The Difference Between Residential and Business Internet

There's nothing more frustrating than running a small business with a slow internet connection. It can make plans and operations come to a halt, putting a stop to your sales, customer interactions, and productivity.

If you work from home or have a small office, you may think that migrating from residential internet to business internet might be the answer. However, it is essential to learn first the difference between the two.


How exactly does business internet compare to residential services? Most people are more familiar with residential Internet, so it's best to compare it to business-grade choices and we do that next.

Business Internet vs. Residential

Business internet refers to a particular internet connection for business. It usually comes with faster download and upload speeds, more features, reliable customer service, and guaranteed service.

All these features, however, come with a higher price tag. Residential Internet is the internet you use at home. Generally, residential internet comes with lower starting speeds and asymmetric download and upload rates.


You could get a low-priced internet connection for as little as $20 a month, depending on your area.


The cheapest price should not be the determining factor in business internet versus residential debate. Reckon on what your business might lose in an internet slow down or, worse, a complete outage.

The loss of connectivity and productivity could rapidly drain out the initial savings from choosing residential.


It may ultimately cost you even more. But it won't cost you anything at all to evaluate business internet features and pricing other than a few minutes of searching into what might be ideal for your business' future.


Business internet speeds tend to be two to five times faster than residential connections. More people can do more tasks faster.

Some 20 workers sharing a 5Mbps residential-style connection at the workplace will make scant financial sense when you rely on it to help you complete transactions and earn income.

And, as frustrating as you may find the dragging downloads and eternal uploads of a slower residential connection, they're even more tiresome for your customers.

It may predate the internet, but it still continues to hold up the traditional saying, "time is money."


Residential, and even some business internet providers, keep costs down by offering impressively strong download speeds while glossing over their much weaker upload speeds.

Download speed matters for watching videos and internet browsing. If you are producing content and must get it to consumers, it is important to consider the upload speed.

The same is true for the offsite backup of your data. Business internet connections generally charge the same download and upload speeds, called parity.

Service Level Agreements

SLAs are a service contract between you and your internet provider that outlines performance standards and how you will be compensated if the level of expected service is not met.

ISPs use SLAs to manage customer expectations and clarify when they are not responsible for performance problems or failures. Business customers can understand what to expect from providers.

by being made aware of these parameters, and can compare them to other vendors' SLAs. Residential customers usually receive "best-effort" commitments, which are less binding.

The Bottom Line

Business Internet does have more features and benefits than residential internet, and these are good enough to justify its higher cost. Residential internet often has limited upload speeds and happens to come with only best-effort service agreements.

Business internet requires faster upload speeds to operate. In fact, ISPs provide guaranteed service and uptime for business internet. Saving a few dollars now could cost you later on, as the differences between business internet and residential are critical.

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