Friday, August 07, 2009

DS3 Bandwidth and OCx (Optical Carrier) Lines Explained

DS3 lines and OCx circuits {such as as OC3 bandwidth) are the most common larger dedicated bandwidth choices used by businesses today. For an explanation of these options for your voice/data networks .... read on.

DS3 Bandwidth .....

A DS3 at full capacity is 45 Mbps. Many organizations graduate from multiple bonded T1s to some form of Fractional or Burstable DS3. Below are the most common forms this takes:

* Fractional DS3:

Just as some smaller organizations have utilized Fractional T1s, a Fractional DS3 is typically delivered over a Full DS3 access loop, but the Internet port speed is set at the client's desired level.

Typically, most carriers will require a minimum to deliver the service. Depending upon the carrier, they might require a customer to purchase at least 5-9 Mbps while others may require the customer to purchase 12 or more Mbps of Internet bandwidth over their fractional DS3.

* Burstable DS3:

Unlike a Fractional DS3, a Burstable DS3 may have its Internet port speed configured to the full 45 Mbps. However, the customer is not necessarily billed for the full 45 Mbps. Instead, the customer is billed only for the amount of bandwidth they use, typically in a tiered structure.

Carriers have different ways of partitioning these tiers, and may require a minimum usage while others may go strictly by usage. In other words, one carrier may bill one rate for 0-3 Mbps, 3.01-6 Mbps, 6.01-9 Mbps, 9.01-12 Mbps, 12.01-15 Mbps and so on. The customer may use an average 11 Mbps one month and an average of 7 Mbps the next, and in one scenario a carrier might just bill for the respective tier they fell into for each individual month. Whereas another carrier may bill a minimum amount for 9 Mbps, for example, and then a predetermined rate for additional bandwidth.

Regardless of the structure, it is a viable option for organizations in need of big bandwidth without paying for a Full DS3, while still having the bandwidth capabilities of a Full DS3, should they need it.

* Full DS3:

This option is the full un-capped 45 Mbps. Sometimes, customers may start out with a Fractional or Burstable DS3, but when the time comes, there is a cost threshold where it makes sense to go ahead and provision the whole DS3 port. When you get into this type of circuit, the pricing and quality can vary, depending on the service provider.

* OCX:

Similarly, OC (Optical Carrier) level pipes offer various flavors. Fractional, Burstable and Full OCX circuits are available from most Tier 1 NSPs. With ‘X' being the variable, there are several forms of Optical Carrier circuits.

Probably the most commonly used OCx circuit is OC3 bandwidth.

Rarely used, OC1 is a similar bandwidth increment to a DS3, where a DS3 is measured around 45 Mbps, an OC1 is rated around 51 Mbps. More common forms of Optical Carrier circuits include OC3 and OC12. OC3 running around 155 Mbps (similar to three DS3s), and OC12 running 622 Mbps (similar to four OC3s).

Most Tier 1 carriers run an OC48 (2.5 Gbps) - OC192 (10 Gbps) backbone, so if that's what runs the global Internet backbones, you can see that not many companies or carriers require service larger than an OC12. If they do, they will most likely just get another OC3 or OC12 and route it through diverse carriers, or at the vary least, over redundant routes through their preferred carrier.

To help you evaluate your current and forecasted bandwidth requirements .... evaluate the various offerings of multiple vendors .... and find the most competitive, reliable, and cost effective solution .... I recommend you take advantage of the free consulatative services available via Bandwidth Solution.

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