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Business Internet Service: Broadband (Coax) versus Dedicated (Fiber Optics)

Your local Internet Service Provider (ISP) options typically include the local phone company, a regional provider, or a national/global telecommunication carrier. Some of these providers offer two types of Internet service, commonly referred to as “Broadband” or “Dedicated Internet Access.”

This article will explain each of these Internet technologies to help one understand which one is best suited for their company.

Your Internet connection is essentially your connection to your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network, and this connection can be a shared or a dedicated connection:

Broadband Internet (Shared)-

Your local provider’s business and residential broadband service is essentially the same, although marketed and priced differently. This type of Internet service is usually delivered via a coax cable infrastructure, although to a less extent on fiber optics, i.e., Verizon FIOS.

The bandwidth speed is asymmetrical (download & upload speeds are different), it’s shared bandwidth, so actual available speed at any given time is variable, and all performance parameters are offered only on “best-effort” basis.

Providers usually offer at least a few pricing and speed tiers, ranging from $80-$200 per month, and download speeds offered in tiers that range from 100Mb to 1Gb.. As an example, Spectrum offers three tiers, with its slowest tier being 200Mb x 10Mb, and its fastest tier is: 1GB x 35Mb

Dedicated Internet Access (Dedicated)

This type of Internet service is primarily delivered via a fiber optic cable network, although fixed wireless solutions are also available.

The bandwidth speed is symmetrical (download & upload is the same), the bandwidth subscribed to is dedicated to your business, so there are minimal variations, and all performance parameters are guaranteed with a Service Level Agreement (SLA), with credits offered when terms of the SLA are not met

Providers offer DIA with many speed tiers, between 25Mb-100Gb, usually in 10Mb increments. -Pricing can start at about $250-$300 for 25Mb to about $1000-$1500 for 1Gb service

Understanding Internet Performance

Just like one wouldn’t buy an automobile solely based on its horsepower rating, one shouldn’t buy Internet service, only on the advertised speed. Overall performance is based on less spoken about parameters such as:

  • Latency- delays in data transmission. Less is better.
  • Jitter- the fluctuation of latency within a specific time frame. Less is better.
  • Packet-loss- Packet loss occurs when data packets fail to arrive at their destination. Less is better.
  • Peering- The Internet is a multitude of networks connected together, and peering is what allows them to communicate amongst each other. More is better

Your evaluation of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) should consist of understanding the provider’s network performance relative to these parameters. It’s the design and configuration of ISP’s network that determines overall performance.

How to Determine what Internet technology & speed is best for your business

The first step is to gather information about how your current Internet service is performing, based on your current business needs. Your Internet router can provide usage information about how current bandwidth is being utilized, but accessing this information requires some technical know-how. If the data shows that existing Internet bandwidth is frequently reaching or exceeding more than 80% utilization during peak business hours, then increasing the speed would be prudent.

Secondly, consider any future technology changes that will place a demand on your Internet service. Examples include company expansion, moving premises-based applications to the cloud, remote workers accessing business applications on local servers.

Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)- fiber optic connection

Broadband Internet Access- coax connection

Technology Offering

An SLA-backed private, dedicated and, depending on provider, fiber-optic Internet connection that offers guaranteed symmetrical bandwidth.

A shared and best-effort Internet connection that is asymmetrical and uses copper, fiber, or coax cables. 


10Mb to 100Gb, in 10Mb increments

Provider dependent; however, 200Mb X 10Mb to a maximum of 1Gb X 30 speeds are available.

Appealing Attribute

Delivers a fast, dedicated Internet connection that offers high symmetrical throughput and Service Level Agreements (SLA) for network availability, packet loss, jitter, latency, etc. on a connection that is not shared with other users

Provides an economical lower bandwidth service with quick install and requires very basic equipment on the customer premise.

Design of Service

IP traffic is delivered on from the customer suite to the network interface within the building, then sent to the Internet over a private, dedicated connection that is not oversubscribed.

IP traffic is sent from customer premises equipment to a local node or hub, via copper or coax, where it may be combined with other nearby traffic and then ultimately delivered to the Internet; services are typically oversubscribed.


·   SLA-backed service that delivers low latency and high uptime

·   Private connection is not shared with other users, avoiding congestion and providing consistent throughput

·    Symmetrical bandwidth options capable of 10Gbps for upload and download; bandwidth upgrades can generally be provisioned quickly through service orders

·    Often combined with Managed Router or Security and Wi-Fi services may be offered, reducing end-user involvement in network management

·   Lowest-cost of service

·   Very simple, though limited, modem/router

·   Quick Installation


·   Compared to services without performance SLAs Dedicated Internet or Fiber Internet is a higher-priced service

·   Deployment takes longer than Broadband, typically due to construction and fiber builds

·   Services are best-effort only and unpredictable; performance cannot be guaranteed

·   Throughput for DSL is further limited by the distance to the serving node

·  Cable modem is a shared service where throughput is best effort and depends on activity of other nearby network users

If you are interested in learning how a technology advisor can help you determine the best internet solution for your business, you can contact us here.

About Broadreach Technology Advisors, LLC

Broadreach Technology Advisors, LLC is Rochester, NY based firm that provides technology consultant and advisory services. The firm is a technology broker that represents over 100 suppliers, and also provides implementation and project management expertise. We support a diverse range of clients for their domestic, and global technology requirements. Contact Information: Anthony Rotoli, 585-672-5400, anthony.rotoli@brtadvisors.com