Your Broadband and Working Home
Thanks to the internet working from home is a viable option for more of us than ever before. But if you’re binning the 9-5 rat race and building a home office you’ll want to make sure you get an appropriate broadband package. Here a few tips to help you make the right choice.
How do I find the best broadband for working from home?
When selecting a broadband service for home working the main areas you’ll need to think about are data allowances and usage restrictions, and speed. Cost is also a consideration of course, but you’ll first need to know what you’re looking for and how it’s going to be used.
Data allowances and usage restrictions
Get an unlimited broadband service unless there are no other alternatives. If the connection is being used eight hours a day, five days a week you’ll generate a lot more traffic than an average home user, and you don’t want to have to worry about being slowed down or charged more because you’ve exceeded a data cap.
Watch out for traffic management policies and fair use limits. Traffic management is used by providers to prioritise particular types of activities while restricting others. This might be helpful if, for example, they prioritise VOIP. But it can be applied in ways that might hinder you. It most often impacts peer-to-peer file sharing but there have been examples of providers which limit the amount you can upload in a set period, and that could be problematic when the connection is used for work.
Fair use limits are not often used nowadays, but you may still find some providers sneaking them into the small print. These restrict the amount you can use the service, but the data limits are often vague.
Lots of broadband ISPs are now truly unlimited, with no traffic management policy or data usage cap, so you should not have to look far to find a provider which can offer you a completely unrestricted connection.
Broadband speed for home working
Choosing the right speed will depend on how the connection is going to be used. If your work mainly revolves around using the web and sending emails then a cheap ADSL (up to 17Mb) service will suffice. But anything more demanding - such as transferring large files or streaming high definition video - will be best handled by fibre optic broadband. Fibre is also best if you’re going to sharing the connection with other people in the home during work hours.
Home workers may also need to think about upload speed more than a standard home broadband user. If you’re going to be sending files, running a home server or doing anything else which involves transmitting large amounts of data out to the internet then you’ll want the fastest upload speed possible.
Unless you cannot get fibre or you’re on a very tight budget we’d recommend fibre optic for most home workers. It does not have to be expensive and should offer more than enough bandwidth for most tasks.
Do I need business broadband?
It is probably not necessary to purchase a business broadband service. You are not barred from using home broadband for work, and most people will not need the extra features offered by a business deal.
Business broadband may be useful if your connection is absolutely critical and you want a higher level of technical support and customer service. Many providers offer separate business support teams. Business broadband also offers static IP addresses, something you won’t find with many home services. A static IP is useful if you’re operating a server at home.
For more information, use Broadband Genie’s guide to broadband and working from home.