What we’re talking about here is Metro Ethernet or Carrier Ethernet connections running at 10 Mbps. They can be used to connect two business locations in a point to point setup. They can be used to provided a dedicated Internet access connection. They can also be used as an on-ramp to a larger cloud network for national or even international connectivity.
So why 10 Mbps? It’s a bit of a sweet spot in the spectrum of bandwidth choices. T1 lines have been that sweet spot for the last decade. But business applications are getting more and more bandwidth hungry. The 1.5 Mbps provided by a T1 connection isn’t really enough anymore, even though T1 line prices have come down considerably. The Ethernet equivalent is a 3 Mbps connection for about the same money as T1, but offering twice the bandwidth. For many small businesses, 3 Mbps Ethernet may be all that’s needed for the time being.
Companies with more that a few employees or using video conferencing, on-site web hosting and other demanding services find that 10 Mbps Ethernet offers a considerable bandwidth upgrade at a reasonable cost. It’s not that much more expensive than T1 was a contract or two ago.
One technical reason that 10 Mbps Ethernet is in a “sweet spot” of bandwidth pricing is that you can often get it delivered on copper as well as fiber optic cabling. By copper, I mean multiple pair of twisted copper telco wiring. It’s the same bundle that’s used to bring in analog telephone and T1 lines. The service provider leases this already-installed copper from the local telephone company and then connects those pair to special EoC termination equipment. That’s the magic that makes it possible to get such a bandwidth jump without an equivalent jump in cost.
Where is 10 Mbps Ethernet service available? It’s offered now in most metropolitan areas from multiple competitive service providers. Downtown in major cities, you can almost always get 10 to 50 Mbps Ethernet over Copper. The exact speed available is determined by the distance from your location to the nearest carrier point of presence. In suburban areas and smaller cites, you may also find EoC. If not, some carriers are offering Ethernet over DS1 or EoDS1. This is a similar service, but uses T1 line technology with signal regenerators to extend the service range.
What if you need even higher bandwidths? Ethernet is probably still your most cost effective choice, but it will be provisioned on fiber optic cable rather than copper twisted pair. Way out in the boonies, that can be a problem when there are no fiber cables for miles around. In town, construction costs may not be that expensive if you are close to a service provider’s office. If you, or you plus other businesses in your building or industrial park, order enough bandwidth, construction costs may be waived or greatly reduced.
Does this sound like a promising bandwidth service for your organization? The way to find out is to get a summary of availability and competitive pricing for 10 Mbps Ethernet Service. Quotes for higher speeds up to 10 GigE are also available.