Thursday, August 31, 2006

....What Is A DS-3?....

To meet the ever expanding need of high end IP throughput for today’s large enterprise, tier-one providers are rapidly expanding their DS-3 foot print making this carrier-grade internet connection a viable option for more and more corporate buyers.

A DS-3, also called a T3, is a dedicated circuit delivered by a LEC via traditional local copper networks and in some cases, over fiber. In its full rate form, a DS-3 has the same capacity of 28 T1s. Like a T1, a DS-3 can be channelized to deliver voice as well as data. When channelized for voice, a DS-3 can hold 672 individual 64 kbps POTs lines. When connected to a tier-one carrier edge router however, it delivers 45 Mbps of bi-directional internet connectivity.

Who Buys A DS-3?

Likely buyers of DS-3 service consist of enterprise size business with high data demands such as large scale VPN, video conferencing, and corporately hosted application servers. Software development firms will often require throughput above and beyond the capability of a T1 to handle client upload and download traffic as buyers log onto FTP servers to access patches and newer versions of their product. Hospitals and clinics who share a large number of electronic images such as MRI will require bit rates in excess of the 1544 kbps available on a standard T1. The print industry is a voracious consumer of bandwidth also as they pass large graphics files to and fro. Local and regional ISP themselves will use DS-3 circuits as the backbone of their consumer oriented broadband delivery and just about any user of tier-one, carrier grade bandwidth that has outgrown T1 and NxT1 options is a likely candidate for DS-3 service.

Are The Port And Loop The Same Speed?

While a DS-3 will always incorporate a full 45 Mbps access Loop, a typical deployment of a DS-3 circuit rarely begins with a full rate Port. Most corporations expanding beyond the limits of their T1 and NxT1 service opt to make the jump to fractional DS-3 such as 6 or 9 Mbps. Often times, a 6 Mbps fractional DS-3 will be more expensive from a monthly recurring cost standpoint than simply bonding more T1s. Corporations who jump from a dual bonded T1 or higher NxT1 speed to a 6 Mbps DS-3 will typically incur a larger monthly price than that of just adding more T1’s. The draw to DS-3 is found in its scalability properties. Upgrades are a matter of resizing the port which will rarely take more than a few days and growth to full 45 Mbps can occur at a pace the corporation is comfortable with.. As users scale above 9 Mbps, the DS-3 begins to become the better priced option also as the cost of CPE required to implement large scale T1 bonding, along with lowering per megabit prices of the DS-3, begin to sway in the favor of the DS-3.

What Are The Different Types Of DS-3 Circuits?

Fractional DS-3

Fractional DS3 circuits can run from speeds of 3 Mbps up to 45 Mbps, the speed of a full DS3. A full DS3 is made of 28 T1s or 672 individual channels, thus a fractional DS3 consists of any number of these channels less than 672. Actually the majority of DS3 connections that are in use by businesses are fractional. For companies that require more bandwidth than an NxT1 can make available, but do not command the 45 Mbps of a DS3, a fractional solution can be a compelling solution. The allure of the fractional option is the lower cost and, most importantly, the ease of upgrading.

As a business grows and requires more bandwidth upgrading, this solution only involves adjusting the port that has a plethora of different bandwidth options. These upgrades can happen relatively quickly and can be scaled up to 45 Mbps. Not to mention the fact that a company can see their per megabit cost dwindle as more bandwidth is added to their fractional solution. As with any major bandwidth decision it’s always important to go with a stable and reliable connection from a Tier 1 carrier. This will ensure you access to the national backbone and that the connection will be backed by a strong Service Level Agreement.

Burstable DS-3

If you want high-speed private line service but do not want to commit to paying for a set bandwidth level, you may want to subscribe to a Burstable DS3 service. With Burstable DS3 service you can burst up to 45 Mbps as your needs dictate. As a Burstable DS3 customer, you always have the full DS3 bandwidth available to you over an unshared, non-fractional 45 Mbps digital leased line. You'll only pay for what you actually use at any given time...up to a full DS3. By tracking your usage trends and patterns you can better decide when is the right time to commit to a full DS3.

Full DS-3

A full DS3 line (also known as a T-3) is an ultra high-speed connection capable of transmitting data at rates up to 45 Mbps. A DS3 line actually consists of 672 individual channels, each of which supports 64 Kb/s. DS3 lines are extremely high bandwidth connections into a carrier's backbone. They typically include SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that guarantee uptime and performance. A DS3 line is also equal to approximately 672 regular voice-grade telephone lines, which is fast enough to transmit full-motion, real-time video, and very large databases over a busy network. A DS3 line is typically installed as a major networking artery for large corporations and universities with high-volume network traffic. Other example applications include large call centers, enterprise wide VoIP and IP PBX systems, Internet service providers, research labs, video conference centers and software development companies. A DS3 is the second fastest, non optical connection offered in North America. A DS3 line is comprised of 28 T1 lines, each operating at total signaling rate of 1.544 Mbps.

You Can Learn More About DS3 Bandwidth Via These Articles:

* Applications For DS3 Bandwidth

* Evaluating Bandwidth Choices - Fractional DS3 vs DS3

* What's The Difference Between DS3 and T3 Bandwidth

* DS3 Bandwidth Is Getting Cheaper - How To Best Take Advantage

Where Can You Get A DS3 Line?

To find the best DS3 bandwidth solution for your specific application we recommend using the free consulting services from DS3-Bandwidth.com. You'll receive a comparison of multiple top tier providers available for your location including rate quote, Qos, SLA, and more. They'll even negotiate on your behalf to ensure the most cost effective solution.....prepare all required paperwork.....facillitate install and turn up.....and serve as your advocate for the life of the agreed service contact.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Testing Bandwidth Speed For A Private Point-To-Point T1 Line

Issue........

You have a private point to point T1 (not connected to internet) at work which connects 2 offices. Supposedly, this is a full T1 (not fractional), but simple file copy testing seems to indicate a slower speed. What is a simple software test that will allow you to test the true connection speed from both ends?

Solution.....

If you have a Windows Server at one end then setup the FTP service, then on the other end use the command line FTP client in windows to copy over a file. That will give you a numeric rate of speed.

A full T1 is 1536Mbts, which is equivalent to 192Kbytes/sec. A 10Mb file would take 53 seconds to copy over the link. (10MB x 1024 / 192)

If a private T1 is not running at the correct speed then a common problem is clocking. Traditionally in a private span, one of the DSU's is set to obtain clock from the span, the DSU on the other end is set to provide clock to the span. (the setting is often labeled 'internal' clocking which is a misnomer) If both sides are set to obtain clock from the span and the span has no clocking on it, then they will both freewheel and you will get massive clock slips. (any decent DSU has a way to query it's stats and you will see this)

Sometimes you'll find with private spans that the Telco is multiplexing the span with other spans, and they put clock onto the span even though they are not supposed to do so. Then if you source clock from one of the DSU's you get clock slips again, since the other side flops between sources trying to sync. With these spans both sides should be set to obtain clock from the span.

Other times you may find that due to some setting of the span that only 1 side can source clock, it is like the telco equipment will sync to the clock on one side only, you will have problems if you try to force it the other way.

Another thing that is important to know is that with private spans it is best to use the same make/model/manufacturer of DSU on each side. Don't put a Kentrox on one end of the span and a Lucent on the other. Sometimes DSU's of different manufacturers will not sync with each other properly over a private T span.

If you have clocking problems call your phone company and ask the tech to look at the span FREQUENCY (which takes special equipment). If the tech knows what he is doing he can see if the span is running off frequency, if so that's a clocking problem. A, B, or A+B (round robin) testing with a T1 test set is useless in this instance because each DSU will immediately sync to the test set and clocking problems will vanish.

A T1 monitor (you can sometimes find them on Ebay for a song) can be helpful for private T1 spans. These are devices that are rack mounted and are permanently inserted in the span, one at each end. The better DSU's have this circuitry inside of them, look for manageable DSUs if you don't have them.

And of course, both DSUs must be setup the same for the other parameters. ESF, B8ZS are what you want. Do NOT use AMI for data applications!! AMI does not have sufficient ones density.

Note that there are other important things to be aware of when setting up T1s. If the tech who is setting up the private T1 is very careful, patient, and reads all of the literature on T spans then he will probably do OK. But the garden variety Windows desktop tech....who is lost without a point-n-click....is a terrible choice for setting up a T1. And unfortunately, even many telco techs are totally out of their element with problems with T1s.

If you need to call in someone, call a private company that sells phone systems, particularly larger ones (e.g. Cisco, Avaya, Lucent, Mitel, NEC, Nortel, Toshiba, Vodavi, Artisoft, ShoreTel). Ask if they have ever solved clocking problems on a T span. You see, private T1 spans used for voice are extremely sensitive to misconfiguration, the voice will garble badly long before data problems show up. Tell them you have a T1 span that is running data, and the data over it is slow. If they don't know what your talking about, or they start telling you some baloney about viruses or some such, take a hike.

To have confidence you're getting a qualified and certified expert looking at your issue....I suggest using this free service which searchs for qualified and certified dealers by geographic location (US only)........

Telecom Equipment Dealers

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ethernet, IP, And Caching....A Bit Of History, Background, And Insights

Since most of you are probably too young to remember a time before Ethernet and IP, there may be many who are unaware of just how well much of it was designed and what this means to the cost of an efficient network.

The team that invented Ethernet, and in particular Mr. Metcalf and Mr. Boggs, really did some impressive work. Some of their initial solutions are still serving us well today.

One of the most important aspects of the original work was a simple and eloquent solution to the usage "hog". One of the challenges of a shared communications facility is sharing. Even back in its initial implementations, the problem of a single node monopolizing all the bandwidth was a potential problem. Preventing this is part of the basic design.

* Transmissions is done by packets, with a maximum packet size defined.

* A minimum wait time is established between packets.

* Each packet transmission is done the same way, giving every node an equal opportunity to be the next to transmit based on random timers.

* When two nodes try to transmit at the same time, a collision is detected and both start a new random timer before trying to transmit again.

* This approach provides for an efficiency of 95% of the available bandwidth.

This is really a very clever approach to what could have been a significant issue. The traditional approach to communications at that time was like a train. Data being sent was put into a long and continuous stream. In voice, this was for the duration of the connection, while in data it was in large blocks. With Ethernet, the train was replaced with individual cars merging into an expressway. This was a major departure from earlier approaches.

Now all of this occurs at layer 1 and 2, independent of any routing, any access to any resource off the local area network. By design, the issue of one node hogging the network for its own particular needs is addressed. So if someone uploading photos to their Web album or downloading a video feed from CNN is causing performance issues on the network, it might be a good idea to check for a bad NIC in one of the nodes as a first step, before leasing more bandwidth.

The earliest routers relied heavily on the inherent sharing of Ethernet, but it didn't take too long before the smaller access circuits became an issue anyway. This was back when an access line off the router might be dialup or a high speed DDS link operating at 56 Kbps, or something between these two. One of the very first enhancements was to move away from the simple first in first out in favor of priority queuing. Using the IP header in packets, a simple high, medium, and low output buffer was established. Although different vendors implemented different techniques, all used a common approach. The high priority queue is checked the most frequently for packets waiting to be transmitted onto the access link. The medium queue is checked less frequently, and the low priority queue is checked the least. Packets are assigned to a queue by source, destination, protocol, or some combination of these. All advanced priority queuing is still based on this initial approach.

So by design, we have a basic way of dealing with bandwidth hogs both on the local area network and in the wide area network. This goes all the way back to the earliest days of IP, back before the Internet was a common resource. The performance issues are still the same, and in most cases bandwidth is not the culprit thanks to that original work.

Of course, there are times when bandwidth is an issue. For that, we can often find a solution with roots even older than Ethernet. It is an interesting truth that in most instances a very few sites out of the many potential locations are visited on the Web. In an office, coworkers end up all visiting the same couple of news sites, the same couple of portals, the same video feeds and flash presentations. While day to day these might change, in a given day its a small set of locations. In the networking side of brokerage houses back in the early 80's, there was a similar situation. Brokers watched the same stocks. There was a set that everyone watched, and then a smaller set unique to a firm, an even smaller set for an office, and finally a couple that were unique by broker. In all, about 100 stocks on any given day constituted around 90% of the traffic. Lacking even the speed of today's dialup service, they had to support this demand. The approach was simple - send changes on these stocks as they occurred to the local controller so that requests never left that location.

Today we call this caching, and it is handled via a network appliance. For about the price of one months DS3 lease, a cache can be installed so that the bulk of the traffic remains off the leased service. As an added benefit, not even DS3 will outperform a LAN connection. The latency alone prevents this. The result is lower costs and improved performance. It has even moved into the traditional broadcast arena - TIVO is one of the best known brands in the North American market. Different objective, but the same basic approach. Caching won't resolve problems with many office applications, but it can be a real answer for issues regarding Web sites.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tip: 3Com Router, Switch, Hub, and Etherlink Dealer Resource

Since 3Com's founding in 1979 and creation of the Ethernet standard more than 30 years ago, the world has embraced 3Com's vision of networking:

* every personal computer has a network connection

* businesses are fundamentally built around a flow of information carried by a network

* enterprises large and small are increasingly adopting "converged" networks that include Internet Protocol (IP) telephony technologies to achieve significant cost savings and dramatic new functionality and features that enhance the bottom-line

* organizations are actively seeking and deploying integrated security solutions that can ensure business continuity

Today, customers want increased innovation and more intelligent networking products that ensure a secure, cost-effective, interoperable infrastructure.

In order to meet the business and technology needs of enterprise customers, a 3Com® network infrastructure focuses on the main requirements for fully converged enterprise networks: availability, performance, scalability and ease-of-use, while lowering the cost to buy and own. 3Com is one of only a few vendors that can deliver secure, feature-rich, high-performance, end-to-end solutions that support voice and data applications to the large, medium and small enterprise markets.

As part of an aggressive, standards-based approach to meeting enterprise customers' requirements for lower cost of ownership, 3Com is focused on reducing complexity by making management and configuration of data networking much easier. 3Com continues to innovate around an open architecture that supports multivendor environments.

The 3Com portfolio includes switching solutions that range from advanced, modular core switches with up to terabit speed and multilayer traffic prioritization capabilities to stackable switches that combine flexibility with affordability. Based on the latest Wi-Fi standards and security, 3Com wireless bridges, access points, and controllers give organizations the ability to cost-effectively grow and support their mobile workforces. Robust 3Com routers can be deployed in a variety of mixed-vendor networks; they have been independently proved to interoperate with Cisco routers. And the 3Com Enterprise Management Suite is so powerful that multiple network mangers in heterogeneous enterprise networks can simultaneously and efficiently perform key management and administrative tasks in converged network environments.

3Com meets business voice and data network requirements through their sought after WAN and LAN routers, switches, hubs, and the popular etherlink family of networking gear: 3com gigabit lom 3c940, 3com 4400, 3com 3c920 driver, 3com wireless router, 3com nic driver, and the 3com nic card.

For a convenient resource to find a certified and authorized 3Com Dealer in your immediate area we highly recommend:

3Com Router, Switch, Hub, and Etherlink Resource

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Finding A Nortel Networks Dealer Near You Is A Snap!

Hundreds of millions of people, Fortune 500 companies, and government institutions around the world trust their networks to Nortel's reliable and secure solutions. Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that enhance the human experience, ignite and power global commerce, and secure and protect the world's most critical information. Serving both service provider and enterprise customers, Nortel delivers innovative technology solutions encompassing end-to-end broadband, Voice over IP, multimedia services and applications, and wireless broadband designed to help people solve the world's greatest challenges.

Nortel Networks products include Application Switches, Avici Systems Core Routers, Business Policy Switch, Ethernet Routing Switch 1424T, Ethernet Routing Switch 1600, Ethernet Routing Switch 3510-24T, Ethernet Routing Switch 5000 Series, Ethernet Routing Switch 5510, Ethernet Routing Switch 5520, Ethernet Routing Switch 8661, Ethernet Switch 425, Ethernet Switch 470-PWR, Services Edge Router 5500, and Ethernet Switch 8100.

To make your search for a certified and authorized Nortel Networks Dealer in your immediate area MUCH easier....simply use this free service that helps buyers contact the most appropriate (and nearest) dealer:

Nortel Networks

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How To Find A Certified Lucent Technologies Dealer In Your Area...AND Get A Great Deal

Lucent Technologies is a very diverse company that specializes in communication software and hardware for enterprise clients. Many telecom carriers and internet service providers around the world run on Lucent hardware and software.

However, in order to purchase Lucent products, you need to contact an authorized dealer; someone who has been extensively trained and educated in the Lucent product set.

But not to worry, there's a free online resource that has searched those partners out for you, and ranked them in order using their "best fit" algorithm - which includes customer service surveys, product matches, and other search criteria.

So.....if you need to find a certified Lucent Technologies Dealer in your area...simply visit Lucent Technologies Dealers. I'm sure you'll find exactly what you need...AND a great deal.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How To Find The Best Avaya Phone System Dealer Near YOU

Here's the situation......

You've decided you need an upgrade to your business communication system....or you need a complete new system....and have decided to go with an IP Telephone network.

Now what?

Well.....after a lot of gnashing of teeth, and late night bull sessions with your IT Team.....it's likely that you discover the best choice for a provider is a company called Avaya.

Great choice...their reputation is well earned and they are definitely at the top of the food chain.

Next problem......how do you find a reliable Avaya Phone System dealer near you?

Easy......instead of exhausting yourself searching the yellow pages, calling old college buddies, pestering golfing partners, or begging Chamber of Commerce members for referals....simply drop in at AVAYA IP Phone Systems.

This resource offers a very easy and convenient way to search for certified and authorized Avaya Phone System Dealers in your area....view reviews from past customers....and select the best fit for you. There is no pressure or commitment to buy - this is a free service that helps buyers contact the most appropriate (and nearest) dealer.

For your information....if you didn't know.... Avaya is a leader in IP telephone equipment for small, medium, AND large businesses. Avaya is also famous as the manufacturer of the popular Avaya Merlin Magix, which can grow to over 200 phones.

Need to know more about Avaya Phone System Dealers?

Here ya go.......Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable IP telephony systems and communications software applications and services. Using this search resource, you can easily find Avaya Telephone System dealers in your area..... and products including 2400 Series Digital Telephone, 302D Attendant Console, 4600 Series IP Telephones, 6200 Series Analog Telephones, C360 Converged Stackable Switch, G150/G250/G350/G650/G700 Media Gateway, M770 ATM Switch, Octel © 200/300 Message Servers, and SG203/SG208 Security Gateways, etc.

So when you get ready to look for a good Avaya dealer.....save yourself time, effort, money, and an Advil addiction by using the AVAYA PHONE SYSTEMS resource.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

How To Easily Find A Cisco Router At A GREAT Price

Need to find a Cisco Routers Dealer?

Well....you've come to the right place.

Simply visit Cisco Router to easily find exactly what you want....at a great price.

This is a very cool online resource where you can search for a certified and authorized Cisco Routers Dealer in your immediate area. There is no pressure or commitment to buy - this is a free service that helps buyers contact the most appropriate (and nearest) dealer.

Finding a good Network dealer in your area isn't as easy as opening up the yellow pages. Many of them have tremendous technical skill but little marketing savvy. That is why this resource was developed.

Network dealers have been searched out for you, and ranked in order using a "best fit" algorithm - which includes customer service surveys, product matches, and other search criteria. The listed equipment dealers specialize in the installation and sales of the most popular WAN and LAN routers, including the Cisco 801 ISDN/Ethernet Router, 801-1CAPI, 802 ISDN Router, 803 ISDN BRI/ETHERNET ROUTER, 4PORT HUB, Cisco - 803-20PK ISDN/Ethernet Router, 4 port hub 2 POTS, and the Cisco 805 Ethernet/Serial Router.

So....click, search, and shop away:

Cisco Router

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Packet8 Introduces Online Chat Support

Packet8 has launched a new service to assist their broadband (VoIP) phone subscribers via online chat. Accessible via the “Contact” link on your member provided website, the online chat allows subscribers to communicate with Packet8 support representatives via an Instant Message portal.

Anyone who wants to use the online chat utility will need to disable their browser pop-up blocker before clicking on the “Live Chat” link. In most situations, clicking on the Live Chat link and holding down the ctrl key will disable the pop-up blocker and allow it to appear.

Live Packet8 Chat Support is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Pacific). Many broadband phone subscribers prefer to interact with support departments in this method because it allows them to be on their PC working, checking email or surfing the Internet while they wait for a Packet8 representative to become available.

Another advantage of using online chat is that the conversations with support representatives can be printed out for the subscriber’s future reference.

Pretty cool....way more progressive than Vonage too.

For more info on Packet8 broadband phones for personal or business use vist this website: Packet8 Broadband and Video Phones

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just What Is Ethernet...And What Can It Do For Your Business?

If you've been involved with decisions for any type of LAN (local area network) for your business it's likely you've been exposed to the term "ethernet". But just what is ethernet...and more importantly what can it do for your business?

Well...the folks at WiseGeek have a nice little explanation that includes a bit of history, insights, and tips. Here's just what they have to say about ethernet:

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a standard communications protocol embedded in software and hardware devices, intended for building a local area network (LAN). Ethernet was designed by Bob Metcalfe in 1973, and through the efforts of Digital, Intel and Xerox (for which Metcalfe worked), "DIX" Ethernet became the standard model for LANs worldwide.

A basic hard-wired LAN consists of the following components:

* Two or more computers to be linked together, or networked.
* A network interface card (NIC) in each computer.
* Ethernet cable to connect to each computer.
* A networking switch or networking hub to direct network traffic.
* Networking software.

A NIC is installed in each computer, and is assigned a unique address. An Ethernet cable runs from each NIC to the central switch or hub. The switch or hub will act as a relay (though they have significant differences in how they handle network traffic), receiving and directing packets of data across the LAN. Thus, Ethernet networking creates a communications system that allows the sharing of data and resources, including printers, fax machines and scanners.

Ethernet networks can also be wireless. Rather than using Ethernet cable to connect the computers, wireless NICs use radio waves for two-way communication with a wireless switch or hub. In lieu of Ethernet ports, wireless NICs, switches and hubs each feature a small antenna. Wireless networks can be more flexible to use, but also require extra care in configuring security.

Alternate technologies to Ethernet include the passé "Token Ring" protocol designed by IBM, and the far newer asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) technology. ATM allows devices to be connected over very wide distances to create WANs (wide area networks) that behave like LANs. However, for an inexpensive network located in a single building, Ethernet is a well-established standard with a solid record, boasting over three decades of providing reliable networking environments.

The formal designation for standardization of the Ethernet protocol is sometimes referred to as IEEE 802.3. The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) proposed a working group in February 1980 - accounting for the designation [19]80 2[nd month] - to standardize network protocols. The third subcommittee worked on a flavor essentially identical to Ethernet, though there are insignificant variances. Consequently, generic use of the term "Ethernet" might refer to IEEE 802.3 or DIX Ethernet.

For expert assistance in finding just the right ethernet solution for your business LAN.....or even ATM solution for your company WAN.....I strongly suggest you use the free consulative services at ETHERNET SOLUTIONS.