Now it’s true that 1.5 Mbps still meets the needs of many small retailers and companies that aren’t technology driven, although even that is starting to change fast. Everyone from insurance professionals, physicians, video producers and engineers is now highly connected. Some of those connections are private lines or virtual private lines. Others are dedicated access to the Internet. What they have in common is a need for far more than yesterday’s bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps.
What’s more appropriate for today’s needs? It’s looking like 10 Mbps is becoming the new gold standard. Why is that? First, let’s look at what’s happened to bandwidth requirements. Nearly everyone connected to the Internet now has broadband rather than dial-up access. The wireless industry is under tremendous pressure to move from 3G speeds of around 1 Mbps, not that much different from T1, to 4G speeds of 3, 6, 10 and higher Mbps downloads and at least 1 Mbps upload.
Broadband speeds are under the gun because they are now the limiting factor to the success of computing. The PCs themselves, including Macs, have gone to multi-gigabyte memories, terabyte storage and multi-core processors. They’ve got the horsepower to create whatever user experience is required. Even tablets are now multi-core and connected to WiFi, 3G or 4G broadband. The WAN is the limiting factor in getting information into and out of the computing platform.
This wasn’t the big deal a few years ago because most all computing was done locally. You either had a software package on your PC or accessed a corporate server over a Local Area Network. Web pages were small, static and mostly text and low resolution graphics. Email is an undemanding text-based service. Ecommerce solutions may have sophisticated processing on the back-end, but don’t necessarily need to transmit that much data back and forth during a transaction.
What’s happened now is that graphics are going high resolution to match higher resolution screens and the natural output of higher resolution still cameras and HD video cameras. Video content is a greater portion of the traffic on any WAN connection. Even more importantly, everything is moving off to the cloud. The cloud is your data center, somewhere, out there, and everything flows to and from the cloud over your WAN connection. This might be a private line or an Internet access service. Either way, it better be a fairly large pipe or you will be feeling constrained in everything you try to do on your computer.
TelePacific is one carrier that is embracing the demand for higher business bandwidth levels and deploying what they call EoX or Ethernet over Anything. That’s Ethernet over copper, TDM, fixed wireless or fiber optic cabling. Why Ethernet? It has the cost advantage over traditional telecom services, an easy interface to corporate LANs, and rapid bandwidth scalability. Most popular is EoC or Ethernet over Copper. What EoC offers is provisioning over the same type of twisted pair copper telco wiring that transports T1 lines, but with higher bandwidths and lower prices per Mbps than T1.
For instance, to get 10 Mbps over T1 lines you need to bond 7 T1 lines together at a cost of 7 times the price of a single T1 line. For half that cost or less, you can get 10 x 10 Mbps Ethernet over Copper. If need be, you can easily ramp that up to 15, 20 or 25 Mbps or more when the need arises. As a reference point, the price you were paying for a single T1 line a few years ago will get you 10 Mbps EoC service today.
Are you feeling constrained by your WAN bandwidth, especially that aging T1 line? If so, it’s time for an upgrade that is likely less expensive than you think. You can probably afford 10 Mbps or more right now. Find out by getting prices and availability for Ethernet bandwidth services suitable for your business location.
Note: Ethernet patch cords photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.