Thursday, March 22, 2018

Two Flavors of Fast Ethernet Service

By: John Shepler

No need to let bandwidth limitations stifle your business. Here are two affordable options to acquire 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet service, likely as much as a small to medium size operation will need. I’ll tell you later how to upgrade that to Gigabit Ethernet when the time is right.

Check out your options for Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet now.Fast Ethernet over Fiber
The gold standard in business bandwidth has shifted from legacy T1 lines to fiber optic service. Not the old expensive SONET telco fiber that you know as OC-3, OC-12 or OC-48. I’m talking about the modern Carrier Ethernet standard known as Ethernet over Fiber, also called Metro Ethernet.

Entry level fiber service typically starts at 10 Mbps. That’s enough for many small businesses with limited Internet or file transfer needs. With even a few employees or heavy use of cloud applications, you’ll be craving more performance. That’s where Fast Ethernet shines. It offers 100 Mbps x 100 Mbps dedicated bandwidth 100% of the time.

Features of Fast Ethernet over Fiber
Performance is much like your old T1 line or DS3 connection, but much faster. Symmetrical bandwidth means that your upload and download speeds are both 100 Mbps. That’s important if you run cloud applications that send large files in both directions. Backup to cloud storage is almost exclusively in the upload direction until you need to recover a file.

Fiber optic bandwidth is known for low latency, packet loss and jitter. Your service will be solid since all of the line bandwidth is dedicated to your business. Whatever capacity you aren’t using at the moment sits idle, much like the way a Local Area Network behaves.

That brings up another important advantage of Fast Ethernet over Fiber. It is directly compatible with your LAN. Just plug it in to your router or switch and it’s ready to use. Many business networks run at 100 Mbps, although new installations are typically 1000 Mbps and larger networks are 10,000 Mbps or 10 GigE.

Option #2 Fast Ethernet over Cable
Business Cable Broadband has come a long way over the years. Most systems are HFC or Hybrid Fiber Cable. That architecture employs a private fiber optic network for the long haul runs. Traditional 75 ohm coaxial copper cable connects from the curb to your building. The termination equipment is a DOCSIS modem. Most are DOCSIS 3.0, which easily provides 100 Mbps Internet service up to a maximum of 1.2 Gbps in the download direction. The newer standard is DOCSIS 3.1, which easily provides Gigabit Internet service with a growth path to as high as 10 Gbps in both directions.

Characteristics of Fast Ethernet over Cable
Two advantages of Cable broadband are availability and cost. You can get service if the cable runs past your building, and that’s most buildings in metro areas. The cost for 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet is likely a fraction of what you pay for Ethernet over Fiber. Construction costs are minimal, if at all. Simply plug your network into the Ethernet connector on the DOCSIS modem.

The cost difference is reflected in a difference in service level, although that may not make a difference depending on how you use the service. Cable bandwidth is shared, not dedicated, which can mean variations in line speed that depend on how many other users are online and how heavily they are using the service.

The bandwidth is asymmetrical, meaning that download is much faster than upload. A typical bandwidth service is 100 Mbps down and 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps up. Typically Internet usage is heavily in the download direction for web browsing and watching video. Email is both upload and download, but the files tend to be fairly small and not affected by the asymmetry. If you send to large mailing lists to deliver video from your own servers, the upload bandwidth could become a limitation.

Upgrading Bandwidth
One advantage that both fiber and cable service share is that they are easily scalable compared to the old T-Carrier and SONET telco standards. You simply need a port that can handle the maximum bandwidth you anticipate needing. For fiber, that’s a Gigabit Ethernet port on the Customer Premises Equipment. For cable it’s a DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 modem. With those in place, you can upgrade your speed with just a phone call and no equipment changes will be necessary.

Do you feel limited by your current point to point or Internet access speed? You may be surprised how affordable a major upgrade is. Check out Fast Ethernet service options for your business now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Swap Your Old T1 Line For Fiber

By: John Shepler

Your faithful T1 line has provided constant reliable service for years, perhaps decades. Now it’s getting a little long in the tooth. The 1.5 Mbps T1 offered amazing bandwidth at the dawn of the Internet era. Today it’s just plain sluggish. You know you need an upgrade, but how much is that going to cost? Would you be shocked to know that you might trade up for the same money? It’s true!

Laser Fiber Optic Data Burst. Find products with this design here!Why You Need to Make a Change
Let’s face it. You’ve run out of bandwidth. T1 still works well for small retail stores and other applications for POS credit card verification, email, small text files and very casual web browsing. Cloud services, video streaming, remote backups and large file transfers will crawl if they even work acceptably.

More of the Same Won’t Help
There’s nothing wrong with the line. It just doesn’t have enough bandwidth. You can bond a second T1 line or even a third to double or triple bandwidth, but you’ll also be doubling or tripling your costs. Unless you are in a remote location without other options, there is a better approach.

Fiber is the New Copper
Truth be told, the cost of T1 lines and most other telecom services have come down steadily over the years. If you are happy with your T1, you might be able to get the same service for half the cost you once paid.

Even better, the cost of fiber optic lines has plummeted over the same period. If you checked into fiber when you started your business and found it either wasn’t available or cost a small fortune, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Deregulation and the demand for higher and higher data speeds has resulted in a fiber building boom. The field is highly competitive and carriers are rushing to “light” buildings with their lines before someone else becomes established.

What this means for you is that fiber optic service is now commonly available. The latest offers are Carrier Ethernet which is also called Ethernet over Fiber. This technology is directly compatible with nearly all local area networks and replaces the older, more expensive SONET fiber service. SONET is the one you remember as costing a fortune.

Fiber for the Price of T1
Technology marches on. It’s been true for several years that you can upgrade your T1 line to a new technology called Ethernet over Copper and get at least twice the bandwidth for the same cost using the same twisted pair telco lines that supply your T1 service. Today, you can get several times the bandwidth using Ethernet over Copper. Same cost.

How about fiber? The latest competitive quotes I’m seeing offer entry level 10 Mbps x 10 Mbps fiber optic bandwidth for roughly the cost of a new T1 line in select areas. It is highly likely that you could get this level of fiber service for the same price as a T1 contract you’ve had for a few years or more.

Fiber For the Future
The nice thing about Ethernet over Fiber is that it is future proof. If your provider installs a 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps port, you can upgrade to those speeds any time, but only buy the speed you need right now. You may find the cost of Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps or Gigabit Ethernet at 1000 Mbps really quite affordable and well worth it for the productivity improvement.

Are you frustrated by the inability of your T1 line or business DSL to keep up with your online needs? Now would be a great time to see what you can get in the way of a fiber optic bandwidth connection. You may be amazed by what is available today.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Business Internet Service For Everyone

By: John Shepler

Unlike consumer Internet access, business Internet service has the reputation of being prohibitively expensive and sometimes hard to get, especially in rural areas. Much of that reputation goes back to a time when the incumbent telephone companies were the only provider available. Your choices were, indeed, limited and pricing could make your eyes bug out. Today’s deregulated environment has matured to the point where any business that needs and wants an Internet connection can get one… and at prices that won’t bust the budget.

Find your best small business Internet service options now.Best Options for SOHO, Small Office, Home Office
The smallest businesses are the sole proprietors. Often, these are one person consultancies, remote workers, "gig" workers or web designers who work from home offices. When at the client, they’re carrying a laptop or tablet, plus a smartphone. Budgets are tight, so they want to minimize the cost of Internet access… just as long as it gets the job done.

The lowest cost option for bootstrap operations is residential cable broadband at the home office and 4G LTE cellular on the road. You can pair your tablet and laptop with your smartphone where WiFi is not available. It doesn’t get cheaper than this. Note: Contact your local Cable company for residential broadband.

If you have special requirements such as static IP addresses, any type of server or symmetrical bandwidth, you'll be needing to look at Internet services designed for commercial operations.

Professional Offices
When your business needs a commercial office, you’re probably supporting more than one person. Insurance sales agents, physicians, and any business that wants walk-in clients fits this category. You won’t be able to get residential broadband at a commercial address, but you can get basically the same service branded as “business broadband.” Cable is still an excellent option, with bandwidths up to 100 Mbps common and more than adequate to support a small team. You may even set up a guest WiFi network for clients or bundle television service for waiting rooms.

Higher Tech Offices
Businesses that are tech oriented support such niceties as in-house servers, call centers, and mission critical cloud applications. If you do as much or more uploading as downloading or run a server, cable broadband with its shared bandwidth may be too limiting. Better choices include dedicated Internet access provisioned on Ethernet over Copper at 10 to 50 Mbps or Ethernet over Fiber at 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Fiber gives you more options, but isn’t always available, even with construction costs added. Costs are at least several times higher than cable, but performance is more robust for sensitive applications like VoIP telephony and cloud access.

Most restaurants and bars find the business cable bundles of Internet, television and telephone compelling. It’s a package that is more than adequate and well priced. Special circumstances involve pop-up retail stores that show up just in time for holidays or are located at special events. Wireless 4G is a good fit here. This service works like a smartphone but is built into a special access point that includes a high performance antenna to ensure a strong signal. You can plug in a wired network or WiFi router depending on your needs.

Out In The Boonies
Rural businesses, including retail, agribusiness, machine shops, farms and ranches, gas stations, and so on have needs like their city counterparts, but no wires or fiber nearby. Wireless 4G may work if you can live with the usage limits, which are similar to phone services. If not, high speed satellite can be a better option. Bandwidths up to 100 Mbps are readily available with 1 Gbps coming. Location is unimportant as long as you can point the dish at the bird in the Southern sky with a clear view. The newer satellites have a lot more capacity, meaning that you can get much higher usage limits that fit the needs of many businesses. Pricing is similar to cable and lower speed fiber.

Is Anyone Still Using T1?
Because it was designed to work using the same cable as analog telephone service, you can still get T1 just about anywhere you can get a landline phone. The bandwidth is only 1.5 Mbps, but it is rock solid and reliable. T1 works for applications like credit card verification, email, and light web browsing. Performance is similar to 3G cellular. Prices on T1 lines have fallen so much in recent years that this legacy service is still a good choice in some circumstances.

More Options Than You Think
Are you a small business owner or or an IT consultant serving small clients? You may be surprised at the variety of Business Internet Service Options available now at the locations you need.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Thursday, January 25, 2018

DOCSIS 3.1 Makes Cable Act Like Fiber

By: John Shepler

Cable broadband, once thought to be a low-end networking option, has been quietly getting a major technological overhaul that makes it competitive with fiber optic bandwidth for many business applications. Companies that once wouldn’t consider cable for more than a backup connection now find the combination of high performance and low cost too compelling to ignore. Let’s take a look at what’s happened behind the scenes and what options cable offers now and in the near future.

Accelerate your Internet speed with DOCSIS cable broadband.

Magic #1: The HFC Cable Plant
When cable started out as cable television, it was little more than a set of really tall antennas feeding tuners and distribution amps at the “head end” to create an equivalent to what you would get off the air…if you could get such good reception. The all-analog collection of signals got boosted and distributed all over town, but what came out the connector on your TV was very much a more potent version of OTA (Over The Air) Television.

Time passes and the handful of OTA channels were augmented by dozens and dozens of non-broadcast channels delivered via satellite to that same head end. These “cable channels” quickly ate up all the capacity of the big coaxial cables that fed the little coax cables that fed the TVs. Cable companies launched rebuilding programs to increase capacity… but not by doing more of the same. Instead, they strung new fiber optic bundles and then connected their existing delivery cables to the new fiber optic trunk lines. This combination is called HFC or Hybrid Fiber-Coax.

The HFC system, combined with all-digital transmission creates a huge increase in capacity to accommodate a hundred or more TV channels with extras that can be used to deliver Internet broadband over the same cable. Note that the cable that connects to your TV or modem looks the same as the old analog cable. It is. But, it only needs to run a short distance before it hooks up with the enormous capacity fiber optic network. You get the best of both worlds… high capacity fiber to the curb plus inexpensive passive coaxial cable for termination of the service in the home or business.

Magic #2: DOCSIS Broadband
DOCSIS is a cable broadband standard that stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It was created specifically for cable companies to be able to also deliver Internet. To do that, DOCSIS signals fit into low frequency spectrum not used for TV signals and spare standard television channels on the cable.

The first version, DOCSIS 1.0 was released about the same time as the Internet was taking off, 1997, followed by version 1.1 in 1999. A faster version 2.0 came out in 2001. That’s the one most of us cut our broadband teeth on, after finally running out of patience with dial-up telephone Internet. A few years ago you probably upgraded to a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, which brings the system up to today’s standards.

DOCSIS 3.0 makes cable a serious contender for business broadband service. It supports the latest Internet Protocol version 6 (IPV6) and has a downstream (download) capacity of 1 Gbps with an upstream (upload) capacity of 100 Mbps. In practice, may users run something like 25 to 75 Mbps down and 5 to 7 Mbps up.

Magic #3 DOCSIS 3.1 Thinks It’s Fiber
The newest technical upgrade to HFC systems is called DOCSIS 3.1. It sounds like an incremental change, but the performance jump is enormous. DOCSIS 3.1 offers downstream speeds of 10 Gbps max with upstream of 1 to 2 Gbps max. Cable bandwidth is called asymmetrical because the download speeds are typically 10x the upload speeds. A further enhancement, not yet deployed, is Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 that will offer 10 Gbps upload and 10 Gbps download. That’s pretty much the high end of what you’ll get with fiber or by leasing a fiber optic wavelength… at a fraction of the cost.

The Appeal of High Speed Cable Broadband
Cable broadband is the most compelling Internet access for any business that can get it. You do need to be in a location with cable already running down the street, but you stand a much better chance of having cable available than fiber. It’s mostly out in rural areas that neither fiber or cable are available and high speed satellite becomes the service of choice.

The big appeal of cable is how much bandwidth you get for the money. You’ll easily pay 5x to 10x as much for SONET or Ethernet fiber optic services. In some cases, that extra expense is worth it. Cable bandwidth is shared among the pool of users, while higher priced telecom services have dedicated bandwidth for your use only. SONET and Ethernet over Fiber services are symmetrical and come with service level agreements that guarantee a certain level of performance and availability at all times.

If your business is running a server farm in-house or distributing large software packages or video streams, you’ll need a high speed dedicated service. But, if your business uses cloud services, collocated hosting, or has simple needs for web browsing and email, cable broadband may have all the capacity you can use and at bargain rates. You should at least give it consideration before you sign an expensive lease. Our expert consultants can help you make the best decision based on the particular needs of your business. Compare DOCSIS cable with other copper, fiber and satellite bandwidth options available for your business location.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Filling Coverage Gaps With High Quality Business Satellite

By: John Shepler

Businesses located in major metro areas really have it made when it comes to voice and data network connections. Multiple service providers are often anxious to vie for your business. What if you are located even a little bit beyond the reach of fiber, cable and wireless? Are you stuck with POTS landlines and maybe T1 at best? Not anymore.

Your Options are UP
Stop looking in the ground or on the utility poles. You should be looking at the clear sky for your telephone and broadband service. Satellite service is well entrenched for both broadcast TV delivery and small business point of purchase sales. Now, one satellite service has really raised the bar on what they can offer to business users in the way of primary or redundant backup connectivity.

High Bandwidth, VoIP Telephone, FaceTime
Two-way satellite service has a reputation for low bandwidth, low data caps, high latency and iffy service. That’s the old paradigm. Viasat has brought satellite up to a standard that can truly be called “business grade.” Telarus co-founder Patrick Oborn recently visited the Viasat campus for a demo. Pay close attention to the quality and usability of the VoIP telephone and FaceTime calls.

Has this changed your option of how well satellite could work for your business?

Plenty of Bandwidth, More Coming
T1 and fractional T1 bandwidths were good enough when all you needed to do was run credit card purchases and exchange Email. Today’s business is data heavy, video rich and primarily located in the cloud. You need significantly higher bandwidth, robust service, and support for interactive services, including telephone and video conferencing.

You should be looking at ViaSat. Their current satellites blanket the USA mainland and Hawaii, with some coverage in Alaska. The West Coast and the eastern half of the country can get 15/4 Mbps service with persistent IP addresses and unlimited data plans. You’ll be able to implement VoIP telephone, high speed file transfer, email, web browsing, streaming HD video and point of sale. A lower speed 5/1 Mbps redundancy service is available for most of West or if you just need independent backup of your existing copper or wire lines.

Here’s something really exciting! The advanced Viasat-2 satellite was launched in June and will be turned up in early 2018 with a throughput capacity of 300 Gbps. You’ll be able to get download speeds up to 100 Mbps. That’s as good as fiber and just about anywhere you want it in the lower 48 states, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central Americas and even the air routes to Europe. The Viasat-3 satellites launching in the next couple of years will feature downloads up to 1,000 Mbps.

Have you been discounting business satellite service because of their historically low-end performance? It’s definitely time to take another look… at Viasat via Telarus. Get your competitive copper, fiber and business satellite options now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter