How to choose the right In­ter­net provider for your busi­ness

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Business - HER­BERT KANALE

SINCE the launch of­ter­net­in­myan­, we re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant amount of ques­tions about busi­ness In­ter­net.

How do you select the best broad­band provider for your busi­ness in Myan­mar? What are the key cri­te­ria that need to be thor­oughly con­sid­ered when choos­ing a busi­ness In­ter­net ser­vice provider (ISP)? Which are the top busi­ness In­ter­net ser­vice providers in Myan­mar?

Com­pa­nies in Myan­mar rely more and more on In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with sup­pli­ers and cus­tomers. A grow­ing num­ber of busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions are now also run­ning in the cloud.

But the draw­back of hav­ing your busi­ness in the cloud is that you are ut­terly de­pen­dent on your In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity. As such, choos­ing a provider must be a care­fully thought-out de­ci­sion.

Con­nec­tiv­ity medium When it comes to con­nect­ing an in­de­pen­dent house or an of­fice build­ing, the most ba­sic ques­tion that you should ask the ser­vice provider con­cerns the tech­nol­ogy in­volved.

Fixed wire­less in­ter­net is a method of high-speed con­nec­tiv­ity that re­lies on mi­crowave com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the In­ter­net ser­vice provider’s trans­mit­ter ra­dio and a re­ceiver dish lo­cated on the cus­tomer’s rooftop.

Within the ra­dio spec­trum, there are sev­eral ra­dio fre­quency bands. Some bands, known as un­li­censed links or un­li­censed spec­trums, are un­re­stricted and avail­able for all wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions providers.

Al­ter­na­tively, li­censed links are al­lo­cated se­lec­tively and re­quire the Min­istry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ ap­proval be­fore providers are able to utilise the ca­pac­ity.

Fixed Wire­less In­ter­net is usu­ally cost ef­fec­tive and faster to de­ploy than wire medi­ums.

If you are con­sid­er­ing Fixed Wire­less In­ter­net for your of­fice, we rec­om­mend look­ing at ser­vice providers that can pro­vide li­censed-based links. Un­for­tu­nately, the choice is lim­ited to the mo­bile op­er­a­tors - MPT, Te­lenor, Oore­doo and My­tel - that are sole own­ers of ra­dio spec­trums adapted for trans­mis­sion pur­pose.

We would con­sider un­li­censed bands, usu­ally Wifi, to be the last op­tion for your busi­ness as un­li­censed bands can be eas­ily in­ter­fered with.

If your bud­get is tight and you can deal with a few break­downs, go for Fixed Wire­less In­ter­net.

If con­nec­tiv­ity is crit­i­cal for your busi­ness, move on. Or use it only as a backup with a more re­li­able pri­mary medium such as Fiber.

For those who es­tab­lished their of­fices in large cor­po­rate build­ings, some ISPS may of­fer you con­nec­tiv­ity via an ex­ist­ing build­ing in­fra­struc­ture which could be cop­per cable. This tech­nol­ogy is ac­cept­able for busi­ness con­nec­tiv­ity and is usu­ally pro­vided at lower cost than fiber.

How­ever, Fiber is the tech­nol­ogy of choice for fast and stable cor­po­rate broad­band. For­tu­nately, most of the Busi­ness ISPS use Fiber as their main medium for of­fice con­nec­tiv­ity.

What next? If con­nec­tiv­ity is crit­i­cal for your busi­ness, you def­i­nitely need to ob­tain and com­pare ser­vice-level agree­ment (SLA) doc­u­ments for each of the can­di­date ser­vice providers.

The main com­po­nent of the SLA is usu­ally the ser­vice avail­abil­ity which is usu­ally ex­pressed in per­cent­age of monthly avail­abil­ity. Other com­po­nents of the SLA in­clude packet loss and band­width avail­abil­ity.

The stan­dard cor­po­rate SLA ser­vice avail­abil­ity will vary from 98pc to 99.5pc.

SLA is a com­mit­ment from the ser­vice provider to de­liver a cer­tain avail­abil­ity month on month. If the avail­abil­ity dur­ing one month is be­low the said SLA, then the ser­vice provider is in breach and the cus­tomer is en­ti­tled to a credit note on his monthly bill.

The SLA is im­por­tant be­cause it trans­lates the com­mit­ment of the In­ter­net ser­vice provider to de­liver a re­li­able and con­sis­tent In­ter­net ser­vice to the cus­tomer. As such, it should be a key cri­te­ria when se­lect­ing your ser­vice provider.

It is also im­por­tant to look at the SLA doc­u­ment in de­tail for the level of credit the cus­tomer will ob­tain in case of an SLA breach.

Con­tention ra­tio The beauty of be­ing an ISP is the ca­pac­ity of sell­ing the same re­source mul­ti­ple times. An ISP is ba­si­cally a com­pany that buys a big bulk of band­width and dis­trib­utes this ca­pac­ity across its users.

As cus­tomers are not us­ing the band­width all the time, ISPS can very le­git­i­mately re­sell the same band­width to mul­ti­ple users. This is called the con­tention ra­tio.

For home users, ser­vice providers tend to main­tain a high con­tention ra­tio. This is why it is com­mon not to re­ceive the max­i­mum band­width at any given time on a home broad­band con­nec­tion. It is per­fectly nor­mal and ac­cept­able as long as it does not af­fect your user ex­pe­ri­ence.

For busi­nesses, low con­tention ra­tios are rec­om­mended as busi­nesses need steady band­width and are more likely to con­sume the com­plete ca­pac­ity con­sis­tently due to the num­ber of users be­hind a sin­gle con­nec­tion.

Some may won­der why a 10mbps busi­ness In­ter­net ser­vice can be two to three times more ex­pen­sive than a 10mbps for home use. The an­swer to that is con­tention ra­tio.

Fi­nally, here is a small selec­tion of the top li­censed ISPS in Myan­mar:.

AGB Com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­vides its ser­vice through Wire­less (Wifi) and Fiber. Be­side In­ter­net broad­band, AGB also pro­vide Vir­tual Pri­vate Servers, Cloud Stor­age and Voice Ser­vices.

Fron­tiir aka Myan­mar­net pro­vides both home and busi­ness In­ter­net. For busi­nesses, the ser­vice provider is also of­fer­ing Do­mes­tic Pri­vate Leased Cir­cuit (DPLC) and Full man­aged Wifi for the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor.

Glob­al­net, which op­er­ates un­der the 5BB brand, pro­vides cost ef­fec­tive In­ter­net ser­vices for busi­ness and home use and runs one of the big­gest fiber net­work in Yan­gon.

Golden TMH fo­cuses ex­clu­sively cor­po­rate ser­vices. The ISP also run dat­a­cen­ter fa­cil­i­ties and of­fers cloud ser­vices in part­ner­ship with Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional car­rier HGC. Her­bert Kanale is an ex­pe­ri­enced tele­com pro­fes­sional blog­ging about the fastest grow­ing In­ter­net mar­ket in the world: Myan­mar. He has more than 10 years in the in­dus­try across mul­ti­ple coun­tries and con­ti­nents

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