What is a leased line and how does it compare to other products?

Education Series: What is a leased line?

The OptaNet Education Series covers the most commonly asked questions. In this post we provide all the information you need to know about leased lines. For more information please contact 0203 475 3610 or visit our leased line overview page.

What is a leased line?

Put simply, a leased line is a circuit between two or more locations, delivered by an internet services provider for a monthly fee.

Although they can be used to provide internet, they can also be used to connect different geographical buildings or into a data centre. Direct internet access and managed internet access are names given to a leased line that is specifically used to deliver internet to a business. Ethernet leased line and fibre leased line are top level names for all uses of a leased line (such as point to point – see later). We have a page detailing all our leased line products.

Will I need any equipment?

This depends on the type of leased line that you would like. If used for internet, then there will be an equipment requirement.

In this case, network termination equipment (NTE) will be installed on site and our Cisco router will need to plug into this to allow us to manage and monitor the network. LAN equipment can be provided upon request but this is usually looked after by your IT Support company. If you don’t have one, we can provide firewalls, WiFi routers and switches.

How reliable are leased lines?

Leased lines are arguably the most reliable connectivity product on the market and come with the best SLAs.

Your circuit will be buried deep underground, surfacing only to go into your premises where it will terminate in your comms room or office. Resilience built in at the exchange means downtime only usually happens only if someone interferes with the equipment or there are power issues at your premises. Any essential maintenance is done at midnight and you are notified weeks in advance. Issues can occur though, and it is our job to help you mitigate any downtime. That’s why if budget allows, we create a fully resilient solution (second leased line or wireless leased line) using diverse paths into the building, thus giving you a 100% uptime service level agreement.

What bandwidths can I choose?

Choose the bandwidth that suits your business now, and increase during your contract term as your business grows.

Bandwidth flexibility is a key benefit to a leased line. You can choose from 10Mbps up/down and increase in multiples of 10 up to 100Mbps. If your business requires more, you can choose to have a 1Gbps (1000Mbps) bearer, which means you can choose bandwidths in multiples of 100Mbps up to 1Gbps up/down. 10Gbps leased lines aren’t that uncommon now. An increase during your contract term will not mean you need to sign to another three or five years either.

How much do leased lines cost?

Leased lines vary in price due to a number of factors inclulding bandwidth requirement and location.

It isn’t possible to provide a standard price for every location in the country due to the number of factors, including:

  1. Bandwidth required
  2. Bearer (100Mb, 1Gb or 10Gb)
  3. Distance of line between points (exchange/data centre or other office)
  4. Whether the circuit is managed or partially managed (wires only)
  5. What equipment is provided (if any)
  6. Length of contract (12, 36 or 60 months)

What are their benefits?

Leased lines are considered the best possible circuit for businesses due to their reliability, support levels, uptime service levels, bandwidth flexibility and security.

A leased line is a fibre connection directly into your comms room or office and not used by anyone else. This means you are in control of the bandwidth, that you are also able to increase at any time during your contract term should you need to. They are also synchronous, meaning you get the same download as you do upload. If you are concerned about downtime, most leased lines come with an uptime guarantee of 99.95%, although we offer ours with 100% when taken out with a backup circuit. You’ll also have 24/7 365 support from a UK support team, and your circuit performance will be monitored by Technical Team via screens in our Brighton HQ. To see the SLAs for each of our leased lines, please visit our leased line page.

What about wireless leased lines?

We offer wireless leased lines and these are excellent products if line of sight is available and you need something installed quickly.

Wireless leased lines offer similar benefits to their wired counterparts and can deliver bandwidths up to 2Gbps. We often install these as failover circuits in conjunction with a primary wired leased line, thus providing clients with a 100% uptime SLA. Wireless leased lines aren’t available throughout the UK, but in major towns and cities. Contact us to see if they are available to you.

What is a Point to Point circuit?

Direct connectivity between two or more premises, or to a data centre are common uses of leased lines.

If you have businesses in different geographical locations, you’ll want to make sure they can all communicate with each other securely and reliably. You may also have information stored in an offsite data centre that you need to get access to. This type of leased line is called a Point to Point circuit. Your data will be more secure, performance will be more reliable, and using VoIP connectivity, businesses can benefit from free calls between their sites.

What is the installation process?

Leased line installation will depend on a number of factors but it all comes down to the availability of fibre in your premises.

Once we have discussed your requirements and you have sent back your signed quote, we organise for an engineer to visit you. They look at where the circuit will terminate, whether there’s fibre already available or it needs to be brought into the premises. They will report back and tell us if Excess Construction Charges (ECCs) are required. If there are any costs associated in this process you can either choose to pay them or cancel the project without any penalty. A wayleave is often required where we need permission from the building landlord to install the circuit. Once fibre is available, network termination equipment (NTE) is installed and then after final fit and test, the circuit is brought live.

Isn’t 330Mb broadband better?

This depends on what you class as better. 330Mbps is a headline grabbing speed, but do you need that?

Leased lines have far better benefits and features, plus you’re in control of your internet. Broadband is cheaper. So you need to work out what’s your business can afford and whether you’re okay with downtime with broadband. A steady and reliable 30Mbps up/down or a more unreliable internet anywhere from 0Mbps up to 330Mbps. Your employees won’t all be using the internet at exactly the same time so don’t get sucked in with the headline grabbing speeds. Faster does not always mean better. We have a number of Ultrafast Broadband products for you to choose, such as and FTTP, if budget is a key factor.

Leased Line Products

We have a range of leased line products ranging from 10Mbps to 10Gbps down/up. For more information call 0203 475 3611 or email