TIME TO READ: 8 MINUTES
Now that we all know the issues that can arise during a bandwidth order, let's talk about how to make the process as smooth as possible. Ready?
(Please note: Refer to Part 1 of this article for a list of terms.)
Recommendations for Turn-Up Preparation
PlanetMagpie has turned up new internet connections for hundreds of businesses, working with all the major bandwidth providers. Two are underway right now.
From that experience, we want to make these recommendations to you right up front:
- When you're thinking of an office move or opening a new office, contact your ISP with your potential locations. What service do they have available for that location? Due to the proliferation of cloud services and hosted voice (for phones), we recommend a fiber Internet circuit in most situations.
- Work with an IT Consultant from the very beginning. This gives you access to deals & expertise you wouldn't have otherwise.They can help you estimate your bandwidth needs.ISP contracts typically last for 3 years and you want to make sure your bandwidth will be sufficient for the full contract.
- Sign the contract for a new connection 4-6 months in advance (for fiber). This gives you time to spot and correct errors in setup.
How IT Consultants Make for a Better Turn-Up
You wouldn't go skydiving without an instructor, would you?
In the same vein, working with an IT Consultant makes the Internet turn-up process safer and easier. You're not only getting help with the process, you take advantage of their directly-relevant skills.
IT Consultants already know the turn-up process: Where disruptions crop up, how to avoid the inevitable issues, and how to deploy the new bandwidth securely.
Even better, they already have relationships with local ISPs. What does this get you? Better deals on rates! Installation fees waived, monthly rates you'd never even hear about if you talked with an ISP directly, and better contract terms.
Without an IT Consultant, you could spend thousands more every year than you would working with one.
A Turn-Up Gone Awry—a Real-World Example
Here's a brief example of what can go wrong in an Internet turn-up, without an IT Consultant helping you.
A customer of ours moved to a new office. They had Comcast fiber before, and wanted the same at the new location. They called up Comcast to transfer their connection. Comcast said no problem! They could service the location with fiber.
However, Comcast didn't deliver. Just before the move-in process commenced, they said they had to delay the fiber turn-up. Suddenly everyone moving to the new office had no Internet access.
While they waited, the customer used a Business Cable circuit. Comcast installed a 500-megabit down/20-megabit up cable connection. Plenty of bandwidth for email & the Web . . . but with only 20 megabits up, the customer had terrible phone/conference call problems.
Meanwhile Comcast kept delaying. By this time the customer had dropped calls in the hundreds & almost as many complaints. They badly needed an alternative, so they called us.
We checked with all the local ISPs. AT&T didn't have fiber in the area. In fact, no one had fiber available. Instead, we found & installed another type of high-speed Internet—an over-the-air wireless connection. 250-megabit down/250-megabit up. This opened up their bandwidth, solving the dropped-call problem.
Of course, none of this would have happened if Comcast had honored its fiber quote. They did not. Due to our experience, we knew how long to wait on such promises, and when to take action. Essentially, we had to solve an issue the ISP created for the customer.
CAUTION: Over-the-air wireless is not available everywhere. As it's usually installed on the tops of multi-story buildings, it's dependent on line-of-sight.
How to Order Bandwidth Effectively
Now we've addressed the issues in Internet turn-ups, and using an IT Consultant vs. working with an ISP directly. Let's cover the final step—how the turn-up process SHOULD go.
- Start by talking to an IT Consultant. Self-explanatory at this point.
- Solicit multiple bids from ISPs, through the IT Consultant. Since we speak the same language, it takes us minimal time to start the order.
- Ask your IT Consultant to review your existing network hardware. You may need new hardware for the greater bandwidth. You'll also need to calculate the number of IP addresses the new office needs. The consultant will do both.
- Sign the ISP's contract 4-6 months ahead of the expected move-in. The earlier the better; you need to get in the ISP’s queue for turn-up (there’s great demand). Don't worry; you can cancel at no charge all the way up to the day of installation.
- Order new hardware while you wait. The IT Consultant can prepare for buildout, document everything, and run security tests.
- Schedule the buildout & turn-up as close together as possible. This avoids delays and saves on costs.
- If expanding to a new office, prepare for possible downtime at your main office. It may happen when the IT Consultant ties the new connection into your business' network.
- Remember the "hot cut" in Part 1? It's the preferred method due to its speed, but it can cause major disruptions on your network if it’s not done right.
- If you're moving to a new office, hang onto your older ISP's hardware! When canceling the contract, ask them what they want you to do with it.
- If they say, "Go ahead & get rid of it," get that in writing. We've had customers receive notices 1 year after contract end, asking for the hardware back. If they don’t have it, they get a very large invoice.
An Easy, Future-Proof Reference for Ordering Internet Bandwidth
As you can see, each new Internet connection has tons of moving parts. The process we outlined above DOES make things much smoother. No turn-up goes perfectly, but by following these steps and working with an IT Consultant, you avoid all sorts of troublesome delays.
Final Note: 5G may make some of the steps (and issues) obsolete. Save this article for future reference; we'll update it as 5G access expands.
Planning an office move in the near future? Avoid any issues with turn-up—email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!