Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So Much Network Congestion You Could Just Burst

Just because the economy is down that doesn't mean the workload is any lighter. In fact, you and your people may well be scrambling more than ever to retain current customers and try to bring in what new business you can. As a result, your WAN network may be getting congested. Just when you need things to run faster and smoother, they run slower and spottier. A big bandwidth increase isn't in the budget. Is there anything that can be done?

First of all, don't assume that you can't get any more bandwidth for what you are currently paying. It all depends on who your vendor is and how good a deal you got. Just out of curiosity, why don't you try an instant online search for bandwidth pricing specific to your location. If you are already paying less, then move on to other options. If not, you may have found the solution. Just get a more competitive offer and pay less.

If you are already paying competitive rates for your dedicated Internet connection, MPLS network or point to point private line and can't afford an upgrade, then you need to more effectively use what you have or go with a different type of bandwidth. By more effectively using what you have, I'm suggesting WAN optimization appliances that use various compression and caching techniques to use connectivity more efficiently. These devices also require a capital expense, but may be able to pay for themselves quickly depending on your network situation.

Another approach that may not cost much, if anything, is to consider burstable bandwidth. No, that doesn't mean your connection blows up when you try to cram too much data through it too fast. Burstable bandwidth sets a price for usage up to a certain number of Mbps. But if you exceed that the network doesn't just clog up. It uses more bandwidth for the time it needs to. Your bill for service will be a combination of the flat lease rate plus the overage costs for using the extra bandwidth. You won't necessarily get dinged if your instantaneous need is short enough. But if you use significant amounts of additional bandwidth, you'll get charged accordingly.

Is burstable bandwidth right for your organization? That depends on your network traffic patterns. If you have constant heavy usage above 80 or 90% of your maximum WAN bandwidth limit, you really need to scale something back or pony up for a bandwidth increase. Depending on what is hogging all the bandwidth, you might be able to throttle back a particular low priority application to free up additional bandwidth for more critical needs. But if your needs run at a steady level with plenty of bandwidth margin but occasionally soar for short periods, you are a good candidate for burstable bandwidth solutions. An example might be a ecommerce website that normally has a modest amount of traffic but sees a lot of activity for particular events, holidays, etc.

How can you best judge whether burstable bandwidth offers a savings over fixed bandwidth options? Best to have an expert consultant help you with that. We have a number of them who will be happy to discuss your situation and show you the range of options available. Simply call the toll free number or put in a quick online request available at the MegaTrunks bandwidth service.

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

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