Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fiber Optic Ethernet Transport Offers Huge Advantages

By: John Shepler

There are many ways to transport your data from one place to another. The new gold standard has become Fiber Optic Ethernet lines, also known as EoF or Ethernet over Fiber. You’ll have a hard time beating this solution on a cost/performance basis.

Check prices and availability of Fiber Optic Ethernet service now.What is Fiber Optic Ethernet Transport?
Ethernet wasn’t part of the equation when fiber optic lines started to be buried in the ground and strung of utility poles for the telecom industry. The original standard was SONET (Synchronous Optical NETworking). This standard was designed to be backwards compatible with existing DS1 and DS3 multiplexed telephone calls in order to carry them on fiber. Why fiber? There's much more bandwidth in a single pair of optic fibers compared with legacy copper twisted pair, microwave and coaxial copper line.

Ethernet was born in the computer industry for local area networking. Transmitting this data outside the wired building or campus required a protocol conversion so that T-carrier and SONET fiber could carry packets instead of digitized phone calls. Decades later the efficiency of carrying Ethernet directly instead of first converting to an older protocol was standardized. Two varieties emerged. Ethernet over Copper and Ethernet over Fiber. For shorter distances, wireless Ethernet over line of sight microwave, laser, and radio systems such as WiFi and WiMAX were also developed.

The Immense Advantage of Fiber Optic Ethernet
Carrier Ethernet has been adopted by competitive telecom providers as well as the legacy telco companies. The first advantage is that it is directly compatible with computer networks. It’s Ethernet, after all. There is no need to deal with the inefficiency of converting back and forth between some other protocol. Just plug in your network and go. If you order a service such as E-LAN, you can interconnect your LANs at multiple locations as if they were on one big network.

The second big advantage is that Ethernet is easily scalable. When you order traditional MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) services, you get a line with a fixed speed. T1 is 1.5 Mbps, DS3 is 45 Mbps and OC3 is 155 Mbps. That speed determines how much data you can transmit per unit of time and it also determines the price you pay. What’s more, if you outgrow your line service, you have to upgrade to another line standard and get all new termination equipment. A higher speed service may or may not even be available for upgrade.

With Fiber Ethernet you really don’t have an upper limit. Each fiber strand can carry maybe 10 Gbps and could be wavelength multiplexed with dozens or even hundreds of 10 Gbps channels. Fibers are so small that cable bundles might have over a hundred fiber strands. It’s going to be pretty hard to run out of capacity.

The nice part is that you don’t have to pay for all of that capacity. You order a service level, say 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps, and that’s what you are charged for. If you find that you need more, you can get upgraded to a higher service level with a phone call or even with an online portal. You can get as much bandwidth as the port capacity that is installed at your location. That’s typically 1 Gbps minimum, with options for 10 Gbps or even 100 Gbps.

Best Advantage of All
Thanks to competition in the marketplace and the enormous inherent capacity of optic fibers, the price you pay per Mbps is lower than it has ever been, and usually far better than with older SONET technology. That price is for highly reliable circuits, often with service level guarantees. The bandwidth is both symmetrical, same upload and download speed, and dedicated for your use only.

Competing Bandwidth Options
If you only need bandwidths of 10 or 25 Mbps, Ethernet over Copper can give you similar advantages to Ethernet over Fiber. At lower speeds, 1.5 or 3 Mbps, a T1 line is still attractive.

The bargain basement bandwidth options include business cable broadband, wireless Internet service providers, Satellite broadband, telephone DSL lines, and cellular broadband. All of these were developed for the price sensitive consumer market and then offered to small businesses with needs that aren’t too demanding. Prices per Mbps are very attractive. Most of this comes from the fact that bandwidth is shared among users and not dedicated to a single customer. Bandwidth is also non-symmetrical. Download speeds are typically 10x upload speeds.

Wireless services tend to have pretty restrictive usage limits and are not suitable for downloading big software updates or transferring large files. Satellite is available nearly everywhere, but has latency issues that make it difficult to use for telephone and other real-time services.

Note that these services are almost always Internet access only. Fiber Ethernet can be set up as dedicated Internet access or point to point private lines.

What bandwidth service is best for your business? You have many more options that you may realize and pricing that could be better than expected. Find out now, what Fiber Optic Ethernet services are available for your business locations.

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



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Enterprise VoIP Moves to the Cloud

by: John Shepler

Enterprise VoIP has been replacing switched circuit analog telephone business systems for decades. PBX systems transformed into IP PBX, but they were still premises based hardware and software. Now those telecom rooms are emptying as business VoIP moves to the cloud and transforms into Unified Communications.

Find the cloud communications services you need now. What’s Cloud Got To Do With It?
Businesses started installing their own phone switching equipment when half a dozen buttons on a desk phone weren’t enough anymore. PBX actually stands for Private Branch Exchange. It mimics the phone company central office but sized just for your company. Even so, that can mean hundreds or thousands of people and phones. PBX systems that can handle this amount of traffic often require their own dedicated staff.

The impetus to move to the cloud centers around clearing out all that equipment and the staff to keep it updated and running smoothly. However, it’s not magic. The common joke about the cloud is that there really is no cloud, it’s just somebody else’s computer. That’s about it. Only cloud providers have huge facilities with huge staffs for economy of scale. You not only get away from the hassle of running a phone system, you can likely save money in the process.

New Capability and No Investment Required
One problem with in-house technology is that it’s easy to outgrow and it goes obsolete really fast. You avoid both issues with cloud services. A decent size cloud can handle as much expansion as you can think of. Software updates are routinely handled by the provider. Most PBX functions are now in software anyway. That means that adding or changing features doesn’t require junking racks full of perfectly good equipment. It’s a simple download to what is likely a virtual server.

Telephone calls are getting to be just one of many functions that companies want in their “phone” system. The old standard desk phone has to easily integrate with mobile smartphones where a lot of the conversations are taking place. Then there is text messaging, email and video conferencing. This is how business people communicate these days. The voice call is just one option. With IP telephony, the concept of voice as an application has been realized. What’s more, you may want to have multiple types of communication going on at the same time. That’s Unified Communications and cloud providers offer it under the name Unified Communications as a Service or UCaaS.

Special Needs of Call Centers
Many businesses find it advantageous to have their own in-house call center rather than outsourcing that function. With managed cloud services this is easily realized. You can add features such as an automated receptionist, call recording, automatic call distribution, interactive voice responses, call queues, skills-based routing, dedicated phone numbers, integration with CRM systems and reporting & metrics.

The beauty of cloud based call centers is that they don’t much care where the employees are located. None of your people will be sitting in the cloud data center anyway. This means that you can easily add remote workers and contractors to your team. They just let the system know when they are available and they’ll start getting assignments until they indicate they are unavailable.

What It Takes to Connect To the Cloud
You need to take special care in connecting your business and your people to the cloud if you want top notch performance. The Internet can be a bit dicey at the worst possible time, so you want the best connections possible. From your home office and remote offices, if possible, dedicated lines or SIP Trunks are best. Just avoid the Internet all together. Home workers may not even have that option or it can be too expensive for one worker locations, so the most reliable high speed broadband available is highly desirable. New SDN or Software Defined Networks make it easy to combine several broadband connection to make one faster and more reliable Internet connection. That can be the difference between distorted and interrupted calls and smooth seamless connections.

Are you getting frustrated with an under-performing phone system or feel you are missing out on productivity by not having the latest UCaaS features? You have many options available and complementary expert consulting to help you pick the most appropriate for your organization. Find out what Enterprise VoIP, Call Center and UCaaS services are available to you now, quickly and easily.

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



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How to Feed a Hungry WISP

By: John Shepler

We’re a wired nation, except when it comes to locations that are a bit off the beaten path. That includes farms, rural households, businesses beyond the city limits, new subdivisions and some industrial parks. While they may have telephone, thanks to universal service, the availability of broadband Internet access is less of a sure thing. This is where the wireless broadband supplier or WISP fills the gap.

Get the best bandwidth pricing for your WISP.Why WISPs?
WISP or Wireless Internet Service Provider is similar to a cell phone provider, except specializing in high speed Internet access. While even 4G cell service has fairly low usage limits, WISP services are much more generous and try to emulate the type of service you’d get from cable, telco or even fiber optic lines. The real cost to hooking up less populated areas is trenching cable bundles or flying them on utility poles. The WISP eliminates the wires and their associated cost. The tradeoff is that you generally need a small dish antenna and receiver outside to pick up the signal from the WISP tower.

Where Do WISPs Get Their Broadband?
While the WISP distributes broadband much like WiFi, the broadband they serve must come from somewhere. When the Internet was young, T1 lines did an excellent job of feeding the WISP, just like they did feeding cell towers out in the countryside. The beauty of T1 is that it can be sent virtually any distance over standard twisted pair telephone wiring. The downside is that the bandwidth is fixed at 1.5 Mbps per T1 line. Higher speeds can be accomplished by adding or bonding additional lines to double, triple or quadruple the speed. The practical limit is around 10 to 12 Mbps. Pricing goes up linearly as you add each line.

Higher Speed Copper Lines
A newer technology that also runs over twisted pair copper is Ethernet over Copper (EoC). This service offers higher speeds, say 20 or 30 Mbps or even higher. Transmission is distance limited, but EoC is now more available beyond the city limits. Cost is much more attractive per Mbps than T1, if moderate speeds are adequate for what you need.

Business Cable Broadband can provide hundreds of Mbps these days but has suffered from very limited deployment outside of metro areas. That has changed somewhat as the cable has been extended to outlying subdivisions and business parks. If you can get this service and the Cable Company is OK with using it for a WISP, the cost will be very attractive.

Fiber Optic Service
The new gold standard of bandwidth service is fiber optic lines. These used to be few and far between, but provider competition has made them far more common even in rural areas. You can thank 4G cellular for providing the incentive to trench fiber conduits into rural areas. Prices have come down dramatically with Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) services. These are highly reliable and easily scalable up and down in bandwidth to meet your needs. Bandwidths of 10 Gbps up to 100 Gbps are common now.

Microwave Transmission
Why not feed wireless with wireless? That’s not a crazy idea and is being used more and more as telco companies upgrade to 5G towers. Microwave is a point to point wireless service. You mount a small dish on your tower and point it toward the service provider. It’s like fiber but without the fiber.

SDN Combines Bandwidth
What if you need more bandwidth than any one supplier can provide? One option is to combine them using a technique called SDN or Software Defined Network, also known as SD-WAN or Software Defined Wide Area Network. The SDN controller manages traffic to get the best performance for each packet. You can combine T1, EoC, cable broadband, microwave, fiber optic lines and even satellite Internet to create a higher speed robust feed for your WISP tower.

Do you operate a WISP service or have one in the planning stage? Find out what bandwidths and pricing are available for your desired locations now. A friendly consultant will help you sort through the options.

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



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

I Want Fiber But Not Construction Costs

By: John Shepler

The first choice for business private line and Internet connections is now fiber optic bandwidth. Fiber provides a nearly limitless pipe with low latency, packet loss and jitter. Prices are better than ever… as long as you don’t get a giant bill for construction costs.

Avoid construction costs with on-net and near-net buildings.Why Fiber Has Construction Costs At All
Companies that have depended on T1 lines, Ethernet over Copper or business cable can be stunned when they receive a quote that includes thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in build costs to bring in a fiber line. Twisted pair copper lines rarely have such a charge because the telephone companies routinely install telco wire bundles to every business when the building is first built.

Fiber should have the same status, but we’re not quite there yet to the same extent. Unlike copper, fiber is often installed long after the building is constructed as a retrofit. That can mean running fiber bundles overhead on poles or tunneling under roads and sidewalks. It gets pricey. If the nearest fiber point of presence is miles way, it gets really pricey.

By the way, business cable can suffer the same fate. If the cable doesn’t run right up to your building, you can get dinged for one-time construction fees. These tend to be a lot less than fiber, although if the cable is miles away the bill can be eye-popping.

When YOU Don’t Have to Pay for Construction
Don’t assume that if you’ve never had fiber before, you’ll have a huge construction bill. There are many cases where the bill is zero. Why? Because the construction cost may have already been paid or even waived.

What you want to look for is a fiber-lit building. That’s a facility where one or more fiber service providers has already brought in a fiber bundle and termination equipment to make it operational. Lit means that the fiber has an active laser light shining through it and is capable of carrying traffic.

Fiber buildings were once rare, but now they are very common. As business bandwidth requirements increased, more and more competitive carriers established fiber optic networks and began competing to light buildings. Often the first provider to establish services gets all the business and makes that building unattractive to competitors.

Near Net vs On Net
The best situation is to have your building lit or on-net with a fiber company. The next best thing is to be near-net. That means a building next door or close by is lit and providing service. This is important because running a line from one building to another is relatively inexpensive. Your construction costs will be low or perhaps even waived if the carrier wants to be the provider for your building. If you have other tenants in the building, you can encourage this by all requesting service.

Other Options
If fiber really does turn out to be unaffordable, you aren't necessarily out of luck. In metropolitan areas, wireless microwave companies can give you fiber speeds without the wires. All you'll need is a small antenna on the building. Ethernet over Copper can deliver speeds as high as 30 to 50 Mbps over multiple twisted pair wires that are likely already installed. The available speed depends on how far from the telco office you are. Business Cable might also work. The newest DOCSIS standards offer hundreds of Mbps up to Gigabit speeds on a shared bandwidth basis.

How Do You Get The Best Connection Deal?
Ideally, you want to get quotes from many service providers, not just the phone company or the one fiber company that advertises locally. You are likely unaware of all the potential service providers. However, a bandwidth broker, such as Telarus, Inc, has contractual arrangements with dozens of providers nationwide and can get you a suite of competitive quotes. It takes only a few minutes of your time. Simply request a fiber optic service quote through the online form or call toll free: 888-848-8749. A bandwidth service consultant will gather quotes and help you chose the most appropriate service for your business.

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



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

20/20 Mbps Speed on Copper and Fiber

By: John Shepler


Business broadband bandwidth requirements have been on a steady slope upward. Some of this is the change from mostly text based information to graphical and video content. More is due to moving business processes from local desktop computers and company servers to cloud providers. Simple T1 lines and other low speed connections are no longer adequate. Entry level WAN (Wide Area Network) speeds, including Internet broadband, are now in the tens of Megabits per second.

Moving up to 20/20 Mbps bandwidthA popular service level for smaller businesses and remote workers is 20/20 Mbps. This is fast enough to support a single user, small team or small retail location while still being very affordable. Let’s take a look at the options available.

What is 20/20 Mbps?
The term 20/20 Mbps means 20 Mbps bandwidth in both directions. That’s 20 Mbps upload and 20 Mbps download. When the upload and download speeds are the same, the connection is said to be symmetrical. It makes no difference if you are watching a video clip or backing up files to cloud storage, the bandwidth is the same. In fact, if the connection is full-duplex, as most business grade lines are, you can be downloading and uploading at the same time without slowing down.

Wireline Connections
The 20 Mbps line speed, or bandwidth, is way beyond the capability of a T1 line that runs flat out at 1.5 Mbps. It’s also too much to achieve by bonding multiple T1 lines together. Does that mean that delivery over standard multi-pair telco lines is impossible? Not at all. Newer technology called Ethernet over Copper (EoC) can easily deliver that speed and perhaps even more provided that your business location is close enough to the telephone company office.

Telephone companies own all that twisted pair copper that connects telephone desk sets. The same bundles can carry T1 service and the newer Ethernet over Copper. Regardless of which service provider offers you the EoC service, it will come in on those telco lines. So, the phone company has to have the right termination equipment and you need to be within a couple of miles or so of the office. In populous areas, that’s generally the case.

Fiber Optic Connections
The whole world is converting to fiber at a rapid pace. One of the main drivers is the need for high bandwidth to cellular towers to support 4G and 5G broadband services. The other driver is the ever higher bandwidth requirements of business as cloud services expand.

Fiber is the gold standard of bandwidth connectivity. If you have a fiber optic line installed to your business location, you’ve pretty much future-proofed your business. It’s almost impossible to need more bandwidth than the fiber can support. Even if that happened, there are usually many fiber strands within a fiber optic cable.

Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) is the upgrade to EoC. You can get 20/20 Mbps dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth at a very reasonable price anywhere that fiber is available. Dedicated means that it is for your use only and the line speed doesn’t vary. Both EoF and EoC are dedicated services, although other types of bandwidth might not be.

Another advantage of Ethernet over Fiber is that it is easily scalable. That means that if you get 20/20 Mbps service now and in a few years need to move up to, say 50/50 Mbps because of a growing business, that can be done with a simple phone call to your provider and likely no equipment changes. Some carriers even offer user control panels that let you change bandwidth levels at will.

How about Cable, Satellite and Wireless?
Cable, Satellite and Wireless services have evolved to offer 20/20 Mbps bandwidth and beyond. These services may be less expensive that EoC or EoF, but they are likely to be shared, not dedicated bandwidth and asymmetrical (different upload and download speeds) rather than symmetrical. Satellite and Wireless tend to have some usage limits due to limited resources. In some locations you can get dedicated symmetrical microwave delivery that offers similar performance to EoC or EoF but without the wires.

Are you ready for a bandwidth upgrade but unsure what is the best option for your business? Our knowledgeable consultants can give you good advice and get you the best price on the service you need. Find business bandwidth options over copper, fiber, cable, satellite and wireless now.

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



Follow Telexplainer on Twitter