We’re a nation that runs on the internet. Whether we’re at home or work, we depend on our machines to fire up exactly when we need them to, connecting us to the Information Superhighway that grows bigger and more complex by the day.
However, not all internet plans are created equal. The two main types are business vs residential internet. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how these two services work, and the key factors that distinguish one from the other.
What Is Business Internet?
Business internet is a special type of internet connection designed to facilitate business transactions. Providers will install it at commercial or corporate locations. It can power just a single work computer or a vast network that encompasses thousands of different users.
Want to see this service in action? You can click here to learn more about how business internet works, from a leading provider in this space.
What Is Residential Internet?
As its name implies, residential internet is accessible at your home. There are many different providers that specialize in these types of connections. The solution features that you need will depend on a variety of factors including the size of your home and your geographical location.
Business vs Residential Internet: Key Differences to Know
Now that we’ve covered the basics of each type of service, let’s break down the differences between business internet and residential internet.
Download and Upload Speeds
We’ll start with speed. Most business internet plans boast ultra-quick download and upload speeds that allow team members to share large files with ease.
On the other hand, residential internet speeds tend to be significantly lower. These properties may even have asymmetrical speeds, which usually means that their download speeds are much faster than their upload speeds. In most cases, this isn’t a dealbreaker, as homeowners don’t typically share files that are as large as you’d find in an office.
The specific speeds will vary based on the internet provider. If you only need to download or upload a normal amount of data from home, then any standard residential plan should suffice.
However, this isn’t always the case with hybrid or remote workers. This type of work setup grew by more than 215% in the pre-pandemic era between 2005 and 2019, and it’s nearly doubled in most sectors since 2020.
If you’re at the helm of a company that employs remote workers, it’s important to assess their at-home internet speeds. Typical residential internet plans may not be sufficient, and could even impede their productivity.
One main benefit of business internet is that each location has its own dedicated line. This means that no one can tap into your network, and you never have to worry about inadvertently sharing your connection with your neighbors.
Plus, you can rest assured that even when your provider experiences a period of peak demand, your service levels won’t slip. You’re essentially operating as a standalone entity that isn’t influenced by outside conditions.
With residential internet, you don’t have quite as much data security. If you use Wi-Fi, there’s the potential for someone to identify and use your network, especially if you don’t set up the correct protection features.
Most business internet plans allow executives to access robust customer service features. This is because if even one machine goes down during the workday, it could result in costly downtime.
Knowing this, providers are available to assist business users around the clock. This includes providing troubleshooting support and preventative maintenance services. These customer support personnel are well-versed in the most common types of issues that businesses face.
When they sign up to receive business internet, companies will sign a document known as a Service Level Agreement or SLA. This is a special type of contract that outlines the level of support that the company expects, and the performance standards the provider must meet. If any of those standards go unmet, the SLA will also describe steps that the company can take to receive compensation.
While you can access similar support as a residential user, you may have to work around more limited hours. Once you do connect, the support person you speak to may not be as familiar with advanced network troubleshooting.
You can find special features in both business and residential internet. On the business side, these features are designed to make the workday easier. For instance, a provider might allow a company to claim a certain number of free email addresses when they register their domain name.
In addition, they may also enjoy access to free domain name registration, as well as an advanced desktop security suite for a specific number of connected devices.
While these features would appeal to a C-suite, they understandably aren’t as attractive to a typical residential internet user. That’s why providers also create special features for at-home users, too.
Most often, these features are designed to facilitate easier streaming. For instance, you might be able to connect a variety of devices on your internet plan, including smart devices and cable television services.
While business internet features might be more advanced, keep in mind that they will also come at a higher price point. If you’re working from home, then you might require access to those solutions. Otherwise, a residential internet plan is ideal.
Degree of Uptime
Business internet plans usually come with a higher degree of reliability. This gives business owners the peace of mind that even if there’s a bug or operating issue, their systems won’t be down for too long. In this way, the machines become integral parts of a company’s business continuity plan, which describes the course of action they’ll take in the evenf of a disruption or disaster.
If you’ve ever sat and stared as your cursor spins around and around, then you know that residential plans aren’t always as dependable. When evaluating different providers, take these reliability metrics into account. For example, one provider may advertise a 99% network reliability rating, while another is a little lower.
Still concerned about blackouts and natural disasters impeding your ability to get online? Many providers also offer extra services, such as wireless internet backup, to help you stay on top of your operations and optimize productivity.
Type of IP Address
There are two primary types of internet protocol or IP. These include dynamic IP and static IP. Each of these describes how your plan connects to the internet.
Most residential internet plans operate on dynamic IP. In short, this means that the IP address isn’t singular and can change at random. Your network provider will assign the address when they connect your systems, and it can move over time.
Conversely, most business internet plans operate on a static IP address. This means that their address never changes, which offers a greater degree of stability and reliability.
If a company has employees that need to connect to the internet at home or on the road, a static IP address is best. This way, they can rest assured that the network connection will be consistent no matter where they log on or which device they use.
Which One Should You Choose?
Both types of internet have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. This can make it difficult to determine the specific type of service that you need.
To help you analyze your available options, start by thinking about how you plan to use the internet. If you just need it for surfing the web, streaming television, and browsing social media, then residential internet should be fine. You can always upgrade to high-speed internet if you find that the connection speeds are quick enough for you.
However, that isn’t the case if you plan to use your computer for business functions. If you anticipate sending and receiving a large quantity or volume of files, then you may need to upgrade to business internet. This also applies if you need to use your computer for high-tech gaming or sophisticated video/image processing.
For homeowners who want commercial-style functionality from their home internet, fiber-optic connections can strike the perfect balance. These usually come with higher starting speeds and are less vulnerable to disruptions during peak operating times. You can also find fiber-optic plans that feature nearly symmetrical upload and download speeds.
Find the Perfect Internet Plan For Your Home or Business
Now that we’ve shared this business vs residential internet guide, do you know which service you need? One isn’t better than the rest, and your personal preferences will be the biggest deciding factor.
If you’re in an office, you may require the robust connectivity and speeds of business internet. However, a homeowner who just wants to Netflix and chill can save money with a residential plan. You don’t want to pay for features you don’t need, so research all of your options.
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Rachel Dixon works on travel and features at Daily Mid Time