It’s time for a bandwidth upgrade. You’ve been getting by with bonded T1, DS3, OC3 or OC12 fiber service and it’s not getting the job done anymore. What about a move up to Gigabit service? Is that practical? Can it be done without destroying the budget? Yes, if you are savvy about what to pick for your next bandwidth service. Let’s take a quick look at something that may have only become available since you signed your last line lease. It’s Gigabit Ethernet.
In case you’re still wondering why you shouldn’t just upgrade with classical switched circuit line services instead of moving into Gigabit Ethernet, there are several points to consider.
T1, DS3 and SONET have been around for decades and are highly reliable telecom services. But did you know that all of these are designed around telephone company needs in transporting large numbers of simultaneous calls. This technology long predates the rise of packet switched networks.
As such, you are dealing with a protocol conversion when you go from your network to the WAN connection and back again. That works, but it’s less efficient, harder to scale and pricier than just keeping everything Ethernet from end to end.
Let’s talk about scaling for a second. Any service can be rate limited by the carrier so that you only get a portion of the available bandwidth. This is called fractional service. The reason to do this is that you don’t need the full bandwidth the line can provide and may be offered a cost savings if you take just a fraction. That cost savings hasn’t traditionally been anywhere near proportional to the speed reduction.
The bigger problem comes when you run out of bandwidth. Bonded T1 tops out about 10 Mbps or so, DS3 is 45 Mbps, OC3 runs 155 Mbps and OC12 delivers 622 Mbps. If you want to move up from one of these services to another, you need the provider to come in can change out equipment. Each interface is unique to that service level. The result is a step change in price level and delays of weeks or more to get the changes made.
Carrier Ethernet was designed from the get-go to be more scalable. Your interface is an Ethernet connection regardless of the service level. What varies is the maximum speed of the installed port. That can be 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps or 10,000 Mbps. Carriers typically install 100 Mbps or 1000 Mbps ports for most businesses to be sure there is more than enough bandwidth available.
You can have a Gigabit Ethernet port installed at your location and then elect to start off with 100 Mbps or 400 Mbps or the full 1000 Mbps. Later, you can scale up or down with just a phone call to your provider. There are no equipment changes needed unless you need to move up to, say, 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
Don’t forget that Ethernet gives you a choice of services. You can opt for E-Line, a simple dedicated point to point connection. But, you can also choose E-LAN, a fully meshed any to any connection that is perfect for linking multiple business locations on the same network. This is a layer 2 service, so you’re able to create one large bridged network. This beats trying to do the same by ordering multiple line services and switching or routing them at your headquarters.
High levels of bandwidth that didn’t make sense a few years ago are now easily affordable by medium size businesses, school districts, medical centers, banks, and other organizations. Get a quick quote on business Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth for your location or locations and see if it doesn’t make sense for you to upgrade now.