Some say that 10 Mbps Ethernet is the new T1. More and more, it looks like this is the case. Let’s see why, how it works and how you can get this service upgrade.
Companies have depended on T1 lines for decades. They offer high reliability back up by service level agreements, dedicated bandwidth that is rock solid at 1.5 Mbps and symmetrical operation where the upload and download speeds are the same. Over the years, T1 prices have plunged and availability has expanded to become almost universal.
What’s not to like? There’s really only one hangup with T1 service. That’s bandwidth. While 1.5 Mbps was more than you knew what to do with years ago, it’s woefully inadequate today. Once you get more than a few employees, start doing more on the Internet than email and casual web browsing, switch from in-house IT to cloud services or need to efficiently connect two or more business locations, T1 runs out of gas.
If you are still in love with T1, all is not lost. Most carriers are now set up to offer you multiple bonded T1 lines. What bonding does is combine the bandwidth of two or more T1 lines so they act like one larger line. That saves you the trouble of having to direct traffic over multiple connections. Bonding starts at 2xT1 for 3 Mbps and goes up to typically 8x T1 for 12 Mbps.
The 10 or 12 Mbps bandwidth level is just right for many of today’s needs. It’s enough to support video conferencing, cloud computing and hosted VoIP, and remote disaster backup and recovery. The problem is that bonded T1 lines at this level aren’t always available and the cost can make your eyes bug out. That’s because there is no economy of scale with T1 service. Two lines cost twice as much as one. Once you get up to 8 lines, your monthly bill is a significant budget item.
There are several options that may make more sense in getting the bandwidth you need to run your business. These include “consumer” type services like DSL and cable, Ethernet over Copper and Ethernet over Fiber.
DSL and cable give you a lot more bandwidth for the money, but that’s typically only in one direction. They’re designed for downloading from the internet so the download speed is typically 5x to 10x the upload speed. The bandwidth is usually shared, meaning the performance you get from moment to moment varies all over the place. After all, you are sharing one bandwidth pool with a number of other users in order to get better pricing. Finally, there is generally no service level agreement. The service is provided on a “best effort” basis.
That leaves Ethernet over Copper and Ethernet over Fiber as true competitors to T1 and bonded T1 line service. Like T1, these services come with service level agreements, are dedicated and not shared bandwidth, have guaranteed performance characteristics like bandwidth, jitter, latency and packet loss, and offer symmetrical performance.
Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is, indeed, Ethernet like you run on your LAN but expanded for metro and wide area networks. It’s based on industry standards so the EoC you get from one carrier is like the EoC offered by others. Ethernet over Copper uses a more advanced technology that T1 for sending data over twisted pair copper wires. They’re the same wires, but with different terminal equipment on each end.
What this does is allow higher speeds than you can get by bonding T1 lines and with better pricing. Basic 2 Mbps or 3 Mbps EoC is similar in price to a single T1 line and the cost advantage grows as you go up in speed. It’s not uncommon to get 10 Mbps EoC for just 2 or 3 times what you are paying for your old T1 line.
Ethernet over Copper bandwidths start at 2 or 3 Mbps and go up from there. How much you can get depends on how far you are from the telco office. Most companies can easily get 10 or 15 Mbps. Some can get bandwidths as high as 50 or 100 Mbps.
Even more flexible is Ethernet over Fiber (EoF). This is fiber optic service with highly reliable bandwidth starting at typically 10 Mbps and going up to at least 10 Gbps. You are unlikely to run out of capacity with EoF and you don’t have to pay for the full speed right now. Have your service provider install a 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, a 1 Gbps Gigabit Ethernet or 10 Gbps 10 GigE port and that’s the maximum your connection will support. You contract for the bandwidth you need right now with the option to quickly upgrade later with only a phone call. In most cases, no equipment changes are necessary to give you higher line speeds.
Are you ready to upgrade to higher bandwidth for your business but don’t want to spend a fortune or risk losing performance? Copper and fiber based Ethernet service may well meet your needs at an attractive price. Get prices and availability of EoC and EoF bandwidth services for your business locations now.