Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Point to Point Lines Connect Dealerships

Car dealerships, real estate companies, medical centers, radio stations and fine restaurants all have something in common. They're often big enough and successful enough to have more than one physical location. What they need is a way to tie two or more locations together as if they are one company. That's what point to point lines and MPLS networks do.

A common scenario is the successful car dealership that has an opportunity to buy out another dealership with similar or competing vehicles. Common ownership has strategic advantages, but consolidation of common functions offers an opportunity for cost savings. Back office operations such as accounting, marketing, IT, and so on are ripe for centralizing and right sizing to a level that can efficiently serve all locations. But this only works if each location can be served as well or better than with an on-site staff.

With so many functions now electronically data driven, there is real opportunity to standardize on computer based systems for everything from sales to accounting to inventory management to maintenance records to Web sites to telecommunications. You can set up similar networks and workstations at each location. But how to you tie everything together?

Chances are that you already use T1 lines for PBX telephone service and/or dedicated Internet access now. There is another type of T1 line, called a point to point T1 line, that is perfect for connecting two locations. As you may have guessed, the point to point T1 line is a direct connection from one location to another. Usually, these locations are in the same town or geographical area. But they don't have to be. You can have one point in New York and another in Los Angeles and it works the same way.

What's important about point to point T1 lines is that they are a dedicated service. In other words, you have exclusive and private use of the connection. It's as if there is a wire stretched between your locations, and in a way there is. Because there is no bandwidth sharing, point to point links are inherently more secure than just connecting two places over the Internet. For really sensitive data, such as your customer or business records, you can choose to encrypt the data during its transit from point to point.

Point to point T1 lines can be used for more than just data exchange. Radio stations use these as program lines between their studio and transmitter. They can also be used to transfer programs and commercials between stations with common ownership.

Can point to point lines be used to connect more than one location? Sure. You can connect a P2P (Point to Point) T1 line from every location to every other location. As you get more locations, this can get rather expensive. You are probably better served to organize your WAN (Wide Area Network) in a hub and spoke arrangement with headquarters acting as the hub to provide connectivity to all the branch offices or other locations.

For mesh connectivity to many locations, another popular service is MPLS or Multi Protocol Label Switching. This is a private shared network that guarantees bandwidth and connectivity. You typically use a T1 line at each location to provide access to the network. The MPLS provider then sets up paths that define which locations can talk to which other locations. There are other users on the network also, but you will not be impacted by them the way you can be on the Internet.

Is Point to Point T1 or MPLS service right for your operation? The best way to find out is to compare service options and prices and then select the connection scheme that gives you the right connectivity, bandwidth, privacy and cost.

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

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