Tuesday, September 29, 2009

High Fiber Diet for Business Not Expensive

As business conditions improve and activity increases, many businesses are starting to feel a pinch. It’s coming from a constriction around the middle of the operation. The problem is way too much data trying to flow through too small of a WAN network connection. The solution? How about a high fiber diet?

In this case, the fiber is fiber optic communications. One thin strand of glass fiber can handle voice, data and video packets faster than nearly any business can generate them. The light that illuminates the fiber can even be channelized into separate wavelengths or colors, each of which can support Gigabits per second rates. Once you have a fiber optic connection to your building, you have access to nearly unlimited bandwidth.

But isn’t fiber optic communications prohibitively expensive? It used to be, but not anymore. The reason is competition. Where the incumbent local telephone company was once the only game in town, there are now dozens of competitive service providers. Many of these have not only their own fiber optic core networks, but fiber optic and copper access networks as well.

Copper? Yes, multiple pair of ordinary twisted pair copper wiring can transport Ethernet services up to 45 Mbps to connect with nearby carrier points of presence. Fiber optic access can be installed to most metropolitan business locations where the volume of usage justifies the costs of construction. It’s not uncommon now for operators of buildings with many business offices or industrial parks to install fiber optic service as a “utility” during construction. Once the fiber facilities are in place, service levels can be adjusted to meet the demand of the business tenants.

What services are available over fiber optic carriers? The most basic service level is DS3. This is the same digital service that runs on T3 lines at 45 Mbps. DS3 doesn’t even start to consume the total capacity of even one fiber strand, so it is possible to have multiple DS3 connections serving multiple customers all multiplexed on the same fiber optic carrier.

SONET, the Synchronous Optical NETwork, is the traditional fiber optic service. Typical SONET services are OC3 at 155 Mbps, OC12 at 622 Mbps, OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps and OC-192 at 10 Gbps. There are other levels specified, but they are not as commonly available.

Many newer competitive service providers have based their networks on IP technology rather than SONET, a telco standard. They’ve chosen to offer Ethernet as a WAN service. There are many service levels to choose from, but popular options include 10 Mbps Ethernet, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, and 1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet or GigE. It’s not unreasonable or prohibitively expensive to order 10 Gbps Ethernet if your business has the need for such high bandwidths. That’s especially true when time to market or collaborative productivity are a high priority.

How about the cost of fiber optic services? They’re now much lower that you would expect. It’s not uncommon to get 100 Mbps Ethernet bandwidth for a fraction of what you would have paid a few years ago. If your need has just materialized or you’ve been using high capacity data services and haven’t run competitive pricing searches recently, you should certainly get current quotes before you decide that more bandwidth is beyond your budget level. You could be very surprised by the results.

Find out how what variety of fiber optic services are available for your business location and how much they cost. Our GigaPackets online resource will get you an answer quickly and easily.

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

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