In a world defined by digital technology, it’s no exaggeration to say that how an organization gets internet access is one of most important decisions business leaders will ever make. Getting the right internet access the right way—reliably and with consistent high performance—can be a tremendous source of competitive advantage for businesses.
However, with so many different options available to them, it may be difficult for business leaders to even know where to start when making such an important decision. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the two main ways businesses can acquire internet access: dedicated internet access and blended internet access.
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What is dedicated internet access?
As the name suggests, dedicated internet access involves a one-to-one relationship between an internet service provider (ISP) and a business customer. When you purchase dedicated internet access, you agree to acquire a certain amount of bandwidth directly from the ISP, and the ISP agrees to create a private connection providing that amount of bandwidth.
The main benefit of dedicated internet access is predictability. Since you don’t have to share internet access with other customers, the speeds your ISP promises are the speeds you’ll get. This is true for both upload and download speeds. For businesses that frequently need to upload very large files, the ability to ensure symmetrical bandwidth—uploading and downloading at the same rate—may be particularly beneficial.
One downside of dedicated internet access is that you’re dependent on a single ISP to give you the connectivity your business depends on. Working exclusively with one ISP doesn’t allow for built-in redundancy; if your ISP isn’t as reliable as you’d hoped, it could lead to unplanned network outages. For this reason, blended internet access is often a better choice for businesses.
What is blended internet access?
Where typical dedicated internet access relies on connectivity from a single ISP, blended internet access uses a “blend” of multiple ISPs. Instead of purchasing bandwidth directly from the ISP, businesses acquire blended internet access from a data center or colocation provider. A single contract with the colocation provider gives businesses all the benefits of dedicated internet access plus the built-in upside of having access to multiple Tier 1 ISPs and regional internet exchanges based on local availability.
Blended internet access can be advantageous because it doesn’t lock you in to using the same ISP for all your connectivity needs. This flexibility can drive better results across a number of key business criteria, including:
- Reliability and stability
- Lower latency
- Simplicity and ease of management
Reliability and stability
With blended internet, you get access to multiple Tier 1 ISPs in many locations throughout the world. This means you’ll get highly reliable, stable and consistent connectivity everywhere you do business. With built-in redundancy, you won’t be dependent on a single ISP for all your connectivity needs. If an outage ever does occur with one provider, traffic is simply routed to another provider, allowing all your core business processes to continue without interruption.
In many cases, blended internet access is backed by superior service-level agreements (SLAs) offered by the colocation provider. This allows you to operate your business with the confidence that comes from knowing you are guaranteed to experience extremely low levels of downtime.
Dedicated internet access requires your traffic to flow over one ISP’s network, regardless of whether that routing makes sense in the context of your performance and latency requirements. In contrast, blended internet access often provides shorter-distance, lower-latency paths to local ISPs and direct connections to major content destinations, such as Microsoft 365 and Zoom—resulting in superior performance and consistency for every connection. This is made possible by peering with local exchanges.
This allows you to avoid bottlenecks and jitter, and ensure your data gets where it needs to go with the lowest possible latency. For this reason, blended internet access can play a key role in unlocking the full potential of the latest digital business applications.
If reliability and redundancy are important to your business, blended internet access will be the more cost-effective option. It allows businesses to get the built-in redundancy and performance benefits of partnering with multiple ISPs, without having to pay each of those ISPs individually. Colocation providers are also typically able to buy bandwidth from ISPs in bulk, driving cost savings they can pass on to their customers.
In addition, businesses that choose blended internet access can take advantage of advanced routing capabilities set up by their colocation provider. This supports greater cost efficiency by removing the need for the business to purchase their own routing equipment and pay for support contracts with multiple vendors.
Simplicity and ease of management
Blended internet access gives you all the connectivity options you need from a single point of contact. You may even be able to simply add internet access on top of the contract you already have in place for colocation services. Any time you need support or have questions, you can contact your colocation company, regardless of which ISP is providing the underlying connectivity you’re concerned with.
To achieve the same level of reliability and performance using standard dedicated internet access, you’d have to assemble a complex patchwork of multiple providers in every location you do business in. This means you’d be forced to manage many partnerships concurrently, reaching out to a different ISP every time there’s a problem. All this complexity could distract you from focusing on the core competencies of your business.
Why Equinix Internet Access is the right choice for blended internet access
Equinix is uniquely positioned to help customers get connectivity from a diverse roster of leading ISPs. Equinix Internet Access, our blended internet access solution, is available in 45+ metros worldwide, with at least two Tier 1 upstream providers in every metro. This global reach allows Equinix customers to ensure their business is backed by the top providers in each region they operate in, while also turning up their service in half the time of a traditional third-party provider.
Equinix Internet Access Makes IP Connectivity Simple and Reliable
Coming soon: Customers that utilize Equinix Fabric® can look forward to even more benefits with Equinix Internet Access. Rather than deploying Equinix Internet Access via a dedicated port, customers will soon be able to leverage their Equinix Fabric port to deploy their internet service in just minutes. Keep a look out for more information to come.
To learn how Equinix Internet Access can provide a more flexible, cost-effective and reliable way to get the internet connectivity your business needs, read the data sheet today.