Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Moving from DS3 to Fast Ethernet

Companies needing larger amounts of bandwidth to support hundreds of Internet users, video feeds, ISP backbones, medical imaging transmission, and remote data storage have traditionally moved up from T1 lines to DS3 service. Now there's another option that can offer advantages such as lower monthly lease prices, high bandwidths and easier network integration. That option is Ethernet.

Ethernet? Isn't that the protocol of the Local Area Network? Indeed it is. But now Carrier Ethernet offerings from competitive providers can take your Ethernet LAN and extend it across town or across the country, even around the world. The WAN bandwidth market has changed dramatically in the last year. Can you benefit from the newer services? Is it worth you while to change? Let's see.

DS3's popularity stemmed from its being in the same technology family as T1. T1 lines are nearly universally available and the first professional grade voice and data lines that most businesses install. The T-Carrier system with its DS levels is a family of services developed by the telephone companies and then adopted by competing carriers under deregulation. DS1 is 1.5 Mbps and rides on a T1 line. DS3 is 45 Mbps and rides on a T3 line or fiber optic SONET line.

Ethernet is a different animal altogether. It is based on packets and not the channels that divide up the T-Carrier system. Ethernet has its own family of services. Basic Ethernet is 10 Mbps. Fast Ethernet is 100 Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet is 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps. A faster service is 10GigE which is 10 Gbps, a common core bandwidth for national carriers.

So why would you make a move from DS3 to, say, Fast Ethernet? First of all, for the bandwidth increase. DS3 is 45 Mbps. Fast Ethernet is 100 Mbps. Second, for the cost savings. Fast Ethernet service might be had for half the cost of a DS3 connection. Yet, you get over twice the bandwidth. It's something like a 5:1 advantage for Ethernet in this speed range. Gigabit Ethernet is even more advantageous on a cost per Mbps basis.

Another advantage is network administration. Your IT staff is familiar with managing Ethernet based networks. While Ethernet can be transported on DS3 using protocol conversion, it's more efficient and more straightforward to keep it Ethernet all the way.

Whether you needs are for Ethernet in the metro area, long haul point to point connections, or a mesh network connecting multiple locations together, you should have a look at the value for the dollar you can get now. It's truly a changed market from what you expected to pay when you signed your last service bandwidth. Take a few minutes and see if your building is already lit for Ethernet. Even if it isn't, carriers may still be willing to connect you to a nearby POP (Point of Presence).

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter