What is a leased line?

What exactly is a ‘dedicated leased line’? 

If you have any dealings with the network or connectivity of your company’s IT provision, it’s a term you have probably come across.

In short, a Leased Line is a type of private network service. It can be used to run a variety of data services. But most commonly, leased lines are marketed as an internet connection alternative to the standard public broadband.

If you are wondering why anyone would want or need an alternative to ordinary broadband, ask yourself the following about your internet connection:

  • Does it always deliver the level of performance you expect or need?
  • Is it ever glitchy, do you ever have to sit through go-slows?
  • Does the quality of your internet service ever get in the way of getting tasks done quickly, efficiently and on time?

These may well be considerations that have pushed their way to the front of your mind this year as you and your colleagues have been forced to work from home a lot more than usual. Especially if your business premises are served by a leased line, then the sudden switch to relying on domestic broadband has highlighted just how important quality and speed of internet access is in maintaining great customer service and business efficiency.

But what makes a leased line deliver for a business where public broadband falls short? Much of that comes down to the way leased lines work, but there are also types of leased line available, each with their own relative advantages.

How leased lines work

A leased line is a private internet connection delivered directly to the premises for the exclusive use of your business alone. This differs from standard broadband connections, whether ADSL, FTTC, SoGEA or Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP); broadband connections share bandwidth between multiple users. This is referred to as ‘contended’ bandwidth.

Think of the internet as a motorway – everyone needs to use it at some point to get from A to B, right? If you drive on the motorway, sometimes there can be traffic jams, where multiple users are using the road at the same time. In this analogy the traffic jam is known as contention. If standard broadband is the public highway, a leased line is a private toll road. It provides guaranteed speeds because there is no other traffic, or in networking speak, it is uncontended.

For example, think about what happens at home when your neighbours are all online at the same time, your internet connection may slow down meaning downloads buffer and whilst it impacts upon your time, there is little to no monetary impact. However, when businesses suffer from a connection that is on the go-slow the knock-on effects are more problematic and, in many cases, costly through impact to team efficiencies, customer service etc. 

This is exactly the kind of issue a leased line is designed to sidestep. By running a direct, dedicated, uncontended private line from your internet service provider (ISP) to your business premises, you get guaranteed bandwidth, guaranteed speeds and exclusive use of the connection, all assured by clear SLAs.

Another feature of a leased line is that it shares bandwidth equally between uploads and downloads, meaning you get consistent speeds across both. This is known as a symmetrical or synchronous connection. This is not what you get with standard broadband – the internet connection you get in your home is asymmetrical, meaning it allocates more bandwidth to downloads than to uploads, as generally we spend more of our time downloading e.g. films and music rather than uploading .e.g photos to the cloud.

So whilst asymmetric broadband is great for streaming films and music, which rely on high download capacity, this is not really where your time is spent as a business, and this isn’t what you need when you’re trying to broadcast a webinar presentation which is utilising the upload functionality. Indeed, any cloud-based productivity platform or business software depends on users being able to upload data as they work, as much as it does on downloading data, which is where leased lines provide the required balance.

Why is this important?

Impacted call quality or service degradation could really impact on how you support your customers. This is where Indigo can help, we make it our business to only partner with the best in the channel. Come speak to us today here on how we can help you get the best internet connection available.

Customer Login