Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Backing Up Broadband

By: John Shepler

In the last couple of decades, broadband Internet access has gone from being a marginally used business tool to a critical infrastructure for most companies. Both speeds and traffic have increased by orders of magnitude. So, answer this question: “what happens if your broadband goes down?”

If you think that Ethernet makes the world go round, you might just be right. Find products with this design nowWe’ve Quietly Become Dependent
The conversion from traditional to automated business processes and digital communications have taken place so gradually that many companies don’t quite realize what would happen if it all suddenly went dead. You know what happens if you lose power. That facility is temporarily out of business. You know what happens if your data center loses power. Your computer-based processes are out of business. If that’s not acceptable, then what have you done to ensure continuing operations?

The Danger of Single Point Failures
What is the communications equivalent of battery and diesel generator backup for electrical power? It’s one or more redundant communications paths. If you have a single broadband line powering your network, you have what’s known as a “single point failure”. That’s one place where a failure of any sort puts you out of business. You can have all sorts of extra computers, printers, servers, battery backup and people cross-trained to take over whatever is a priority task regardless of who gets sick. It’s all for naught if yours is an online business and there is no way you and your customers can connect.

Start With the Best Line You Can Get
There are broadband services and then there are broadband services. They really break down into two categories. There are telecom services designed for high reliability and often available with service level agreements, a type of performance guarantee. Then there are “best effort” services designed for low cost and no performance guarantees. Which do you suppose is best for your critical operations?

Telecom based services, such as T1, DS3, SONET, Ethernet over Copper and Ethernet over Fiber are examples of dedicated high reliability services. So are MPLS networks if you want to create a private “Intranet” among your own facilities. DSL, Cable, Cellular and other broadband services popular with consumers generally fall into the “best effort” category. Best effort means just that. The carrier will make their best effort to keep you up and running, but there is no guarantee of what that will wind up being.

The Need For Redundancy
Even the best technology can go awry. Amplifiers short out, backhoes cut through copper and fiber cables with alarming regularity, and technicians make mistakes, perhaps disconnecting your circuit instead of the one they intended. Accidents will, indeed, happen, but that doesn’t mean your business has to be the victim.

One tried and true way to protect yourself from equipment failure is to have a backup in place. If one fiber optic line is good, two are better… with some caveats. Redundant lines really need to be independent. Ideally, you want to get them from different carriers who run them in different cable bundles that even leave your facility in different directions.

I remember a few years ago when our Cable company had one of those backhoe mishaps. It took two days to get TV and broadband restored because they had to splice over 100 fiber strands to complete the repair. You could have leased ten of those strands to make your connection redundant and you would have lost everything in one big chop.

Can Cable Backup Fiber?
Business cable broadband can actually be a very good way to get redundancy into your communications without doubling the budget. Cable services have gotten a lot more reliable since they switched from large coaxial trunks to fiber optic runs to the curb or neighborhood.

The DOCSIS 3 standard, that is now almost universal, offers bandwidth capability in the hundreds of Mbps, even up to 1 Gbps in some locations. The cost per Mbps is just a fraction of what you’d pay for Ethernet over Fiber or legacy SONET. That’s because cable service is, indeed, “best effort”, the bandwidth is shared, not dedicated, and the bandwidth is asymmetrical. That is, download speeds are much higher than upload speeds.

Taking all that into account, you may sleep a lot better at night knowing that if your premium dedicated fiber takes a hit, you can continue operations uninterrupted with broadband cable that is unrelated to your main service. You simply need a way to ensure automatic failover so that your employees and customers won’t see a service interruption.

Other Options
Some companies are quite happy to have T1 lines, Ethernet over Copper, two-way satellite, or even 4G LTE wireless as backup services for their main channel. Any channel that is completely independent is a good backup candidate. The only real limitation to any of these is the amount of bandwidth available and latency low enough not to impact what you are doing with the broadband connection.

Are you feeling that a single high capacity line is leaving you vulnerable to a service interruption? Why not look into an affordable broadband backup service for peace of mind?

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.


Note: Products with the theme "Ethernet Cables Earth" shown on this page are available through the Gigapacket Zazzle Store.



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Broadband for the Bandwidth Starved

By: John Shepler

To say that we live in a connected society sounds like belaboring the obvious. It’s seems clear that everyone, and especially everyone in business, has pretty much claimed their piece of the bandwidth pie. But… not so fast. We’re not ALL connected the way we need to be. There are pockets of broadband wasteland out there that are still starved for bandwidth. If you find yourself in this situation, what hope is there?

Do you also need more bandwidth? Products with this theme are available. Click to see the selection.Yes, Virginia, There IS Broadband
Earlier in the century, there were islands of broadband access and vast areas where dial-up access was all that was available. That situation has pretty much reversed. Today, there is almost nowhere you can’t get at least some broadband Internet access. It’s just a question of what type of broadband service is available and how much you are going to pay.

Fiber Optic - The Cadillac of Bandwidth
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We’re heading toward an almost all-fiber world. There really isn’t anything else that has the capacity of glass fiber strands. Try sending 10 Gbps down a copper pair. That’s only going to happen within a building. That signal is certainly not going to make it across town. The same 10 Gbps is child’s play for fiber. One strand with one laser can provide that bandwidth. You can easily multiply that by 10 to 100 times using WDM or Wavelength Division Multiplexing.

Fiber Everywhere?
You might think it’s fiber, fiber everywhere and not drop to drink. Actually, it might be not a drop to be had. Fiber really is everywhere. That long country road? There’s a good chance there’s fiber buried in the utility right of way. Highways, railroads and pipelines are popular routes for fiber conduit. The reason most of this fiber is invisible is because there are few drops, or places to connect with all that fiber.

That’s changing. What’s happening is that both consumer and business applications have become more bandwidth intensive. The cloud? You don’t dial-up into the cloud. You better have a decent bandwidth connection or you’ll wish you kept those servers at home.

The Fiber - Mobile Connection
Another big driver is mobile broadband. Feature phones are pretty much extinct. Everybody has an iPhone or an Android. Now they’ve got to have a 4G LTE smartphone. The latest apps and streaming content demand 10, 20 or 30 Mbps of bandwidth. In the future, even that capacity will seem like dial-up.

What’s fiber got to do with mobile? What gets transmitted from the towers has to get to the towers in the first place. That’s where fiber comes in. The T1 lines that have traditionally fed 2G and 3G cellular don’t have the capacity for 4G and the 5G to come. Carriers have long since realized this and have have been in a building frenzy to get fiber to the towers. In-town that’s no big deal. Out in the boonies? It’s a major construction project. No matter, there is a lot of fiber going in the ground and connecting to cell towers here, there and everywhere.

The end result is two-fold. One, wireless broadband speeds are going up like crazy (wireless is becoming the fiber for portable and mobile applications). The other benefit is that the actual fiber is becoming available in many, many more locations.

What Fiber is Available?
The ancient standard in fiber optic connectivity is called SONET. It’s far from obsolete, since many if not most long haul networks run over SONET rings. SONET makes a great backbone, but it’s often not the best connectivity for business.

The newer standard is called Carrier Ethernet. It’s an extension of the Ethernet that runs on your LAN. Because they are on the same technical standard, you simply plug your LAN into the Carrier Ethernet WAN and your network connects across town, to another state or around the world. Connect to the Internet using fiber and you have high speed access to your employees, suppliers and customers.

Carrier Ethernet comes in two flavors. Ethernet over Copper is the low speed standard. It runs on twisted pair copper and is good for 10 Mbps or so. Ethernet over Fiber starts at 10 Mbps and goes up to 10 Gbps and beyond. That’s the advantage of fiber Ethernet. It’s pretty hard to run out of bandwidth no matter how big your company grows.

Another advantage is scalability. You can start out at 10 Mbps and go to 100 Mbps or 1000 Gbps any time you want. The fiber can handle it. If you install a fast enough port, chances are that you won’t even have to replace equipment. Just call your provider and request a bandwidth increase.

What If There Still Is No Fiber?
Don’t write off fiber until you’ve gotten a new set of quotes. The fiber footprint for every carrier is changing daily. Just because you got turned down last year doesn’t mean you are still in the middle of nowhere. But… sometimes you still are.

For smaller or less bandwidth demanding businesses, such as small retailers and some farms and ranches, the trusty T1 line may still get the job done. You get a solid 1.5 Mbps up and down. That’s certainly good enough for email, much casual web browsing, and even online ordering. Video? Not so much. But, maybe that isn’t your critical need.

The beauty of T1 lines is that they are available nearly everywhere you can get a landline phone. They can also be bonded to double or triple your bandwidth. In some cases, 10 Mbps is entirely possible. That’s about the limit. Prices per line are a fraction of what they used to be, so you might find T1 is your most affordable option.

Can We Ditch The Wires?
Wireless is also more of an option than it used to be. Those same cell towers that are powering 4G smartphones can also feed a fixed receiver at your location that will give you broadband over your LAN. Today, most businesses are within good signal range of at least one cell tower.

For a lot of applications, bandwidth won’t be your problem. Usage will be. Wireless is a scarce resource, so even the so called “unlimited” plans have “fair usage” limits. If you go over, you’ll pay overage charges or have your service rate limited or cut off. Even so, many businesses are still not Internet-intensive and can get their online jobs done without going over, say, 10 GB per month.

Bird Is The Word
If you are so out in the woods that nothing else will work, there’s always satellite. Yes, you do need to be able to peek through the trees to see the southern sky. Yes, you do need to power the satellite equipment. If neither of those is a big problem, you can get broadband service for sure.

Satellite broadband used to be something of a joke. Bandwidth was pitiful and usage limits were paltry. Newer generations of bigger, higher power satellites have made a lot of those problems go away. You can get decent broadband levels, although nowhere near fiber capability. Still, 5 to 15 Mbps is reasonable for many businesses. Like cellular, there are usage limits on satellite and 10 GB per month is not untypical, although there are higher usage plans available. Once again, this is for web access and email, not video streaming.

The other issue you should be aware of is latency. The big birds are flying some 23,000 miles up there and it takes even a radio wave a half-second or more to get up, down and back again. Latencies of 500 mSec to 1 Sec or more mean that telephone calls over satellite are more like two-way radio conversations. You have to wait your turn. The same is true for video conferencing. Expect other cloud services to be similarly sluggish over geosynchronous satellite broadband.

What Flavor of Broadband Will Satisfy Your Bandwidth Appetite?
Options available to many locations include fiber, T1, cellular wireless and satellite. One of these should be usable for your applications. In many cases, you have more than one choice. Sometimes even cable broadband or high speed fixed point to point fixed wireless service are additional options. How do you know what’s available? It starts with a no-obligation quote from multiple service providers that you can request in just a minute or so.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.


Note: Products with the humorous theme "I Definitely Need More Bandwidth" shown on this page are available through the Gigapacket Zazzle Store.



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Your Next Wire Should Be Glass

By: John Shepler

The telecommunications industry was build on copper wire. So was the computer networking industry. You’re well versed in the installation and maintenance of metal wire technology. Cat5e or Cat6 cabling gets the job done for most of your networking needs. So, why should you be looking at fiber optic exclusively for your next connection?

Find products with the theme of "A Wire Made of Glass" at the Gigapacket Zazzle store.The WAN vs the LAN
Ethernet over copper works great over short distances. That’s why it is so popular for in-house network wiring. Most users don’t have NICs that run faster than 1000 Mbps and seldom really need even that much bandwidth. Running fiber to the desktop seems like an expensive and unnecessary project.

Where fiber shines in-plant is long stretches between floors or other buildings. It’s also important between some networking equipment that really can benefit from 10 to 100 Gbps or higher bandwidths.

The WAN is another matter. Ethernet was originally designed with short interconnections in mind. The specs for Carrier Ethernet added provisions that let common carriers extend your LAN anywhere in-town, between cities or around the world. There’s even a product called Ethernet over Copper or EoC. It uses multiple pairs of existing twisted pair wiring between your location and the telco office.

That gets Ethernet from in the building to several miles away. But that’s the rub. EoC bandwidth falls off with distance. It is intended to be an upgrade from copper-based T1 lines to increase bandwidth from T1’s 1.5 Mbps on up to 10 or 15 Mbps. In some short run situations, that can be increased to 20, 30, 50Mbps or even higher.

Glass Is The Future
You might be surprised to learn that there is almost a stampeded among businesses from their old copper WAN connections to fiber optic service. Most new installations should really take a look at fiber options first. Only if fiber isn’t really needed because of low bandwidth requirements or unavailability in rural areas, do you want to settle for copper services like T1 or EoC.

The first reason, as you probably suspect, is bandwidth. Business bandwidth needs have multiplied recently. The reason is that more and more business processes are being automated for gains productivity. Software is far more sophisticated than is was a short while ago. Multimedia, especially video content, sucks up bandwidth orders of magnitude faster than text based messaging and reports. More jobs that depend on computers or network connected machines combined with more sophisticated processing means much faster connections are needed for communications.

The “Cloud” is another driver. Behind all the magic, the cloud is really just a big, big data center located too far for a LAN connection. The cloud is sold as a way to transform capital investments into monthly expenses and reduce the cost of local maintenance and support staff. Economy of scale and the ability to scale resources for any given user in near real-time are attractive benefits. The one fly in the ointment is network bandwidth.

Cloud-based computing and telecommunications demands a lot more performance from your wide area connections than simple telephone lines or Internet service used primarily for email and casual web browsing. Productivity, along with voice and video performance, depend on high bandwidth, low latency connections.

Not Yesterday’s Fiber
Fiber optic bandwidth service has a history of being expensive and hard to get. That has changed dramatically in recent years. What started off as a niche technology for the telephone companies to transport huge bundles of phone calls between switching centers has morphed into routine connectivity for private line and Internet service. Buildings are being “lit” at a rapid rate to supply fiber optic bandwidth as a utility, something like electricity and water. In today’s information age, digital connectivity really needs to be considered a utility.

Another big driver is the cell phone industry. In the decades since cellular service was introduced, its use has shifted from simple mobile phone calls to full-blown computer applications running on smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. Carriers can’t build out 4G wireless fast enough to meet the demand. The work on 5G is well underway.

T1 lines were perfect for cell towers handling voice traffic and performed well until 3G start to be replaced by 4G. Even bonded T1 lines can’t keep up with 20 or 30 Mbps, much less higher speeds. That means it has become imperative to get fiber to every cell tower. Fiber is no longer rare. It’s being installed in underground conduit and flying on utility poles everywhere you look.

Fiber That Makes Sense For Your Company
The best deals in fiber optic bandwidth right now are for Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) service rather than the traditional SONET telco standards. EoF has the advantages of being highly competitive among multiple carriers, easy to scale up and down in bandwidth, low in latency, packet loss and jitter and a lot lower priced than you may think.

The most popular Ethernet over Fiber services right now are 10 Mbps as an entry level for smaller businesses, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet for most established companies, and 1000 Mbps GigE for medium and larger operations and companies with high bandwidth demands, such as video production or computer aided design and manufacturing. School districts also find Gigabit Ethernet attractive to serve their many facilities.

Are you acquiring bandwidth for a new location or looking to upgrade the copper service you already have? Now is the perfect time to take a look at what’s available in fiber optic bandwidth service for business.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

Note: Products with the humorous theme "A Wire Made of Glass" shown on this page are available through the Gigapacket Zazzle Store.



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Business Needs Unified Communications

By: John Shepler

Time was when there was only one method of electronic communication. It was that heavy black phone on your desk. Now look what we have. Sure, there’s still a black phone on your desk, but it’s a lot lighter thanks to modern plastics and solid state electronics. There’s also a raft of other ways we communicate electronically. How many of these do you use: email, text messages, mobile phone calls and video chats? How about the platforms: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and soon… a watch?

Let's Unify Our Communications mousepad. Find more products with this theme now.One of the biggest communications issues, especially in business, is that all these different platforms and applications don’t necessarily play together well. One solution is to just make sure you have them all with you. That used to mean a pager on the belt, a cell phone in the pocket, a laptop in the briefcase, and somebody to forward you messages from your office when you were in the field. A better solution soon became a crying need.

Let’s Combine Everything into One
The answer that you might expect is to integrate all of these communications systems into one. That won’t really do. There is no one platform that can handle everything equally well. The desk phone is tethered, as is the desktop computer with the nice big screen. The smartphone screen is way too small for a lot of serious work. The tablet makes a ridiculous telephone held up to your ear.

There are forces still pulling in that direction. Enter the “phablet.” It’s a giant cell phone that’s almost, if not really, too big for your pocket. Tablet computers now have clip on keyboards so you can touch type from the coffee house. Laptop computers are shrinking, getting lighter and some have screens that detach from the keyboard and act like tablets. If there was only a way to get a great big screen that you can actually see along with keys that fit your fingers along with a telephone that lets you take calls privately, handles email and text messaging, and all fits neatly in your shirt pocket.

Well, there isn’t. There isn’t even anything on the horizon that fits this description. Someday, the QWERTY typewriter keyboard may become as quaint as the crank telephone. Siri might actually become your best friend and be able to read your mind as well as understand everything you’re mumbling. Something akin to Google Glass may project that big screen in front of your face anywhere. That’s not today, though. Today we need a solution that let’s us communicate anyway we like anywhere we happen to be.

It’s Called Unified Communications
The development that takes what we have and makes it into the closest approximation of what we really want is UC or Unified Communications. The “unified” part means doesn’t mean trying to get one platform to do everything. It recognizes that each device has its strong points and weaknesses. The master solution is to make all of this stuff play together well. In fact, so well that you needn’t be afraid that you are missing out just because you don’t have a particular platform with you at the moment.

A simple example is the lowly telephone call. Every business is still dependent on the telephone simply because it is the only universal medium of voice communications. For a long time, this meant having a business number that you printed on your business cards and a separate home phone number that was printed in “the book.” If you were at home you didn’t get your business calls unless you had a secretary working late to give the caller your home number or forward the call. You came in the next morning and found a raft of pink “while you were out” call sheets on the your desk.

The introduction of the cell phone only made matters worse. Now you’ve got a third phone number that only certain people know. What if they call the office instead of your cell when you are out? Will you miss the sale? Could be.

Unified communications starts with voice mail to replace the secretary and the telephone message sheets. You don’t have to fear missing a call because they’ll leave a voice message you can pick up anywhere. Even better is a “find me follow me” service that routes your calls to wherever you happen to be. With this type of automation you can hand out a single phone number and have it try your office phone, your cell phone or go to voice mail. You can even have it send you an email with the audio file of the call. Toll free number? Just have it routed to your unified business number.

The Technology Behind UC
The most popular platform for implementing unified communications is the cloud. Why? Because the cloud provides a common place to collect and distribute everything with near-infinite resources. All that processing power can easily handle everything from an independent professional up to the largest corporation. You don’t need to make a big capital investment or try to keep up to date on installing the newest features. The cloud provider takes care of that.

Cloud UC is driven by computing power and that computing power understands IP or Internet Protocol. The “Internet” part of IP doesn’t necessarily mean the public Internet. It just means the technical protocol that is also used by the Internet. For security and highest voice quality, you may not want your internal communications on the Internet at all. You will, however, want access to the Internet both in the office and on the road. That can be done carefully so that you use the Internet when you want to but private channels when you don’t.

What UC Can Do For You
Unified communications can be a gateway to both productivity improvement and cost reduction. It augments or replaces your in-house PBX phone system with a more powerful VoIP system that uses a common network with your computers and other digital devices. You can get tools for ease of collaboration among employees as well as the obvious single phone number benefits. Your laptop becomes your desktop with remote desktop access. Voice and video conferences can take place anywhere with a diverse group scattered in offices and hotel rooms around the globe.

Will all this cost a fortune? It’s probably cheaper than you think and may even offer all the new benefits at a lower cost than you are paying now. There’s only one way to find out. Get a set of competitive quotes for unified communications solutions and review the benefits and costs specific to your situation.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.


Note: The humorous mousepad about unified communications, along with many other items in the same theme, is available from the Gigapacket Zazzle store.



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

10 Mbps Fiber Offers Future Growth

By: John Shepler

There’s nothing that stifles productivity and raises your blood pressure like too little bandwidth. You wait and wait and wait for websites to load, for the cloud to give you the requested documents, for any sort of collaborative effort. Video breaks up or buffers. VoIP phone calls distort or hang up completely. It’s a miserable existence. What’s more, no amount of processor power or RAM memory will make the problem any better. You simply have to increase your network bandwidth to match the need.

Caution Low Bandwidth humorous warning sign. Get this or other unusual tech gifts now.What’s a Good Target Bandwidth?
That’s hard to say. Not to be coy, but how much you need is really determined by what you are doing. There’s also a matter of what quality of bandwidth you are using, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Classic T1 lines are about pooped out. They still have merit for point of sale terminals, small office telephone & casual Internet use, and rural areas where choices are few. You can stave off obsolescence by bonding T1 lines together to get up to 10 Mbps, but that gets expensive. Once you need more than 10 Mbps, what will you do?

The Fiber Option
We’re headed for an all-fiber world. Seems like it would be a good idea to get on-board sooner rather than later. The beauty of fiber is that it isn’t technically limited… at least not much. With multiple fiber strands and wavelength division multiplexing, you’ll be hard pressed to run a fiber cable out of capacity.

Fiber has other benefits, too. In addition to eliminating the bandwidth ceiling (you can get up to 10 Gbps in most areas and 100 Gbps in some major markets), the new Carrier Ethernet services are highly scalable. Legacy SONET fiber optic services require a unique interface for every service level. The same equipment won’t work for OC-3, OC-12, OC-48, etc.

Ethernet over Fiber is designed differently. It works more like the Ethernet on your LAN. It’s the port capability that sets the upper limit. Everything below that is available and easily changed. For instance, you can start off at 10 Mbps, move up to 100 Mbps and then to 1000 Gbps if you have a Gigabit Ethernet port for your WAN (Wide Area Network) service.

How difficult is it to change bandwidths? Almost trivially easy. Most service providers will do it within hours or days of your phone call. Some are providing browser based control panels so you can adjust your bandwidth up or down as desired. The future may be something like this or an intelligent system that monitors your traffic levels and automatically decides what bandwidth to order up.

Why 10 Mbps is a Good Entry Point
To gain the benefits of fiber, you have to at least get the fiber installed. This is called “lighting” your building. What’s actually being lit are the fiber strands themselves with laser light. If you are in a multi-tenant building, the fact that the building itself is lit almost guarantees that you can get fiber bandwidth service even if you aren’t the one who had the fiber installed.

So, if you’ve run out of juice with your T1 lines, either can’t get or don’t like the way cable broadband performs, and wouldn’t consider satellite because of the limited capacity and huge latency issues, entry level fiber may be a good way to go. Remember, you want to get a foot in the door so you have that ease of upgrade later.

What’s a good number to start with? Unless you are used to high bandwidth WAN connections, a 10 Mbps ethernet over fiber connection is pretty attractive. For one thing, it’s a huge jump from a 1.5 Mbps T1 line to 10 Mbps. Yes, you can keep bonding T1 lines to get the same 10 Mbps, but you’ll pay a lot more than for the same bandwidth over fiber. That’s because copper lines are priced per line. Each line has a limited bandwidth. The bonding process simply combines their capability, but you pay for each and every T1 line.

Isn’t Fiber Really Expensive?
That used to be true when the only fiber in town was the SONET fiber optic service run by the local telephone company. The newer Ethernet over Fiber services are highly competitive and don’t necessarily use telephone company lines. Many carriers are now in a frenzy to be the first to light buildings with their own fiber networks so they can garner all the businesses that are ready to move up to fiber bandwidth.

Here’s an example. T1 lines have come down in cost, but you’ve long been able to get twice the bandwidth or 3 Mbps for the same price using Ethernet over Copper. Now, Ethernet over Fiber can give you 10 Mbps for not a whole lot more money. In fact, if you’ve had the same T1 contract for many years, you may be shocked to find out that you can have fiber for the same monthly cost.

It only gets better as you go up in bandwidth. The lease price per Mbps of Ethernet bandwidth over fiber gets cheaper as you go from 10 to 100 to 1000 Mbps. The price doesn’t jump nearly as much as the bandwidth does. It’s a bit like the kind of volume discounts you are used to getting when you buy just about any product in quantity.

Quality of Bandwidth
There’s bandwidth and there’s bandwidth. T1, SONET and other traditional telecom services are called dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth services. That means you have the line all to yourself and the speed is the same in both the upload and download directions. That’s true for private point to point lines and Dedicated Internet Access.

Ethernet over Copper and Fiber are the same way. It’s your connection to do with as you please and there are no usage limits. You can shove as much traffic down those lines as they’ll take and the price is the same each month.

The beauty of this arrangement is that your bandwidth is rock solid dependable, never varies, and you’ll get the same consistent performance to or from the cloud or whatever you are connected to. Dedicated connections give you low latency, jitter and packet loss for high application performance.

Contrast that with lower cost shared bandwidth arrangements like DSL, Cable broadband, Satellite and Cellular wireless. These almost always have much higher download speeds than upload and your available bandwidth will vary depending on who is sharing the line with you at any given time. Yes, you can get more Mbps for your bandwidth dollar, but it isn’t the same quality of bandwidth. If you are a very heavy user, you may also have to contend with "fair use" limits. Go over and you'll face additional charges, reduced bandwidth or even service cancellation.
.
Do You Need to Start at 10 Mbps?
Certainly not. The reason that 10 Mbps is so popular is that it is replacing lower bandwidth services like T1, and is plenty for smaller operations. Most medium size or larger offices and anybody involved with video production or distribution will want to start at a much higher level.

Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps is very popular with businesses who are moving to cloud services or have multiple employees working intensively on the Internet. Gigabit Ethernet at 1000 Mbps is really more affordable than you might think and pretty much makes bandwidth issues disappear for many companies. Larger companies are starting to move to 10 Gbps as their bandwidth standard and 100 Gbps is the new “top of the line” WAN bandwidth service.

Remember, what’s really important is that you get an Ethernet port installed that has the growth capacity you’ll be needing. Even if you start at 10 Mbps, you’ll want a 100 Mbps minimum size port for future growth. Some carriers are installing Gigabit Ethernet ports as a matter of course. They know that it won’t be long before you’ll call up wanting it.

Are you ready to ditch the old telecom standard copper bandwidth services for the advantages that Ethernet over Fiber offers? Are you just curious about what’s available and what it costs? It is well worth your while to take a few minutes and do a quick check for fiber optic service in your area. An expert consultant is available to help match the right solution to your particular situation.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

Note: Products with the low bandwidth caution sign shown on this page, along with many other computer and networking themes, are available through the Gigapacket Tech Gifts Store.



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter