Ethernet services are fairly new on the scene. Prior to Ethernet becoming fairly common, your best bandwidth options were T1 lines and fractional DS3 bandwidth. Occasionally, fixed location wireless service has been available for locations with a nearby line of sight path to their service provider.
How do Ethernet services change the options mix? You can often get more bandwidth for less cost with Ethernet, including low bandwidth services over copper.
You’ll hear Ethernet services described as Metro Ethernet, Carrier Ethernet or by their bandwidth level. For instance, 5x5 Mbps Ethernet means a dedicated speed of 5 Mbps in both the upload and download directions. That symmetry is similar to what you get with other telecom services, but much different than the consumer oriented information services such as DSL and Cable broadband.
Symmetrical bandwidth is important if you expect to do file transfers between locations or backup your data to the cloud or a remote data center. Asymmetrical services with low upload speeds were designed for Web browsing. When you are requesting Web pages, there is a lot more data coming down than the few commands you are sending up to the server. That’s also true for video streaming, but not for video conferencing. In general, any two-way activity benefits from symmetrical bandwidth.
If you are currently using a T1 line or a few of T1 lines bonded together, sometimes called fractional DS3 bandwidth, you may well find that EoC or Ethernet over Copper is much more cost effective. You’ll get the same high quality of service that you expect from T1 or other telecom services. You’ll just pay less.
How much less? Let’s say that you want 5 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth to meet your need for file transfers, video conferencing, or dedicated Internet access. You could get close by bonding 3 T1 lines together to get 4.5 Mbps or 4 T1 lines for 6 Mbps. With T-carrier service, you need to move up in 1.5 Mbps increments.
The problem is that there is no economy of scale with T1 lines. Two lines cost twice as much as one line. Three lines, the number needed for 4.5 Mbps bandwidth, will cost you 3x the T1 line price. You also have to have new lines installed any time you want to increase bandwidth. There’s no cost savings in having extra capacity available.
Ethernet pricing is more than competitive with T1. You can often get 2 Mbps Ethernet for the same or less cost than a T1 line. Sometimes you can even get 3 Mbps for that price. Your 5x5 Mbps Ethernet will likely cost somewhere around twice the cost of T1 service but give you over 3 times the bandwidth. You might even do better. The reason these cost figures are vague is that pricing for both T1 and Ethernet is highly dependent on what services and competition are available for any particular business location.
Another thing you should know is that Ethernet over Copper uses the same twisted pair telco wiring that brings in T1 service. The technology uses multiple pair to increase bandwidth. That technology is also much more scalable than T-carrier services. What you want to do is install an Ethernet port capable of the bandwidth you expect to need for the foreseeable future. Then order the bandwidth you need right now. You should be able to quickly and easily increase your bandwidth at any time by simply contacting your service provider. No additional installation or construction delays should be necessary.
Are you ready to get some real numbers comparing Ethernet to T1 and DS3 services? Get pricing and availability for 5x5 Mbps Ethernet over Copper and other bandwidth services now.