What is a leased line? And should your business have one?

Leased lines running to buildings
Leased lines running to buildings

A lot of businesses don’t have leased lines. That’s undeniable. But many of those same businesses would greatly benefit from the increased connectivity speeds and service. So why don’t they have one? It’s not an issue of cost. These days leased lines are very, very affordable. Instead, the problem lies in failing to understand what exactly a leased line is—and why it’s a better business solution.

So what is a leased line? Let’s start with the basics, and use a simple analogy. The Internet is somewhat like a road network. There are ‘motorways’: large data ‘pipes’, which carry the greatest amount of traffic, and at the highest speed. But traffic also travels along smaller, slower data ‘pipes’—the equivalent of ‘A’ roads, ‘B’ roads, and narrow lanes.

Your business won’t be connected directly to a data ‘motorway’. Instead, it will be connected via one of those smaller, slower data ‘pipes’. Most typically, an ADSL2+ broadband ‘pipe’, but typically using a higher-speed, larger bandwidth business package, rather than an ordinary domestic consumer package.

Now, ADSL2+ broadband is a huge improvement on those old, slow dial-up Internet connections that we all remember from years ago. But ADSL2+ broadband isn’t perfect. Far from it.

What’s wrong with ADSL2+ broadband?

Several things—even if your business’s ADSL2+ broadband connection is fibre-based, rather than copper.

  • Compared to a leased line connection, ADSL2+ broadband is slow. Very slow. As a comparison, a leased line offers speeds of 10Gbps. But even a fast—very fast—ADSL2+ broadband connection will struggle to reach anything like a fraction of one-tenth of that speed. And in today’s business world, bandwidth matters—especially as the number of users sharing that connection increases.
  • An ADSL2+ broadband connection is asynchronous, with the upload speed being much slower than the download speed. For a lot of consumer applications—watching movies, say, or streaming music—that’s fine, as upload traffic is limited. But in the world of business, upload traffic can be extensive—off-site data backups, say, or videoconferencing over Microsoft Teams or Zoom. For businesses, upload speeds matter.
  • An ADSL2+ broadband connection doesn’t offer guaranteed, reliable data speeds. That’s because ADSL2+ broadband connections are contested—meaning that they’re shared with other users apart from your business. And as the number of such other users increases—especially at busy times of the day—the speed of your ADSL2+ broadband connection slows down, shrinking your bandwidth and adversely impacting the user experience.

There are other drawbacks to an ADSL2+ connection, chiefly in areas such as quality of service support, and uptime guarantees. But those are the main ones.

With so many options, choosing 
the right solution can be a challenge.

With so many options, choosing
the right solution can be a challenge.

What is a leased line?

The easiest way to understand leased line technology is to briefly go back to that road network analogy. Your business’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) has a direction connection, termed a Point of Presence (PoP), to that data pipe ‘motorway’, whether your business has an ADSL2+ connection, or a leased line connection. Think of that direction connection as your ISP’s own private ‘junction’.

With an ADSL2+ connection, your business’s data travels to that PoP over normal ‘roads’—’A’ roads, ‘B’ roads, or country lanes as appropriate. But with a leased line connection, your ISP constructs a private ‘road’ between your business and the PoP, and your data travels over that. The road can be as fast—or slow—as you specify, and if your business needs something faster as its needs change, upgrading is a straightforward matter.

In other words, think of leased line technology as your business’s own dedicated Internet access—Internet access over which you are in direct control.

What are the benefits of a leased line?

So, having established that a leased line gives your business direct access to the Internet, what benefits does that actually deliver?

  • Leased lines are fast. As we’ve said, very fast. Here at Aspire Technology Solutions, for instance, we offer leased line Internet connection speeds of up to 10Gbps, delivering exceptionally high bandwidth, even with multiple users engaging in data-intensive tasks. But businesses certainly don’t have to have a 10Gbps connection, if that would be costly overkill: Aspire’s offering starts as low as 10Mbps. And, as we say, connectivity speeds can always be upgraded, as your business needs evolve.
  • Leased line offer symmetrical speeds. Unlike an ADSL2+ connection, where upload speeds are slower—sometimes a lot slower—than download speeds, leased lines are symmetrical, so that download and upload speeds are equal. From a business perspective, this not only matches the changing world of work—video conferencing, social media, and so on—but also means that vital application data traffic (between your business and Cloud-based applications, for instance) isn’t throttled back.
  • Leased line connections are uncontested, meaning that they aren’t shared with others. So, if your business orders (say) a 100Mb ultrafast leased line Internet connection, then it will receive 100Mb upload and download speeds, at any time of the day or night. And irrespective of Internet traffic in your local area, or Internet traffic levels in general.

There are other business benefits with leased lines—and in particular, benefits with leased line connectivity sourced from Aspire Technology Solutions. All Aspire leased lines come with DDoS protection as standard, for instance. And Aspire’s leased line connections offer a 99.9% uptime, with an industry-leading 4-hour fix.

So how much does a leased line cost?

Once, an investment in leased line technology was something not to be undertaken lightly. But that’s no longer the case, and hasn’t been for quite some time.

These days, the business case for leased lines—and the resulting ROI—is incontrovertible. That said, leased line pricing is subject to several variables. The speed that your business desires are perhaps the most important of these, but there are others.

Read our recent blog to understand leased line costs and the variables that affect pricing.

Unsure of the best connectivity solution?
Our experts are here to help.

Unsure of the best connectivity solution?
Our experts are here to help.

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Avatar photoEmily Allman

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