Business Internet providers typically offer two types of services for two types of customers - Dedicated Internet & Broadband Internet - with vastly different performance metrics.
These are internet services that provide bandwidth in a symmetrical fashion. What that means is your download speeds and upload speeds should equal each other (e.g. 20 MEG x 20 MEG, or 100 MEG x 100 MEG.)
Download speeds are important when "pulling" data from the internet, such as checking for new email, browsing the web, or getting the latest data from an offsite server.
Upload speeds are important for business environments that rely on "pushing" data out to the internet. This includes sending emails, uploading large files, or updating your offsite server with "new data" you have - such as an updated customer profile.
Dedicated internet can be delivered to your business using fiber optics (most common) or copper pairs, such as metro ethernet or even bonded T1’s. Fixed wireless is another method, using line-of-sight with roof mounted antennas.
Also referred to as "shared internet" is a cost effective way to get fast internet speeds without the costs associated with dedicated data. Shared internet means that entire neighborhoods or city blocks can all be sharing the same internet pipe. This reduces your speeds during peak hours, possibly hurting you when you need it most.
Broadband internet is most commonly delivered using cable service providers, satellite or DSL providers. It can also be known as shared fiber – branded as AT&T Business Fiber, Verizon Fios, Frontier Fios, Centurylink Fiber+
Examples of Dedicated vs Shared Internet
Think of how commuters deal with the highway traffic each morning. The speed limit on the highway is set to 70mph, but when everybody jumps on at the same time - speeds are often reduced to 5-10mph. This is the effect of "sharing" your internet pipe.
Now imagine the same highway with your own private HOV lane. You can drive up and down as you please, the speed limit remains 70mph but nobody ever enters your lane! This in essence is your "dedicated" internet lane.
Dedicated internet is typically more expensive than broadband, but for businesses that rely on mission critical internet or don't want slowdown, it's generally worth the premium.