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Internet vs. Ethernet — Which is Right for You?

These days, everyone is looking to connect. Business teams and employees need the freedom to communicate with each other in a secure, efficient way. At the same time, connections to the world at large are just as important.

So, when it comes to the question of internet versus ethernet, trouble understanding what these connectivity solutions offer and how they can impact your day-to-day operations can stall the process of implementing mission-critical service. We want to make sure every business is equipped with the right knowledge to make educated decisions about their business technology, so here’s a little intro to these two networking solutions.


Welcome to the Internet 

In theory, everyone knows what the internet is. The internet is — well, everything. At least it can seem that way from time to time. It’s the place where computers, users and platforms from all over the world can connect, interact and share information. It’s the global web that helps us transmit data from endpoint to endpoint. Still, even with this knowledge under our belt, it doesn’t give us much specificity about what internet service looks like in the business environment.

Internet service in this instance falls under the category of a wide area network — otherwise known as WAN. As stated above, the internet encapsulates a global footprint that leverages a global infrastructure (a sort of network of networks). This is accomplished over WiFi, which is a wireless connection to the network.

This option, being wireless and large-scale, comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. For instance, internet services deliver the ultimate levels of mobility. They don’t have any constraints like connections over Ethernet (which are done through a cable) may have — more on that later. Still, if you don’t utilize DIA (direct internet access), then it can be less secure than Ethernet. Since the data doesn’t travel through a fixed physical connection, it can be more easily intercepted or otherwise interrupted. Internet connections can also be less dependable in terms of speed since it’s often using shared connections that are subject to congestion from other users.

As you can see, internet-based business connections have their value in terms of agility, mobility and accessibility — which are key advantages in a mobile world — yet, there can be some trade-offs with performance. To see the other side, let’s take a look at what Ethernet brings to the table.


All About Ethernet 

Unlike internet connections which work through WiFi, Ethernet connections are physical, transmitting data and information over cables. With Ethernet, the network can only be joined and leveraged by devices that are physically tapped into it. Since the connectivity is physically wired, it’s normally used to cover smaller, more finite footprints. This means that Ethernet becomes a Local Area Network (LAN) solution as opposed to the internet’s WAN solution.

Sure, Ethernet solutions might sound more constricted than internet services, and in some ways they might be — but Ethernet brings some key advantages to businesses as well. The benefits of physically connecting to the network include greater speed, security and reliability. Connections over WiFi can sometimes suffer due to other outside users’ bandwidth usage, as well as how it can be more public and therefore more susceptible to outside interruptions and interceptions.

Ethernet is more safeguarded against these potential roadblocks, making it a great solution for helping centralized customers like school campuses, hospitals or government buildings keep connected. However, if there’s more than one campus to cover or an organization needs a large geographical area to be interconnected, this may be out of range for Ethernet’s specialty. Still, Ethernet’s reliability of speed can help businesses with large files to upload or download keep on pace with digital business without having to worry about lag or jitter.


Making Networking Decisions 

So, which is right for you? Well, there’s no right answer here — it all comes down to your business’s unique size, shape, goals and more. When we weigh the pros and cons, we can see that both internet and Ethernet solutions have great strengths, and both have trade offs. However, in the instances of large businesses that aren’t dealing with highly secure personal information, a standard internet connection might be the clear winner. On the other hand, if there’s a local business that wants to be insulated against outside threats and keep its IT locked down for security, Ethernet may be the way to go.

Of course, there are any number of ways to optimize connectivity for on-the-go, evolving businesses, but knowing the basics of these solutions helps keep digital transformations on track — so every organization can be assured that it’s getting exactly what it needs to thrive.

To learn more about Horizon’s leading Ethernet or Dedicated Internet Access solutions, click here.


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