Running a Gigabit LAN and using something like DS3 bandwidth or even OC3 fiber optic service for your MAN or WAN service is like connecting a drinking straw to a fire hose. The flow can’t help but slow to a trickle when it goes through that edge router. There once were good reasons why very modest WAN connection speeds were just fine. Today, there’s much less of a case to be made for order of magnitude or larger differences in LAN and WAN speeds.
What’s happened to demand higher connection speeds today? Computer networks were once strictly internal to a company. In fact, anything connected to the network from the outside aroused suspicion. If you wanted to transfer data somewhere, you used a reel of tape or a cassette. Slowly, data communication networks arose starting with dial-up modems and Frame Relay networks. Then came the Internet. It been a speed race ever since.
Now nearly every company has a dedicated broadband connection to the Internet and perhaps one or more VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to connect with employees working for home or on the go. Companies with more than one site often have private line or MPLS network connections to tie everyone together. With the amount of data flying around, tapes and removable disk packs are yesterday’s means of data transfer. Today it is high speed network links.
Not only has computer technology changed, but so have business practices. Now nearly everything has some form of automation involved. Business productivity is leveraged upon real-time computer systems and electronic storage. Nobody at headquarters wants you to create a report and send it overnight mail anymore. They want a video conference presentation featuring you delivering the report live. Oh, and they want it right after lunch.
Beyond mere connectivity for transmitting files electronically instead of faxing or mailing paper, companies and their computing systems are becoming estranged. The data center used to be right down the hall or in the basement. Now it’s on the other side of the country and is owned by somebody else. More and more companies are buying their computing and even their telephone service through a cloud service provider. The LAN no longer connects you to the server racks. Now you have to go through a WAN connection. Does it make sense that the bandwidth that used to be good enough for a few overnight file transfers can’t begin to support real time business applications running in the cloud?
The idea of Gigabit Ethernet connections used to be a fantasy. Now it’s becoming a given. You need the high bandwidth connections to support the amount of data moving between organizational locations and back and forth with the cloud. If you are supporting financial trading, high performance SaaS, video conferencing or enterprise VoIP, you need not just high bandwidth but also low latency and jitter with minimal packet loss. In some cases, you may also require links to overseas locations with the same network characteristics.
Where do you go to get Gigabit level connectivity? AboveNet is a premier supplier of domestic and international fiber optic services. They are recommending moving to Ethernet rather than the legacy SONET fiber services. Why? SONET/SDH services are a legacy telephone company technology. They were designed to support trunking massive numbers of telephone conversations from office to office. These protocols can be made to work with computer networks but they are not directly compatible.
What is? Ethernet! The Ethernet that runs on your LAN can now traverse your WAN to the Internet or to another LAN on the other side of the country or across the Atlantic. This makes for a simpler and more efficient overall network setup. It also enables services such as layer 2 Ethernet LAN Service that bridges two distant LANs as if they were in the same building. Ethernet scales much faster and more granularly than SONET, allowing you to buy just the bandwidth you need now with the option to quickly scale up when the need arises. Best of all, Ethernet has a cost advantage over SONET/SDH. You get more bandwidth for the same money or pay less for the same service level.
If you are feeling the pinch from too small WAN connections, this would be an excellent time to check your current options for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet services from AboveNet and other fiber optic carriers. You can get instant pricing for bandwidths up to 1 Gbps and rapid quotes with helpful consultation for all other services you may be interested in for your company.