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Why Choose BT's BTnet Leased Line: Key Benefits Explained

Why Choose BT's BTnet Leased Line: Key Benefits Explained

A BTnet Leased Line offers unrivalled speed, bandwidth and reliability which makes the service a good choice for businesses that rely heavily on internet connectivity.

With one of the best Service Level Agreement's (SLA) across all leased line providers, businesses experience high uptime with single circuits or even improved uptime with dual resilient, divers circuits

Why Choose BTnet?

BTnet is typically chosen by SME and large Global Enterprise business because of three main value-add areas:

  1. The BTnet Service Level Agreement
  2. Cybersecurity partnerships with Cisco Meraki and Fortinet
  3. UK, European and BT Global Services IP Backbone
  4. No 1 rating by Netcraft
  5. Brand recognition and trust

We'll discuss the BT Leased Line SLA in more detail within this article but in short, the SLA provides guarantees across uptime, network performance, fix times and delivery.

BT's partnership with Meraki and Fortinet offer much needed threat protection, virus scanning, Firewall and web filtering. In addition, choosing Meraki means your business is also provided with strong WiFi performance which is easily managed and monitored using the BT provided web portal.

Perhaps one of the overlooked areas when customers consider BTnet is the backbone coverage (I.e. their IP network). The majority of your traffic will remain on the BT backbone which results in better network performance because traffic does not need to traverse multiple hops (or rather, multiple networks). The result is simply better Cloud application performance, especially for Voice or Video and any application which requires fast responses.

Netcraft are recognised as the No 1 leased line provider which provides further confidence across capability especially when combined with the overall BT brand recognition.

Bandwidth Comparison with Broadband

BTnet Leased Lines offers a speed advantage when compared to traditional broadband connections. Although FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is capable of matching download speeds up to 900Mbps, the upload bandwidth is much lower. With BT Leased Lines, bandwidth is symmetrical so you'll receive the same upload and download performance. 

The maximum upload/download speed achievable on a BTnet circuit depends on the circuit bearer. BTnet offers circuit sizes of up to 10Gbps, which in turn determine the service bandwidth (or port speed) and ultimately the service speed on offer. 

Overall, BT's BTnet Leased Line delivers an improved internet connection experience, with greater bandwidth flexibility and symmetrical upload and download speeds. These features make it an attractive option for businesses looking to upgrade from traditional broadband.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.netify.com/learning/everything-you-need-to-know-about-btnet

  2. https://business.forums.bt.com/t5/Blogs/BTnet-An-overview-of-a-leased-line-for-business/ba-p/87590

  3. https://business.bt.com/products/networking/bt-leased-line/

  4. https://help.business.bt.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/11602/~/broadband-vs-leased-lines-%7C-differences-&-benefits-%7C-bt-business

Cost and Pricing

When pricing BTnet, customers need to consider their options as follows:

  • The BTnet edge device - you can choose from standard Cisco routers, Meraki or Fortnet edge devices with Cybersecurity options.
  • Bandwidth - all circuits are now delivered on 1Gbps circuits (10Gbps is available) with the initial tier starting at 100Mbps.
  • Resilience and diversity - BTnet can be architected with no single point of failure by using 2 diversely routed Openreach circuits which are designed with complete separation (subject to survey).

For standard pricing examples, the Netify BT Partnership is able to provide a 3-year contract term with a bandwidth of 100Mbps using a Cisco 800Mb router, the monthly cost is £325.

Similarly, for a 5-year contract term with a bandwidth of 1Gbps using a Cisco up to 1Gb router, the monthly cost is £495.

In addition to the Cisco routers, BTnet Leased Line also provides options for Cisco Meraki routers. For example, a 3-year contract with 500 Mbps bandwidth using a Cisco Meraki 1Gb router is priced at £535 per month. As a comparison, the same bandwidth and router option for a 5-year contract is priced slightly lower at £470 per month.

It is essential to factor in any potential installation costs when considering the leased line total cost of ownership. These costs may vary depending on whether the site survey results require additional excess construction charges. Openreach currently cover the first £2800 of excess charges.

BTnet Pricing Considerations@2x

BTNet Leased Line Failover Options: Protection against unforeseen circuit breaks with a second circuit option

Where maximum uptime is a must have feature, BT offer a number of options to create an architecture which includes no single point of failure. 

Failover: This feature activates if the main circuit fails, providing continuous connectivity. Openreach deliver a second circuit that takes over when the primary circuit fails which allows businesses to maintain connectivity in the event of an issue with the primary circuit.

Load Balancing: With this option, both circuits are active and traffic is load balanced evenly across both circuits. If one circuit fails, the other takes the full load, which ensures that businesses can maintain their connectivity without disruption.

BT's BTnet Leased Line also provides Five Ways to Strengthen Connection for added resilience:

  1. Backup Equipment: BT sets up two devices for each circuit with two connection points providing redundancy in case one device fails or is accidentally disconnected.
  2. Diverse Routing: The two circuits enter the building via different routes which offers added protection against potential breaks in the line.
  3. Exchange Resilience: Circuits originate in different exchanges to protect against rare exchange failures that could affect connectivity.
  4. Site Diversity: Circuits can be taken into different office buildings sharing a local network, offering added resilience in case a single building experiences an issue.
  5. Core Networking Routing Diversity: Circuits are kept separate within BT's core network to ensure optimal resilience and protection.

By offering a range of failover options, BT's BTnet Leased Line ensures that businesses can maintain a reliable and resilient internet connection even when the primary circuit suffers a couple outage. 

BT RO2 (Resilience Option 2), formerly known as RAO2 (Resilient Access Option 2) is BT's solution for providing BTnet leased line circuit diversity.

Where possible, Openreach will utilise dual building entry points but many structures, especially listed ones, offer only one entry.

Tail circuits, extending from the building to the BT Exchange, benefit from the use of dual Exchanges for enhanced resilience. However, shared cable ducts can pose challenges, sometimes necessitating innovative solutions which includes overhead fibre options from OpenReach.

The primary objective of BT RO2 is to eliminate any single point of failure from the customer's premises to the edge of BT's network. True 100% uptime cannot be assured without an initial site survey.

Choosing BTnet Leased Line Cybersecurity options

BTnet Leased Line offers enhanced security with their Cisco Meraki.

BTnet Meraki Firewall Overview@2x

BTnet Meraki Firewall capability

The BTnet Meraki cloud-based management capabilities enable automation features, real-time monitoring and scheduled updates to ensure company wide security policies are upheld. 

The BTnet and Meraki solution provides Layer 7 traffic classification and control, analysing network traffic through advanced fingerprinting and categorising each flow for enforcement based on access control policies. BTnet with Meraki firewalls includes both wired and wireless firewalls and renowned for exceptional security features and capabilities.

BTnet Meraki firewalls are 100% cloud-managed with Layer 7 application visibility, advanced traffic shaping, identity-based policies, web caching and auto VPN self-configuration. Technical specifications include a stateful firewall throughput ranging from 250Mbps to 6Gbps VPN throughput suitable for a wide range of clients and advanced security throughput up to 4Gbps.

The Meraki MX series also supports dual-band channels, 1G/10G fiber and copper interfaces with geo-based IP firewalls. BTnet customers are able to buy BT SD WAN which enables the Meraki MX to manage multiple hub locations with distributed branches and campuses, allowing for cloud security management from a singular location.

The zero-touch management feature ensures that all Meraki firewall models can be remotely installed, configured and managed which reduces the need for physical interventions to further protect against security risks.

BTnet Meraki Threat Protection

BTnet leased lines with CISCO Meraki includes advanced threat protection features which includes the Sourcefire SNORT intrusion detection engine and AMP anti-malware technology depending on the licence (these features require Advanced).

The Advanced Malware Prevention (AMP) inspects HTTP file downloads, blocking or allowing based on threat intelligence from the AMP cloud. The system also provides options to deal with false positives, allowing administrators to whitelist specific URLs or files. Intrusion Detection and Prevention are key components which inspects all traffic between LAN and the internet and between VLANs.

There are three detection rulesets:

  • Connectivity
  • Balanced
  • Security

These rulesets are designed to detect various threats, including malware, SQL injections, and exploit kit activities.

BTnet Meraki supports intrusion prevention which automatically protect the network - administrators can also specify protected networks and whitelist specific SNORT signatures. A comprehensive Security Report is available via the BTnet Meraki portal which offers a visual representation of intrusion detection events, categorised by signatures, networks and clients.

BTnet Meraki Web filtering

Meraki also offers Web Filtering - this feature enables organisations to block specific website categories based on their policies and also offers the flexibility to block or allow individual websites.

For example, while blocking the "Internet Communications" category, exceptions can be made for specific sites - gmail.com or facebook.com. Configurations for content filtering are accessible under Security & SD-WAN > Configure > Content filtering enabling you to block website categories, URL category list size, web search filtering and restricted YouTube content.

Specific URL patterns can be blocked or allowed and the system supports IP addresses in these fields - BTnet Meraki also supports HTTPS filtering. Additionally, group policies can be applied based on Active Directory user groups which means you can configure tailored network experiences. The content filtering prioritises blocked and allowed URL patterns followed by group policy rules and then global content filtering rules.

This hierarchical structure ensures that specific URL exceptions override broader category-based rules, ensuring precise content control. This advanced content filtering is available exclusively with the Advanced Security Edition licensing.

The BTnet SLA (Service Level Agreement)

The BTnet Leased Line SLA includes guarantees around service delivery and network performance with money-back credits provided as compensation if BT doesn't meet these standards.

During the installation process, BT commits to delivering the service on or before the customer committed date (CCD) which is confirmed after a survey. In cases involving excess construction charges (ECC) or complex deliveries a CCD might not be provided and an expected completion date (ECD) is given instead.

It's important to note that these scenarios aren't covered by the SLA. Service delivery is considered complete once the managed customer premises equipment (CPE) and the dedicated circuit connecting the site to BT's network are provided.

If BT fails to meet the CCD, on-time delivery service credits are provided which reduces the connection charge based on the delay. The reductions are as follows:

  • 1-10 working days: 5%
  • 11-15 working days: 10%
  • 16-20 working days: 15%
  • More than 20 working days: 20%

BT aims for a 100% service availability target. In case of an outage, rental charge reductions are provided based on the outage duration:

  • Up to 10 hours of outage: Equivalent to one day's rental charge per hour of downtime.
  • Maximum reduction per quarter is capped at ten hours of outage.

BT also provides a latency guarantee which is calculated as the average of round-trip transmission measurements taken in ten-minute intervals during a month. Results are available on www.bt.net. The latency guarantees vary based on the network:

  • UK core network: Average round-trip transmission time of 20 milliseconds or less.
  • Transatlantic network: Average round-trip transmission time of 95 milliseconds or less.

If the latency guarantee isn't met for two consecutive months, a discount equivalent to one day's rental charge for the service is provided.

Agreed reductions in charges due to the SLA will be paid as a reduction in rental charges, typically within the next two billing cycles. Any disputes concerning the application of the SLA to charges must be notified in writing within two months of the invoice date.

Flexibility and Scalability

BTnet Leased Line provides options for Managed SD WAN capability with transforms the Meraki solution into a VPN between branch-office, HQ sites and remote users. The BT SD WAN service is delivered as co-managed or fully managed service depending on requirements.

Scalability is also a significant advantage offered by the BTnet Leased Line. The service provides access to speeds ranging from 10Mb to 10Gb, catering to various bandwidth requirements of different business needs. As a company expands and its internet demands increase, upgrading the service is straightforward with a simple change required to increase bandwidth.

Internet Access and Applications

Cloud Applications

With the consumption of Google Workspace, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or multi-cloud (combination of Cloud services) providers, BTnet is an important enabler to application performance.

The global reach of the BTnet backbone means your Internet traffic will  remain on a single network (i.e. the BT network) when destined to one of the Cloud vendor data centre locations.

With BTnet's latency and jitter SLA's, users are able to work via Cloud applications without network delay.

VoIP Technology

In addition to supporting cloud applications, BTnet is optimised for voice traffic which includes BT's Cloud Voice and SIP services. Again, low latency network and local QoS (Quality of Service) results in excellent voice and video performance. 

Attribute How BTnet Leased Lines Help
Bandwidth BTnet leased lines provide a stable and high-speed internet connection with a 100% uptime guarantee.
Latency With dedicated connectivity, BTnet leased lines ensure low latency.
Jitter BTnet's stable connection guarantees low jitter (the space between each data packet).
Packet Loss BTnet leased lines offer superior reliability, significantly reducing the chances of packet loss.
Security (Will require additional Meraki features)
  • Encryption: BTnet leased lines employ robust encryption techniques to secure call data - you will need to purchase the correct Meraki capability.
  • Authentication: BTnet ensures the verification of call participants, enhancing security.
Network Infrastructure
  • Quality of Service (QoS): BTnet prioritises voice and video traffic.
  • Server Locations: With a wide network infrastructure, BTnet ensures optimal server locations to reduce latency.

BTnet Leased Line vs Competitors

BT's BTnet leased line service offers several advantages over competing ISPs which include Virgin Media, Colt and TalkTalk as primary competitors.

Provider Cybersecurity SLA Unique Features Awards
BT Advanced threat intelligence, cloud security and managed firewall services. Up to 100% availability with compensation for any downtime. Direct cloud connectivity, 5G-ready, and BTnet resilience options. BTnet has been recognised by Netcraft as the No 1 leased line service in the UK.
Virgin Media Built-in Cisco cybersecurity. 99.85% service availability with 24/7 monitoring. Symmetrical speeds, dedicated internet access, future-proof and flexibility with add-ons. Described as having an award-winning global network.
Colt Emphasis on the security and reliability of their leased line connections. Guaranteed 99.99% SLA. High-speed connectivity, global network coverage, high performance, 24/7 customer support, future-proof and cloud prioritisation. Described as having an award-winning global network.
TalkTalk Advanced firewall and DDoS protection. 100% availability SLA with compensation for any downtime. Direct peering with major cloud providers, full-fibre Ethernet and dedicated internet access. Multiple industry awards for their Ethernet products.

It is essential to note that the best leased line provider for one business may not necessarily be the most suitable choice for another. In this regard, factors such as pricing, customer service and additional features should also be taken into account when comparing ISPs like TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and Colt.

Conclusion

There are a number of reasons to choose a BTnet leased line. The first and primary reason is to avoid the shared infrastructure of the Broadband network which essentially means your network performance is improved across latency, jitter and packet loss due to the dedicated nature of leased lines. The second reason is symmetrical bandwidth, you'll receive the same upload bandwidth vs download which is a marked difference from Broadband. The third is the BTnet SLA which offers 5 hour fix times and service credits if an outage occurs. The fourth is the capability to architect a service which is built with no single point of failure, subject to survey. The fifth and final reason is the recognition by Netcraft which has awarded BTnet as the number 1 performing leased line service in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the pricing of BTnet Leased Line compare to other providers?

The pricing of BTnet (and all leased line providers) is dependent on the business location vs the nearest network PoP (Point of Presence). In general terms, BTnet is viewed as a premium service and is therefore not the lowest cost solution in the market. However, the BTnet SLA, Cybersecurity features and brand more than justify the additional cost.

What level of support is provided by BT for leased lines?

BT offers comprehensive support for BTnet leased lines which includes a 5-hour fix time if something goes wrong with your line. The BTnet support team is available through live chat, phone or email to assist with any issues.

How reliable is the service offered by BTnet Leased Line?

The BT Global IP network is recognised by Gartner as one of their leaders within the magic quadrant. In the UK, BT offer a 100% uptime guarantee with the ability to architect failover circuits with complete separation (subject to survey).

Is BTnet Leased Line suitable for both businesses and homes?

BTnet is designed for businesses and not residential home addresses. While it is possible to install a leased line circuit within a home location, there will be considerable excess construction charges.

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