The NBN has been touted as the saviour for all when it comes to data. However, sobering reports are flooding in about the poor performance of the network. A recent survey by Choice revealed that the promised NBN golden child isn’t delivering. Issues with dropouts, slow speeds and disconnections are causing major headaches for commercial enterprises. The NSW Business Chamber estimates that delays and disruptions when connecting to the NBN cost affected businesses roughly $9000.
On top of this, many companies are getting caught off guard and left with redundant technology. They are unaware of what equipment needs upgrading or replacing and finally, how the NBN may detrimentally affect them if they do connect.
Be aware that anything in your business using PSTN, ADSL or ISDN networks will be redundant when the NBN becomes available in your area. Don’t be the one to rock up to work on Monday, pop the landline to the ear and hear crickets. Now is the time to plan to ensure you have the smoothest transition possible.
Here are the key areas of concern you need to know about and what you need to prepare for with the NBN rollout:
• Reliability is low. When something goes wrong, restoration periods are more suited to consumers. Commercial enterprises cannot wait days to get up and running again.
• “Contention” is a term bandied around in relation to the NBN and can be a real issue. ISP providers will offer businesses a series of plans all based on a particular download and upload speed, however they cannot guarantee that speed. It depends on how many people are on that bandwidth at any point in time. Think of the NBN as being a little like a road. Traffic is flowing down the road. The more people using the road, the slower everything goes. Contention is measured using a ratio. A ratio of 50:1 means that there are 50 competing services using the same available bandwidth. Businesses can’t afford to have a slow service. So, you need to ensure you have the widest “road” possible or the fastest speed to reduce contention issues. Most NBN services are contended and there is no non-contended option.
• Upload speeds are also an important consideration. The NBN is designed as an asymmetric service – i.e. different upload and download speeds. The faster the download speed then proportionally, the faster the upload speed. However, they aren’t the same. The upload speed is considerably slower. If you are backing up your data off site , then you need to ensure you have enough upload speed to do a comprehensive, timely backup.
• Every communication device that relies on the old phone lines will be affected. Technology such as EFTPOS machines, security systems that use phone lines, modems, faxes and HICAPS machines for medical practitioners are all impacted. In some cases, you’ll need new adapters (analogue telephone adapters) that convert the IP phone line to analogue. However, some equipment may be redundant and you will need to seek an alternative.
There are alternatives to the NBN:
The myth that there are no alternatives to the NBN is just untrue. Some excellent options offer guaranteed bandwidth that avoids contention issues, along with symmetrical download and upload speeds – ensuring your company can operate more efficiently than ever.
The best thing you can do for your business is to put a plan together and take action now, so that when the inevitable NBN rollout happens you are ready.
You are going to be inundated with phone calls from businesses telling you all sorts of stories about how your equipment isn’t compatible and you need to upgrade x, y and z. Get at least 2 opinions or better yet, find someone you can trust to tell you the truth – unfortunately there are many organisations that trade on misinformation and confusion, and you end up paying way too much.