The traditional fiber optic service for metro and long haul networks is SONET / SDH. The term Synchronous Optical NETwork / Synchronous Digital Hierarchy is aptly applied. The heat of this technology is a highly synchronized Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) protocol that offers very low latency with a range of bandwidth options that can take you to 40 Gbps or beyond. This standard has been proliferated around the world by major telecom companies. You can often get SONET services at the bandwidth of your choice from door to door to all points on the globe.
I say often, because the biggest stumbling block with fiber optic transport is the last mile connection. Estimates are that no more than a third of US business locations are “lit” for fiber. This generally means that either you or the carrier of your choice will need to build out a last mile fiber link to get your building “on-net.”
It’s a prospect that isn’t as daunting as it used to be. Fiber bandwidth providers are aggressively building out their service footprints and are actively looking for attractive locations that will use their service. If you are willing to commit to significant bandwidth usage or can get together with other tenants for a combined offer, you might get a great deal on establishing fiber optic service.
You may find that you have several types of service to choose from. SONET is the legacy service and is at the core of many backbone networks. IP networks are newer and more closely match the protocol that your LAN is running. Ethernet Private Line (EPL) service offers highly scalable bandwidth from a low of 10 to 50 Mbps right on up to Gigabit Ethernet and 10 GigE. These bandwidth options are available in Metro Ethernet Networks and long haul Ethernet transport.
SONET bandwidth services start off with OC-3 running at 155 Mbps. The next level generally available is OC-12 at 622 Mbps. Then you can move up to OC-24 at 1.24 Gbps, OC-48 at 2.4 Gbps, OC-192 at 10 Gbps and OC-768 at 40 Gbps.
SONET is often provisioned in a protected ring topology. There are two fiber strands, each carrying the same traffic. If one strand fails for any reason, the other picks up the full load within 50 mSec. This makes for very high reliability data connections.
If you want even higher performance fiber optic private lines or wish to have more control over your services, you can order wavelength services. Each wavelength is like having a separate line all to yourself. They are typically offered at 2.5 Gbps and 10 Gbps bandwidth level.
Still not enough? How about your own fiber optic cable from point to point? Sounds nice, but who can afford that? You can by leasing dark fiber that is already in the ground. When companies bury fiber, they bury a lot of fiber at the same time. It’s not unusual to have over 100 fiber strands in one cable. You can lease one or more of those strands and connect them to your own termination equipment. If you light the fiber, you have the ultimate in security and can run any protocol you wish.
Are you in need of higher bandwidth to support your business needs? Have a look at fiber optic private line options to see what services make the most sense for what you are doing.
Note: Photo of fiber optic transmission equipment courtesty of WikiMedia Commons.