Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Business Ethernet vs SONET Bandwidth Solution .... Which Makes More Sense?

For high bandwidth - high capacity network infrastructures today .... you can look toward Ethernet or SONET based solutions. But which makes more sense for YOU.

Since you're not likely to be able to run Ethernet to meet your actual WAN requirements, what you are effectively doing is outsourcing the edge of your network to your carrier.

Your carrier will run SONET services to an edge device, manage that device, and hand you an Ethernet connection.

As always, there are advantages and disadvantages with each. With the Ethernet solution, you get simplicity, and have lower capital equipment costs on your side, but you're probably, in effect, leasing that equipment the carrier uses at your site as part of your monthly recurring cost (MRC). You're also "outsourcing" the operation of the WAN side of the hand-off, which might work well for you of your staff is generally more experienced with LAN technologies, and you're carrier is competent in handling this responsibility for you.

If you go the SONET route, you'll be buying interfaces for your routers, and these expenses can start to add up. On the other hand, you've got more control, or at least more say, in what's being delivered to you. If you need ring and equipment diversity, and want to have the egress side of your rings be at diverse locations, it's *your* circuit. If you want to know that the protect channel is assigned to your needs, your equipment is on it and you have that visibility. If you have an Ethernet interface being dropped off, you might have less visibility into what lies beyond, and have less of an argument for being involved in how your carrier is engineering what lies past that edge device.

In more complex environments, there may be other concerns as well. If you're running POS into your routers, you have the ability to run a layer two service on top of this, and virtualize that OCx circuit. A collegue put OCx into an MPLS environment where it became desirable to operate more than one MPLS VRF, and building two FR PVCs on top of the POS, one to each VRF, was a simple solution. If he had the same need with a carrier-provided Ethernet edge device, he'd have likely needed to pay another monthly charge for another Ethernet port to accomplish the same thing.

Either technology may be the right choice .... depending on where you want the costs and the design and operational responsibilities to fall.

For help in determining the right solution .... whether it's ethernet, SONET, or something else .... I strongly suggest taking advantage of the no cost support available here: Bandwidth Solution

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