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What is a Leased Line?

A leased line, also called dedicated internet access (DIA), connects two business locations securely through a fibre link. This connection is consistent and exclusively for your business. Consistency in a leased line means it provides the same internet speed and bandwidth every time you use it, which can be chosen according to your business needs.

How Does a Leased Line Work?

Leased lines mainly operate over fibre optic cables, much like the internet. They connect two or more locations with a fast, reliable internet connection. Unlike broadband internet, a leased line is dedicated to be used only by a single organisation.

Here’s how leased lines work:

  1. When you sign up for leased lines with a company, you specify the two or more locations where you want the connection. The leased lines start from the company’s network, similar to a warehouse where products begin their journey before delivery.
  2. The next stop is the Point of Presence (PoP), sort of like a hub in the network where different networks connect. This PoP is conveniently located near your first business location.
  3. You get your dedicated fibre optic cables, so you don’t share them with anyone else. Finally, at your second business location, you have the termination point, where the leased line ends and connects to your second location’s network.

Types of Leased Lines

Type Description
FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)

When we are talking about leased lines in general, this is the type that we are actually referring to. It uses fibre links to transfer data from one business location to another with a speed as high as 100 GB.

Ethernet first mile (EFM):

EFM works very similar to FTTP but it uses copper lines instead of fibre optics. The use of copper lines decreases the speed of the service immensely but it's still symmetric.

Direct Internet Access (DIA):

It is just another name for FTTP or leased lines. It is sometimes called as EAD (Ethernet Access Direct).

4 Reasons Why Businesses Use Leased Lines

  • Data Transfer
  • Internet Access
  • Remote Access
  • E-commerce and Online Businesses

Businesses use leased lines for transferring loads of data securely between business locations. This can include sending and receiving large files, making data backups, and transferring sensitive information that can’t be shared through the Internet.

Businesses use leased lines to connect to the internet. Online functions are much more convenient because they promise consistent bandwidth and speed.

With leased lines, a business can have remote access to its two locations at once. Managing both offices becomes easier with real-time data backup, secure transfer of files, smooth access to the internet, and more.

Many businesses without a physical presence rely on leased lines to maintain their online shops. Reliable internet ensures that the website is never down and that payments become hassle-free with quick transactions.

Advantages of Leased Lines

The use of leased lines has both, advantages and disadvantages. Let’s talk about the advantages first.

Advantages of leased lines

Leased lines provide:

  • Exclusive and consistent performance.
  • Equal upload and download speeds. For example, if your bandwidth is 100 Mbps, it will remain consistent and not fluctuate at all. The higher the bandwidth, the more data you can transfer quickly.
  • A private connection that reduces the risk of data theft.
  • The option to scale because leased lines can be easily adjusted to changing business needs.

Disadvantages of leased lines

Alongside the numerous advantages, there are some disadvantages to leased lines as well:

  • The biggest downside to the leased lines is the cost. They tend to be more expensive than other internet options available to a business. Their cost includes not only monthly fees but also installation and maintenance costs.
  • Leased lines also have a risk of potential downtime due to service disruption or maintenance by the provider which may affect the business negatively.
  • Another concern for businesses is the installation time. If you are not located in the major cities of the UK, installation can take a very long time.

How Do Companies Provide Assurance for Leased Lines?

Companies that provide leased line services work on a contract basis with their clients. A contract of a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 4 years is the trend in the industry. Furthermore, companies also sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with their clients to outline the service standards and commitments. This agreement provides a sense of security and assurance to the businesses.

These are the major components of an SLA:

  • Uptime guarantee: the percentage of time when the service is confirmed to be fully functional, for example, 99.6% per month.
  • Latency: the time it takes for the data to get from one location to another, which is measured in milliseconds.
  • Response times: in the case of any issues regarding the service, the time taken by the provider to respond to its clients.
  • Service credit: if the service provider fails to uphold the service standards or requirements, the business is entitled to service credits as compensation.

How Long Does It Take for Installation?

The time taken to install the leased lines largely depends on your business premises. As a general rule of thumb, it takes less time for installation in big cities in the UK as compared to smaller cities or rural areas.
For example, the installation can take 45 -85 days in major cities. But it can take 60 days to several months if you want to install a leased line in a very rural or remote area.

Why Should You Choose Leased Lines for Business?

If you are thinking of getting leased lines for your business, first go through the following checklist:

  • Do you need a stable, always functional internet connection with minimal downtime?
  • Does your business need symmetric upload and download speeds for activities such as video conferencing, large file transfers, or cloud services?
  • Do you prioritise data security for your business without having to share your bandwidth?
  • Do you have multiple business locations that need to be connected with reliable data links?
  • Does your business want to maintain high-quality voice and video communications for its operations?
  • Are you prepared to invest in the higher costs of a leased line?
  • Do you expect significant business growth that can only be possible after acquiring the benefits of leased lines?

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Leased Line FAQs

A leased line connects two business locations securely through a fibre link. This connection is consistent and exclusively for your business. Consistency in a leased line means it provides the same internet speed and bandwidth every time you use it, which can be chosen according to your preference.

The cost of installing the leased lines can be expensive compared to other internet options. It can also take a long time for the installation, on average 15-60 days in the big cities in the UK. If you are in a rural or remote area, it can take even more time, from 60 days to several months, depending on your location.

If you are looking for leased lines that provide the fastest speed, you should opt for FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) or simply fiber-leased lines. It provides a fast speed of up to 100 GB along with high bandwidth.

If you have relocated to a rural area and want to install leased lines, it can be more expensive than prices in major UK cities. The installation cost depends on your distance from the nearest Point of Presence (PoP) of the leased line provider. In rural areas, it’s uncommon for providers to have an existing PoP nearby. If there isn’t one, the provider may need to construct a new PoP, which adds to the cost. Additionally, the process of laying fibre optic cables over long distances in rural areas adds to the total expense.

Each service provider constructs it’s specific requirements in the service level agreement (SLA). While there is no mandated minimum contract length, it is an industry norm for contracts to last at least 12 months.

Yes, leased lines are scalable. This means you can increase the speed of leased lines in the future. Different service providers have different scalability options.