So you have a business and you want to move all your services to this fancy ‘cloud’ that everyone is talking about to help increase efficiencies but ultimately to reduce costs.

That is, a reduction in software licensing, computer and networking hardware and the necessary support costs.

Now, the critical part of a successful ‘cloud’ based business is the connection to the Internet, which will critically affect performance and your sanity.

Every business is unique with regards to location and existing infrastructure that is available, so my advice would be to contact your local internet service provider (ISP) to find out what is the best solution available to you.

To provide a brief educational lift to this content I will outline the steps and some solutions that were available for a recent client…

Firstly, I contacted our preferred ISP and provided the businesses address to find out what links were available. I found out that they were located 2100m away from the exchange which made the options limited.

ADSL2+ does not work well for businesses, because the speed is usually 14mbit down, but only 0.8mbit up. For home use and streaming Netflix, this may be ok but when you start sending many emails using Office 365 your other cloud applications such as Workflow Max or XERO can start to stall.

To improve this particular businesses situation I have listed some options, in order of cost, starting with the cheapest:

  1. ADSL2+ with Annex M enabled

    The cost increase is minimal and Annex M increases your upload speed by taking away your download speed.  Apparently ports were limited in this businesses area to enable this feature, unfortunately…However, we did recommend asking their existing provider whether they could enable it. Also there may be the need to replace their existing router.  See for more info.

  2. Bonded ADSL2+
    If Annex M isn’t available, our next recommendation was to get 2 copper lines bonded. The cost is standard ADSL2+ doubled and a replacement router. From experience iiNet Bonded ADSL2+ was very good, but not sure if they still offer it. We suggest asking your existing provider what’s available.
  3. EFM (Ethernet Final Mile – 3000Mts)
    The speed is calculated based on how far away from the exchange the site is. The further away the slower the speed. No speed guarantee, you may order 10mbit down/10mbit up, but only get ¼ of that. The typical cost is $270 per month + replacement router.
  4. EOC (Ethernet over Copper)
    Speed is more guaranteed, comes with a SLA (Service Level Agreement) and the ability to set a QOS (Quality of service). However, copper is subject to environmental fluctuations and exchange distance issues. Also the cost is more expensive at $450 per month on average.
  5. EOF (Ethernet over Fibre)
    This involves fibre being connected directly to your office. The cost is very expensive, but fibre is the best option in terms of link quality and up time. A typical cost is $1050 per month and this privilege is usually reserved for large enterprises.

The final option not listed here due to it being unavailable in my clients area, is the NBN. This is basically a cheap version of option 5 without the business grade SLAs and is generally a very good, cost effective solution if you are lucky enough to have it available.

Overall, there are many options available and it all depends on how much you are willing to spend and what is actually available in your area. If you happen to live in a remote area where the internet connectivity is poor, sometimes sticking to local, non-cloud versions of applications will be best.