Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Stunning Truth About Metro Ethernet Prices

Over the last couple of years, a new type of network connection has become available. It’s the Metro Ethernet Network also called MetroE. Metro Ethernet services have defied conventional telecom pricing models by offering more bandwidth for less money. That’s right, MORE bandwidth for LESS cost.

Really? Is this true? If so, how can it be that way?

The answer breaks down into two primary drivers. The first is technology. The second is aggressive service providers. This double-barreled business advantage gives you something that you may desperately want in this depressed business climate. It’s an opportunity to get more for less. Alternatively, keep the bandwidth that works for you now and really pay less. By shaving your monthly telecom service expense without requiring any counterbalancing expense or capital investment, this savings is pure profit. It's just what the beaten-up bottom line has been waiting for.

Let’s take a closer look at the forces that result in lower Metro Ethernet prices. If you have a outside data connection, such as a dedicated broadband Internet service or a point to point data line that connects two business locations, you are most likely using a traditional telecom service such as a T1 line, DS3 bandwidth, or fiber optic SONET service. These are telephone company inventions that have been gradually offered to businesses as well as telco offices.

There’s nothing wrong with digital telco services. They’ve matured over the decades into reasonably priced and highly reliable connectivity. They’ve also been deployed far and wide so that today you can get a T1 line just about anywhere you can get phone service.

But there are two limiting factors related to telco services. The first is that they are deployed using local telephone company owned copper and fiber cables. Part of the cost of every T1 line, and the other mentioned services, is the last mile connection known as the local loop. The cost of this connection will only be as inexpensive as it is available from the incumbent local telephone company.

The other limitation lies with the technology. Telco services are based on a standard called TDM or Time Division Multiplexing. It partitions the bandwidth of a digital line into small channels capable of supporting one phone conversation each. For instance, a T1 line consists of 24 of these channels. This is an ideal arrangement when you are transporting telephone calls, but it introduces some inefficiencies when you want to bundle a lot of these channels together to make a big data pipe.

Computer networks are not TDM. They have standardized on a packet switching technology, which is Ethernet. Every LAN runs Ethernet. So does every switch and router. If you need to interconnect far-flung equipment using TDM communication lines, then all this equipment needs to covert between TDM and Ethernet at every node.

Metro Ethernet may use fiber optic or copper based connections, but the network is running an Ethernet protocol known as Carrier Ethernet. This is a standardized protocol that is rapidly expanding in metropolitan areas. One reason that it is called “Metro” Ethernet is that you’ll only find it areas where there are lots of business users.

Connecting everything with Ethernet offers a number of advantages for network managers. You have the choice of using either switches or routers connect separate site networks. Ethernet services also tend to be scalable. That means you can order bandwidth incrementally, sometimes in 1 Mbps steps. Traditional telecom services require a major provisioning effort to change bandwidth. With Ethernet, a simple call to your provider may be all you need to add bandwidth to your service.

The other piece in the puzzle of plummeting bandwidth prices for Metro Ethernet is the emergence of new competitive carriers with their own networks using the latest technology equipment. With no tie to traditional telephone company operations, these providers aren’t burdened with legacy costs or equipment that is too entrenched and expensive to update at this time. They can focus their efforts on offering a suite of high bandwidth Ethernet services for businesses that need just this type of connectivity.

Is Metro Ethernet the right network service for your business operation? Find out by checking availability and pricing of Metro Ethernet services in your area.

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

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