Small businesses across the country have had to pivot to remote work, serving customers from home, rather than in the shop or the office. The change has shifted most of the Internet traffic that was once carried out on business networks to residential networks. With so much more time being spent at home, those residential networks are supporting not only business purposes, but sharing bandwidth with other activities, including remote learning, streaming videos and gaming, video calls with friends and family, and Internet browsing.
For lots of small businesses, doing work from home is nothing new. A day here and there working from home was normal for many businesses, and some small businesses were completely home-based. In current circumstances, however, with families spending so much more time at home due to social distancing, peak usage times might be testing bandwidth limits.
If your residential connection is not providing enough bandwidth, you might wonder, can you get business Internet at home? Yes, you can — and chances are, you should. Beyond providing better bandwidth, switching to business-class Internet at home has other advantages worth considering.
A slow Internet connection can be almost as bad as having no Internet connection at all. And if you have data caps on your Internet service, slow speeds are a risk. On the other hand, business-class Internet speed is faster than residential and has no data caps.
Comcast Xfinity residential Internet customers have up to a terabyte of data usage each month. While this is a large amount of data, and plenty for many home-based businesses, you might need more if your business frequently uploads and downloads files, streams video, conducts video conferences, uses VoIP phone service, hosts a website, or runs an ecommerce site. You may need to consider business WiFi.
Another factor in data usage is the combined demand from your home-based business and your personal activities, if both are running on your residential Internet service. At the office, a terabyte might be plenty for your business use alone, but now that you’re working from home and are also streaming lots of movies and television shows or playing online games in your free time, you could quickly burn through the data limit. It makes sense to determine how much data you really need for business and personal purposes, then compare the cost of residential overage fees with the cost and benefits of home business Internet service.
Another difference between residential and business Internet service is upload speed. Residential plans typically advertise their download speeds, but their upload speeds are slower. For most residential users, this won’t matter much because they are often in download mode — streaming music and videos, reading websites, and checking social media.
But when you’re running a business, upload speeds can be vital. That’s why business Internet service providers offer higher speeds uploading and downloading data than residential. This feature could be important if your business often uploads large files to the cloud, shares files with clients or vendors, backs up data to the cloud, or uses VoIP or video conferencing.
If you don’t have business-class internet, by default you have a dynamic IP address. This means that the standard way of identifying your location can change each time you access the Internet. Business-class Internet customers have the option of adding a static IP address — one that does not change. If you run a Web or mail server, run applications that require external access, or use a virtual private network (VPN) for security purposes, you might require a static IP address.
In addition, Internet service providers are diligent to help their business customers through any problems around the clock, realizing that disruptions literally cost money. Comcast Business offers dedicated businesses customer support representatives 24/7.
So, is it time to upgrade? If your Internet connection is integral to your home-based business, the answer is quite possibly yes. In certain parts of the country, Comcast Business has introduced Comcast Business At Home, a dedicated, enterprise-grade and business-paid set of connectivity solutions for businesses that have a premise-based location served by Comcast Business as well as teams working from home.
Comcast Business At Home allows businesses to pay to provide remote employees with a dedicated business-grade Internet line, ensuring connectivity that won’t be bogged down at peak hours. Even in parts of the country where Comcast Business At Home is not available, business-grade Internet is still available to run to home locations through a traditional, safe and easy installation.
Click here for more advice on how businesses are recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
With small businesses pivoting to remote work, switching to business Internet may be advantageous.