Converged broadband is a broadband product that most will have heard of, but many may not know what it means. To clear up the confusion around what converged broadband is, I decided to write this blog post.
What is converged broadband? A converged broadband connection is a connection that combines your voice and data into one connection. So instead of separate telephone and broadband lines, you’ll have just one line.
That briefly covers what a converged broadband connection is. But you might wonder about the actual benefits of combining your voice and data services. I’ll explain all you need to know about converged broadband in this blog post. By the end, you’ll be an expert and know all the important benefits.
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How Does Converged Broadband Work?
Converged broadband is a solution where your voice and data services are provisioned together on a single connection.
On a converged broadband connection, voice traffic is prioritised over any other type of data to ensure QoS. This is very important considering how reliant a lot of businesses are on their VoIP telephone system. This generally allays one of the biggest fears businesses have about combining their voice and data services. After all, voice is often a crucial service for companies.
A converged connection typically provides you with superfast speeds (from 40Mbps right up to 10Gbps down). The right converged connection should give your business the confidence to make the leap to IP telephony if you aren’t already using a voice over IP telephone system.
A big concern of a converged broadband service for businesses with traditional ISDN lines is lower voice quality. Fortunately, this isn’t something that you need to worry about. Voice traffic will always take priority if you have a converged connection, so you don’t need to worry about poor quality calls.
There isn’t just one type of converged connection that you can get:
- Standard converged broadband: Standard converged broadband is an option that would typically be recommended for small businesses. Speeds aren’t fantastic with this connection; they’re similar to the speeds you would get with an ADSL connection. It’s a great option for a small business with just a few people with light internet usage and phones.
- Converged FTTC broadband: Converged FTTC broadband will give you similar speeds to those you would get with typical fibre to the cabinet. Speeds may range from 40Mbps down and 10Mbps up to 80Mbps down and 20Mbps up. Of course, there are newer variations of FTTC such as G.Fast that provides much faster speeds and can also be a converged service. This is usually a suitable option for SMEs with 10 – 20 employees using the phone or internet at any given time.
- Converged fibre Ethernet: Converged fibre Ethernet is a good option for larger offices or businesses that have high internet usage. Depending upon the bandwidth that you choose, fibre Ethernet can offer speeds of up to 1Gbps and beyond. If your business has hundreds of employees, or you need to quickly download and upload large files constantly, converged fibre Ethernet would be a good investment.
Now we’ve covered most of the key information that you need to know about converged broadband, let’s have a look at the advantages of using a converged service.
The Advantages Of Converged Broadband
There are plenty of benefits of converged broadband, which is why more businesses than ever are using converged connections. In this section of the blog post, I’m going to explain the advantages of converged broadband in greater detail.
First and foremost, however, here are the advantages of converged broadband.
- Reduced costs
- Easier migration to IP services
- Reduced complexity associated with having different networks and providers
- Easier, quicker network management and maintenance
Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, but I’m going to break down each advantage and explain them all in more detail. Hopefully by the end of this section you will appreciate why a converged service is the way to go.
By moving over to a converged connection, you should notice a reduction in costs. After all, you’re currently paying for traditional lines, broadband, and maintenance for both separately. By moving over to one connection, your costs should fall considerably. Not to mention, your maintenance costs should also fall significantly because you only need your IT team or provider to take care of one connection for you.
Telephone lines can be very expensive, as can broadband and maintenance for the two types of connection. It’s simple to see how moving over to one connection can reduce your costs significantly. With a converged connection, you can get your data and broadband services from the same provider. In fact, you may be able to get your IP telephony access from them too.
Thanks to converged broadband, there’s no need to have multiple lines (depending on the size of your business). As well as lower costs, you’ll no longer have the complexity of numerous networks (I’ll explain that benefit in more detail soon).
Easier Migration To IP Services
If you’re still using a legacy ISDN, it’s fair to say that your business is lagging behind the businesses moving to future-proof hosted telephony and SIP trunk services. By moving to a converged connection, it will be much easier for your business to migrate to IP telephony services.
By upgrading to a converged connection, you’ll be able to move over to IP services smoothly and quickly. There are absolutely loads of benefits of migrating to IP services. In fact, I’ve written a few blog posts in the past that demonstrate the key benefits, such as Is VoIP Better Than Traditional PSTN? and What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of VoIP? These are well worth a read if you’re considering migrating over to an IP telephone system. However, here are the key benefits to give you a general gist of what you can expect:
- Greater scalability and cost-effective upgrades requiring little extra hardware
- More call management features as standard
- Lower costs upfront because you’re not investing in hardware
With an IP phone system, there’s no hardware needed providing you already have an internet connection. You can invest in IP handsets, but even that isn’t necessary. Furthermore, a host of call management features come as standard, such as auto attendant and call forwarding. Last but not least, your IP phone system will scale easier in the future because you can just add licences as required without having to purchase new hardware.
Reduced Complexity Associated With Having Different Networks And Providers
These days, refining your processes and network can have such a positive effect. With all of the technologies available to us, reducing the complexity of your network and working with fewer suppliers is easier than ever. A converged connection is just one of the technologies that reduces the complexity of your network.
There is absolutely no need to maintain different networks for your voice and data anymore when converged connections are available. With a converged connection, your voice and data are managed via a single network rather. Depending on the size of your operation, you’ll have a single network switch and router. These two devices provide internet access and telephony for all users.
There are obviously several benefits of choosing a converged connection, such as:
- Cheaper and more efficient maintenance: If you have one network, it’s logical to presume that maintenance would be cheaper and more efficient versus having two networks. Your IT team, or your provider, would be responsible for maintaining both your data and voice services at the same time rather than both. Furthermore, with a converged connection you likely have one provider. With separate voice and data services, you may have two providers. Generally, this would incur more cost than using just the one.
- Easier scaling in the future: As your business grows, it’s easier for your voice and data services to grow with you when you have just one provider and network. Growing two networks with alternate providers at the same time is inevitably more complex than growing a network while working with a single provider.
Easier, Quicker Network Management And Maintenance
Typically, it’s much easier and quicker to manage and maintain one network versus multiple. With a converged connection, you have one network that requires only one team for maintenance. This ensures that management and maintenance is simpler.
The heading really says it all about this benefit of a converged connection. What’s the benefit of over-complicating things by having numerous networks when you don’t need numerous networks? When you could have a single network, greater efficiency, and easier management and maintenance, there’s no argument for having separate voice and data services.
So that covers the benefits of choosing a converged connection. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you already using a converged connection, or do you have separate voice and data networks? Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.