Monday, May 05, 2008

The Ethernet Next Door

Life is tough when you're bandwidth limited. You spent what seemed like a fortune years ago to get a T1 line from the phone company. It was fantastic at the time, but now business has grown and everything seems to be slowing down on the network. You asked them for more bandwidth and they just laughed. You couldn't possibly afford to get access to their fiber optic SONET ring. If you can't afford it, how can your competitors afford it? Why don't they seem to be as constrained as you are?

What they know and you're about to find out is that there's a new business broadband service in town and it's right next door or down the street. Your current provider is not about to tip you off because they want to hold on to your business and the big premium you pay them for Internet access. What's really sad is that you could be getting all the bandwidth you need and for a lot less money than you think. Not only could you match your competitors' performance, you might just leapfrog them.

This new service really isn't so hush-hush. It's just being deployed so fast that it's not well known right now. It's not your traditional telecom service, either. It's an extension of the networking standards you are already using. It's Ethernet.

We've used to thinking of Ethernet on the LAN but having to go to a completely separate protocol for access to the outside world, especially the Internet. Even point to point connections have to be converted from packets to channels on a telecom carrier's service, right? That's been the case, but it isn't any longer. Now you have the option to extend your LAN to join up with your other facilities as Ethernet all the way. You can also use Ethernet as access to dedicated Internet service.

The big player in what's called "Carrier Ethernet" is a company called XO Communications, headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. XO is a billion dollar company with more than 4,000 employees and 90,000 customers, including the government, businesses nationwide and even other carriers. They have nearly a million miles of metro fiber installed, with 18,000 miles of inter-city fiber links and a thousand central office locations. There are 3,000 fiber-fed buildings on their network.

But that's not even the most exciting news. XO is also a leader in both wireless Ethernet and Ethernet over Copper technology. Why is that important? Because not every building is "lit" for fiber optic service. A big office complex with lots of high tech tenants will find it worth their while to get fiber cables pulled-in from the nearest carrier POP or Point of Presence. But many other businesses find the construction costs too daunting.

That's where alternate delivery technologies come to the rescue. New modulation techniques make it possible to carry Ethernet connections over the same copper telco lines normally reserved for telephone services and T1 connections. XO is able to provide business customers beyond the reach of its fiber network with EoC (Ethernet over Copper) connections at speeds from 10 Mbps to 88 Mbps in the 75 metropolitan markets it serves.

Another option in 36 major metropolitan markets is fixed broadband wireless service in the 28 - 31 GHz spectrum. Where wireless access makes sense, it completely avoids the construction hassles of wireline drops. Ethernet speeds from 10 Mbps to 155 Mbps are available using this technology.

I've saved the best news for last. Ethernet service from XO and other competitive carriers is much, much less expensive than what you'd expect to pay for high bandwidth data services. How much less? How about 50 to 90% less per Mbps? If that sounds attractive, use our Ethernet WAN Search service to see what's available for your business location.

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

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