For most organizations, a reliable internet connection is a lifeline to business productivity and customer communications. An Internet Service Provider should provide your enterprise with the connectivity it needs. To maintain business continuity and productivity. Your ISP should also be capable of accommodating ever-changing business needs. With an emphasis on a reliable and secure Internet connection. But sometimes there are connectivity problems with ISP.

The reality is that in most cases, companies are unhappy with their current Internet Service Provider and experience more problems than they were led to believe at the beginning of the contract.  The main problem with using an ISP is they can promise you the world regarding connection quality, broadband speeds, state-of-the-art service. And other services which can make the offer look attractive.  But when you get down to the nitty-gritty, there are underlying issues regarding ISP infrastructure which they never disclose when you inquire about their services.

Causes of Connectivity Issues

Depending on your connectivity needs there can be a variety of different problems which can cause your company to complain about poor service, connection quality, traffic issues, connection speed, and other issues.  However, there are a few issues that tend to remain constant across the board when it comes to enterprise connectivity.

  • Address Aggregation

    Most Internet Service Providers use what is known as IP address aggregation. Where the ISP allocates a block of IP addresses to which each customer assign a range of addresses as a subnetwork.  Instead of using an entry for each of the subnets, the ISP aggregates the entire range of addresses assigned by the Internet registry and then advertises the network to the Internet community.  A result is a reduced number of entries in the global routing table.

  • Small MTU Size

    MTU stands for Maximum Transmission Unit and used by the Transmission Control Protocol or TCP.  The purpose of the MTU is to define the packet size used. By Transmission Control Protocol for each instance of data transmission.  If the size of the MTU is too large, the packet may encounter retransmission if a router exists. Which cannot handle a package of this size.  On the other hand, if the MTU size is small, this can mean additional overhead for packets. Which have to be handled and forwarded.  So, most ISPs use a standard MTU size or less which can have a devastating effect on broadband performance.

  • DHCP Problems

    DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is responsible for supplying the address and server data. Which is to use on each client device.  When a DHCP server is not configured correctly this causes problems with device connectivity on a network.  Some of the issues can include but are not limited to the server being unable to allocate addresses, distribution of addresses. Which are already assigned to specific devices or servers, clients having problems reaching external networks, and other related issues.

  • Server Delivery Rate

    An ISP offers plenty of bandwidth with low latency, the service can still be slow if individual daemon overloads.  Each daemon by an ISP service is only capable of handling a specific amount of requests per second. And this number based on the server software used by the ISP provider.  So, in this case, the problem is likely on the server end for the ISP.

  • Latency

    Connectivity problems with your ISP can be related to latency which can compromise the speed of a connection. Latency refers to the minimum amount of time it takes to establish communications over a network.  It can be related to a combination of in-house configurations and hardware and its distance from the ISP server.  The hardware implemented on both ends of the connection will also impact latency and the quality of the link.

  • Bandwidth  
  • So, the amount of bandwidth that is allocated by the ISP has an impact on the amount of data that transfers over a connection.  The maximum speeds that are claimed by an ISP will be set by the amount of bandwidth.  Other ISPs may promote bandwidth according to connection type such as T1, T3, etc.
  • Load

    The load which is being carried by the Internet Service Provider can have a devastating impact on connectivity. Especially if the ISP moves heavy loads during regular business hours.  An ISP that typically carries a light load will be able to provide you with a more reliable connection. So, then one that services a large customer base.

These are a few of the issues which your ISP may or may not disclose. That can wreak havoc with the quality of your Internet connection.  If you are not aware of these underlying issues, it makes it difficult to troubleshoot the link. To get the results you expect from an ISP provider.

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Photo credit Flickr/anokarina

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