Friday, September 30, 2016

Ethernet Everywhere? We’re Almost There!

By John Shepler

It’s been brewing for a long time, now. The prediction is that all of those networking standards will finally settle on just one. No more T1, DS3, OCx and whatever. It’s all going to be just Ethernet one day. How close are we to that day? Why, we’re almost there!

Find Ethernet services for your businessNetwork Standards Have Already Embraced Ethernet
Telcos are doing something once thought heresy. They’re abandoning their proprietary standards in favor of Ethernet services.

Why? Because that’s what the market wants. Once upon a time, there were all sorts of Local Area Network standards. Can you remember when Token Ring was the coming thing? How about AppleTalk?

Today, virtually all network equipment has one connector and it is for Ethernet. There are really only two flavors: copper and fiber. Virtually all office equipment is either 10/100 or Gigabit Ethernet over twisted pair copper. Networking equipment may have fiber connections for GigE, 10 GigE or 100 GigE.

This standardization has make connectivity extremely easy. The standardization on switched Ethernet versus the original collision domains makes networking a fairly easy plug-and-play.

The same thing has happened to networking software. The Internet standard, TCP/IP has become the THE standard, further enhancing the ease of setting up and running networks.

Getting LANs to Talk Telco
When you own the network, you get to decide how it works. There’s nobody to tell you otherwise when you come up with a design that’s based on off-the-shelf massed produced switches, routers and cabling. The big problem comes when you try to connect to the outside world.

The Internet may have been based on TCP/IP, but the wide area networks that carried it were not. Telephone company standards evolved from the world of voice only channels for telephone calls. What T1, T3 (DS3) and OCx did was simply bundle the smallest channels, 64 Kbps PCM coded telephone calls.

Digital being digital, the solution was to perform a protocol conversion at each end so that Ethernet LAN would be converted to, say, T1 for transmission over some distance and then back to Ethernet at the other end. That process still works great and many T1 lines remain in use because they are sometimes all that is available in rural areas.

What’s Going Bye-Bye?
The major telecom companies have been quietly converting their networks to Ethernet for years. In many cases, this can be simply running Ethernet over some underlying fiber protocol like SONET. Competitive carriers have built out their facilities using Ethernet in the network core and never going through the TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) evolution.

What’s going on now is that telcos are asking the FCC for permission to sunset some of their older services, especially those that run on copper and don’t have many customers anymore. The standard POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) is an endangered species. Fewer and fewer residential users have the traditional “home phone.” They either get their phone service bundled with TV and Internet or simply depend on cellular for voice communications.

Businesses are following suit. Smaller companies may get voice and data bundles from cable companies or incumbent telcos that are acting like cable companies. Larger companies are moving rapidly to enterprise VoIP and Unified Communications. These don’t need traditional telephone wiring inside or outside the facility. Everything runs on the network. Outside connectivity is by SIP trunking, dedicated private line, MPLS networks or Dedicated Internet Access.

Is Copper a Goner?
Copper is still going, but who knows for how long. The telcos want to rid their plants of those thick copper bundles, especially the individual POTS lines.

T1 lines are still popular, but the 1.5 Mbps bandwidth is becoming more and more of a limitation. A newer standard, Ethernet over Copper, is highly competitive and offers an order of magnitude or more higher bandwidth at lower cost per Mbps.

Even so, fiber optic connections are reaching more and more business buildings as well as cellular towers. 4G and 5G wireless needs bandwidth beyond what is practical with twisted pair copper. It’s likely that all twisted pair copper may be abandoned to corrode in the ground or pulled out of conduits and sold for scrap. That’s not today in most areas, but it’s not that far away.

So, Where Can I Get Ethernet?
You can order Ethernet over Copper or Ethernet over Fiber in most populous areas right now. In rural locations, Ethernet over DS1 uses a T1 line to deliver Ethernet.

Don’t forget that Cable broadband is delivered to you as an Ethernet connection and FTTP (Fiber to the Premises) is also Ethernet at typically 1 Gbps.

Satellite and wireless Internet services are also delivered as Ethernet. That includes 3G and 4G cellular services designed for business use.

If you’ve been living with a legacy Internet or telecom connection and wondering if there is something better to choose from, there probably is now. Find out with a quick check of Ethernet services in your area and complementary consultation to help you choose the best solution for your business.

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

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Can Satellite Be The Answer to Your Business Broadband Needs?

By: John Shepler

You’re totally frustrated. Doing business today needs an Internet connection even if you only sell to local customers. You’ve checked out cable and DSL options. No way. Not where you are located. Hey, it’s not like you’ve left civilization. There must be SOME way to get high speed Internet… isn’t there?

In most cases, the answer is yes. You just have to forget about cables and fiber lines. If they aren’t already connected or very near by, it will cost a fortune to bring them in. Instead, look to the sky! Here’s a quick video that explains why:

Here are 10 key points to remember:

1. Satellite Internet for business can provide both primary and backup connectivity.

2. Available satellite broadband speeds have increased to surpass traditional T1 lines and DSL, even to rival fractional DS3 and cable carriers. Exede offers up to 15 Mbps download with 4 Mbps upload capability.

3. Since service is delivered via dish antenna, not even a traditional telephone line is needed, much less high speed telecom infrastructure. That makes it possible to have broadband connections to fishing camps, farms & ranches, rural agri-businesses, and any other enterprise that isn’t served by even 3G or 4G cellular. All you need is enough power to run the satellite receiver/modem, and that can come from power mains or a solar/battery & inverter off-grid system.

4. Primary 15/4 business Internet is available throughout the eastern half of the USA, plus the west coast and partial coverage in Arizona and Colorado. National coverage and higher speeds are coming with a new satellite in 2017. Lower speed 5/1 redundant services is available now in nearly all of the continental USA.

5. Installation can be completed in just 3-5 business days. No need to wait for massive construction projects.

6. Business data plans are available from 20 GB to 200 GB/month with the option to purchase additional data. For many smaller business operations, this is more than enough, although not suitable for frequently streaming HD movies and other video entertainment.

7. Latency is greater than you’d experience with land based fiber, wireless and optical services due to the 22,000 mile path up to the geosynchronous satellite. This may or may not be noticeable depending on how you use the Internet. VoIP telephone works over the satellite, but you need to allow a half second or so between speakers.

8. You’ll need a clear view of the southern sky about half way up from the horizon for the dish to “see” the bird.

9. Pricing is similar or even less than what you’d pay for a dedicated Internet line running 1.5 Mbps upload/download or many of the business cable broadband plans.

10. Don’t think that you are left out of the world of ecommerce or unable to interconnect your many branch offices or stores due to lack of telecom support. Satellite might be just the answer.

Learn more about VSAT satellite broadband Internet service and other available broadband options for your business location now.

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

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gigabit Metro Fiber Ethernet Means Business

By: John Shepler

More and more companies are running out of bandwidth as demanding applications eat up every Mbps of LAN, MAN and WAN bandwidth they can access. Are you doomed to fight a losing battle or is there a good technical solution available?

Look into Metro Ethernet bandwidth service for your business and beat the slow bandwidth blues!More Bandwidth to the Rescue
Don’t expect to roll back the clock and be able to do business today and tomorrow with the connections you ordered yesterday. X.25 is long gone. T1 lines have about had their last hurrah. Ethernet over Copper is a temporary solution, at best, to buy you time for what you really need to do. That is, connect to the world via fiber optic bandwidth

But What About Cable?
Cable broadband, also called D3 or DOCSIS 3 for the technical standard, is actually a good solution for some applications. Just don’t kid yourself. That cable connection doesn’t really go very far until it hooks up with the cable company’s metro fiber plant. The junction box may be a few blocks away or it might be handing on the utility pole you can see from your office.

The same is true for T3 or DS3 bandwidth, the longstanding upgrade path from T1 lines. The connection to your equipment may be a pair of coaxial cables, but they only go out to the street. At they point they join up with a SONET fiber optic system owned and maintained by the local telephone company.

What’s Special About MetroE Fiber?
Ethernet is the newer and future-proof technology for carrying digital traffic on fiber optic systems. It is based on the same Ethernet standards used for your local area networks. Certain standards have been added to fit with carrier operations, but otherwise it is switched Ethernet.

That means the interface between your LAN and the carrier’s MAN or WAN is trivially simple. Just plug in and go, like you would with any router or switch. No special interface cards are needed. Chances are that the carrier who is providing your service will install a managed router at your business to define the network edge.

Metro vs Internet
Metro Ethernet, strictly speaking, is a network that serves a particular city or city plus suburbs. The most common use has been to interconnect business locations that are geographically close. These may include headquarters, data centers, warehouses and branch offices. Some companies choose to include suppliers and important customers on their MetroE network for high connection speed and security.

Metro Ethernet is a point to point or multipoint service that directly connects particular locations. You can elect to order ELAN service that actually extends your local network to the other locations. It’s just like you ran your own cables across town, but without the prohibitive expense of doing so.

The Internet is another animal. It’s actually a massive worldwide network made up of national, regional and city-wide networks that all agree to a common standard. Metro Ethernet is not the Internet, but it can connect to it. MetroE networks can also connect to each other over longer distances, especially when ordered through the same carrier.

Why Order Metro Ethernet?
You can think of Carrier Ethernet or Metro Ethernet as the new gold standard in telecommunications. It gives you high bandwidth connections that are easily scalable and low in latency, jitter and packet loss. You have exclusive use of the bandwidth you’ve ordered. It’s also generally covered by a service level agreement to ensure that you get the highest level of availability.

That’s important because the tradeoff between Metro Ethernet and Cable Broadband is not so much in the connection method. Cable provides you with a shared bandwidth service that varies in speed depending on how heavy the usage is. Service is generally on a “best effort” basis rather than any particular guarantees of performance or availability. Thus, the lower price for a given bandwidth level. Some businesses, especially smaller ones, find this tradeoff well worth making. Others with large user bases and critical applications may find that only dedicated service is acceptable.

By the way, many Cable companies also offer Metro Ethernet service on their fiber backbones. It’s a different class of service with a different pricing structure than the coax connected business broadband offering.

Is Metro Ethernet For You?
If you are running out of bandwidth or already at the limit, or simply want a service that can easily be upgraded in the future, you should take a serious look at Metro Ethernet for your business. You may be able to get a break on construction costs or even have them waived if you sign a long term contract, have high enough bandwidth requirements or can join forces with other business customers in your building. There are likely multiple carriers serving your area. Find out what each can offer with a set of competitive quotes for Metro Ethernet service now.

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

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Private Point to Point Connections

By: John Shepler

Sometimes you need to get your traffic from Point A to Point B with as much security and transparency as possible. Let’s look at popular options to do just that.

Point to point dedicated private linesWhat Are Dedicated Private Lines?
You can think of a dedicated private line as a connection between two locations that goes through a carrier. This is what you need if you can't just string the wires between buildings on your own campus. The private line acts like your own wiring, except that it is provided by another company. Private lines can go across town, between cities, or even around the world.

T1 Dedicated Lines
T1 lines are the digital equivalent of the old “dry loops” or “equalized loops” that phone companies leased to radio stations and burglar alarm companies. A dedicated T1 point to point line goes between two locations using telco twisted pair wiring. You need routers or other equipment with the T1 interface at each end.

T1 dedicated lines offer 1.5 Mbps in both directions with no usage limits. A popular application is audio transport such as studio to transmitter links (STL) for radio stations.

T1 dedicated lines are still used for cellular traffic backhaul. They were extremely popular prior to 4G LTE, which really needs more bandwidth than you get with T1. In some cases, multiple T1 lines can be bonded together to create a larger bandwidth solution. Where fiber is unavailable, it is possible to get 10 or 12 Mbps from bonded T1 lines.

DS3 Dedicated
The next step up in traditional TDM telecom circuits is the T3 or DS3 dedicated line. These offer 45 Mbps upload / download private links. DS3/T3 is considered a copper-based service. In actuality, most of the transmission distance is handled over OC3 or other SONET fiber optic circuits, with only the curb connection carried by dual coaxial copper cables.

Ethernet over Copper
Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is a technical improvement on T1, while using the same twisted pair infrastructure. EoC easily offers bandwidths in the 1 to 10 Mbps range, with some systems delivering up to 50 or even 100 Mbps over relatively short distances. If available, you may find that you can replace a bonded T1 solution or DS3 circuit with EoC for a considerable cost savings.

Fiber Optic Dedicated Lines
Higher bandwidths are more and more in demand. Fortunately, fiber optic private lines are more affordable than in years past. There are two technologies of interest, although it may not make much difference in performance which you choose. SONET is the legacy telco standard, with services such as OC3, OC12 and OC48 providing different bandwidth options. Ethernet over Fiber is the technical upgrade to SONET. It offers advantages of being easily scalable from 10 Mbps up to 10 Gbps or higher, and is usually the lower cost solution.

Virtual Private Lines
The Internet offers lower cost solutions to interconnect multiple locations, but it is far from dedicated or private. The attractive pricing comes from being a shared resource with universal connectivity available nearly everywhere in the world. You can’t do much about the fact that the bandwidth is shared and not dedicated to your own use, which might affect the performance of your applications. The lack of privacy can be addressed by encrypting your traffic which effectively creates a private “tunnel” or VPN through the Internet.

A more robust solution is provided by MPLS networks. These can be thought of as privately run versions of the Internet that connect only businesses and not the general public. Proprietary protocols are used for routing traffic on the network, which adds security to the transmissions. MPLS networks are often described as MPLS VPN. Network capacity and performance are actively managed by the network operator so that a shared core network can perform like a private line, Over long distances, MPLS offers considerable cost savings over a dedicated copper or fiber connection.

Do you need a high performance dedicated private line connection to support your critical application? If so, get pricing and tradeoffs available for a variety of private line solutions available to your business locations.

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

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