Surveys have shown small businesses believe that poor internet impedes efficiency and productivity. Almost all in Australia today feel the same. Now, how far you want to go on your internet is something for you to determine. I want to discuss the minimum internet your business should accept in our market space.
This post will not apply if you use our cloud-based POS system. Nor will it apply if you do more than our POS Software.
Now many internet providers offer internet plans designed for businesses. Few are that relevant in our market space; however, they often have an option of linking the phone to the internet plan. Having all your voice and internet services from one point of contact is nice.
For our clients, they need to run
1) Updates of products and invoices from suppliers
3) Updates of their software
Now, after that, you should add your requirements. I would include
Be warned many of the advertised speeds are dubious. Use it as a guide only.
So I recommend an internet plan with at least 25 Mbps to do this. 50 MBps is better, and the cost is not much more.
10 Gig/month would be the smallest, but this depends on what you do with your internet. For example, if you do a lot of Facebook, it does not take much to burn up a lot of data.
One trap here is that if you use only a little data with a small plan and someone uses heaps for some reason, then some internet providers charge. I had a client babysit their eight-year-old daughter in the shop during COVID lockdown. When the bill came in for youtube, they freaked out. A $1,000+ bill.
You need to check this. Some internet providers provide 24-hour-a-day support and most much less. Do not assume that you will give 24-hour-a-day support because they are big.
Some do not offer telephone support at all.
On-site, this is something you need to check; there are often big advantages to getting someone to come to you.
I had a client whose internet broke. It was a 4G system. The internet got them to check the modem and its settings. Then a reactivation was done. It still did not work. When they rang back, they rechecked the same stuff. After a few times of this, they decided it was either the SIM or the modem. The SIM was $20, and the mobile was a few hundred. So they asked for SIM, three days later with no internet the SIM came. The new SIM did not help. Then the internet provider rechecked the same stuff, then another reactivation. It did not help. So they asked about a new modem and were told it would take a few days and a few hundred dollars. The problem was that they did not know whether it was the modem. So they asked if they could buy a modem nearby. No, they were told as the modem had to take their internet provider's SIM to work. Then they contact us. We told them their internet provider was an Optus reseller, so go to Optus. So they went to a nearby Optus shop. The Optus guy checked the SIM it was fine. Put the SIM into one of their modems, and it worked, so they brought it on the spot. It was also a bit cheaper from Optus as there was no delivery fee. In one hour, the problem was solved. Sometimes you need a person on site. Score: Five days no internet.
Years ago, I had a client in Cairns whose internet provider did the dirty on him and many other clients. Only knew about it when the police came about it. I do not see what you can do about it. If you are worried about it, look at a VPN, which will not solve the problem as it moves the problem from the internet provider to the VPN provider. Really who can we trust here? An employee in Twitter was recently convicted of selling the personal user information of dissidents to the Saudis. In Australia this is serious but to a Saudi this is dangerous. I have a client who tells me they never discuss anything political on the net or phone with their relatives in Iran.
Do not worry about it. You can always upgrade your internet, although this might be a problem if you have selected a two-year plan.
NBN or 4G:
I have seen problems with both, in fact, any such system. Over the years, I have come to hate the NBN. Speeds are comparable, although often 4G is faster.
I will say this a 4G system is less reliable, but if something goes wrong, 4G is fixed, something I cannot say about the NBN.
I am also sceptical of NBN with a 4G backup. When the NBN goes down, often, they do not switch to the 4G backup.
The best question is, I left to last, how much will it cost you if the internet goes down?
Almost every business will experience several outages yearly, e.g. power outages, server issues and software. I have had clients that have gone down for a few minutes, hours, days and weeks. One last week was down for five days, and I will talk about their experience soon.
Now, what will it mean to you if your internet is down? To some people, it's an inconvenience; to others, it is a significant revenue loss. One shop had a string of deliveries to do in the morning. The owner told me of his frustration when he lost hours when his guys were sitting around doing nothing. Downtime can cost a business.
I hope this is of use.