Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Will Elastic Bandwidth Help Your Company?

A big advantage to professional telecom services like T1 lines and SONET fiber optic connections has been the rock solid symmetrical bandwidth they provide. Order a T1 line and you can count on 1.5 Mbps in both directions all the time. Likewise, a SONET OC-3 service gives you 155 Mbps, also bidirectionally 100% of the time. What if that is no longer the type of bandwidth you need? What if you need something that can scale up and down at will? Welcome to the world of elastic bandwidth.

See if elastic bandwidth is a better match with your applications...You might be thinking that this is similar to the kind of “best effort” services provided by DSL or Cable broadband. Those services do, indeed, provide variable bandwidth. However, the bandwidth that you get is determined by the traffic level on the network. If many users are demanding service at the same time, the total bandwidth gets divvied up and everybody gets less than the maximum capacity of the connection.

Elastic bandwidth is something different. Instead of being at the whim of network congestion, you actively control the capacity of your connection. You scale it up or down to meet your needs at the moment.

The service provider tw telecom is a pioneer in the field of elastic bandwidth with the recent introduction of their Dynamic Capacity service. Instead of a fixed amount of bandwidth that is determined when the line lease is signed, Dynamic Capacity users have the ability to scale up their bandwidth in a matter of seconds without service interruption. This is done by the customer themselves using a self-service portal. What’s more, users can schedule bandwidth increases for a particular amount of time to accommodate particular events such as overnight data backup. The programmed bandwidth changes then occur automatically without anyone having to manually intervene.

This goes far beyond previous solutions that include the ability to burst or use more bandwidth than you are allocated for short periods of time. It’s something of an extension of the rapidly scaling feature offered by many Business Ethernet providers. Carrier Ethernet is designed to be much easier to scale up and down than legacy line services. Providers will typically let you increase your bandwidth with a phone call to their office. It may take a few hours or a few days to realize the change, but this is far superior to having to wait weeks for a truck roll to change out equipment or make adjustments to the WAN network.

Dynamic Capacity is one of several phases of tw telecom’s Intelligent Network approach. The idea is to create a far more flexible network design that includes customer IT management in the loop. The first phase introduced detailed performance data reporting of Ethernet or IP VPN services. An future phase will add API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) so that applications themselves can request bandwidth changes as needed.

With the advent of cloud services, the concept of resource elasticity is gaining steam. Virtualization of servers and storage makes it easy for customers to provision more resources themselves in a matter of seconds or minutes. You simply pay for what you use and can change your mind anytime, depending on current business demands. Now, that same elasticity is being applied to WAN and metro Ethernet bandwidth services. This seems like the final piece in the puzzle to optimize the performance of cloud services.

Are you frustrated by fixed or limited networking resources? If so, then perhaps a bandwidth increase or an elastic solution like Dynamic Capacity would make a big difference in your business. Get options and pricing for copper and fiber bandwidth solutions now.

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

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