The problem with being wrong about your bandwidth needs is that you either pay way too much, or run the risk of losing a lot of business if you run out of capacity. Neither situation is acceptable. Let’s see how you can make better arrangements.
Traditional telecom services take a long time to install and upgrade. They’re not very scalable. A scalable service makes it easy to adjust bandwidth. Generally all you have to do is call your service provider and say, “crank it up.” They’ll do just that, usually without sending anyone to your business locations, and simply adjust your bill accordingly. The beauty of scalable services is that you can hedge your bets. Order the bandwidth you need today with a little margin for bursts of traffic. Then scale up your service as business operations require. This way the added business activity pays for the additional bandwidth and you don’t take a hit to your profits.
What kind of bandwidth is scalable? Ethernet services meet that definition. They are available in the industry standard speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1,0000 Mbps and 10 Gbps. But you can generally order levels in-between. Service typically starts at 3 Mbps, which is twice the speed of a T1 line at about the same cost. The exact increment between service levels varies among providers, but 5 or 10 Mbps steps are common.
Compare that to scaling up from T1 at 1.5 Mbps to DS3 at 45 Mbps or OC3 at 155 Mbps. Each jump requires different termination equipment and considerable time and effort to install. With Ethernet, you can select any incremental speed up to the limit of the installed port.
This is why you want a Gigabit Ethernet port if that option is available. The speed of the port is the maximum speed of the service that can be provisioned without changing out equipment and perhaps having to bring in new lines. With a GigE port, you can commit to 100 Mbps service while knowing that you can easily upgrade that to 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 750 Mbps or even a full 1,000 Mbps. That “future proofs” your service without having to commit to massive levels of bandwidth that you can’t possibly use right now.
Of course, the proper port size is related to the nature of your business. Not every business will need Gigabit Ethernet service in the foreseeable future. Smaller business may be quite comfortable with Ethernet over Copper at a maximum of 50 Mbps. Others only need one to two hundred bits per second. What is right for your company? Why not get a set of price quotes for Ethernet services available at your location and then decide. You’ll likely be surprised by how much you can get for your bandwidth dollar.