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What Are Leased Lines? A Buyer’s Guide

What are leased lines?

A leased line is a dedicated connection that provides a private, fixed-bandwidth data link exclusively for your business’s use. Unlike shared services such as standard broadband, a leased line does not have traffic contending for bandwidth, ensuring consistent high speeds and reliability.

Leased lines are typically used by businesses for web-based content distribution, cloud-based applications, voice applications and online backups.

Whilst technically a wide range of services are delivered using a leased line model in practise we find that when searching for “leased line” most prospects are typically looking for a point-to-point business internet connection (sometimes referred to as Direct Internet Access or DIA).

Advantages of a leased line

Here are the typical benefits of a leased line connection:

  1. Guaranteed Bandwidth: Unlike broadband that is shared with other users, a leased line offers dedicated bandwidth to your business alone.
  2. Symmetric Upload and Download Speeds: Leased lines provide identical upload and download speeds, crucial for businesses that rely heavily on uploading content to the internet, cloud services, or transferring large data files between sites.
  3. High Reliability and Uptime: With Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in place, leased lines come with guarantees for uptime and reliability.
  4. Improved Security: Because leased lines are dedicated to a single user they are a safer option for transferring sensitive or confidential business data.
  5. Lower Latency: Leased lines often offer lower latency compared to broadband services because the direct connection does not pass through as many routing points. This is particularly beneficial for applications requiring real-time data transfer, such as VoIP or online trading platforms.

How leased line connections work

A leased line circuit is a dedicated fibre connection directly between two points, typically this is between your business premises and your telecom provider’s point of presence (PoP) providing connectivity to the Internet or to one or more cloud service providers.

With most leased line connections customers lease the service capacity provided by the fibre optic infrastructure, as opposed to an individual physical strand of fibre optic cable. This is achieved through a range of different technologies provided by telecoms providers including Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM), Ethernet over Fibre and VPN technology.

What are managed leased lines?

A managed leased line typically refers to a fully serviced solution that includes:

  • Equipment
  • Configuration
  • Proactive monitoring
  • A service-level agreement (SLA)
  • Support

Some managed service providers also provide a variety of security options including managed IDS/IPS, managed firewall, managed router, and anti-DDOS services.

What’s the difference between a leased line and DSL?

Here are the main differences between a leased line connection and a DSL connection.

Feature Leased Line DSL
Connection Type Dedicated Shared
Speed Symmetry Symmetric (equal upload and download speeds) Asymmetric (faster download than upload speeds)
Bandwidth Guaranteed bandwidth without fluctuation Variable, can decrease during peak times
Reliability and SLA High reliability with SLA guarantees Generally reliable, but with fewer guarantees
Cost Higher due to dedicated service and infrastructure Lower, utilizing existing telephone lines
Target Users Businesses requiring high performance and reliability Residential users and small businesses

What’s the difference between leased line and ULL Fibre?

ULL, or Unbundled Local Loop Fibre, refers to a regulatory framework allowing telecomms companies to access the local loop (the physical circuit connecting the subscriber to the local exchange) of the incumbent operator. In the context of fibre, ULL Fibre means that alternative providers can use the existing fibre optic lines of another operator to deliver their services.

ULL Fibre is about access and competition, allowing multiple providers to offer high-speed internet services to businesses using the same physical infrastructure. It’s a key part of promoting competitive pricing and service innovation in the telecommunications market.

Why should I buy a leased line from Colt?

With a global reach but a deep local presence, Colt is big enough to deliver and small enough to care. We enable the digital transformation of businesses through our intelligent, purpose-built, cloud-integrated network, known as the Colt IQ Network. It connects 850+ data centres around the globe, with over 27,500 on net buildings and growing.

Our leased line speeds range from 10Mbps to 100Gbps and cover the majority of the UK, including excellent coverage in major metro area cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham.

How can I get a leased line quote?

Colt Connect is our leased line availability checker and quoting tool available at https://www.colt.net/connect. Enter your location or address, select Networking on the service options page, enter your details and a member of the team will be in touch with your quote within 48 hours.

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