Internet – Understanding The Importance of an Internet Connection
Today it could be argued that having a reliable internet connection in the world of business is just as important as having electric to run your computers and phones. The majority of businesses rely heavily on their internet connections in order to carry out their day to day tasks and vital communications.
Just how long could your company cope with no internet?
Internet outages do cause a number of issues for businesses, including decreased productivity, connection breakdown and even the loss of custom. Which is why it is essential that you understand the importance of your internet connection and what to do if you lose it.
Who is responsible for your internet connection?
If you rely heavily on your internet connection then you are going to need it back up and running if it goes off-line and the first step to achieving this is to better understand who is responsible for it.
The internet router (connects the internet to your local network) will be located within your building and therefore, is yours or the business responsibility. If you have an IT Manager it will be their job to maintain the router. However, if you have outsourced support to an external IT firm like Grant McGregor, they will be responsible for the router. Of course, if this router is at your home, then that’s your personal responsibility, along with whoever you pay to provide it.
Your internet connection between beyond the router (physical line) that connects to your ISP (internet service provider) as well as the internet service itself are maintained and managed by your internet service provider.
Sometimes the company responsible for the telephone line that the internet sits on may not be your ISP, quite often BT own the physical wire to your building. The internet is a service provided by your ISP that sits on a telephone line, if the problem lies with the cable itself this is where the phone line provider gets involved. It is important to know the phone number of the line your internet connection is on (this will be different to your main office number) and to whom you pay the bill for this line.
There are many types of internet connection that are available in the market place. What is true of them all is that you need a physical line that connects your office to the telephone provider. This line normally terminates at the nearest telephone exchange, just like your telephone line. The only exception to this rule is if you have a satellite connection.
Creating a contingency plan if you find yourself offline
Even if you have invested in a reliable and speedy internet connection for your business, at some point it will develop a fault or require some maintenance, so it’s always best to have a contingency plan in place if you find yourself offline.
The first step of your contingency plan should be to carry out a simple switch on and off of your router. This will allow the router to re-establish a physical connection. A high percentage of internet issues are caused by routers but luckily they can be resolved within a couple of minutes, without the need for technical support. All you need to do is unplug the router, wait 20 – 30 seconds and then plug it in again.
If switching your router on and off has not resolved the problem, solving the issue now might be out of your technical know how and your business’s control, so you will need to contact your ISP…Do you know who this is? Note down your account number and your ISP’s phone number and stick it to your router so you can have the information to hand when you need it.
It is your ISP’s job to test different parts of the connection to isolate the issue, but if they can’t solve the problem remotely, they may have to send a service technician to your workplace. This could take a couple of hours or it could take days, depending on how busy they are.
With this in mind, it is important that you have plans for if your internet connection cannot be fixed immediately. The first thing you should do is contact your IT support provider (if you have one) to see if they can help you with the issue or provide solutions to get you back online. Get in touch with us here at Grant McGregor if you need this type of support. It may cost you extra but is likely to take a lot less time for us to resolve than for you to achieve the same result.
Secondly, if you have the means to facilitate remote working, now would be the time to deploy your employees to locations with broadband access so they can continue with their work. If your business does not already make use of remote access technologies, this is something you may want to discuss with your IT support company, as it could be a potential ‘life saver’ if you were to lose your internet connection in the future.
3G and 4G connections can be used in an absolute emergency, some advanced routers and modems support 3G/4G dongles to provide a basic internet connection. While this may get your internet back online, due to the nature of this technology you may only receive partial service, such as internet access but no email access. This could provide your staff with a chance to get the message out through the website and social media that you are experiencing some internet downtime.
3G and 4G are also dependent on signal coverage, it is worth checking out the different provider’s signal strengths in your area before committing to this as a back-up solution.
A final temporary solution would be to make use of web-enabled portable devices like smartphones and tablets. However, seeing as the connection will be fairly slow, and this is not a solution you can rely on in the long term.
A lot can go wrong for businesses that experience an internet outage, so it’s important to make sure that you have a good contingency plan in place. For more information about contingency planning or for advice on remote access technologies and how they can benefit your business, please feel free to get in touch with the team here at Grant McGregor.
Image credit: Poluz