Wednesday, February 14, 2007

ISP Fiber Optic Backbone Bandwidth Deals

Internet service providers supply connections to the Internet along with value added services such as email and Web site hosting. But ISPs also need Internet connectivity themselves, in massive quantities at reasonable prices. The cost of bandwidth is likely the highest business expense for providers. By reducing the cost of their backbone bandwidth supply, service providers can offer more competitively priced broadband connections or improve their bottom line.

ISPs come in all sizes, from small localized operations to huge MSOs or Multiple System Operators with tens to hundreds of thousands of customers. At the low end are WiFi hotspots, apartment and commercial building networks, and neighborhood associations. These operations serve from a few to a few dozen user on a free or shared cost basis. Often a single T1 dedicated Internet line or a few T1 bonded lines are the most cost effective solution to provide the bandwidth required at this level.

The T1 dedicated Internet line provides 1.5 Mbps upload and download capacity. It can be thought of as a backbone for these very small Internet services, but it doesn't directly connect to the Internet itself. Instead, this line connects to a Tier 1 provider who does have a direct peering connection to the actual Internet or to a Tier 2 provider who buys bandwidth from a Tier 1 provider. Does this sound complicated? It's actually a similar model to the distribution of products from manufacturers to distribution centers to wholesalers and then to stores.

Intermediate size Internet Service Providers offer dial-up modem services or broadband over telephone lines, wireless towers, or through the Cable Television network. A single WISP tower or modem bank might still be served by a T1 backhaul line, but the provider's backbone connection to the Internet will most likely need 45 Mbps DS3 bandwidth or higher that is only practical with fiber optic line services. How much bandwidth is needed depends on the number of subscribers, the bandwidth offered per connection, and the level of oversubscription. Oversubscription assumes that not all users will be online consuming maximum bandwidth at any given time. This statistical multiplexing allows providers to share their backbone bandwidth among ten times as many users, or even more.

Fiber optic Internet bandwidth from Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers has become more plentiful and and more competitive than ever. Numerous companies have their own fiber optic networks at the OC48 (2.5 Gbps) and OC192 (10 Gbps) level, typical of the Internet's fastest connections. Local access is readily available at the OC3 (155 Mbps) and OC12 (622 Mbps) to provide backbones for Internet Service Providers, who will then distribute the available bandwidth among their customers. Higher speed connections are available in the largest metropolitan areas.

Fiber optic carrier services are highly reliable, but ISPs will often opt to reduce their risk of outages even more by connecting to multiple diverse carriers. If they need several OC3 lines worth of bandwidth, they may have them delivered on separate fiber optic cables as drops from different carriers running in different directions. This way, a single cable break due to construction activity or natural disaster will slow but not cut off Internet service.

What cost savings can Internet Service Providers reasonably expect to achieve with today's competitively priced carrier bandwidth services? Our consultants are anxious to discuss your particular needs right now. See how much you can save on ISP copper or fiber optic backbone bandwidth through our GigaPackets service now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter