Monday, February 24, 2014

The How and Why of 10 Gbps WAN Bandwidth

By: John Shepler

Big data keeps getting bigger. HD video will soon be supplanted by 4K and then 8K video. IT data centers are going dark, one by one, as applications move to the cloud. Where is the bandwidth coming from to handle the demand of ever higher bit rates in the MAN and WAN?

That bandwidth is coming from fiber optic carriers who realize that every organization is going to be upsizing its data pipes or falling behind competitively. A gigabit per second was considered massive bandwidth not that many years ago. Now it’s considered entry level for many medium size and larger companies. Even consumers are anxiously awaiting universal FTTH to satisfy their ever growing media demands. Is 10 Gbps unreasonable for high performance business applications? Not at all.

The next question is how do you go about acquiring 10 Gig bandwidth once you’ve made the determination that nothing less will get the job done. Here’s an overview of the 10 Gigabit Bandwidth Options available for businesses and other organizations.

Note that SONET at the OC-192 level is still a viable option for businesses seeking 10 Gbps bandwidth. It will continue to be a good choice for some time to come because the amount of installed base of SONET/SDH fiber.

However, 10 Gigabit Ethernet is coming on strong and should be looked at carefully as the service of the future. Carrier Ethernet-native networks and those running Ethernet over SONET have big advantages in scalability and ease of deployment compared to the rather rigidly defined SONET OC levels.

The trick is to get a service port installed that is capable of providing the maximum bandwidth you’ll need. If you are considering more than 1 Gbps service, then a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port makes a lot of sense. It will allow you to incrementally scale your service bandwidth from 1 to 10 Gbps without having new terminal equipment installed. The terminal equipment is most likely to be a managed router installed by the carrier as CPE (Customer Premises Equipment).

What if you are going for the whole 10 GigE right from the start? That would merit a discussion on the cost tradeoff (if any) to have a 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps port installed right away. As outrageous as it may seem from the traditional perspective, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet are real service options available today for many business locations. These are likely to become common bandwidth levels as more sophisticated applications move to the cloud.

Does it make sense to opt for wavelengths or dark fiber? It depends on what you’ll be using it for. If you need to be running multiple protocols through a point to point connection, managed wavelength service can be the right move. If you are sophisticated enough to install and maintain your own DWDM equipment, then you might get the best deal by simply leasing dark fiber to the locations you want to connect. For most businesses, though, dark fiber is beyond what they really need.

How can you tell what the best option is when there are multiple choices available? Make sure you are getting competitive quotes for as many different options and carriers as possible. It’s likely that there may at least several serving your location that you may be completely unaware of. You best choice is to work with a bandwidth broker, like Telarus, Inc., to get the best deal on 10 Gigabit or other bandwidth service.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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