Benefits of Business Ethernet For A Wide Area Network (WAN) Design
The choices today for Wide Area Network (WAN) design are wide and varied. No pun intended. Relying on the same old legacy options is no longer necessary with the maturation of Business Ethernet interconnectivity. Your voice/data transmission deserves better.
Too often businesses looking to upgrade an existing voice/data network infrastructure... or install a new network for whatever reason... tend to gloss over the advantages a Business Ethernet backbone may present. This may be due to a simple lack of understanding, or perhaps a rush to judgment relying on "what you know" for the final decision.
This is unfortunate as Business Ethernet today presents potential benefits over legacy systems such as TDM (e.g. DS3 bandwidth) and SONET (e.g. OC3 circuits) when the right conditions are present. Upon closer examination these improvements are marked and include the most obvious one. That being a significant cost savings in most cases.
Some benefits of Business Ethernet you should be aware of include...
1.) provides unlimited reach over Wide Area networks (WAN).
2.) enhances network performance by providing predictability, service guarantee, and management capabilities that previously were given only in SONET/SDH or ATM networks. This is done by the five carrier-class attributes: standardized services, scalability, reliability, Quality of Service, and Service Management.
3.) there are potential benefits of upgrading to Business Ethernet *if* the sites that can be upgraded are reaching their capacity limits (i.e. average around 70-80% link load for extended periods of time).
4.) typically cost per megabit of a Business Ethernet service is lower than of an equivalent legacy service, which allows getting larger amounts of bandwidth without increasing the overall service cost. By doing so, the congestion levels can be lowered and application performance improved.
In saying this it must be stressed that Business Ethernet is just another data transmission technology (rather than a universal "silver bullet"), and each individual migration case needs careful consideration and cost/benefit analysis.
Approaching this from a non-technical position, when setting out to design a solution you first need to ask what are the types of networks and applications you need to support? For example, are the network topologies linear or ring, and point-point or multipoint? If you are trying to connect pairs of sites with point-point circuits in a single metro, the choice of technology and equipment would be different than if, say you need to interconnect multiple customer sites in a point-to-multipoint or multipoint configuration.
SONET ADMs (ad-drop multiplexer) that support Business Ethernet interfaces could be utilized in the first instance to provide Ethernet Private Lines (EPL). For large complex networks, an MPLS core (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) may be required, although there are Business Ethernet platforms that can provide the necessary interconnectivity at Layer 2. If you are trying to interconnect multiple locations over a SONET ring, RPR (resilient packet ring) solutions are another alternative. Finally, you also need to take into consideration whether you have customer applications that require specific QoS (quality of service), especially if voice and video traffic are to be mixed with data application traffic in any topology other than EPL.
Once you have defined the requirements for Bandwidth, scaling, latency, coverage and inter-connectivity... you can then plan your aggregation and core network. Obviously resiliency, scalability, manageability (network and service) and some aspect of network intelligence play a part in the design.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the possible benefits of Business Ethernet... don't overlook that potential in the final decision on your WAN network design. Although this process may seem to be complicated it really doesn't need to be. Plus, you can always take advantage of the no cost assistance available from Business Ethernet Solutions to walk you through step by step.By Michael Lemm
Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including Business Ethernet Solutions. Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.
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