Thursday, November 20, 2014

Connecting Offices Between the US and Mexico

By: John Shepler

Many companies do business in both the United States and Mexico. There are numerous carriers that serve the US market and others that serve the Mexican market. But what do you do when you need the same service level in both countries?

International private lines and MPLS connections between the US and MexicoInternational Connections
Companies that do business internationally need telecom services that cross national borders. Fortunately, there are a number of carriers that offer international line services. These include connections between US cities and those in Mexico.

What type of connections? Today you have options for voice, data and video services. You can connect just two locations or create a large virtual LAN that includes all of your business locations in North America and beyond.

International Private Lines
The Bell Labs developed T-Carrier system is a standard used throughout North America. That includes the US, Canada and Mexico.

T-Carrier includes T1 (DS1) that runs at 1.5 Mbps and T3 (DS3) at 45 Mbps. In-between those standard levels additional bandwidths can be created by bonding T1 lines together. Two T1 lines give you 3 Mbps, three lines offers 4.5 Mbps and so on. The maximum bandwidth available by T1 line bonding is 10 to 12 Mbps. Above that, you generally run out of copper pairs available to be pressed into service or the bonded service become cost prohibitive.

T3 lines can be rate limited to bridge that gap between 10 Mbps and 45 Mbps. The line itself runs at full speed, but you only pay for the bandwidth that is actually enabled. The cost savings may or may not be attractive for fractional T3 service, depending on your needs.

It’s important to note that T1 and T3 lines are dedicated private circuits that are always available or “nailed up.” You don’t need to dial into them and they are reserved for your exclusive use. Since you are the only customer on the line, the only network congestion possible is due to your own demands on the circuit.

Fiber Optic International Lines
Fiber optic lines were originally developed using SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) standards deliberately chosen to be compatible with the T-Carrier system. The entry level service is OC3 which runs at 155 Mbps. It is designed to easily transport 3 T3 line services. In fact, T3 is most often carried for most of the transmission distance by OC-3 fiber service and then provisioned by coaxial copper cable at the customer demarcation point.

SONET is still the core transmission technology of most wide area networks. OC-3 is just the starting point. Other commonly available services include OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps, OC-192 at 10 Gbps and OC-768 at 40 Gbps.

Like T-Carrier, SONET services are dedicated private lines. You don’t shared the bandwidth with anyone. It is completely reserved for your use and sits idle when there is no traffic.

Ethernet International Services
Telephone traffic was dominant on international telecom circuits for a century. That has changed dramatically to where voice is now the minor traffic and data is dominant. On some networks, video is not the big bandwidth user, followed by large data transfers and then voice traffic.

This change in the nature of telecommunications traffic has spurred a change in the transmission technology. Nearly all local area networks have adopted the Ethernet standard. It’s logical that metro and wide area networks do the same.

The equivalent to T-Carrier or SONET is EPL or Ethernet Private Line. The beauty of Ethernet is that you plug the network line into your headquarters LAN at one end and your branch office LAN at the other. It’s Ethernet all the way. Because of this, you can bridge two LANs so that they perform as one large local network.

Carrier Ethernet, as it is called, offers another service called Ethernet LAN service. This is a meshed network that can connect 3 or more locations as one LAN. It’s perfect for companies with operations in multiple locations.

MPLS Networks
For international connections, like US and Mexico, MPLS networks often offer the best value. MPLS is a private “cloud” network with nationwide and international nodes. You can get the same point to point connections offered by dedicated private lines, only on MPLS they are called virtual private lines and virtual private LAN. The virtual designation comes from the cloud structure of the network. You are sharing the network with other traffic rather than having a circuit all to yourself. The MPLS network operator sets up your virtual paths and guarantees bandwidth, latency, jitter and packet loss.

In the end, you have the sense of private line performance, but a much more affordable rate with the shared network infrastructure.

MPLS networks can carry voice and data traffic simultaneously with class of service provisions to prevent data from overwhelming voice. VoMPLS or Voice over MPLS is VoIP carried on MPLS networks. It provides your telephone service among multiple business locations.

Do you have a need to interconnect offices between the US and Mexico? If so, check out the options available with International private lines and MPLS networks.

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

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