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Ethernet Service Provider Offers
Why Carrier Ethernet services offer lower costs along with higher performance.

By: John Shepler

One technological revolution quietly underway is the transition from circuit switched to packet switch WAN protocols. Many businesses first become aware that something is happening when they go to get price quotes for bandwidth upgrades or new line services. They expect to be buying a T1 line and find themselves ordering Ethernet over Copper instead. Why is this and what can you get for your bandwidth dollar these days?

The Move To Everything IP
The shifting ground of the telecom industry is being driven by a move to all-IP networks. The root cause is that computing devices, such as PCs, web servers, wireless access points, tablets, smartphones, telepresence, and IP PBX systems are generating network traffic that far exceeds traditional telephony. I included IP PBX in that group because an enterprise VoIP system with SIP phones connects via the LAN and uses Ethernet packets, not analog or proprietary digital signals. In most businesses, the common denominators are the LAN and the telephone network, with the phone network on the way out.

The Driver of One Protocol For Everything
We’re now at a point where the crying need is to connect LANs together and to the Internet. We’ve been doing that with traditional telephone technologies such as T-Carrier and SONET for decades. If you were designing a comprehensive networking approach, would you pick one technology for the LAN and something completely different for metro and long haul networks? Wouldn’t you try to have a common protocol that runs everywhere for efficiency and ease of connection?

Ethernet Is The New WAN Standard
That’s what’s behind the rise of Carrier Ethernet. As more competitive carriers enter the market and older networks are upgraded, IP core networks are becoming more and more the rule. These are high speed fiber optic networks that have regional, national or even international service footprints. The last link in the chain is appropriately called the last mile connection. This is the wireline, fiber or wireless link that connects you to the service provider point of presence.

Replacing The T1 Line For A Better Deal
Ethernet services are available at every level of networking, from simple Internet access through international MPLS networks that link hundreds or thousands of sites. Most companies will want some type of dedicated Internet access. A 2x2 Mbps or 3x3 Mbps Ethernet over Copper line is a direct competitor to T1, at about the same price. It’s not uncommon to get twice the bandwidth for the same cost by choosing Ethernet rather than T-Carrier T1 or T3.

Scalable Bandwidth Options Abound
Ethernet is also more scalable than other telecom services. Typical bandwidth options include 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 75 and 100 Mbps. Other increments between these levels may also be available, depending on the carrier. Those are just Ethernet over Copper offerings. Ethernet over Fiber takes you to 250, 500, 750 and 1,000 Mbps or up to 10 GigE.

Private Line Service
You may want to install Ethernet Private Line or Ethernet Virtual Private Line service for a point to point connection between two business connections, like headquarters and a branch office. This replaces T1 or DS3 private line service at a better price.

Ethernet LAN Service
One service that Ethernet offers, that you won’t find with traditional point to point connections is E-LAN or Ethernet LAN Service. It connects multiple LANs in a mesh topology at the layer 2 level. This lets you build one giant LAN that includes all of your remote location LANs.

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