Thursday, August 17, 2017

How SD-WAN Hands-Off Seamlessly

By: John Shepler

It would be nice if WAN network connections were uninterruptible. Of course, they aren’t. Even the best copper, fiber or wireless Internet or point to point dedicated lines goes down eventually. With it goes your phone calls and other work in progress. You lose productivity and perhaps even sales. But, what if you had a magic box that made sure your connections never experienced more than a glitch for a fraction of a second no matter what the problem?

The magic box has a name. It is called SD-WAN or Software Defined Wide Area Networking. The box itself controls multiple redundant broadband links and has the intelligence to analyze the quality of each link and assign or remove traffic instantly.

Think this fiction? Have a look at a real time demonstration from Telarus, a leader in deploying this networking technology:

Did you notice that each link was different? Once was cable broadband, one was high speed fiber, and one was LTE wireless. An SD-WAN system will work with whatever links you have available, ranging from DSL to T1, DS3, Satellite, line of sight wireless and so on.

There’s an advantage in not having all your links the exact same type. All it takes is one backhoe to chop through a copper or fiber bundle and you can be out of business for hours, days or even weeks before they can patch it all back together.

If your business needs both speed and reliability in its digital connections to maximize productivity and profit, you should take a closer look at what SD-WAN from Telarus can do for you at a very reasonable cost. Find out what SD-WAN systems and connections are available for your business location now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WANs That Act Like LANs

We take our Local Area Networks (LANs) for granted. Every business has them, but they are seldom seen except for that network connector on the wall. You plug-in your computer, printer, phone, etc. and it just works.

Find better Wide Area Network Connections now!Networks vs Utilities
In a way, LANs are now the data equivalent of AC power. You don’t think about it. You just use it. Connections and operations were long ago standardized. You don’t worry about different flavors of Ethernet any more than you stop and think what voltage is coming out of that wall socket.

Now, how about those Wide Area Networks (WANs)? It’s the WAN that gets you out of the building and connected to your other business locations, your cloud services and everyone else in the world. We don’t think about the fact that electrical power is transformed to higher voltages and that there are switching centers between your location and the power generation. It’s just as invisible as the wires running through the walls. If only Wide Area Networks worked the same way (sigh!)

The Difference Between LANs and WANs
The big difference between local and metro or wide area networks is that the local nets tend to be invisible and the longer haul connections may not be. You probably don’t have to be concerned about bandwidth, jitter, latency or packet loss on an in-house network. Wired LANs, especially, do a good job of keeping these issues out of your way. As you leave the premises, those characteristics degrade. Ideally it is not enough to get in your way, but sometimes it’s a major stumbling block.

Where WANs Go Bad
Take the most common WAN we use: The Internet. The Internet is an amazing infrastructure that connects nearly everyone to everyone else. It was designed from the beginning to be extremely robust, so that line cuts and equipment outages are automatically worked around. Its design philosophy and popularity are its limitations. The speed and quality of your connection can vary from minute to minute depending on traffic levels. The least costly connections, like cable and cellular, are shared, increasing the variability even more.

Invisible WANs
If you want the same performance over long distances that you have in-house, you need to order dedicated symmetrical wired, wireless and fiber point-to-point or multipoint services. Yes, a dedicated connection will help Internet performance greatly because most of the issues are in the “last mile” connection to your facility. Dedicated direct lines may make a huge difference in how business critical systems like VoIP telephone and software as a service in the cloud perform. MPLS networks provide similar high performance among multiple business locations, including remote data centers and cloud service providers.

The Almost Invisible WAN
The one sore point with dedicated lines is that can be a bit pricey, especially if you need a lot of bandwidth over very long distances. It’s a cost/benefit tradeoff. Dedicated wins for most medium and larger size businesses, where productivity losses and poor quality voice services are intolerable.

For smaller businesses and less critical applications, however, there is a fairly new alternative that makes the Internet perform more like a direct connection. This is called SDN or Software Defined Network, sometimes also referred to as a SD-WAN or Software Defined Wide Area Network. What the software does is combine multiple lower performing connections to produce a composite service that works much better. The SD-WAN monitors each WAN connection packet-by-packet and routes the most critical packets over the best performing links at that instant. It goes a long way toward making very noticeable Internet services more like invisible direct connections.

Are you frustrated by unacceptably poor Internet or other WAN services or have just hit the limit of your current bandwidth? Discover the range of competitive Wide Are Network connections that are now available for your business locations.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Faster Internet Connectivity

By: John Shepler

More is often better when it comes to Internet access speed. Yes, at some point the bandwidth of the line is so wide and the latency so low that your connection appears to be transparent. That’s not the case for most of us. We’re bandwidth limited to what we can afford and what is available. So, do we have to settle for limited throughput? Not necessarily, and certainly not until we’ve checked out all the options now available.

Move up to high speed Internet connectivityTimes Have Changed
One thing that holds us back in achieving faster Internet connectivity is the status quo. We’re comfortable with our Internet service provider and may not give it much thought. You might have just lucked into a good broadband service years ago or did a thorough search before selecting your current provider and service level. Just remember… that was years ago. In Internet years, that’s forever!

The Oldies: T1 and DSL
T1 lines and DSL were once the hot tech services. In fact, they may have been the only thing affordable at the time. Sure, there were T3 lines (also called DS3 service) and telco provided SONET fiber, but those were grossly expensive and only ordered if you REALLY needed them.

DSL is pretty much yesterday’s tech. T1 lines, however are still alive and well. They’re either on very old contracts that haven’t been reviewed in years or for special needs like rural locations where there isn’t much else. Todays T1 lines cost about half what they did a decade ago and you can bond them to create higher bandwidths. For most of us, though, there are better choices.

Cable Business Broadband
Today’s most popular entry level broadband service is business cable. It’s 10x to 20x the speed of a T1 line for less cost… if you can get it. In metro areas, no problem. Outside of town, not so much. The DOCSIS standard has been upgraded over the years so that 100 Mbps bandwidth is fairly easy to find. Even 1,000 Mbps is possible with DOCSIS 3.0, the current standard. A max speed of 10 Gbps is possible with the latest release, DOCSIS 3.1.

Note that these speeds are typically only available for download. Upstream capacity is often a tenth the downstream bandwidth. That works great for typical Internet access, but can be a limitation if you upload large files extensively. Also, cable broadband is a shared service. You share the available bandwidth with others on the cable rather than having it all to yourself.

Fiber Optic Ethernet
If future-proof highly reliable high speed Internet access with nearly unlimited dedicated bandwidth and low latency is what you really want, then fiber optic Internet connections are the real answer. The pioneering but expensive legacy SONET fiber services, such as OC-3, OC-12 and OC-48, are being quickly replaced by Ethernet over Fiber or EoF.

Carrier Ethernet is a perfect match to your local area network and offers scalable bandwidth from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, and up to 100 Gbps in select areas. It’s the most cost effective service you can get in terms of $ per Mbps. You also have the option of starting with the bandwidth you need today and quickly scaling up as needed in the future, usually with no hardware changes required.

High Speed Wireless
While fiber is the most desirable connectivity, it isn’t available everywhere. This is especially true in rural areas or even just beyond the metro limits. If fiber lines run to or close by your building, then you are in luck. Otherwise construction costs might be totally unacceptable regardless of the monthly lease fees.

If wires, including cable and fiber, aren’t the answer for you, then wireless may get the job done. There are two good options to consider. One is fixed point business Internet that picks up the tower signal using a small antenna on your building. The other is two-way business satellite that uses a small dish pointed at the southern sky to do the same thing.

Fixed Point Wireless
These providers are also known as WISPs or Wireless Internet Service Providers. Small Business Internet is similar to cable broadband but without the cable. You may get up to 50/5 Mbps of shared bandwidth for a very reasonable monthly price with no data caps. Enterprise Business Internet offers symmetrical dedicated bandwidth like Ethernet Fiber from 10 Mbps up to 1 Gbps with low latency for sensitive traffic like voice and video. Like other services, you’ll need to be in a location that is served by a strong WISP signal.

Satellite Wireless
The one nearly universal Internet connectivity service is broadband business satellite. Perched thousands of miles over the equator, satellites the size of school busses beam strong signals that blanket the USA and beyond, including islands and ships at sea. Two-way satellite has long been used by gas stations, restaurants, bank branches and other small commercial locations that have limited access needs. The new generations of “birds” are serious contenders with wireline and fiber. Look for bandwidth options around 15 Mbps now and up to 100 Mbps soon. Latency is pretty much stuck around half a second due to the enormous distances involved. That may or may not be a factor depending on how sensitive your applications, like voice, video and cloud services, are to these time delays.

Did you know that there were so many options to get faster Internet connectivity for your business? Whether you are a large, medium or small organization, check out your options for high speed broadband Internet service at your location.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How Your Network Provider Can Help Keep You Secure

By: John Shepler

It seems like every week there’s a major “hack attack” against companies large and small. Once upon a time, this was more of an annoying curiosity than a serious problem, as the intruders were mostly curiosity seekers looking to enhance their tech cred within their computer enthusiast community. Now it’s serious trouble. Today’s attacks are at least disruptive to the conduct of business and at most create unrecoverable destruction.

Have You Covered ALL The Bases?
You’ve tried to adhere to recommended practice, but there’s always that nagging feeling that you’re still vulnerable. Is there anything else within reason that can be done to keep the bad guys out? Let’s take a quick look at some Cybersecurity Basics, courtesy of Level 3 Communications, a major network service provider:

You are probably already implementing software patch updates, strong passwords, anti-virus software, and Internet firewalls as technical solutions. Employee training to avoid things like clicking on email links is also excellent practice.

Where The Network Provider Fits In
Even so, as shown in the video, there are protections that your network service provider can implement to stop these attacks before they even get to you. Certainly, the service provider can monitor their own core servers and mitigate attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) that try to traverse their network connections. But, a managed service provider can also extend that level of monitoring and protection into your network as well.

The Team Approach
Why go it alone, when you can have high reliability wide area networking services along with full-time security monitoring and attack protection working on your behalf behind the scenes. Seems like there is no such thing as too much security these days, so this could be a great time to consider adding managed network security to the protections you have already established… just to be sure.

Your Options
Are you interested in higher performance connectivity with the advantages of monitoring and added network security? Find out about the wide range of networking options available to you now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Metro Fiber Ethernet Gets You The Bandwidth You Need

By: John Shepler

Back when your company was smaller and business was slow, the old DSL or T1 line offered plenty of bandwidth to get the job done. Not so much anymore. Things have picked up and more of the content you need involves higher resolution graphics and video. Network congestion has your business throttled and that’s a bad situation.

Find Metro Fiber Ethernet Service for your business location now!Metro Fiber Ethernet Means Bandwidth
There is a clear trend in the telecom and network connection field. It is a gaining momentum toward everything fiber. That’s right, the fiber optic connections you used to take a pass on because of high cost or lack of availability are now ready for your business and at much better prices.

Fiber has the advantage over traditional twisted pair copper and wireless distribution because there is just about no limit to how fast those glass strands will run. Technology advances take the same glass fibers and increase the carrying capacity every few years. Too much data in the fiber bundle is a problem for the distant future, if ever.

What level of bandwidth is available now? Business users can generally get anything from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, with 100 Gbps in selected areas. Once your have the fiber installed, it’s your choice how much capacity to order. Same line, multiple bandwidth options.

Pay For Just What You Need
As fiber optic installations are multiplying, another technology is also taking over. That is, Carrier Ethernet. Yes, this is a compatible protocol with the Ethernet you already use on your Local Area Network. You simply plug into the Carrier’s termination, often a managed edge router, and you are connected to the Internet or via a private line across town or some other business location in the world.

Another beauty of Ethernet service is that there are no fixed bandwidth levels as there were with the older SONET fiber service. If you want 400 Mbps, you can get that. If you’d prefer 100 Mbps or 1,500 Mbps you can order those levels too. As long as the Ethernet Port installed at your location can handle the bandwidth, you can run at just about any speed.

This suggests a major cost savings for you. If your business level only requires 100 Mbps today, then order that. You may soon need 1000 Mbps, also called Gigabit Ethernet. No problem, call up your carrier and tell them to increase the speed of your line. They likely do that without any hardware changes and simply adjust your bill to reflect the increase in service level. You know that you have the flexibility to incrementally increase bandwidth as you really need the capacity.

More Availability, Less Money
You are no doubt aware that smartphones are getting faster and faster. 3G broadband is pretty much on the way out. Now it’s 4G everywhere, with 5G trials underway. One effect of this is that the old T1 lines that powered cell towers through 2G and 3G don’t have the capacity to support 4G and certainly not 5G. Support of high speed wireless has ironically caused fiber optic installations to boom. Fiber used to be rare and extremely pricey. Not so anymore. Pretty much all communication infrastructure being installed right now is fiber or wireless towers… or both.

All this fiber means capacity galore and lots of competition between a myriad of providers, all vying for businesses of all sizes. Even the Cable companies have gotten into the act recently. They’re offering access to their fiber optic networks that have the same quality of service as other business fiber services.

Why Metro Fiber Ethernet?
As the name suggests, metro fiber is more for locations within populated areas than out in the boonies. Metro also includes smaller cities, suburbs and business parks, not just major downtown areas.

What you want is competitive pricing on fiber based Ethernet bandwidth in a given metro area. Fortunately, that’s easy to find if you have the right tools. Want to see just how much bandwidth you can get for much lower prices than you’d expect? See how many Metro Fiber Ethernet Services are available for your business (not residential) location in a matter of a couple minutes.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter