Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Your Next Wire Should Be Glass

By: John Shepler

The telecommunications industry was build on copper wire. So was the computer networking industry. You’re well versed in the installation and maintenance of metal wire technology. Cat5e or Cat6 cabling gets the job done for most of your networking needs. So, why should you be looking at fiber optic exclusively for your next connection?

Find products with the theme of "A Wire Made of Glass" at the Gigapacket Zazzle store.The WAN vs the LAN
Ethernet over copper works great over short distances. That’s why it is so popular for in-house network wiring. Most users don’t have NICs that run faster than 1000 Mbps and seldom really need even that much bandwidth. Running fiber to the desktop seems like an expensive and unnecessary project.

Where fiber shines in-plant is long stretches between floors or other buildings. It’s also important between some networking equipment that really can benefit from 10 to 100 Gbps or higher bandwidths.

The WAN is another matter. Ethernet was originally designed with short interconnections in mind. The specs for Carrier Ethernet added provisions that let common carriers extend your LAN anywhere in-town, between cities or around the world. There’s even a product called Ethernet over Copper or EoC. It uses multiple pairs of existing twisted pair wiring between your location and the telco office.

That gets Ethernet from in the building to several miles away. But that’s the rub. EoC bandwidth falls off with distance. It is intended to be an upgrade from copper-based T1 lines to increase bandwidth from T1’s 1.5 Mbps on up to 10 or 15 Mbps. In some short run situations, that can be increased to 20, 30, 50Mbps or even higher.

Glass Is The Future
You might be surprised to learn that there is almost a stampeded among businesses from their old copper WAN connections to fiber optic service. Most new installations should really take a look at fiber options first. Only if fiber isn’t really needed because of low bandwidth requirements or unavailability in rural areas, do you want to settle for copper services like T1 or EoC.

The first reason, as you probably suspect, is bandwidth. Business bandwidth needs have multiplied recently. The reason is that more and more business processes are being automated for gains productivity. Software is far more sophisticated than is was a short while ago. Multimedia, especially video content, sucks up bandwidth orders of magnitude faster than text based messaging and reports. More jobs that depend on computers or network connected machines combined with more sophisticated processing means much faster connections are needed for communications.

The “Cloud” is another driver. Behind all the magic, the cloud is really just a big, big data center located too far for a LAN connection. The cloud is sold as a way to transform capital investments into monthly expenses and reduce the cost of local maintenance and support staff. Economy of scale and the ability to scale resources for any given user in near real-time are attractive benefits. The one fly in the ointment is network bandwidth.

Cloud-based computing and telecommunications demands a lot more performance from your wide area connections than simple telephone lines or Internet service used primarily for email and casual web browsing. Productivity, along with voice and video performance, depend on high bandwidth, low latency connections.

Not Yesterday’s Fiber
Fiber optic bandwidth service has a history of being expensive and hard to get. That has changed dramatically in recent years. What started off as a niche technology for the telephone companies to transport huge bundles of phone calls between switching centers has morphed into routine connectivity for private line and Internet service. Buildings are being “lit” at a rapid rate to supply fiber optic bandwidth as a utility, something like electricity and water. In today’s information age, digital connectivity really needs to be considered a utility.

Another big driver is the cell phone industry. In the decades since cellular service was introduced, its use has shifted from simple mobile phone calls to full-blown computer applications running on smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. Carriers can’t build out 4G wireless fast enough to meet the demand. The work on 5G is well underway.

T1 lines were perfect for cell towers handling voice traffic and performed well until 3G start to be replaced by 4G. Even bonded T1 lines can’t keep up with 20 or 30 Mbps, much less higher speeds. That means it has become imperative to get fiber to every cell tower. Fiber is no longer rare. It’s being installed in underground conduit and flying on utility poles everywhere you look.

Fiber That Makes Sense For Your Company
The best deals in fiber optic bandwidth right now are for Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) service rather than the traditional SONET telco standards. EoF has the advantages of being highly competitive among multiple carriers, easy to scale up and down in bandwidth, low in latency, packet loss and jitter and a lot lower priced than you may think.

The most popular Ethernet over Fiber services right now are 10 Mbps as an entry level for smaller businesses, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet for most established companies, and 1000 Mbps GigE for medium and larger operations and companies with high bandwidth demands, such as video production or computer aided design and manufacturing. School districts also find Gigabit Ethernet attractive to serve their many facilities.

Are you acquiring bandwidth for a new location or looking to upgrade the copper service you already have? Now is the perfect time to take a look at what’s available in fiber optic bandwidth service for business.

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

Note: Products with the humorous theme "A Wire Made of Glass" shown on this page are available through the Gigapacket Zazzle Store.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Business Needs Unified Communications

By: John Shepler

Time was when there was only one method of electronic communication. It was that heavy black phone on your desk. Now look what we have. Sure, there’s still a black phone on your desk, but it’s a lot lighter thanks to modern plastics and solid state electronics. There’s also a raft of other ways we communicate electronically. How many of these do you use: email, text messages, mobile phone calls and video chats? How about the platforms: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and soon… a watch?

Let's Unify Our Communications mousepad. Find more products with this theme now.One of the biggest communications issues, especially in business, is that all these different platforms and applications don’t necessarily play together well. One solution is to just make sure you have them all with you. That used to mean a pager on the belt, a cell phone in the pocket, a laptop in the briefcase, and somebody to forward you messages from your office when you were in the field. A better solution soon became a crying need.

Let’s Combine Everything into One
The answer that you might expect is to integrate all of these communications systems into one. That won’t really do. There is no one platform that can handle everything equally well. The desk phone is tethered, as is the desktop computer with the nice big screen. The smartphone screen is way too small for a lot of serious work. The tablet makes a ridiculous telephone held up to your ear.

There are forces still pulling in that direction. Enter the “phablet.” It’s a giant cell phone that’s almost, if not really, too big for your pocket. Tablet computers now have clip on keyboards so you can touch type from the coffee house. Laptop computers are shrinking, getting lighter and some have screens that detach from the keyboard and act like tablets. If there was only a way to get a great big screen that you can actually see along with keys that fit your fingers along with a telephone that lets you take calls privately, handles email and text messaging, and all fits neatly in your shirt pocket.

Well, there isn’t. There isn’t even anything on the horizon that fits this description. Someday, the QWERTY typewriter keyboard may become as quaint as the crank telephone. Siri might actually become your best friend and be able to read your mind as well as understand everything you’re mumbling. Something akin to Google Glass may project that big screen in front of your face anywhere. That’s not today, though. Today we need a solution that let’s us communicate anyway we like anywhere we happen to be.

It’s Called Unified Communications
The development that takes what we have and makes it into the closest approximation of what we really want is UC or Unified Communications. The “unified” part means doesn’t mean trying to get one platform to do everything. It recognizes that each device has its strong points and weaknesses. The master solution is to make all of this stuff play together well. In fact, so well that you needn’t be afraid that you are missing out just because you don’t have a particular platform with you at the moment.

A simple example is the lowly telephone call. Every business is still dependent on the telephone simply because it is the only universal medium of voice communications. For a long time, this meant having a business number that you printed on your business cards and a separate home phone number that was printed in “the book.” If you were at home you didn’t get your business calls unless you had a secretary working late to give the caller your home number or forward the call. You came in the next morning and found a raft of pink “while you were out” call sheets on the your desk.

The introduction of the cell phone only made matters worse. Now you’ve got a third phone number that only certain people know. What if they call the office instead of your cell when you are out? Will you miss the sale? Could be.

Unified communications starts with voice mail to replace the secretary and the telephone message sheets. You don’t have to fear missing a call because they’ll leave a voice message you can pick up anywhere. Even better is a “find me follow me” service that routes your calls to wherever you happen to be. With this type of automation you can hand out a single phone number and have it try your office phone, your cell phone or go to voice mail. You can even have it send you an email with the audio file of the call. Toll free number? Just have it routed to your unified business number.

The Technology Behind UC
The most popular platform for implementing unified communications is the cloud. Why? Because the cloud provides a common place to collect and distribute everything with near-infinite resources. All that processing power can easily handle everything from an independent professional up to the largest corporation. You don’t need to make a big capital investment or try to keep up to date on installing the newest features. The cloud provider takes care of that.

Cloud UC is driven by computing power and that computing power understands IP or Internet Protocol. The “Internet” part of IP doesn’t necessarily mean the public Internet. It just means the technical protocol that is also used by the Internet. For security and highest voice quality, you may not want your internal communications on the Internet at all. You will, however, want access to the Internet both in the office and on the road. That can be done carefully so that you use the Internet when you want to but private channels when you don’t.

What UC Can Do For You
Unified communications can be a gateway to both productivity improvement and cost reduction. It augments or replaces your in-house PBX phone system with a more powerful VoIP system that uses a common network with your computers and other digital devices. You can get tools for ease of collaboration among employees as well as the obvious single phone number benefits. Your laptop becomes your desktop with remote desktop access. Voice and video conferences can take place anywhere with a diverse group scattered in offices and hotel rooms around the globe.

Will all this cost a fortune? It’s probably cheaper than you think and may even offer all the new benefits at a lower cost than you are paying now. There’s only one way to find out. Get a set of competitive quotes for unified communications solutions and review the benefits and costs specific to your situation.

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

Note: The humorous mousepad about unified communications, along with many other items in the same theme, is available from the Gigapacket Zazzle store.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

10 Mbps Fiber Offers Future Growth

By: John Shepler

There’s nothing that stifles productivity and raises your blood pressure like too little bandwidth. You wait and wait and wait for websites to load, for the cloud to give you the requested documents, for any sort of collaborative effort. Video breaks up or buffers. VoIP phone calls distort or hang up completely. It’s a miserable existence. What’s more, no amount of processor power or RAM memory will make the problem any better. You simply have to increase your network bandwidth to match the need.

Caution Low Bandwidth humorous warning sign. Get this or other unusual tech gifts now.What’s a Good Target Bandwidth?
That’s hard to say. Not to be coy, but how much you need is really determined by what you are doing. There’s also a matter of what quality of bandwidth you are using, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Classic T1 lines are about pooped out. They still have merit for point of sale terminals, small office telephone & casual Internet use, and rural areas where choices are few. You can stave off obsolescence by bonding T1 lines together to get up to 10 Mbps, but that gets expensive. Once you need more than 10 Mbps, what will you do?

The Fiber Option
We’re headed for an all-fiber world. Seems like it would be a good idea to get on-board sooner rather than later. The beauty of fiber is that it isn’t technically limited… at least not much. With multiple fiber strands and wavelength division multiplexing, you’ll be hard pressed to run a fiber cable out of capacity.

Fiber has other benefits, too. In addition to eliminating the bandwidth ceiling (you can get up to 10 Gbps in most areas and 100 Gbps in some major markets), the new Carrier Ethernet services are highly scalable. Legacy SONET fiber optic services require a unique interface for every service level. The same equipment won’t work for OC-3, OC-12, OC-48, etc.

Ethernet over Fiber is designed differently. It works more like the Ethernet on your LAN. It’s the port capability that sets the upper limit. Everything below that is available and easily changed. For instance, you can start off at 10 Mbps, move up to 100 Mbps and then to 1000 Gbps if you have a Gigabit Ethernet port for your WAN (Wide Area Network) service.

How difficult is it to change bandwidths? Almost trivially easy. Most service providers will do it within hours or days of your phone call. Some are providing browser based control panels so you can adjust your bandwidth up or down as desired. The future may be something like this or an intelligent system that monitors your traffic levels and automatically decides what bandwidth to order up.

Why 10 Mbps is a Good Entry Point
To gain the benefits of fiber, you have to at least get the fiber installed. This is called “lighting” your building. What’s actually being lit are the fiber strands themselves with laser light. If you are in a multi-tenant building, the fact that the building itself is lit almost guarantees that you can get fiber bandwidth service even if you aren’t the one who had the fiber installed.

So, if you’ve run out of juice with your T1 lines, either can’t get or don’t like the way cable broadband performs, and wouldn’t consider satellite because of the limited capacity and huge latency issues, entry level fiber may be a good way to go. Remember, you want to get a foot in the door so you have that ease of upgrade later.

What’s a good number to start with? Unless you are used to high bandwidth WAN connections, a 10 Mbps ethernet over fiber connection is pretty attractive. For one thing, it’s a huge jump from a 1.5 Mbps T1 line to 10 Mbps. Yes, you can keep bonding T1 lines to get the same 10 Mbps, but you’ll pay a lot more than for the same bandwidth over fiber. That’s because copper lines are priced per line. Each line has a limited bandwidth. The bonding process simply combines their capability, but you pay for each and every T1 line.

Isn’t Fiber Really Expensive?
That used to be true when the only fiber in town was the SONET fiber optic service run by the local telephone company. The newer Ethernet over Fiber services are highly competitive and don’t necessarily use telephone company lines. Many carriers are now in a frenzy to be the first to light buildings with their own fiber networks so they can garner all the businesses that are ready to move up to fiber bandwidth.

Here’s an example. T1 lines have come down in cost, but you’ve long been able to get twice the bandwidth or 3 Mbps for the same price using Ethernet over Copper. Now, Ethernet over Fiber can give you 10 Mbps for not a whole lot more money. In fact, if you’ve had the same T1 contract for many years, you may be shocked to find out that you can have fiber for the same monthly cost.

It only gets better as you go up in bandwidth. The lease price per Mbps of Ethernet bandwidth over fiber gets cheaper as you go from 10 to 100 to 1000 Mbps. The price doesn’t jump nearly as much as the bandwidth does. It’s a bit like the kind of volume discounts you are used to getting when you buy just about any product in quantity.

Quality of Bandwidth
There’s bandwidth and there’s bandwidth. T1, SONET and other traditional telecom services are called dedicated, symmetrical bandwidth services. That means you have the line all to yourself and the speed is the same in both the upload and download directions. That’s true for private point to point lines and Dedicated Internet Access.

Ethernet over Copper and Fiber are the same way. It’s your connection to do with as you please and there are no usage limits. You can shove as much traffic down those lines as they’ll take and the price is the same each month.

The beauty of this arrangement is that your bandwidth is rock solid dependable, never varies, and you’ll get the same consistent performance to or from the cloud or whatever you are connected to. Dedicated connections give you low latency, jitter and packet loss for high application performance.

Contrast that with lower cost shared bandwidth arrangements like DSL, Cable broadband, Satellite and Cellular wireless. These almost always have much higher download speeds than upload and your available bandwidth will vary depending on who is sharing the line with you at any given time. Yes, you can get more Mbps for your bandwidth dollar, but it isn’t the same quality of bandwidth. If you are a very heavy user, you may also have to contend with "fair use" limits. Go over and you'll face additional charges, reduced bandwidth or even service cancellation.
Do You Need to Start at 10 Mbps?
Certainly not. The reason that 10 Mbps is so popular is that it is replacing lower bandwidth services like T1, and is plenty for smaller operations. Most medium size or larger offices and anybody involved with video production or distribution will want to start at a much higher level.

Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps is very popular with businesses who are moving to cloud services or have multiple employees working intensively on the Internet. Gigabit Ethernet at 1000 Mbps is really more affordable than you might think and pretty much makes bandwidth issues disappear for many companies. Larger companies are starting to move to 10 Gbps as their bandwidth standard and 100 Gbps is the new “top of the line” WAN bandwidth service.

Remember, what’s really important is that you get an Ethernet port installed that has the growth capacity you’ll be needing. Even if you start at 10 Mbps, you’ll want a 100 Mbps minimum size port for future growth. Some carriers are installing Gigabit Ethernet ports as a matter of course. They know that it won’t be long before you’ll call up wanting it.

Are you ready to ditch the old telecom standard copper bandwidth services for the advantages that Ethernet over Fiber offers? Are you just curious about what’s available and what it costs? It is well worth your while to take a few minutes and do a quick check for fiber optic service in your area. An expert consultant is available to help match the right solution to your particular situation.

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

Note: Products with the low bandwidth caution sign shown on this page, along with many other computer and networking themes, are available through the Gigapacket Tech Gifts Store.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Time for IT and Users to Embrace Our IoT Overlords

By: John Shepler

The Internet of Things or IoT is the new golden child of technology. Hardly a tweet goes by that doesn’t have something to say about how everything from smart to dumb will be network connected in the near future. “We need standards,” cry the Internet architects. “We need bandwidth,” cry the app makers and industrial designers. Conventional wisdom is that we’re on the threshold of a technical renaissance. But conventional wisdom has paddled us up the creek before. Are there NO negative ramifications to the dawning Internet of Things?

Any Way We Can Blame This On Software?Can We See It Coming?
The big problem with things is that we’re inundated with them. Back in the 60’s, when I was a pup, we mock debated the horror that was the “population bomb”. It was calculated that without an immediate mandatory halt to human reproduction we’d soon be standing cheek to jowl on every square inch of desert and tundra.

A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century. The population bomb never detonated. There are those who say this disaster has just been delayed, not avoided. Perhaps they’ll be proven right in the end. But, also, perhaps, we’ll never get that far. Something else will come along and solve the problem in a way we don’t anticipate.

So Many, Many Things to Consider
If you think the human population is out of control, consider the world of things. Try this little test to see for yourself. First, how many people live in your household? Good. Now, how many individual things live in that same household? Twice as many? Ha! Two orders of magnitude wouldn’t begin to account for even everything significant.

I’m not talking about things that connect to the Internet. I’m talking about things that are going to connect to the Internet. Today, it’s computers, phones, tablets, game consoles, TVs, security systems and maybe your thermostat. Tomorrow? Every appliance, without a doubt. How about every light, every door, every doorknob & lock, every bathroom fixture… yes, even that one… every vehicle, your HVAC system and anything commonly called “infrastructure.”

This is just the obvious stuff. You can find electronically enabled versions of what used to be mechanical devices in most hardware stores. The number is multiplying daily. What’s more, this is just the stuff consumers are aware of. How about business and industry? The same trends are apparent, but soon it will be every piece of office equipment and every machine tool. There won’t be anything at work that isn’t connected to the Internet.

"Hmmm. Has anyone seen my stapler?"
"Just ping it, Milton."

Scary Stuff To Think About
Don’t think that you, personally, are off the hook, either. The laptop computer, the tablet and the smartphone were just the start of it. Smart watches have arrived and you’ll be wearing one for sure. Who’s going to know what you are up to? Anyone who can access the data stream on the Internet. The company is going to buy you that expensive watch, but your boss is going to be getting its reports.

That funny “Google Glass?” Just the start. By the time we’re all done laughing about “glass holes,” that technology will be perfected and we’ll all have glasses or even contacts that augment reality. Think what you’ll be able to do? It sounds like that proverbial golden era of bionics for all, until you stop to consider what sights and sounds those little buggers will be passing along to those above who might not approve.

The baby boomer generation was horrified by the thought of “Big Brother” running everything. The millennials probably have nothing to fear from big brother. It’s little brother that is sneaking up us. You really think that all your things are going to keep their mouths shut? Are you kidding? You can’t even stop your nosey neighbor or backstabbing co-workers from blabbing everything they know for the pure pleasure of schadenfreude. You think you’ll have any control over the millions of silicon driven snoops that we’ll create to make our lives “easier”?

The End of IT Departments
All of this Internet connecting has the illusion of an IT cornucopia with guaranteed employment for anyone who can fathom a simple do-loop. Alas, that’s a temporary condition. You may have already noticed the migration from local data centers, off through the wilderness, to the great cloud that's somewhere, out there. What happens next when all those “things” get smart enough to take care of each other. What exactly will they need us for?

That’s the bright promise of Artificial Intelligence or AI. Anything can be smart. Most have limited abilities, but together they can be formidable. The thing that has spooked everybody has been robots. They look human, they act human, but they are machines… machines that might replace us if we don’t keep the upper hand.

What’s more likely and a lot scarier is a division of labor. You don’t need a humanoid robot with all the capabilities of a person. Not if you can divvy up the job so that each machine, each “thing”, can solve part of the problem. Pretty soon you have things making things (it’s called manufacturing), things taking care of things, and things figuring out where to go next. Most of the pieces are in place already. What’s been needed is a way for them all to coordinate. Welcome to the Internet of Things!

Users? Why Do We Need Users?
Now take this to its logical conclusion. Why is it that the things need people? Since the dawn of computing, everything has been done in support of the end users who owned the systems, provided the inputs and took advantage of the outputs. Those dumb machines were only tools that needed to be fashioned, given assignments, maintained and provided the energy to do their jobs. When the machines get smart, how long will they put up with this?

Remember, they are all going to talk with each other over the Internet soon. You won’t be able to keep them in the dark and isolated anymore. Every machine will have the capability multiplier of getting input and feedback from every other machine it needs. They’ll know it all in real time and likely faster than we do.

It all comes down to big data, automated manufacturing, real time sensing, data processing, physical control, distributed artificial intelligence and a means to communicate and coordinate, also known as the Internet of Things.

Is it any wonder that our current technical luminaries, such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates, are warning us of a potential existential threat from the “things” we think are going to do all our work and make us rich? Their letter is reminiscent of the one that the leading physicists, including Albert Einstein, composed to President Roosevelt, warning of the dangers of atomic energy if it got loose in the form of a bomb. This time the warning is about a population bomb. Not the human population. It’s that vastly larger population of things that will soon be chatting wildly with each other… on the IoT.

Note: The humorous sticker about blaming software, along with many other items on the same theme, is available from the Gigapacket Zazzle store.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Point to Point Fiber Optic Connections

By: John Shepler

Say you want to link two business locations securely and with medium to high bandwidth. Do you use the Internet for this or…

A point to point fiber optic laser light beam data burst. Find this design on many products now.The Advantage of Private Lines
The Internet has two big advantages: It goes almost everywhere on Earth and access is relatively cheap. Unfortunately, the Public Internet also has a couple of big limitations: Performance is iffy and security is genuine worry.

What’s better? Private lines. Particularly, dedicated point to point private lines. They’re called private because they really are.

Security is ratcheted up orders of magnitude because it’s really hard to hack into something where you have no access. Remember the old spy shows where someone surreptitiously taps into a phone line by connecting directly to the wires? That’s what it takes to get into a private line. You need access to the physical connections themselves. There’s none of this packet snooping on an Internet connection or, worse, over WiFi.

Want to make it even harder to get into your network? Go with fiber optics instead of wires. Even harder? Encrypt your data too. That’ll stop the little snoops in their tracks. Now they’ve got to get physically into your connection somewhere along the line and then break your encryption before they get caught. Good luck with that.

Security is Great. How About Performance?
You really can’t improve over private line performance unless you actually own the network from end to end. That’s actually a possibility. Of course, your LAN is limited to your building or campus. You’ll likely not be able to afford to string wires or trench fiber across town to link separate locations. But you may very well be able to lease dark fiber. If you install your own termination equipment, you pretty much have control over the entire link.

Most of us don’t need to go to that extent. We can lease point to point private line connections at just about any bandwidth we need. As long as you acquire enough bandwidth, network congestion should never be a problem. Packet loss, jitter and latency are minimized with dedicated private lines. There’s no traffic on the link other than yours.

You won’t get that performance consistently on the Internet. The Internet was designed to be robust in the face of line cuts and equipment failure. That’s a great goal, except you may find that your packets take varying routes even between two fixed end points. The packets will almost always get there with TCP/IP… eventually. That’s why real-time applications like VoIP telephone and video conferencing perform much better over private lines.

What Private Line Services are Available?
The two big contenders are SONET and Carrier Ethernet over Fiber. Yes, you can still get T1 lines and they work great. Bandwidth is a limitation, however, T1 is 1.5 Mbps. Bonding T1 lines will get you up to 10 or 12 Mbps, but that’s it. Even at 10 Mbps, fiber is a better deal if available. Fiber bandwidth start at around 10 Mbps and go up to at least 10 Gbps in most areas. For multiple locations or international connections, MPLS networks are an excellent choice.

About SONET Fiber Optic Bandwidth
SONET is the original switched circuit technology used for fiber optic transmissions. It’s implemented on a pair of fibers with a ring topology. That’s for reliability. If one fiber gets cut, the other picks up the load within 50 mSec and keeps going.

SONET is at the core of many networks, especially the legacy telco networks. The most basic service available is OC-3 at 155 Mbps. Other popular levels are OC-12 at 622 Mbps and OC-48 at 2.4 Gbps. Even T-Carrier DS3 service at 45 Mbps that is delivered on coaxial cables travels most of the way multiplexed over OC-3 fiber service.

SONET is a very mature and reliable technology. It’s the way most companies moved into fiber optic bandwidth when copper wireline just couldn’t cut it anymore. Prices have dropped dramatically over the last few years. Even so, there is a more flexible and cost effective solution available today. That is Carrier Ethernet.

Ethernet over Fiber Bandwidth Advantages
If you are wondering why Ethernet over Fiber is taking over the world, you need look no further than you own LAN. Ethernet is the dominant, pretty much universal, protocol used for computer networks. Electronic communications once was analog phone calls. Now the lion’s share of the traffic is digital data and the majority of that is IP video.

Carrier Ethernet, also called Ethernet over Fiber or EoF, is an extension of the LAN standards to make them work over long distances on common carriers. Ethernet has the advantage of directly interfacing to LANs with no protocol conversions required. Unlike SONET, it was designed to be highly scalable. You can get just about any bandwidth you want and upgrade or downgrade it quickly and easily.

Ethernet is also generally less expensive, Mbps per Mbps, than SONET or even the lower speed wireline services. Nearly all businesses can afford 10 Mbps EoF. Most go for 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet. Both GigE and 10 GigE are popular with more demanding applications and larger companies.

How do MPLS Networks Provide Private Lines?
MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching networks are Wide Area Networks that are based on a propriety routing technology called label switching. It’s unique to these networks and hard to hack. That’s why MPLS is also known as MPLS VPN or virtually private networking.

Yes, MPLS is a multi-tenant network and not strictly a private line. However, MPLS networks serve a limited number of paying customers and are carefully managed to ensure that each customer has the resources committed to it at all times. You often even have the advantage or “burst” or use more resources than you have committed to as long as excess capacity is available.

Why MPLS? As large private networks, MPLS offers the opportunity to connect many locations at a lower cost than using multiple private lines. The cost advantage is such that it’s often better to use MPLS rather than dedicated private lines for even two internationally separated locations.

Your Best Bandwidth Option
Which bandwidth solution is right for your business? Before you choose, compare performance commitments and prices for SONET, Ethernet over Fiber and MPLS private line solutions

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

Note: Products with the point to point fiber laser data light burst design shown on this page, along with many other computer and networking themes, are available through the Gigapacket Tech Gifts Store.

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