Shared Internet Access (SIA)- explanation

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28.4.2020 | Shared Internet Access (SIA)- explanation

In their marketing activities, SIA providers use bandwidth speeds to attract new customers – but these advertised speeds are often the maximum possible (look out for phrases like “up to 10 Mbps…”). Because access is shared, available bandwidth is split between all concurrent users; providers bank on the fact that not everyone will be uploading or downloading large files, streaming video or web conferencing at the same time – but in reality bandwidth speed depends on what the user population is doing as a whole. If a large number of other customers are using their connection at the same time as you, the speed you experience will be slower.

This model works for residential broadband because consumers are rarely engaged in ‘critical’ online activities. They might experience a jittery VoIP calls, video content breaking up or difficulty accessing their favourite websites – but for most this is worth putting up with in return for low-cost internet access.

Although it is cheap, this type of connection could turn out to be false economy for business customers. You’ll need to examine whether or not your operations could cope with a service that varies in performance from minute to minute, or with network issues that occur when there are ‘too many’ simultaneous users. Some companies get around this by over-purchasing bandwidth (i.e. buying more than they need) in order to account for slow-downs during peak usage periods, but the unpredictable performance levels that go hand-in-hand with SIA could end up frustrating your staff and impacting on productivity.

The level of technical support offered with shared internet access also tends to be inadequate for business users. Contracts are usually delivered and managed on a ‘best effort’ basis, meaning that your ISP will try their hardest to provide a smooth service, but won’t offer guarantees on performance, nor on response time in the event of an outage. If your organisation needs a reliable, consistent internet connection in order to perform business critical operations, dedicated internet access (DIA) might be a safer bet.


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