What is a Leased Line: A Guide | Neos Networks

What is a leased line?

Most businesses today are built on data, and the availability and transfer of it can be almost as important as the data itself. Not only do businesses need access to email, internet, telephony and cloud storage, but the majority also rely on the internet to deliver software applications, data analytics and business intelligence.

For those that require a guaranteed connection, one that can run simultaneous collaboration platforms, email access software and data transfer applications, leased line connectivity is worth consideration.

In this blog post we’ll explore the topics; what is a leased line and how it works, advantages and disadvantages, key features, and the potential benefits for your business.

What is the definition of a leased line?

A leased line is a dedicated or uncontended fixed-bandwidth connection that offers symmetrical download and upload speeds. The word ‘leased’ means that the connection is rented by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) directly to a business, resulting in a much higher service level than is possible with a standard broadband connection.

What are the key features of a leased line?

A leased line is:

  • Dedicated which means that each leased line is for the exclusive use of a single business. That means there is no sharing of lines between multiple customers, with a built-in physical separation between every connection. There is also no need to worry about a connection slowing down or dropping out, as there are no other users competing for bandwidth.
  • Symmetrical which means the upload speeds are the same levels as the download speeds. This is superior to traditional broadband and is advantageous for those using business applications like VoIP and video conferencing, or when sending large files or backing up data using online services.
  • Guaranteed with a robust and binding service level agreement (SLA) that ensures the connection will be up and running at all times, and upload and download speeds will always be as fast as specified in the contract. When a standard broadband connection fails, a business could lose its internet connection for a considerable period of time, even days. With a leased line, in the unlikely event of a major connectivity issue, the ISP will know straight away and take immediate action, while working against pre-determined SLA fix times.

How does a leased line work?

A leased line works in a similar way to a fibre optic broadband connection. It uses the same technology, sending pulses of light down a fibre optic cable to create a binary code, represented by the light either being on or off. These light states are captured by sensors and converted into the ones and zeros of digital data.

In a leased line, the light is travelling through silica glass rather than a vacuum, and it’s also bouncing around in there, so the light is slowed down. Fibre is still much faster than copper wire, and the main limiting factor is how quickly the equipment at either end can send and decode the light signals.

With a leased line, because every line is built for the sole use of a single business with no competing traffic, the achievable speeds are astronomical. Forget speeds measured in megabits per second. With a leased line you can experience one, two, or even ten gigabits per second.

Not only is it fast, it’s also guaranteed. When your package specifies 1Gbps, that’s what you’ll get, all the time, regardless of whether you’re retrieving or uploading data. If you don’t need such high speeds, then simply tailor your package accordingly.

What purposes are leased lines used for?

Leased lines are used by businesses when they need access to fast, reliable data transfer and high-performance connections. Whether you’re a FinTech offering credit-related products and enabling financial transactions, an e-commerce operator with a large and fluctuating inventory, or a design agency regularly transferring high resolution multi-layered images and video files, the chances are you’ll need a leased line. Yet there are many use cases for a leased line, and the reasons aren’t industry-specific.

Perhaps you’re looking to run connections simultaneously across collaboration platforms, email access software and data transfer applications. Maybe your backup systems are in the cloud, you’re adding or revising large quantities of data on your servers on a daily basis, and you need a fast and reliable conduit to ensure there’s no loss of connection to your third-party backup provider. Or you’re using VoIP for your phone system and don’t want the audio to start dropping out or having jitter on the line when you have multiple telephone conversations running concurrently around the office.

Individually, any of these scenarios could mean that you may want to consider a leased line. But when all these separate system demands are stacked up all at once, the benefits of a leased line far outweigh the performance of a traditional broadband connection. And when you factor in the iron-clad service level agreements that come with leased lines, it’s definitely an option worth considering.

What are the advantages of a leased line for your business?

Your business can unlock a wide range of benefits when you decide to invest in dedicated internet access through a leased line. To begin with, your teams will enjoy increased productivity, with rapid access to cloud applications, centralised files and improved levels of collaboration.

In addition, video conferencing will be seamless and uninterrupted, not just because your connections will be superfast, with ultra-low latency and absolutely no perceivable lag, but also due to the symmetrical nature of a leased line connection.

If you rely on information-based decision making, which incorporates business intelligence tools in the cloud, then you can rest assured that your internet backbone will be delivering the response times that you need. Plus, as more apps and services migrate into the cloud, your leased line will take the extra load in its stride.

But it’s not just about rapid download and upload speeds. The advantages of a leased line are also based on security and reliability. When you choose to have a leased line installed, you’ll receive elevated levels of customer service and support. With a SLA that is focused on high availability and fast times to recovery, your business should never have to suffer a prolonged internet outage. And with the right service level agreement, a backup internet service could be provided in the event of a problem. Even if that’s a temporary superfast broadband connection for a few hours, you’ll still be operating.

Are there any downsides to using a leased line for your business?

Leased lines are fast, stable and resilient. They are a vital component of a digital strategy for many businesses. But they cost more and can take longer to install, when compared with a traditional broadband connection.

The installation time could be anywhere from 30 to 90 days, compared with as little as seven days for broadband. Yet the benefits that could be realised are worth the wait. And, if this does cause problems, you could always ask for an interim broadband connection to tide you over.

One thing is certain, leased lines are delivering many tangible business benefits to a wide range of companies across a growing number of verticals. If a leased line seems like the right solution for you, contact one of our experts to explore your options in detail.

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Business Internet FAQs

Take a look at our FAQs for business Internet

  • What is Managed DIA?

    Managed Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) provides the customer with a private connection to the internet where both the router and circuit are monitored and maintained on the customer’s behalf. Service providers will provision IP addresses for the customer and configure these upon a router. Once live, they will pro-actively monitor the service and keep software versions up-to-date.


  • Does your business need DIA?

    If you're looking for high performing internet access that's consistent and dedicated to your business, then DIA should be considered. It offers fast upload and download speeds and quality of service. Plus with speeds up to 10Gbps, you can rest assured that you have the capacity requirements to support a growing business.

  • What are the differences between Managed DIA and wires-only DIA?

    Wires-only DIA includes the provision of IP addresses, but the customer is responsible for providing a router and configuring the IP addresses on the router. The customer is also responsible for the maintenance and management of that router and software upon it. For Managed DIA, the service provider will provide the pre-configured router, monitor the circuit, router and maintain the router and software.


  • What is a leased line connection?


    A leased line is a private telecommunications network path used by businesses to connect geographically distant offices. A leased line is a dedicated fixed-bandwidth data connection that enables Internet connections, links devices and servers in different corporate offices, carries voice traffic and allows staff to connect remotely through a VPN.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of leased line connections?


    With an uncontended connection that goes directly into your building, you are guaranteed high symmetric speeds. The benefits of leased line are better connectivity and equally fast upload and download speeds. However, leased line connections require investment. They have longer set-up times and are more expensive than Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) connections.

  • What is an IP Transit service?


    Internet Transit connects Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to access larger networks. IP Transit offers a reliable, high-performance and cost-effective solution based on a multi-homed and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) enabled platforms.

  • How much does Dedicated Internet Access cost?

    As connectivity continues to improve, tariffs for dedicated internet access have come down significantly in recent years. Businesses can now benefit from dedicated connections for hundreds of pounds per month, rather than the four-figure sums of the past. Of course, prices will depend upon the speed of the connection you require. 

    We offer fibre circuit access across the UK, at speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 10Gbps, as well as Ethernet over FTTC/P access options that support a range of lower bandwidths, from 80/20Mbps to 1000/220Mbps. Your bandwidth is scalable, so you can step it up or down as your business needs change, regardless of data usage. Also, by using a large number of points of presence (PoPs) and multiple access providers, we keep connection costs lower.

  • What’s the importance of a Dedicated Internet connection?

    Today more than ever, a reliable internet connection is vital to the smooth running of most businesses. A fast connection can increase the productivity of your employees, while a poor-quality connection that regularly drops out can bring a halt to work and cause frustration among your personnel. A Dedicated Internet connection will ensure that the speed and reliability of your connection won’t be affected by other local users, through the avoidance of the public internet, keeping your operations going, no matter what.

    There are various transport options for dedicated connections, including Full Fibre Ethernet, Fibre to the Premise and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTP and FTTC), Ethernet over Fibre to the Premise (EoFTTP) and Ethernet over Fibre the Cabinet (EoFTTC) and Ethernet First Mile. However, they all have these characteristics in common:

    • Guaranteed bandwidth
    • Synchronous download and upload speeds
    • Low latency, with minimal delays in data transmission
    • Better throughput, allowing more data to be transferred faster
  • What is the different between DIA and broadband connectivity?

    When it comes to DIA versus broadband, both hold similarities. So why take one over the other? The main difference between the two services is that, when taking a DIA connection, the service is dedicated to your business alone. This means you're not sharing your connectivity with other users in the area and so will benefit from lower latencies and less contention on the line. In addition, capacities are typically higher for DIA services. Ideal for those looking to flex their connectivity as their business grows.

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