Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Replacements for GigaMAN and Other Discontinued Line Services

By: John Shepler

AT&T announced that it is going to discontinue some of its line services because the demand just isn’t there anymore. “Ho, Hum,” you say, “Who needs telegraph lines anymore anyway?”

Are your line connections about to disappear due to obsolescence? See what else is available here.Not So Old-Timey
Well, it turns out that the services in question are not corroding copper lines in the middle of nowhere. They are cutting edge technology from not so long ago. I’m talking about GigaMAN Gigabit Ethernet point to point service and DecaMAN 10 Gigabit Ethernet service that interconnects geographically separate LANs.

The affected customers include those in 11 states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.

Take a second and pick your jaw up off the floor. How is it possible that high speed fiber optic Ethernet service could be on the discontinue list so soon? Even more important, what replacement options are available?

Replacement Technology
It turns out that technology really is moving this fast. GigaMAN and DecaMAN serve very useful purposes for companies that need dedicated high bandwidth, low latency connections they can count on. AT&T has come up with an even better technical solution called ADE or AT&T Dedicated Ethernet that goes beyond the GigaMAN and DecaMAN solutions. ADE offers speeds ranging from 1 Gbps up to 100 Gbps.

The new AT&T technology supports not only Ethernet formats, but other protocols as well. Their system embeds data signals within an Optical Transport Network (OTN). That network offers a standardized way to “wrap” various protocols in containers that can all be carried on the same industry standard format fiber optic wavelengths.

Where is This All Going
The two digital transport technologies that are growing rapidly are fiber and wireless. Fiber demand is being pushed by ever increasing amounts of video content being generated and exchanged. It is being pushed even more by the move from local data centers to remote cloud services. High connection speeds with low latency are essential if you want the same or better productivity from your applications when they are cloud hosted as when they are in the server room down the hall.

Ironically, perhaps, another huge demand for fiber optic transport capacity is the move to higher speed wireless services. Older generation cell towers could be served well by copper-based T1 lines that were almost universally available and provisioned over the same twisted pair cables that provide landline telephone service. LTE 4G and the coming 5G bandwidths far exceed the capacity of even multiple bonded T1 lines. Only point to point wireless and fiber optic lines have the necessary bandwidth to support 4G, 5G and beyond.

Is Copper a Goner?
Twisted pair copper connections have served the telecommunications industry well for over a century. Even T1 digital has been widely deployed for half a century. Will it still be with us half a century from now? I seriously doubt it.

Cellular phones are now so ubiquitous that the majority of consumers see no need for the old wired landline anymore. Businesses are dropping POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) for VoIP telephony and Unified Communications. Both of these newer protocols run on computer networks, not traditional telephone wiring. Smaller companies may opt to connect to their service providers via cable broadband, but medium and larger companies connect directly with fiber optic lines.

It has gotten so bad that telephone companies are petitioning the FCC to let them abandon their old copper lines in the ground rather than having to deal with ever corroding connections for fewer and fewer paying customers. It will no doubt begin as a refusal to connect new locations, but how long before even existing customers are told that they’ll no longer have dial tone? Months? A few years?

That leaves the interesting situation of businesses who still have analog POTS phone service, ISDN PRI multiple phone lines, T1 dedicated data lines and Ethernet over Copper point to point and dedicated Internet service. These connections may still be widely available while demand is high. You know, though, as more and more buildings are lit for fiber, business will quickly jump on the fiber links that offer higher bandwidth options and lower costs per Mbps. It’s likely that line of sight and 5G cellular wireless will fill the gaps where fiber construction costs are just too high for some locations.

How To Ensure Continuing Service
The best way to ensure that your business will have the voice, data and video transport services that you need is to make sure you have options. That’s easier today than ever before. A generation ago, the incumbent local telephone companies ruled the roost and you took whatever they had available and paid whatever the bill said. No more.

Deregulation has spawned a wealth of competition. Initially that meant new companies renting those same telephone company lines to deliver alternative service, often at a better price. Fiber optics has changed that landscape. Now there are many fiber optic network companies that own the fiber in the ground and will connect you directly to their networks, avoiding the phone company facilities completely. The result is price competition that is reducing the cost of bandwidth by an order of magnitude or more. Get 10 Mbps Ethernet for what you used to pay for a 1.5 Mbps T1 line. Get 100 Mbps for a few times that price. Gigabit Ethernet is now affordable for many if not most businesses. Even 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps are within reason if you need that much capacity.

Are you concerned about upcoming loss of your voice, video or data connections or what might be in the planning stages? How would you like to get more bandwidth for less cost that you pay now? If that sounds interesting, see just how many competitive bandwidth options are available right now for your business locations.

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

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