Broadband Internet

Business broadband

According to Gartner's Asia Pacific vice-president and research director for networking and telecom Geoff Johnson, the primary differences between residential and SME/SOHO broadband customers is the criteria they use to select their service. For SME/SOHO users, performance and price will be key ingredients in selecting a broadband service, as well as support for value-added services such as VPNs. Fixed price packages such as all you can eat versus fixed volume will also play a role, he said. For consumers, it's all about price and value, he said.

For those who are planning to use broadband services in a business environment, there are several differentiators to look out for, particularly in the DSL space. Business DSL services for example, can include support for multiple users and tailored network configurations, additional technical support and a higher level of guaranteed network performance.

Static and Dynamic IP addresses

A key factor for business users to consider is static IP address options.

To understand why there are two different ways of assigning IP addresses, it is important to know what an IP address is used for.

An IP address is the defining tag which identifies the host computer on the Internet. This includes identifying the network being used to access the Internet, as well as the host computer accessing the data across that network.

A good way to understand the difference between a static and dynamic IP address is to compare a public telephone (dynamic IP) to your home phone (static IP).

The dynamic IP address is like a public telephone, as it provides you with a temporary connection to the Internet for you to download information from. Once you log off the Internet (hang up the phone), you will lose that particular IP address (phone number) and the IP address will be thrown back into the network and re-allocated to another user. The next time you log on to the Internet, your ISP will allocate you a number from its available pool of numbers.

In comparison, a static IP address is fixed to either or both the sender or receiver of data across the Internet (much like your permanent home phone number is allocated to you). With dynamic IP, Web servers will only be able to locate you through that IP address for that particular Internet session. So, if you want to upload information (eg. give Web servers your IP address so they can contact you, such as with e-mail or hosting your own Web site), you will need to ensure whatever service you sign up for provides you with a static IP address.

However, having a permanent connection (by giving other Web servers the ability to locate you) will pose a greater security risk, so you will need to put security measures in place, such as firewalls.

Around half of ISPs currently providing ADSL residential services offer static IP addresses with some of their plans (TPG, Datafast, Flow to name a few), but often the monthly rates will be higher than those offering dynamic IP addresses.

Cable providers in the residential market offer dynamic IP addresses only.

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