Can I use home broadband for business?

Written by Aimée Granados

July 17, 2023

Can I use home broadband for business?

In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using home broadband for your business needs.  

Understanding Home Broadband and its limitations

Home broadband is an internet connection delivered to a residential, home address. How can it be so different to business broadband? 

There are some key differences, that as a business, you might see as limitations.  

      • Contention Internet providers connect a higher number of users to their residential services than to a business service. The industry call this the ‘level of contention.’ This can lead to potential issues, such as decreased speed during peak hours or high network congestion.  When the service ‘slows’ you may find that file access or transfers slow down and video conferencing performance is poor. 
      • Reliability & Support If your home broadband fails, internet providers may quote you a response time of 48 hours, or end of next working day. If you are running a business this may prove challenging.

Speed, reliability and ‘response time to fix’ are the fundamental reasons why you pay more for Business broadband. 

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What are the Pros & Cons of using a Home Broadband Service for Business?

Let us explore the advantages and disadvantages of home broadband for business. 

Advantages: 

        • Cost-effective: Home broadband is cheaper than a business-grade plan.
        • Familiarity and convenience: If you are already using the service, there is no disruption, and you are familiar with the setup. 
        • Availability: Home broadband is available in most residential areas. 

Disadvantages: 

        • Limited bandwidth and slower upload speeds: Home broadband plans prioritize download speeds over upload speeds. This can affect video conferencing, the speed of on-line access and the uploading of data backups. 
        • Lack of dedicated customer support: Home broadband plans usually come with limited customer support which may not match your business need. 
        • Reliability: Home broadband may be more susceptible to occasional outages or disruptions affecting your business’s continuity.
A 2020 report found that in the UK the average 

Download speed  was 80 Mbps
Upload speed was 21 Mbps.

Why use a Business-grade Broadband Service?

Business-grade broadband services are specifically tailored to meet the needs of businesses. Business broadband provides: 

        • Dedicated customer support with priority access to technical help and faster response times. 
        • Guaranteed service uptime. 
        • Symmetrical broadband speeds with the same upload as download speed.  
        • Scalability and flexibility to accommodate business growth and increased internet traffic.

These advantages make business broadband more expensive. Always factor in the impact on your business in terms of lost revenue and goodwill if your internet service were to fail before you opt for the cheaper home broadband service. 

Tips for securing your Home Network for Business Use

Whichever broadband service you choose, it is vital to prioritize network security. Here are some essential security measures to safeguard your home network. 

        • Strong passwords and encryption. Protect your network with strong, unique passwords and enable encryption protocols like WPA2. 
        • Firewall and antivirus software. To prevent unauthorized access or malware threats, install reliable firewall and antivirus software. 
        • Regular software updates. Update your router’s firmware and all connected devices to mitigate vulnerabilities. 
        • Separate business & personal use. Separate your business and personal use as far as possible. Use different email addresses and lock your PC when you leave your desk. This will help reduce security risks. 
To prevent unauthorized access or malware threats, install reliable firewall and antivirus software.

What to look out for in a Business Broadband Plan?

Before you choose a new business broadband plan, make sure you know what you are signing up to. Are you making an informed decision? Consider the following factors. 

        • Reliability. Check up on the uptime guarantees quoted. 
        • Upload and download speeds. Are these symmetrical to give you fast upload, as well as download speed? Check both the headline and minimum speeds quoted. Will these meet your business needs? Have you built-in capacity for growth? 
        • Customer support. Does the provider offer a service level agreement that meets your needs?
        • Pricing and contract terms. The price you will pay will depend on the broadband speed and contract duration. Even for contracts providing the same speed, you will pay more for a 12-month, compared with a 3-year contract term.  
        • Understand the fine print. Read the terms and conditions carefully. Once you are in a contract, you will be tied in for the full term. 

Conclusion

Using home broadband for business can be cost-effective, convenient and easy. However it has limitations. These include potential contention, reliability, support and speed issues.  

Business-grade broadband services give guaranteed uptime availability, symmetrical up and down speeds, scalability, and faster fault response and resolution times. 

Before you decide on what type of broadband service to go for, consider your requirements carefully. Make sure that the service will meet your business needs in full. If you are unsure, speak with one of our experts who will be happy to talk through your needs and advise.  

GET IN TOUCH!

We want to hear about your challenges. Talk to us! Our consultants can audit your systems, plan changes, implement improvements and support your people. 

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