Monday, February 25, 2008

Ethernet Domination

Someday in the not too distant future there will be Ethernet and only Ethernet. That's one possible, perhaps even likely, scenario that's popped up with the proliferation of Ethernet WAN services.

It wasn't that long ago that there was a choice in local networking technologies. Token Bus, Token Ring. But what protocol does nearly every NIC or Network Interface Card ship with today? It's Ethernet. The only question is one of speed. The interface could be 10, 100, or 1,000 Mbps with 10 Gbps soon to be widely available at reasonable prices. Local Area Networks are Ethernet structures. Most have gone to a subset, switched Ethernet, for full duplex operation. Coaxial cable has given way to twisted pair copper wiring and RJ-45 connectors. Copper is now being challenged by fiber optics.

What is driving standardization toward a single networking standard in the LAN is as simple as cost. Economy of scale means that once NICs, wiring, switches, routers and connectors are in large scale production, they get cheaper by the unit. Pretty soon other technologies are at a cost disadvantage and start to disappear. Lower volume production runs hasten their demise.

The LAN revolution is over but the WAN revolution is in full swing. Wide Area Networks started as analog dial-up and went to telephone company developed Time Division Multiplexing standards that are dominant today. But Ethernet is escaping into the Metro Area Networks and into long haul connections. MPLS networks hope to be the successor to the circuit switched model used for SONET and other TDM technologies. But even MPLS may be an intermediate solution. The dominant networking protocol could actually wind up being Ethernet end-to-end.

Is that possible? It is actually available right now for many businesses. Imagine connecting your office in New York with your offices in Los Angeles and Seattle in one very large network. Not just communicating from location to location by going through multiple protocol conversions. But connecting LANs together to transparently create a single large company network.

Ethernet transport services from intra-city to inter-state are available from competitive carriers who operate their own private regional and national networks. They are fiber optic based to offers bandwidths that include classic 10 Mbps Ethernet, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, and 1,000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet. As 10 GigE networks proliferate, that level of WAN Ethernet service will likely become available as needed. Larger service providers are now in the process of upgrading to 40 Gbps and even 100 Gbps in their core networks to meet the rising demand for bandwidth, driven especially by video streams.

Here's another surprise. Even though Ethernet is the newer technology, it also offers a price advantage per Mbps of bandwidth. You could be paying less than half of what you are now for high bandwidth WAN connections. Would you like to know what the best offers are for your location? Find out now with an easy online Ethernet service search

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

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