Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Helping Your Business Achieve Hyperconnectivity

By: John Shepler

It took a generation to achieve worldwide Internet connectivity. Now, hold on. We’re going into hyperconnectivity almost immediately.

Get the support you need for the hyperconnected era.It’s Everything, Everywhere, All The Time
Hyperconnectivity is the idea that anyone and anything that can be connected will be connected on an always-available basis. We’ve made the jump from logging-in to always-on broadband for our computers and mobile device. The next step is to let the machines chatter among themselves even while we take ourselves out of the loop. You’ll no longer have to access devices. They’ll access each other and you, as needed.

It’s Already Started
We’re starting to experience some of this with connected thermostats, security cams, remote controlled lighting and so on around the home. Business use will be even more insidious. As management sees how much productivity is improved by machines and applications coordinating their actions, the pressure to get more and more connected functions is going to ramp up exponentially. As the human in the loop, your activities will be enhanced by augmented and virtual reality, artificially intelligent agents, and real-time delivery of everything you need to know. No longer will there be a gulf between office and factory, company and suppliers or business and customers. It will all be one big loop.

Are You Ready For This?
If you’ve found it a challenge to get everyone in the company online or transition business applications to the cloud, you “ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” The highest reliability connections, low latency for real time interactions, accommodation for hundreds or thousands of new interfaces, and bullet-proof security to keep out those who would do you ill is becoming a de-facto requirement.

How’s your network doing? Have you broken out in a cold sweat yet or just developed some anxiety about the challenges on their way? No need to face this alone. There is expert help that is up to speed and ready to roll right now. Take a couple of minutes to watch this:

It’s Time… NOW!
If you are seeing even the leading edge of the technology tsunami coming for your business, there is no time to waste. We have the expertise, staffing and experience to make your enterprise network hyper-ready and the tools and applications to give you an immediate productivity improvement. Don’t wait. Get the Telarus team on-board now and you’ll have the support you need to meet the challenge.

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

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fiber to the Curb and Premises

By: John Shepler

Copper is rapidly disappearing in telecommunications networks. It’s replacement, fiber optic cabling, may be run through the same conduits when copper bundles are removed, or it may be trenched nearby. The old copper lines are then left to slowly return to nature, much like obsolete two lane highway superseded by newer interstate construction.

A Wire Made of Glass Tech GiftsBut, you say, I still have copper connections. The RJ45 cable to my computer is clearly twisted pair copper wiring. So is the coaxial cable that provides broadband to the office. Just where is all that fiber you are talking about?

Mostly Fiber Outside, Mostly Copper Inside
The quiet revolution in fiber optic transmission is occurring just out of sight. The reason is simple. Standard Ethernet cabling works great in the home or office. You can easily get 1 Gbps and perhaps even 10 Gbps performance… as long as you keep the cables short. That’s 100 meters or 328 feet for CAT5e or CAT6 at 1 Gbps and CAT6A at 10 Gbps. CAT 6 can also do 10 Gbps at 180 feet or less.

In most smaller offices you never need longer runs to get to the nearest switch or router. Since most network equipment you use every day has a RJ45 10/100/1000 Mbps interface, you’ll probably never have to deal with a fiber optic connection. That is, unless you work in the IT department in a company large enough to have one, or work for one of the telecom carriers.

Just beyond your view, the interface changes from copper to fiber optic wiring. Why? Speed and distance. If you want 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet or 1,000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet, you need fiber to carry those high speed packets across campus and beyond. You may have copper patch cables at each end, but in-between it’s all fiber.

Fiber To The Curb
If you don't look inside the beast, you can pretend that the Internet is millions of miles of shiny copper wire in a web that covers the Earth. Actually, that’s how it started out. Today that notion is as dated as those obnoxious dial-up tones. The world’s long distance networks have long since been converted to fiber. Fiber is also rapidly replacing the local telco physical plant. When hurricanes and other disasters strike, the phone companies jump to install new fiber to replace plastic coated and even paper coated multi-pair bundles that might be many decades old. Both capacity and reliability are improved and higher speed services are possible.

Why, then, do telephone and broadband connections look the same as they always have? Someday they’ll be changed out, too, but right now it makes more sense to avoid the high cost of running new lines in from the street or rewiring old buildings. The trick to keeping the old twisted pair and coaxial cable able to meet today’s needs is to run the fiber to the junction box at the curb and connect to the existing copper. As you might guess, this is called Fiber To The Curb or FTTC. It’s a stop-gap measure that works well… for now.

Fiber To The Premises
The next logical step is for the service providers to just run the fiber right to your building and give you a fiber or copper connection at the demarcation point. For business bandwidth services, this is becoming the norm. Tens of thousands of cell towers are also being newly served by fiber optic lines. These replace the trusty T1 lines that work great up through 3G, but aren’t up to 4G speeds and certainly not 5G wireless.

This service is logically called Fiber To The Premises or FTTP. For residential service it is often referred to as FTTH or Fiber To The Home. There are two main flavors being deployed. One is active fiber that has all the electronics end to end. The other is a less expensive approach called passive fiber that uses passive optical splitters to connect multiple locations to one shared active fiber strand.

Is It Time to Upgrade to Fiber?
You can pretty much bet that whatever provider you use is running their core network on high speed fiber, probably at 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps. The question is whether they are connecting to you via legacy copper twisted pair leased from the telephone company or bringing fiber right to the premises. Cable companies use HFC or Hybrid Fiber Coax systems, so the less expensive coax broadband service joins their fiber plant nearby on a pole or curb termination box. Cable companies can also connect you directly to their fiber network for higher performance services.

The beauty of bringing fiber to your premises is that it helps future-proof your service. If you install, say, a Gigabit Ethernet port, you can subscribe to any line speed up to 1 Gbps. If you only need 100 Mbps or even 10 Mbps right now, you’ll have the option to turn up the speed quickly with only a phone call. Some providers are now letting their customers log into the system and upgrade their service themselves. Billing accounts for upgrades and downgrades automatically.

Not sure what service makes the most sense for your business? Discuss your needs with one of our expert consultants and see the range of bandwidth options available for your location.

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

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Note: A humorous collection of tech giffts with the theme, "A Wire Made of Glass" are available through Zazzle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Metro Fiber Ethernet Handles Just About Everything

By: John Shepler

When it comes to a “one size fits all” network service, Metro Fiber Ethernet seems to be closest to meeting the criteria of a universal solution. Let’s see why that is and what Metro Fiber Ethernet can do for your business.

Metro Fiber Ethernet is available for most business locations.The Panoply of Connectivity
Telecommunications network transport services have evolved through a rich set of technical options that can be generally classed into copper, fiber optic and wireless.

Amazingly, copper-based telephone and broadband lines are still based on twisted pairs of small wires that can run for miles between a telephone company’s central office and the business location where they terminate. Copper can also include coaxial cable that is primarily used for cable broadband, often as part of a hybrid fiber coax network.

Wireless involves microwave, cellular and satellite. A major application for wireless is portable and mobile operations where any type of physical connection just won’t do.

Fiber has gone through its own evolution from a proprietary long distance telephone trunking system to the modern packet switched protocol that forms the heart of the Internet. It has also become the connection of choice for most business applications.

Why Metro Fiber Ethernet?
The beauty of Ethernet over Fiber is that it perfectly mirrors the now universal Ethernet protocol running on local area networks. As you might suspect, it is pretty much seamless to connect your LAN to a Ethernet transport service to the Internet or to another LAN hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Metro Fiber Ethernet is the name given to Carrier Ethernet over Fiber within populated areas. Ironically, perhaps, the growth of 4G and soon 5G cellular wireless has prompted a major deployment of metro fiber to cell towers well beyond the city limits. Traditional copper solutions just don’t have the bandwidth to support high speed broadband. Fiber has as much as you need… once you have the cables in place.

Don’t assume that just because your business isn’t located in the downtown business district of a major metropolitan area that you can’t get fiber optic service. Fiber is become more and more ubiquitous, even in smaller towns and some rural areas.

What Service Levels Are Available?
Unlike T-Carrier or SONET fiber technologies pioneered by the telephone companies, fiber optic Ethernet doesn’t require changing hardware every time to want to move up a level in speed. Most network equipment now supports 10/100/1000 Mbps, with some capable of 10 Gbps or 100 Gbps. These same service levels are available with Metro Fiber Ethernet.

Ease of Scaling Service
A typical fiber installation will include an edge switch or router with a Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) or Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps) port. The port speed determines the maximum, but not the minimum, speed of your connection. You order the bandwidth level you want and the carrier will rate limit the connection speed to that level, say 50 Mbps. If you find you need a faster connection, a quick phone call or online control panel change can increase that to 100 Mbps. If you have a Gigabit Ethernet port installed, you can change the speed to 250, 500, 750 or 1,000 Mbps at will. Of course, the price of your service will depend on the speed you select.

Other Characteristics of Metro Fiber Ethernet
This is commercial, not consumer, grade service. Regardless of speed, your fiber service will have high reliability, low latency, low packet loss and low jitter characteristics. Many carriers will spell out and guarantee the line performance in a SLA or Service Level Agreement.

Ethernet service is also dedicated, not shared like cable or wireless broadband. You have exclusive use of the bandwidth so there is no congestion caused by competing with other businesses on a common line. This gives you consistently high performance that is important for mission critical applications. There are no data caps. You can use as much or as little of the maximum line capacity as your wish.

Metro Fiber Ethernet can be thought of as a fast, nearly transparent, pipe. It can be your high speed connection to the Internet, a dedicated link to your cloud service provider, or a point to point line between two business locations. it can also be an “on ramp” to a larger MPLS network for linking multiple locations on a semi-private network that can include locations around the world.

Metro Fiber Ethernet is being rapidly deployed to support 4G and 5G cell towers. It can easily provide the Internet service connection for a WISP or Wireless Internet Service Provider as well. This offers a business opportunity in areas not well served by telco DSL or cable broadband.

Is your business being limited by inadequate Internet service or needing dedicated links to other locations? If so, you will likely be surprised by the cost and performance of Metro Fiber Ethernet service to your building.

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

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Private Lines and Virtual Private Networks

By: John Shepler

Businesses often have need for a private line to communicate between headquarters and branch offices, factories & warehouses, retail franchises or suppliers. What’s important is reliable connections with security and transparency. The ideal private line gives you the same experience as your local area network.

Find private line and virtual private network solutionsClassic Point to Point Private Lines
Telephone companies have offered private lines since the analog days. Security systems and radio station studio to transmitter links are examples of private lines that were often little more than pairs of wires that ran directly from one location to another via the central office.

Digital communication introduced the T1 point to point private line that serves the same purpose. Bits go in one end and come out the other. T1 lines at 1.5 Mbps, DS3 at 45 Mbps and OC3 at 155 Mbps all offer private line service. Latency and packet loss are low. Speeds are fixed at the capacity of the line.

These private lines work well for connecting a central headquarters as a hub to branch offices as spokes. It takes one line per branch with the central switch or router directing traffic. The lines themselves serve as very, very long network wires to interconnect the LANs at the various locations.

Ethernet Private Lines
Since Ethernet is the protocol used on virtually all local networks today, it makes sense to have the private line running the same protocol. The telco solutions already mentioned require a protocol conversion module to convert between Ethernet and the proprietary protocol that runs on the lines themselves.

Carrier Ethernet private lines run the Ethernet protocol on the line itself. Carrier Ethernet is available as Ethernet over Copper for lower speed connections and Ethernet over Fiber for 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, with 100 Gbps becoming more available.

Ethernet services have more carriers competing for business which tends to reduce prices per Mbps. The cost per Mbps is almost always less for Ethernet and scalability is much easier. You can have a Gigabit Ethernet port installed and order any bandwidth from 10 Mbps up to 1000 Mbps. When you want an increase or decrease in capacity, a simple phone call to the carrier will make that happen quickly with no equipment changes required.

MPLS Networks
Private lines are a great solution if you only need to interconnect a few locations in a small geographical area. As the number of locations and their distance from headquarters increases, the cost goes up quickly. Each line has a charge and it varies with distance.

A popular alternative is the MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching network. This is a privately run network that uses a proprietary protocol called label switching instead of the more common TCP/IP. The fact that access is limited to subscribers only and the uniqueness of the LS protocol provide a level of security even though you are sharing the network with other users.

MPLS operators work to ensure that you have no awareness of other traffic. Bandwidth, latency, jitter and packet loss are carefully managed to meet the needs of all subscribers with extra margin for bandwidth bursting when needed.

MPLS is also known a MPLS VPN or Virtual Private Network. That’s because it isn’t truly private and fully dedicated to your use like a private line. If you are feel that you need a additional level of security, you do have the option to encrypt your data before it enters the MPLS network.

Why choose MPLS? It’s a big money saver over long distances where private lines get expensive. All you need is a short private line connection to the network at each location and instructions to the operator as to how to route your traffic.

Internet VPN Solutions
The Internet is the least cost wide area networking solution with highest geographic connectivity. Performance can vary widely. It’s also the least secure network you can find. Anyone and everyone can easily get a connection, and they do.

How can you make the Internet act like a private line? You provide your own encryption from point to point. Two popular approaches are IPsec based on software installed on each computer and SSL or Secure Socket Layer that is already built into web browsers.

Choosing a Private Line Solution
Which approach is best? It depends highly on how many locations you have, where they are, what traffic you intend to send, and what level of performance you require.
There are cost/benefit tradeoffs to each of the above solutions. What’s right for you? An expert consultant will be happy to review your private line or VPN network needs and provide one or more solutions that can do what your business needs done.

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

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Modernize Your T3 & DS3 Bandwidth Connections

By: John Shepler

Companies that grew up with T1 lines naturally graduated to T3 lines or DS3 connections as their bandwidth needs increased. These technologies are firmly established to deliver secure reliable bandwidth with low latency, packet loss and jitter. While you may be perfectly happy with the line service you have now, you might also be missing out on some advantages of new technology approaches.

Try this bandwidth locator to see what upgrades are available for your business location.

T-Carrier Legacy
The story begins with the development of T1 lines starting after WWII. The impetus to create a new telephone trunking system was driven by the high cost and noisy performance of analog carrier telephony for long distance lines. T1 was the first digital replacement. It offered 24 digitized telephone lines on two pair of ordinary twisted pair telco cable. Each independent channel was time division multiplexed into a data stream running at 1.5 Mbps.

That’s still the spec for T1 lines. You can find the same channelized lines in use today for ISDN PRI telephone trunks to PBX phone systems. It’s organized as 23 phone lines and 1 control channel. Most T1 lines, though, have the channels combined to transport a 1.5 Mbps bit stream for data transmission. T1 lines can be combined or bonded to create larger “pipes”, up to about 10 or 12 Mbps.

T3 & DS3 Upgrade
T3 and DS3 use multiplexing compatible with T1 lines to create 28x the bandwidth or about 45 Mbps. T3 lines require frequencies too high to travel very far on twisted pair copper. T3 was originally provisioned on coaxial cable or via microwave towers. Later, fiber optic lines were implemented for long haul, with small diameter coax to the customer handoff in the building.

You might be wondering what the difference is between T3 and DS3. T3 is the physical circuit, coaxial cable or microwave link. DS3 is the signal that rides on the T3 line. The situation is similar for T1 lines. In that case, the signal is called DS1.

SONET Fiber Optic
Even the 45 Mbps bandwidth of a T3 line soon became a limiting factor for long distance telephony and the rise of digital computing. The next telco standard was a fiber optic definition called SONET for Synchronous Optical NETwork. SONET was designed to be compatible with DS1 and DS3 so that it was easy to multiplex or combine multiple DS3s onto, say, an OC3 at 156 Mbps. OC12 offers even higher bandwidth and OC48 was the prevailing network core bandwidth until recently.

Carrier Ethernet is a Game Changer
T-Carrier (T1 and T3) and SONET were products of the telephone companies and more suited to channelized telephony than computer data. Through a protocol conversion process they can be made to carry the standard Ethernet signals that run on LAN networks, but why not just keep everything in the Ethernet format end to end?

Why not, indeed! This is what Carrier Ethernet does. It replaces the earlier telco standards with long distance Ethernet directly compatible with in-house network connections. Instead of T1, T3, OC3, OC12 and OC48, you have Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 GigE and so on. A major difference is that Ethernet is easily scalable, while T-Carrier and SONET require equipment changes whenever you move to a higher standard.

Modernizing to Ethernet Connections
Carrier Ethernet networks, sometimes called IP networks because the protocol is the same as what is used on the Internet, are expanding rapidly to replace older Metro and Wide Area Networks. They offer the same dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth low in latency, packet loss and jitter. You can order point to point connections or dedicated connections to the Internet.

Ethernet comes in both copper and fiber options. Ethernet over Copper is a good upgrade for T1 from 3 Mbps up to 15Mbps, 20 Mbps or even more. Entry level Ethernet over Fiber is around 10 Mbps. Fiber is easily scaled to 50 Mbps that can replace T3 or DS3. It can also ramp up to 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, 1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet and 10,000 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Even 100 Gbps Ethernet is available in some areas.

An Even Lower Cost Alternative
Business Cable Broadband is another service that has become extremely popular with small and medium size businesses. DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 modems offer an Ethernet connection to your network with speeds that easily reach 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps. An upgrade to 10 Gbps symmetrical bandwidth is being readied.

The attraction of cable is that it is readily available in most cities and often can be installed quickly with little or no construction charges. It is also the least cost per Mbps for the bandwidth you need. It is designed to work best for Internet browsing including video and file downloads. The bandwidth is generally asymmetrical, often as much as 10x as high in the download as upload direction. Cable bandwidth is shared, not dedicated, so you may find the speed varying throughout the day. Even so, many business and well and residential users are sold on cable broadband. For secure point to point connections you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) over the Internet.

Are you still on an old T3 or DS3 service contract? You’ll be amazed how much bandwidth you can get today for the same cost. Find out right now how many bandwidth providers serve your business location and what they offer.

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

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