Behind the Technology Behind the Advancement of Virtual offices – Broadband Internet

virtual-office-internet

The first of the technologies enabling virtual offices’ – high-speed internet access – is perhaps the most obvious one, as it is what all the systems depend on. While it is technically possible to use a dial-up or ISDN internet link for remote network links or internet phone calls, it is so slow as to be practically unusable for any extended length of time.

The widespread availability of affordable broadband internet today brings into the reach of small organisations and virtual offices what used to require very expensive dedicated communications links such as leased lines. Almost every BT phone exchange in the UK is now ADSL-enabled, bringing broadband into reach of all but the most virtual office locations, and these are fairly well served today by satellite or other wireless internet services.

It is important to note, however, that there is a world of difference between the broadband needed for casual home use and that required by a home or branch office within a virtual office setup. These days it is easy to be lured by ‘free’ broadband offers from internet service providers (ISPs), but these all come with a price, usually restricted speeds or applications, or monthly download limits. In fact, so many ISPs have begun to impose limits on their broadband services, that we at Avec Solutions had to resort to starting our own broadband service (www.avecsolutions.net) so that our clients could have guaranteed access to uncapped and unlimited internet access.

For virtual office applications, it is also important to take stock of upload, as well as download, speeds. Normally, broadband access is only quoted in terms of download speeds, but an inter-office network connection, whether for file transfer, email access or internet phone call – will only be as fast as the two slower upload speeds. Even 8Mbps ADSL connections sometimes come with only 256Kbps upload bandwidth – so it pays to shop around and enquire beyond ISPs’ glitzy marketing campaign claims.

  • For those who need to guarantee a higher level of connectivity, it is probably worth investing in SDSL (symmetric DSL), which provides the same download and upload bandwidth, as opposed to the ‘asymmetric’ (or unequal) DSL of ordinary ADSL. A 512Kbps SDSL connection at each end, particularly with its lower contention or sharing ratios, will deliver consistently better virtual office capacity than very high-speed ADSL connections with only 256Kbps upload bandwidth.

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