In the past year, Gigabit installations (or FTTP/Fibre to the premises) have surged – largely down to the push and assistance from government, along with more consumer-friendly pricing options. As mentioned in our previous (blog), there are a whole host of benefits of installing Gigabit internet in your business – however there are some areas of upgrade to take into consideration also.
If you’re in a larger building, such as a Hotel, Care Home, Warehouse, large office, GP practice or other, it’s likely you’ll have some form of structured cabling throughout the building. This may be for phone system, desktop computer, or WiFi connections – if the cabling installation was carried out before the last couple of years, it’s likely it could be ‘Category 5’ cabling. Cat 5 cabling was great in its time, capable of speeds of up to 100mbps, however this is the maximum speed the cable can carry, meaning the benefits from a new Gigabit internet connection would not be realised by the end-user. Category 6 cabling (Cat 6) is the minimum level of cabling we deploy on projects, meaning even if the customer doesn’t yet have speeds of 1,000mbps+, when this does become available to them they can utilise the full benefits on all devices throughout the building. Whilst most consideration when installing Gigabit internet is down to the speeds, local availability, provider and pricing, the devices of which its use is intended along with the infrastructure within the building are all, of course, just as important.
Desktop PC’s, Laptops and other such devices may also not perform to their full potential with a Gigabit internet connection. You can check the capabilities of your device through ‘settings > control panel > network card’, which will indicate the speeds it’s capable of. Again, if the network card of your PC or Laptop is only capable of a maximum of 150mbps, this is the top speed you’ll be able to realise on the device – even with a Gigabit internet subscription. So, if you’re considering having a Gigabit internet connection installed in your premises, considerations of hardware on-site, such as devices mentioned above, is paramount in order to achieve a future-proofing solution across the board, and that all members of staff can benefit from the increased productivity and efficiency on their own devices.
The WiFi access points (which emit the WiFi signal throughout the building) need to be capable of Gigabit speeds in order to realise the full speeds & bandwidth of your new Gigabit internet connection. Generally speaking, access points produced pre-2019 will be unlikely capable of catering for Gigabit speeds, and are generally not capable of more than 200/300mbps. So, whether you have access points in your building currently, or you’re choosing a provider to install them, the first point to check is the speed & bandwidth the system is capable of. All access points & networking equipment we install is capable of ‘WiFi 6’ or Gigabit speeds.
This depends on the form of cabling throughout your building – is it standard ethernet, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6?
Cat 5 cabling is capable of speeds of up to 100mbps – this is the cap, so regardless of whether you have 1,500mbps Gigabit speeds coming into the premises, this can’t be distributed at this level on Cat 5….the maximum is 100mbps.
Cat 5e cabling is capable of speeds of up to 1,000mbps…again, if your incoming internet connection is capable of speeds upward of this, you will not realise any benefit above 1,000mbps.
Cat 6 cabling is capable of up to 10,000mbps (within a certain distance), which in terms of UK standards, the installation of which can be recognised as very securely future-proof. As the government ‘rolls-out’ gigabit internet, along with multiple providers, speeds are greatly increasing across the country. The maximum frequency of Cat6 is capped at 250MHz.
Cat 6a cabling is capable of up to 10,000mbps (the same as Cat6, in this respect), and has a maximum frequency of 500MHz.
So, overall when deciding on making the move to Gigabit internet for your business, there are undoubtedly many benefits of doing so – both in terms of staff performance, efficiency and overall business success. As mentioned, there are a couple of considerations to take into account to ensure once your new solution is deployed, it can make a difference to your business in all intended areas.