Springthrough Thoughts

Grand Rapids Has A New Way To Improve Business Internet Speeds

Jun 14, 2016 by

When one of our team members mentioned a new fiber Internet provider coming to Downtown Grand Rapids, our team at Springthrough was automatically intrigued. Fiber Internet is known to provide better business Internet speeds, and we thought it was worth investigating to see the cost difference. Who doesn’t want better value from their Internet Service Provider (ISP)? It was perfect timing when we came across LightSpeed Communications.

It just so happens that the Grand Rapids offices for LightSpeed were a couple blocks away from Springthrough. We met with the owners of LightSpeed for lunch, and they clearly explained their services and pricing model, as well as their availability for coverage. While LightSpeed was new to us, they actually came from Lansing where they had great success. They want to replicate that work here.

LightSpeed offered a fiber connection, which gives us more Internet bandwidth (i.e. a higher capacity for data use) for a less expensive price. Of course, the two ISP’s we already had would have been able to match the bandwidth, but they could not match the price. They also could not match how quickly LightSpeed could install the fiber in our building.

We had been using a US Signal fiber connection at 50mb/50mb as our main connection and a Comcast Business cable connection at 150mb/20mb as our backup connection. Instead, we decided to transition to LightSpeed in as our main connection and move US Signal to our backup connection, and completely remove our Comcast connection. 

The process surprisingly took less than two months!

In the first month, LightSpeed obtained the permits to run fiber to our building and then took a few days to get the fiber connection into our data center. Once the connection was in place, we realized we needed to upgrade our dual firewalls.

Really, we should have completed a hardware investigation before the service was implemented. You can purchase extremely fast business Internet, but if your hardware isn’t built to handle that capacity, your improvements will only go so far. You will move as quickly as your slowest piece of equipment. When we purchased our hardware years ago, we didn’t realize we would have access to real 1gb asymmetrical fiber Internet in the near future. We had some upgrading to do.

We evaluated our equipment and created a plan for investments. Most importantly, we needed to upgrade our dual firewalls to allow the throughput for the connection. We did that right away. Other equipment, like our wireless access points, will work for now, but we will likely upgrade in the coming years. And luckily, some equipment will continue to work fine for the foreseeable future. Our switches, for example, were built to handle 1 gb Internet.

If you’re considering LightSpeed as a possible Internet connection for your home or business, make sure to check out their availability in Downtown Grand Rapids (map above). Also, to make the most of your new connection, plan ahead on your hardware. You wouldn’t want to have the quickest Internet in town but be bottlenecked by your hardware (firewalls, switches, access points, and even internal cabling).

Another item to consider is a failover Internet connection. We depend on LightSpeed, which boasts 99.9% uptime, but our business cannot afford to be down in the event of that .01%, so we have our backup connection that automatically fails over through via our firewalls. It’s not hard to do, but preparation is key.

If you do not have any technical staff, IT knowledge, or someone to turn to, I would highly suggest getting someone lined up prior to making the leap to LightSpeed fiber Internet. You want to cover all your bases, so your transition is a smooth one. Trust me, your team will appreciate it. Springthrough would be more than happy to assist in getting you on the right path.

We recommend LightSpeed fiber Internet because of their value, bandwidth, and excellent customer service. We have such faith in them we’ve actually partnered to host some of their fiber equipment in our data center for failover on their part. We couldn’t be happier.


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