Q: Why choose fiber over copper service?
A: Bandwidth requirements have escalated in recent years. At the same time fiber pricing has been dropping dramatically. You may well find higher bandwidth available over fiber than you can get with copper lines and for a comparable price.
Q: What bandwidth levels are typically available.
A. Fiber optic service for business locations ranges from 10 Mbps on up to 10 Gbps. Copper options are readily available from 1.5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and sometimes available up to 50 or 100 Mbps. It all depends on how far you are located from the telco office where your copper cable terminates.
Q: Isn’t fiber service hard to get and expensive to install?
A: Not so much anymore. Competitive carriers are rapidly expanding their service footprints and looking to add customers, especially in multi-tenant office buildings. There may well be fiber located nearby that would cost little or nothing to install. In rural areas, that’s not as likely other than for cellular towers where fiber bandwidth is becoming a requirement to support 4G LTE.
Q: What’s the difference between SONET and Ethernet over Fiber?
A: They are two technologies that both use optical fibers for transport. SONET is an older standard developed by the telephone companies. You connect to a provider’s edge router or a specialized interface module for your own router. Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) uses the standard Ethernet protocol extended for long haul transport and carrier operations. EoF is a fairly recent development that is expanding rapidly worldwide. Ethernet pricing is generally much less than equivalent SONET service if it is available.
Q: What SONET service levels are available?
A: There are discrete OC or Optical Carrier service levels that include OC-3 at 155 Mbps, OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-24 at 1.2 Gbps, OC-48 at 2.4 Gbps, OC-192 at 10 Gbps and, rarely, OC-768 at 40 Gbps.
Q: What Ethernet over Fiber service levels are available?
A: Ethernet was designed to be scalable, so you can get nearly any bandwidth you want in small increments. Popular service levels are 10 Mbps equivalent to standard 10 Mbps LAN Ethernet, 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, 1 Gbps Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gbps 10 GigE.
Q: How do SONET and Ethernet interfaces differ?
A: SONET uses a specific interface card for each service level. Ethernet installations provide a port with a maximum speed and standard copper or fiber Ethernet jack. For instance, a Gigabit Ethernet port that is typically installed can support any bandwidth from 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps.
Q: If Ethernet is more scalable and less expensive, why choose SONET?
A: Usually the answer is availability. SONET has been around a lot longer than Ethernet and may already be installed in your building or on lines that run nearby. If you have a specialized application, like high volume channelized telephone trunking, SONET is the logical choice. For dedicated Internet access or point to point private lines, either will do.
Would you like to see what fiber optic service options are available for your business location? If so, get instant online pricing up to 1 Gbps and complementary consultation with a bandwidth expert if you wish.
You may also be interested in reading Fiber Optic Service FAQs, Part 2 and Part 3.