To Manage or Not to Manage ISPs – Should that Be the Question?

There are many Internet providers (ISPs) that offer Dedicated Internet Access. But what does that term really mean? And what does it mean for you the customer?

Options for Access

Generally, Internet Service connects a business’s applications to the Internet. Often, two types of service are available:

  • Internet Access with Managed Router where your ISP provides and manages the router
  • Internet Access with Customer Managed Router

The distinction is whether the router that connects you is provided by your ISP or provided and managed by you. Which should you choose?

Customer Managed Internet – the DIY option:

Consider this: If you manage your own Internet connectivity, you will be expected to  provide your own router. This leaves you with the following router tasks:

  • Configuration
  • Installation
  • Management
  • Monitoring
  • Maintenance

Even for a do-it-yourselfer, these tasks can be painful, or at least time consuming. But any time you choose DIY access, the provider’s responsibility ends with the termination of the access line at your business location. You take it from there.

For example, if you have a background in IP or router management, you may be more comfortable with a custom implementation, and you may want to control your own traffic flow rather than having that responsibility managed by your Internet provider.

There are some advantages to doing this. You are able to change the router whenever you feel the technology has changed enough to warrant it. You also have the flexibility to:

  • Upgrade technology when you want
  • Control your costs better if you manage your access
  • Manage your bandwidth usage yourself

ISP Managed Router – an End-to-End Approach

By contrast, Internet Access with a Managed Router provides managed, “end-to-end” Internet connectivity for customers who prefer complete vendor-provided solutions for their connectivity needs.  Equipment is provided and configured by your Internet provider, installed at your location, and monitored, managed, and maintained by the provider.   This is what is meant by “End to End.”

Should you choose this option, you may want to ask the provider how often they change routers based on technology upgrades.  Also, you should find out what kind of reporting capabilities are available to you for better management of bandwidth.  One idea is to set up an annual or semiannual review with your ISP to see how the technology is progressing.

Managing the router yourself also means managing the network that the Internet service rides on. This could cause more headaches than it saves.  But both methods are worth considering.

There are several other advantages to Internet service with managed router, including network operations support, network usage reports, fault isolation and problem resolution, security procedures, software and configuration support, and others. I will discuss these advantages in future posts.

Which topics would you like to hear more about? Is your business using a Managed or DIY connectivity approach?
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