Technology continues to improve and expand with incredible speed, and the Internet is a big part of that. Many businesses have come to rely on being online and able to do things like stream HD videos and video conference with teammates and clients. However, these common business needs all consume bandwidth, and slow speeds can impact sales, efficiency, and productivity. Following are three ways to connect to the Internet, each with their own pros and cons.

Copper

Copper is the original way to wire, dating back before the Internet to the telephone. Intended for the transmission of voice, it doesn’t have much bandwidth, but it is more cost efficient for rural businesses. Because most buildings are already wired for the telephone, smaller businesses don’t need to buy new cabling.

Fiber Optics

Fiber optics was introduced in the 1970s, became more popular by the mid-80s, and came to prominence through the 90s. It offers a number of advantages over copper cabling, including:

  • Faster transmission
  • Less signal loss without the use of repeaters or boosters
  • No electromagnetic interference
  • Sturdier than copper

Wireless

There is a newer option that’s gaining prominence in the business world: a wireless Internet connection. Although networks are still being built to bring wireless to rural areas, it’s becoming more widespread than ever. The main problem with wireless is that the signal decreases the further away from the source a device gets, but for businesses in the right areas, it can be much more cost efficient than copper or fiber.

Choosing Between Connections

Choosing the right Internet connection is a matter of knowing what the business needs, and what offers the best bandwidth while still being cost efficient. Rural businesses may need to use copper — at least until fiber or wireless come to their areas — but businesses that are more urban can take advantage of the current networks to improve their speed and signal.

There’s also the option of combining different connections — such as fiber and wireless — or even outsourcing the IT network completely. The first option ensures reliability, whereas the second takes some of the pressure off, allowing employees and owners to concentrate on running the business itself.

Whatever method a business chooses to connect to the Internet, research is key to making the right choice. All three options have their pros and cons, but businesses need to take into consideration their location (rural or urban), as well as the costs involved and exactly how much bandwidth is needed in order to remain reliable and consistent for clients.