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Do you need a managed or broadband service?

When end-users consider options to contract for data and voice communication services, the industry sometimes complicates these discussions by using different terminology and abbreviations. Although the intent of all proposals is probably to explain the offer and its advantages, it could have the opposite effect and confuse the topic.

This discussion considers the definition of a "managed service" vs the definition of a "broadband service". This is one possible area that can create confusion. Even the trusted Wikipedia does not volunteer a clear definition of the terms "managed service" and "broadband service" as applicable to data or Internet communication services.

The 5 differences listed here are just one possible analysis, and there could be different views and perspectives on these service definitions. To complicate matters further, the term "broadband Internet" is also used to define "high speed Internet". For the purpose of this discussion, we are referring to all data networks and not just Internet access networks.

The following 5 areas will help to build an understanding of the two types of data communication services:

#1. How you select your service
The requirements of a Managed Service are mostly discussed during one-on-one meetings between the network engineers and architects of the service provider and the end-user teams. The purpose of these meetings is to define the best solution for the user's needs and often to create a customised network solution. For a Broadband Service, there is no opportunity for customisation and the end-user selects a standard service from a list of available options.

#2 Network integration
Any communication network is only one segment of a bigger solution, such as an ATM network for a bank or a point-of-sale solution for a retail merchant. In the case of the customised Managed Service, there is close collaboration to ensure seamless end-to-end operation of the communication and application networks. For Broadband Services, the integration into the end-to-end solution is either not required, as is the case with normal Internet services, or it is done by the end-user team.

#3 Service levels
Operating service levels such as data usage, data rates and network bandwidth pools for Managed Services will be specifically defined, costed and implemented to meet the end-user criteria and requirements. For Broadband Services, the user service must be selected from an available list of options. 

#4 Support and repair
The support and repair levels are the key differentiators between Managed Services and Broadband Services. Managed Services are provided with strict SLAs which define uptime, time-to-repair etc. with proactive service monitoring and monthly service delivery reports. Broadband Services, on the other hand, are provided with no agreed uptime or equipment time-to-repair specifications.

#5 User group
Managed Services are mostly used by business-critical applications such as for connectivity to ATMs, point-of-sale devices or industrial control applications. Broadband Services are priced better for individual and non-business critical applications.

Summary
The first order classification of Managed Services is services for bespoke network solutions with specific customised service definitions and enforceable service level agreements (SLAs). Broadband Services are best-effort services which offer off-the-shelf selections with general service levels and no option for customisation.

As an experienced "off-grid" solutions and services provider, Q-KON has the resources to offer highly specialised Managed Services as well as options for Broadband Services. Understanding the different dynamics and being able to operate in complex end-to-end user environments such as the financial services sector, while also being able to offer options for non-business critical applications, is key to our success in providing leading satellite access services.

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