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Understanding Connectivity: A Small Business Checklist
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By Brent Cobb


Then on top of that, if all six are receiving emails at the same time, the six seconds might become 15. And if you are trying to access an online application like QuickBooks Online, you might now be talking about 20 to 30 seconds to download just a simple Yahoo! page. Knowing that, it is safe to say all bandwidth is not equal.
Small businesses should be looking for Internet connectivity in the “Mbps” (megabytes per second), not “Kbps.” If you have 4-30 employees 1.5 Mbps is a good place to start, For 30-100 employees, consider 3.0 Mbps. Companies with 100-200 employees need bandwidth running at 4.5 Mbps.

Additional concepts you should be aware of when purchasing Internet access are the terms “asymmetric access” (i.e., asymmetric digital subscriber line or ADSL) and “symmetric access,” (the most common being a full T-1 with 1.54 Mbps downstream and upstream). The main difference between the two is symmetric has the same upstream data transfer rate as downstream (symmetrical), whereas ADSL always has smaller upstream bandwidth (asymmetrical). Businesses interested in truly leveraging the power of the Internet – such as online applications, collaboration, and voice over Internet services – should only consider symmetric connectivity.

Managing email accounts and mailboxes does not have to be hard, but it still needs to be done
Many Internet access providers will also supply you with some level of email addresses and mailboxes. These are not the same. Typically, you want one mailbox for each employee; however, depending on the employee’s responsibility, you might have multiple email addresses pointed to that mailbox. For example, email addresses like BrentC@yourbusiness.com, info@yourbusiness.comand sales@yourbusiness.commight all might go to the same mailbox.

Email addresses, like phone numbers, should be thought of as a company asset. You would never expect to email someone from IBM at MikeJ@aol.comor someone from Coca-Cola at SallyQ@yahoo.com. The same should hold true for your business. Any provider of business-grade Internet connectivity should permit you to use what is called an “email alias,” allowing your company’s domain name to be used in your email addresses. This simple practice will immediately increase the professional appearance of any small business.

The ability to maintain mailboxes gives you the power to receive emails from others. In a business environment, every employee mailbox should have at least 100 megabytes of storage. Less than this can cause messages to bounce back to senders, or worse, simply never get to you.

Creating email addresses and mailboxes should not be hard. Most providers let you do this online and on your own schedule. The same should hold true for managing these company assets. As employees come and go, you (as the owner) need to be able to simply add, re-direct, and delete email addresses and mailboxes. This permits you to easily ensure vital emails are not lost or your company is not misrepresented as your employees change.

Brent Cobb is the Vice President of Product Management, Product Development and the General Manager of Mobile Services for Cbeyond.
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