There is no shortage of cheap residential broadband and ADSL deals. You may often wonder why business broadband is more expensive, after all they're both ADSL services. So what's so special about business ADSL and what are the differences?
Congestion and Contention Ratio
This is the main reason why residential ADSL services are cheaper. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) share residential services between more users than they do for business connections (contention ratio). That means the quality and the speed of the service is prone to greater fluctuations. Although ISPs (Internet Service Providers) rarely publish the contention ratios, it's generally accepted that a residential ADSL service is shared by around three times more users than business ADSL.
Service Level Agreements
Business ADSL services are usually backed by written SLAs (service level agreements). Being an essential service these are quite important and ensure that the ISP is fully committed to performance targets. They usually cover installation lead times, service restoration and availability, and latency and packet loss. Residential ADSL services don't usually come with SLAs and are very much a best effort service.
Static IP Address and Technical Support
An IP address is a unique identifier of the location of the computer hardware that's accessing the internet. Because it's more cost effective for the ISP, residential ADSL connections are usually made using dynamic IP addresses, which the ISP allocates from a pool and changes from time to time. Business ADSL services come with a static IP address, which is a dedicated IP address and doesn't change. Static IP addresses are necessary when running a server and business IT networks.
Business ADSL services are usually backed by a 24/7 technical support team that specialise in business connections and understand business requirements. They're usually based in Australia and provide immediate support for any technical faults. Residential ADSL technical support is generally handled by offshore customer service teams.