity.