Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Bandwidth for Cloud and On-Premises

By: John Shepler

Whether you choose to have your data center on-premises or in the cloud, you’ll need high performance WAN bandwidth for connectivity. Let’s look at the various options.

Find the bandwidth connection you need at a great price.Everything’s On Premises
One big advantage of maintaining your own in-house servers and other data center equipment is that you control the premises network. Your local area network (LAN) likely runs at least 100 to 1000 Mbps. The connections in the data center may be much higher for the short runs needed to interconnect storage, processing security appliances and the rest.

It’s important to note that this is a dedicated network for your exclusive use. If congestion is a problem, you need to upgrade the weak links because it is your operation that is causing the problem. There are no outsiders to cause interference. We’ll come back to that later.

Since all of your company connections are local, why do you need a a wide area network (WAN) at all? For one thing, you’ll have remote employees or employees that occasionally connect from home. For another, your operation may not be contained in one closed campus. You may have multiple offices, retail sites, franchises, warehouses or factories. Even if they are just across town, you have to lease network bandwidth to connect.

Ideally, you’d like these operations to look like they are also on your local network. You can do that with WAN network connections that look like your LAN connections. Metro Ethernet and long haul Ethernet connections are available from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps and look just like very long LAN cables. Transparent LAN service (TLS) is a managed carrier service that links locations no matter how far apart they as switched nodes.

Connecting to the Outside World
How is it that you connect to your customers and suppliers? These days it is probably via the Internet. You’ll want a high speed dedicated Internet connection to reach out to customers and suppliers and access Internet resources. You may well have a security appliance in the line between the Internet link and your network to keep malicious actors out of your company.

Remote employees will also use the Internet but may connect using a VPN or Virtual Private Network. This adds encryption to your Internet sessions so that they can’t be accessed by anyone not authorized.

Another consideration is the connection that customers use to access your E-commerce servers. Sometimes that bandwidth for this activity is much larger than what you are actually using in-house. You’ll want a fiber optic dedicated Internet access connection to your customer facing servers.

Facilities in the Cloud
The joke going around is that there really is no cloud, it’s just somebody else’s computer. Strictly speaking, that’s true. The advantage of the cloud is that one massive data center can host and maintain thousands of servers with backup power and massive connectivity at reasonable prices. Some companies may want to keep their in-house processes under local control and have their e-commerce servers in the cloud where they can have those massive scalable resources.

The cloud provider will take care of Internet bandwidth out to your customers. You’ll also need an Internet connection with enough bandwidth to efficiently upload and download files from your cloud servers. If you choose to have business process software running on cloud servers, you connectivity will be crucial to the in-house user experience. Latency can be a big issue in responsiveness. Variations in latency due to congestion or line issues can kill productivity and become a major morale problem.

For the best performance, you’ll want a high speed dedicated connection directly to your cloud service provider, avoiding the Internet completely. If that is not available or beyond the budget, a dedicated Internet connection with enough capacity for everyone is a reasonable substitute.

Why Dedicated Bandwidth?
As you may have surmised, there are two types of line services: Dedicated and shared. Dedicated lines are assigned to your traffic only. Whatever you don’t use at the moment sits idle, but you never have to contend with someone else hogging the bandwidth. Point to point E-Line, E-Line and E-Tree connections are all dedicated, as are T1 lines and DS3 bandwidth.

MPLS networks are actually a shared resource, but are a private network carefully managed to ensure that the committed resources in the contract are available at all times. They behave like dedicated resources, but with a cost savings if you need to link many sites.

The public Internet is inherently a shared resource. The core network has reasonably high performance, although equipment failures can occasionally grind performance to a halt. The Internet is designed to work around faults, but may not be able to maintain full speed if some nodes are overloaded.

The real issues with the Internet revolve around the last mile connection performance and no ability to set priority for highly sensitive packets like VoIP telephone calls and video conferences. Shared Internet connections include DSL, cable and cellular broadband. They work well for many uses and offer bargain rates, but you have to accept variations in performance that can range from unnoticeable to highly annoying.

It also should be noted that shared Internet connections tend to offer much higher download than upload speeds, often in the range of 10 to 1. That’s because most users, especially those watching video, are receiving far more data from the Internet than they are sending. Dedicated connections usually offer the same speeds on download and upload, which might be important for business processes, file transfers, telephone, video conferencing and data backups.

Are you in need of a bandwidth upgrade or new service? Get a suite of quotes from competitive providers to see what’s available for your location and how prices compare.

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

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Thursday, January 07, 2021

Ethernet WAN to Complement Your LAN

By: John Shepler

Traffic on your company’s Local Area Network (LAN) zips along at 1 Gbps or more. In most cases that’s so fast it seems like the network is transparent. Yet, access a resource outside your building and things just seem to creep along. Wouldn’t it be nice to just stretch that LAN across town or to one of your remote locations? Well, maybe you can.

Find Ethernet WAN services for your business location. Yes, The WAN is Ethernet
Networks can be divided into two categories: The ones you own and the one’s you lease. You typically install and administrate your company network, called the LAN. When you leave the premises, you connect to another network that operates as a utility. That's the WAN or Wide Area Network. Originally, this WAN was owned and operated by the telephone companies and implemented their proprietary standards. That includes your phone voice lines, ISDN dial-up, T1, DS3, and SONET fiber optic. Connecting to any of these standards requires specialized equipment to do the protocol conversion to and from the Ethernet that runs on the LAN.

These days, most outside lines connect directly to Ethernet without any protocol conversions. The suppliers can be telephone companies or competitive carriers who run their own fiber optic networks. Interoperability is made easy by Carrier Ethernet Standards established the MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) industry consortium.

Ethernet WAN Services
There are three services typically offered by Ethernet service providers that you’ll want to know about.

E-Line or Ethernet Virtual Private Line is a point to point service that connects two locations as if there was a really, really long Ethernet cable in-between.

E-LAN or Ethernet Virtual Private LAN is for multiple locations that want to communicate as if they are on a private bridged Ethernet network.

E-Tree or Ethernet Virtual Private Tree is also a multipoint service, but used more for broadcasting, streaming or content distribution. It is a one-to-many service with a single root and multiple leaves.

Getting Ethernet WAN Service
Within a metropolitan area, the service is called Ethernet MAN or Metropolitan Area Network. Over longer distances that leave the area, Ethernet WAN or Wide Area Network is the term used.

You’ll contract with a service provider or carrier that has points of presence in the locations you want to connect. You may have several to choose from.

The equipment installed at your location consists of terminal equipment with an Ethernet port that supports the network speed you desire. Unlike older systems that require equipment changes for every change in service level, you can order Ethernet service at many different speeds up to the limit of the installed port. This has the advantage of letting you pay for the service level you need now and then upgrade easily as you need more capacity. Often that’s as easy as making a change via your online service portal or with a simple phone call.

Ethernet to the Internet
The Internet is the ultimate Wide Area Network, connecting just about everybody, everywhere. You can order an Ethernet Dedicated Internet Access to connect your company to the Internet at whatever bandwidth you desire. The advantage of a dedicated connection is that the full bandwidth of the line is at your disposal and not affected by the carrier’s other customers. These lines are also typically symmetrical, meaning that upload and download speeds are identical.

Why not just use the Internet to connect your far flung locations as well as connecting to customers? Many companies do. it’s likely your lowest cost option. What you give up is the ability to establish Class of Service so that sensitive applications like VoIP phone calls and video conferences have priority over less critical applications such as file transfers and backups. Internet performance is also somewhat unpredictable because of unexpected congestion, indeterminate packet routing, jitter, latency and packet loss.

For companies with multiple locations, a hybrid arrangement may work best. Use dedicated Ethernet services to interconnect business locations and the Internet to communicate with supplier and customers.

Does Ethernet WAN sound right for your business? Get a suite of competitive quotes for Ethernet WAN or MAN services now with a single inquiry.

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

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

100, 1000, 10000 Mbps Internet Speed

By: John Shepler

Business Internet speed requirements have increased dramatically as computer and software technology has advanced. It’s also true that our long distance WANs (Wide Area Networks) have become more like umbilical cords than transmission pipes. Today, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps and even 10000 Mbps Internet connections are common and necessary. Fortunately, pricing has plunged as speed has jumped, making these bandwidth levels affordable.

Find 100, 1000, 10000 Mbps Broadband100 Mbps Fast Ethernet
100 Mbps is the new benchmark bandwidth, replacing the traditional DS3 bandwidth at 45 Mbps. DS3 is part of the telco TDM standard as an upgrade to slower T1 lines. At one time, DS3 could be supplied on a T3 coaxial copper line or microwave signal, but is now demultiplexed or “dropped off" by a SONET OC3 legacy fiber optic service.

The lower cost option for 100 Mbps bandwidth is cable broadband running DOCSIS on small diameter coaxial lines. These are the familiar “cables” installed for cable TV and broadband. In most cases, 100 Mbps is the download speed. The upload speed may be 10 Mbps or less. The service is also multiplexed or shared among subscribers, so actual bandwidth may vary somewhat. Even so, 100 Mbps cable broadband works very well for many work from home situations, home based businesses, small offices and small retail businesses.

For larger or technically more demanding applications, 100 Mbps Ethernet over Fiber gives you 100 Mbps upload and download speeds or symmetrical service. This service is also dedicated or private. You and you alone have access to all the bandwidth and it is consistent at 100 Mbps. While this service requires a fiber drop rather than cable, pricing is quite reasonable and readily available for most business locations.

1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernet or GigE provides 10x the bandwidth of Fast Ethernet. Like the 100 Mbps service, you can now get this level of service through a cable broadband provider in many areas. The step up in speed makes it easier for many users to connect in your office. It also facilitates more demanding applications like heavy video streaming or conferencing.

Gigabit Ethernet over Fiber is a premium service that is getting more affordable every day. Many medium and larger businesses opt for this service as it is highly reliable, with low latency, jitter and packet loss combined with high enough bandwidth to be transparent even with many concurrent users. The symmetrical bandwidth enhances the performance of cloud based applications and remote backup where upload speed is important.

10,000 Mbps Gigabit 10 Gig Ethernet
10 Gigabit Ethernet or 10GigE is the fastest bandwidth service available to most business users. At this level, you can connect large offices, factories, warehouses and retail stores to the Internet or as point to point private lines. Bandwidth is symmetrical and private, as you would expect. While DOCSIS cable is theoretical capable of supporting 10 gigabits, this is currently a fiber optic service almost exclusively.

When you get to these bandwidth levels, some other options become available. You can opt for the standard fiber optic connection or lease an entire wavelength or lambda on the fiber. This increases your privacy and, thus, security level. For even greater control, you can lease an entire dark fiber and light it yourself or have the carrier do that.

Advancing Bandwidth Levels
Like processing speed and number of cores on a chip, metropolitan and wide area network bandwidths are continuously increasing. In select areas, 100 Gigabit Ethernet over Fiber service is now available for business. With Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, you can easily achieve that by lighting dark fiber and, perhaps, even move up to Terabit per second bandwidth levels if the budget allows.

Are you looking for reasonable high business bandwidth levels at your current location or needing to connect a new facility? Know that high bandwidth broadband and private line services are more available and affordable than ever before. Get quotes from multiple providers and decide the best option for you.

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

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Wireless Business Internet Options

By: John Shepler

We live in a wired world. Your business is tethered to infrastructure of electrical power, telephone and Internet by a variety of copper cables. Electric power and landline phone are almost universally available, thanks to national plans and regulations.

Wireless Business Internet solutions for you.Internet? Not so much. While copper and fiber optic broadband are readily available in metro and suburban areas, as you get farther from the city center you options go down. Out in rural areas? There’s often no such thing as wired Internet infrastructure. You either go without or… go wireless.

Point to Point Microwave
Think of point to point microwave as fiber optic without the fiber. At high enough frequencies that could be an actual light beam from a laser, although it is much more common to use the centimeter and millimeter wave bands.

PTP microwave uses small dish antennas at the sending and receiving ends. This is a fixed, not mobile, service and you need the antenna on your building high enough to see the other dish without obstructions. These high frequencies don’t penetrate objects well, but they can supply high bandwidths of a Gigabit per second or more.

While PTP microwave established itself in dense metro areas that might be expensive to add fiber or cabling or take too long for construction, you see these little dishes on cell towers out in the country for the same reason. If there is a provider serving your area, you might be in luck for this service.

Wireless Internet Service Providers
A WISP, as it is known, is a centrally located tower that provides wireless Internet service to a small service area circling the tower. This is point to multi-point rather than a dedicated PTP link. Think of WISPs as high powered WiFI outdoor routers. Like PTP, you’ll need an outdoor antenna, perhaps one of those small dishes, pointed at the tower. They may operate in licensed or unlicensed spectrum and deliver typical broadband speeds.

WISPs are popular where fiber and cable don’t reach, but they are local operations. You may or may not have one that serves your location.

Cellular Broadband Service
Just about everyone has a smartphone these days and making phone calls is the least of the services we expect. No, it’s the broadband Internet connection feeding a myriad of apps that keeps us glued to the screen. That same broadband can be harnessed for business applications using an access point that has all the circuitry needed for broadband but minus the screen and telephone capability.

For limited or infrequent use, you might pick up one of these access points at a big box store. Have it set up for the carrier of your choice. These work well in areas where the cellular signal is strong and usually come with fairly limited usage plans. Plug the access point into your router or buy one that comes with a WiFi router and you can serve your entire business.

A more robust version designed especially for business uses specially designed antennas for better signal pickup or an outside antenna that will give you a strong signal even in rural areas. These business grade access points are usually 4G LTE or 5G where available. They also come with more extensive data plans, some even unlimited… just what you need to run a business with employees.

What makes this really attractive is that the cellular infrastructure is already widespread and extending out into many rural areas and smaller towns. If your business needs to move from job site to job site or your operate pop-up stores, cellular broadband may be the only reasonable option that will follow you.

Satellite Broadband
Yes, there are areas really out in the boonies where there is no cellular service and even landline phone and electric power are hard to come by. You can still get Internet, though. How? With a satellite dish pointed at the southern sky where the geostationary communication satellites are parked. Newer high power satellites offer high speeds, reliable service, reasonable data plans for business and reasonable prices.

The big limitation of satellite business broadband is the latency that is inherent in the long distances that the signal must travel up to the bird and back down. This half to one second or so delay can be an annoyance for business processes that use the cloud or VoIP phone calls and video conferences. For email, web browsing, remote data acquisition and file transfers, latency might not be much of an problem at all.

The latency issues will likely be solved by the new constellations of Low Earth Orbit or LEO satellites. These orbit hundreds rather than tens of thousands of miles up and support latencies similar to cable or long haul fiber. SpaceX is first to market with an extensive fleet of broadband satellites that will provide worldwide coverage, even at sea, in a few years. Other providers will likely follow, as the potential market for connecting the disconnected is enormous.

Are you in serious need of reliable broadband Internet service for your business at a reasonable price? Find out what wired and wireless solutions are available for your locations now.

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

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Lower Cost Last Mile Fiber

By: John Shepler

What is the most critical part of the Internet? To you, the user, it’s that last mile connection to your place of business. That’s usually the limiting factor and where most of the problems are. What you need is a better connection, and fiber is the gold standard.

Get a fiber optic last mile Internet connection now.Last Mile Limitations
Don’t get me wrong. There are no guarantees on the Internet. Your priority is the same as everyone else’s. When nodes get congested or name servers go down, the people connecting on a shoestring and the well-healed are both affected. That said, the Internet has matured to the point where the backbone networks are highly reliable and have plenty of bandwidth.

If you need the ultimate in connection quality between multiple business locations, you need to look to private solutions, such as point to point dedicated connections and MPLS networks. These have much stricter control of bandwidth, latency, jitter and packet loss. They are pricey and they don’t connect to the general public. That’s why the Internet is indispensable for nearly all businesses for sales and customer service.

The last mile connection is where pricing and quality vary all over the place. The biggest differentiator is shared vs dedicated bandwidth. Dedicated bandwidth means that you have exclusive use of the line capacity. What you don’t use simply idles until it is needed.

Seems like that’s the way it should always be, but the Internet wouldn’t have expanded geometrically the way it has if everyone had to pay for a dedicated line. Instead, carriers such as cable and wireless companies, buy high capacity dedicated lines and then multiplex them to share among many users. The idea is that not everyone is online at the same time and even if they are, most are not uploading or downloading at a given moment.

Prior to so many people working at home, most of the heavy consumer activity took place in the evening and business use was limited to daytime. Now, daytime demand is heavy for everyone using shared bandwidth. When it gets too heavy, line speed for everyone is reduced until the load lightens.

Dedicated High Speed Connections
Your best performance will come through a dedicated, symmetrical high speed link. Symmetrical means that upload and download speeds are the same. That tends to be case with dedicated lines. Shared bandwidth tends to be asymmetrical with much higher download than upload speeds.

You also want to connect through a top tier Internet Service Provider. These are larger companies that pay to connect directly to the Internet backbone. Smaller ISPs pay transport fees to the larger companies to connect through them to the Internet. It’s one more link in the chain.

You can get dedicated lines in both copper and fiber technologies. There are some microwave service providers who can deliver an equivalent connection wirelessly. These tend to be short range line-of-sight connections in major metro areas.

Copper solutions include the traditional T1 and DS3 (also called T3) lines. Newer technology is Ethernet over Copper which uses the same twisted pair cabling as T1 lines, but can support much higher speeds, although bandwidth tends to decrease with distance to the central office.

Fiber used to be a rare and expensive proposition, but that has all changed in recent years. Even cable companies have deployed fiber as their main transport network and some will sell you dedicated fiber optic Internet connections in addition to their more typical coaxial copper shared bandwidth services.

Fiber solutions include traditional telco Optical Carrier services such as OC3, OC12 and OC 48. The newer technology is Ethernet over Fiber. it’s generally much less expensive and highly scalable. That means you aren’t stuck with the bandwidth you first installed. You can start off with 10 or 100 Mbps and easily scale up to 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps or even 100 Gbps as the need arises. That alone is a great cost saver. The competitive nature of today’s fiber marketplace has greatly reduced the price of bandwidth far below what you might expect.

The buildout of cellular towers for 4G LTE and 5G has created a fiber construction boom. Many buildings have also been connected by fiber for business use. These are great places to have an office because the heavy construction costs of bringing in fiber have already been paid. If you don’t have fiber in your office yet, it may still cost little or nothing to bring a fiber bundle in. That’s because there is likely a point of presence fairly close and carriers each want to be first to “light” a building and garner the business of the tenants.

Do you need a reasonably priced highly reliable last mile connection to the Internet? Get multiple competitive quotes now and see how much bandwidth you can really afford.

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

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