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Is internet downtime crippling your small business?

If your internet goes down, taking email, VoIP phone systems, mobile card payment machines, cloud hosted services and many more essential systems with it, your small business can be severely disrupted and likely suffer loss of income.

The Small Business Heroes HQ is no stranger to this issue which is why, fed up with a poor internet connection coming from a particularly dodgy router supplied by one of the big internet service providers, a chat with Christian Nellemann, CEO and founder of XLN Telecom – a provider of business broadband and phone services specifically tailored for the UK’s small businesses – seemed timely:

“You may be thinking that the best internet service requires upgrading to an expensive contract. Whilst this holds true to an extent (paying more for fibre gives you superfast broadband), there are a few other things you can do to make your connection more reliable.”

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Check your router

“If it’s more than five years old then it could definitely do with an upgrade. Newer routers offer increased wireless range, better security and faster speeds. Modern wireless devices like iPads are capable of operating on the latest high-speed wireless channels, but if your router isn’t able to offer this frequency then your devices won’t perform as well as they could.”

Check your computers and other devices

“Are the devices you’re connecting to the internet completely free of malware and other viruses? It’s always good to check that you’ve not got anything nasty hiding in your computer because malware, amongst other things, can negatively affect internet speed. Malicious software drain both processing power and internet bandwidth, sending data from your device back to the malware’s source.

“You should also look at the internet browser you’re running. If it’s not the latest version, then it won’t be loading the latest website designs and content as fast as it could be.”

Improve your wireless signal

“Is your router well positioned or just stuck in the corner of the room next to your phone socket? Ideally you want your router placed somewhere with the least number of obstacles between it and your wireless devices in order to get the strongest connections possible.

“If you’ve tried this and seen no real improvement or you’ve got a lot of devices connecting wirelessly, it could be worth investing in a signal booster to improve coverage. Alternatively look at connecting your most-used devices to the router using an Ethernet cable. Although this might seem like a step back to the pre-wireless days, it will reduce instances of wireless devices interfering with each other. Also, thanks to the invention of the ‘homeplug’, you can even run internet signals through the electrical sockets and copper wiring in your walls, to cut down on cables cluttering the place up.”

Look at your contract

“Not all ‘unlimited internet’ deals are actually unlimited. Some have fair-use clauses and limits set to ensure that one user doesn’t hog all of the bandwidth in the local area. Going over that limit can lead to speed caps being imposed on your account. Another cause of slow service could also be your ISP limiting internet speeds at peak times or for bandwidth heavy sites (like YouTube). Speak with your ISP to find out exactly what package is right for your business.

“Ultimately, if your small business relies on a strong, fast internet connection then it is worth upgrading to fibre (if available in your area) or a heavy use contract. However, for small businesses especially, every penny counts, and if any of the above tips can save you making the upgrade just yet, then surely they must be worth a try?”

Christian Nellemann is founder and CEO of XLN Telecom, a provider of small business broadband and phone services.