OC-48 is one of the SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) standard service levels. These bandwidth levels pick up where T-carrier copper services leave off. DS3 or T3 lines provide 45 Mbps of transport. The equivalent OC or Optical Carrier level is OC-1 at 52 Mbps. OC-1 isn’t readily available as an actual line service. In practice the lowest level SONET fiber optic service is OC-3 at 155 Mbps. The next practical step up is OC-12 at 622 Mbps. In some areas you can get OC-24 at 1.25 Gbps, but a more popular level is OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps. Beyond that is OC-192 at 10 Gbps and OC-768 at 40 Gbps.
What makes OC-48 so popular? Many incumbent and competitive carriers constructed their fiber optic networks around OC-48, although some of the largest have moved on to OC-192 and OC-768. OC-48 is widely used for tributaries from OC-192 backbone nodes. Some newer fiber networks are built upon IP cores, completely bypassing legacy SONET technology. Many more are running MPLS or Ethernet over SONET.
One reason for this is that the SONET core is already in place, including all the routing and switching equipment. Another is that SONET is a proven technology that is widely supported and designed for carrier-class services. For instance, most SONET rings are dual rings that offer protection from fiber cuts and equipment failures. In the event of an outage, switching from one ring to another is accomplished in less than 50 mSec.
Once a technology that carriers kept for themselves, OC-48 pricing has dropped so much over the years that it is now a popular connection for many businesses. This includes large hospital and medical center networks, video producers, content delivery networks, broadband Internet service providers, computer aided design firms, businesses with substantial e-commerce activities, popular websites, and heavy users of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is something of a two-edged sword. The advantages include fast scaling of services up and down as your needs change, high reliability, and the ability to empty local data centers to avoid ongoing capital and operating expenses. What might get lost in the initial zeal to outsource to the cloud is how you connect with your new virtual data center located hundreds or thousands of miles away. All of a sudden, WAN connections that were perfectly adequate when most of the IT servers were still on the corporate campus are now sluggish and unresponsive.
If you want to maintain or regain that snappy performance that comes with high speed low latency dedicated private line connections, you’ll need to upgrade your connections between your headquarters and your cloud services providers. OC-48 fiber optic bandwidth may be just the ticket. At two and a half times Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth, you’ll have the capacity you need to avoid network congestion. With a protected service and SLA (service level agreement), you’ll have the reliable service you need for critical business operations. Finally, with recent price reductions from competitive service providers, you can now afford a level of service that previously seemed out of reach.
Have the requirements of your business increased because of business automation, new technologies such as video transport, or a move to the cloud? This is a good time to get a new set of lease prices for both Carrier Ethernet and SONET fiber optic services. High bandwidth circuits, such as OC-48, are now more affordable than ever before.