Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Ethernet Is Becoming The Prefered Choice For Business Networks

Seems like ethernet based solutions (e.g. metro ethernet) have become the "choice du jour" for many company voice/data networks. T1 still has it's place for small and some medium size businesses .... depending on the applications to be supported of course. MPLS has helped that arena survive. Plus there's still a need for DS3 and OC3 Bandwidth solutions in medium to large size businesses. Particularly to multiplex several voice channels and to support legacy SDH based networks layed over an ATM layer.

But ethernet popularity and applications is growing .... fast.

Ethernet access circuits are becoming more prevalent because they are much less expensive. Ethernet for typical IP traffic - the majority of corporate data traffic - is a good solution and, depending on the QOS capability of the Ethernet vendor, can be very reliable.

Considerations ....

1. Requires fiber to the customer premise. Common in urban areas, less common in rural areas. Where only copper is available, DS1/DS3 will be the most common offering.

2. Ethernet is a shared medium. As I noted, critical and sensitive IP communications (voice, video) will depend on the QOS SLA the Ethernet vendor can support.

3. Legacy voice and video equipment (PBX's and video conference systems) rely on T-carrier circuits. PBX's because they require DS0 channelization; legacy video conference systems because they use either ISDN or ATM.

As voice and video migrate to IP and Metro Ethernet vendors implement reliable QOS, you will more see dramatic profit potential in that market. In the meantime, Metro Ethernet is competing to be the lowest cost alternative.

The advantage of an ethernet handoff to the customer is no extra network equipment is needed.

An OC handoff requires a SONET head at the customer premise, and then channelized interfaces - the customer has to purchase some mix of CSU/DSU's, WIC ports, router serial interfaces, and so on ... then active channels have to be configured, protocol and framing, redunancy, ASR's ...

With a simple ethernet handoff - the customer plugs the cable into their Layer 3 Switch, Ethernet router, or firewall (that they own anyway). Everyone knows how ethernet works, why would you use anything else if ethernet is available? Almost everything gets turned into IP at layer 3 these days anyway.

Ultimately the decision to implement one connectivity solution over another depends on four things:

Is it available? Is it highly available? What pricing is available? And, are there features not available with the other available solutions? It's a question of availability.

For free assistance finding the most effective and efficient ethernet solution for your business try this:

Business Ethernet

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