Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What Is The Ideal Bandwidth Solution For Critical Business Applications?

When deciding on a bandwidth solution for your business's computer network architecture there are many options to choose from .... and even more factors to consider in the process. Be sure to assess both business and technology implications to arrive at the best choice.

First, the increased availability of metrics for SONET-based facilities through the use of APS and rings (folded on traditional such as BLSR) should be considered. A well designed SONET - based interconnect or network can achieve 99.999% availability. This is something typical electronic interfaces would be hard pressed to do without gobs of additional complexity and layers.

Next concatenated STS-1 provide great flexibility to data-enabled equipment, permitting network operators to run larger and larger virtual pipes into their gear. In a data-centric world such as POE, MPLS and ATM .... this is invaluable. Replicating such flexibility with copper-based solutions is a kludge, not plausible, or a near impossibility.

Remember too that SONET-based solutions are pretty much limited to mostly North-American eye balls. If you were to open the scope to include SDH-based solutions, your addressable options now become global as far as installation locales.

Another factor for consideration is that SONET ADM and next generation multi-service switches permit an extraordinary amount of flexibility with regard to MUX/drop options, and have several OSI layers of ability and configuration within the single platform. This heavy reduces the amount of boxes required to complete the same functionality, as well as simplifies the overall network topology.

Lastly, the cost per usable Mbps payload drops considerably as you move up the bandwidth ladder. For example, the costs of a DS-1 worth of bandwidth plummets as you move from an OC-3, to OC-12, to an OC-48, etc.

But keep in mind that the geography where your business is located will yield different solutions. For example, you may be able to work on OC-3 Sonnet rings with dual entry points to your install Premise. This solution is far more bullit proof than any other solution because it is connected to multiple CO's .... and there is a backup ring that travels in an opposite direction from the primary ring. Plus the provider may well do the build out at no NRC to a bsuiness customer. Also, you may be able to bury the MRC so that the loop cost essentialy goes away. This type of buildout would normally cost between 350K and 475K through Qwest, Verizon or sprint .... and also have a similar MRC associated with it.

Now although the option of Metro Ethernet in this case is cheap bandwidth .... there is still a single point of failure with this product. Thus Metro E may not be the best choice if your applications can not tolerate single point failures.

This is an example of how every company will have slightly different needs .... and a solution at this level should be evaluated carefully.

Many suppliers will offer various options, but increasingly businesses are coming over to Ethernet based solutions. Smaller locations can be connected using 10 or 100 mbps Ethernet, often for the same price as SDSL. For a hub you want Gig-E or 10 Gig-E, and with the ability to provide point to multipoint or even meshed configurations. In this case Ethernet has much more flexibility than point to point circuits.

Ethernet can and does come in many different flavours. Over SDH or SONET you get guaranteed throughput ..... and either "all you can eat" bandwidth or upgradable in T1/E1 increments (depending on platform it can be even smaller increments).

Many platforms also allow flexible usage also. Pay for what you need only, but still be allowed to burst high for periods of time. This is very handy for backing up those application servers to a disaster recovery site overnight.

Ethernet is also available over SDH/SONET. So if a T1 or E1 is more cost effective, you still get the low cost of the Ethernet port to plug your equipment in. Naturally too Ethernet supports IP. So you can buy your Ethernet at Layer 2 or 3 - depending on your own organizations requirements for security, ease of management, and so forth.

Of course OCx and STM-y still have their place in the world. But with interfaces now going up towards 100 G for Metro and Long Haul .... Ethernet will continue to scale in speed and grow in popularity. The attractiveness once driven primarily by cost effectiveness is fast adding performance as a factor.

So there you have it. Your primary options for high demand critical business applications should be SONET based OCx solutions .... and Ethernet based solutions. Remember to weigh both your specific business and technology implications in your decision. Whatever direction you go in ..... do your homework and choose wisely.

If you're looking for a SONET based OCx solution try here first: OC3 Bandwidth

If you're looking for an ethernet based solution I suggest starting here: Ethernet Solution


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