Thursday, May 27, 2010

MPLS …. What’s In The Future?

MPLS is a convergence of various implementations of "IP switching" that use ATM-like Label Swapping to speed up IP packet forwarding without changes to existing IP routing protocols operating at Layer 2.5. The major motivations behind MPLS are higher scalability, faster packet forwarding performance, IP + ATM integration, Traffic Engineering, MPLS Virtual Private Networks, fast rerouting, and hard Quality of Service.

The deployment of MPLS in service provider Internet backbones has become possible since it is transparent to the end user. consequentially, at the architectural level, it has changed the basic longest match destination-based unicast-forwarding model, which has remained essentially unchanged since the inception of the Internet. In turn, it also impacts the routing architecture, requiring that routing protocols perform new and more complex routing tasks.

As the Internet continues to develop into a medium for the convergence of voice, video, and data communications, it has been growing (and envisaged to continue to grow) in terms of bandwidth, number of hosts, geographic size, and traffic volume. It has evolved from best-effort service toward an integrated or differentiated services framework with quality of service (QoS) assurances, which are necessary for many new applications such as Managed VPNs, Voice over IP, videoconferencing, and broadband multimedia services.

Service Provider backbone infrastructures are currently used to provide multiple services such as TDM leased lines, ATM, Frame Relay, Voice, video, and Internet services. ATM backbones, that were popular in the past due to their reliability and versatility in offering multiple service types were found not to integrate very well with IP and there are serious scalability issues that need to be dealt with, when running IP over ATM.

Hence, MPLS is here to stay for quite some time still. As the Internet metamorphoses into a combo of data, voice, video, Telepresence, and who knows what else, MPLS will keep growing with newer features and more flexibility being introduced to meet ongoing versatile demands at a well maintained regularity by the IETF MPLS Work Group and related standardization bodies.

If you’d like more information on MPLS peruse the many articles on the subject at:

MPLS Articles

If you’d like assistance in finding the most cost effective MPLS solution for your network ….. at absolutely ZERO cost to you ….. simply submit a request here:

MPLS Network

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

OC3, OC12 & OC48 Bandwidth....Ideal Solution For High End Users

The ideal solution for high end bandwidth users where connectivity is essential for operations isn't a simple T1 or DS3 dedicated need an "OC" fiber optic network. So just what is OCx, what can it do for you, and what do you need to know?

What is an OCx Circuit?

'OC' stands for Optical Carrier and is used to specify the speed of fiber optic networks conforming to the SONET standard. SONET, (Synchronous Optical Networks), includes a set of signal rate multiples for transmitting digital signals on optical fiber. The base rate (OC-1) is 51.84 Mbps. Certain multiples of the base rate are provided below with bandwidth amounts. Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) makes use of some of the Optical Carrier levels.

Optical Carrier lines provide content providers, ASP's, ISP's & large enterprises with dedicated Internet connectivity. These Optical Carrier Level circuits are an ideal solution for high end bandwidth users where connectivity is essential for operations. Some examples are large data centers, high tech research facilities, university infrastructure, airport complex, and casino video security and data systems.

What is an OC3?

An OC3 can be three DS3s (T3s) or as one 155M pipe. The benefit in using DS3s is that each can be separated back out as individual T1s (each with 24 channels). To put it into perspective, the speed of an OC3 connection is 155Mbps. This is equivalent to 3 T3 lines or 100 T1 lines. An OC12 connection is 622Mbps, equivalent to 14 T3 lines or approx. 414 T1 lines.

What is an OC12?

An OC12 is approximately equal to 4 OC3s and runs at 622 Mbps. which makes it an excellent point-to-point IP delivery connection. The greatest benefit to an OC-12 is that bandwidth can be added to a business as it grows without any major system overhauls. An OC12 can also allow a business to have unlimited IP addresses which insures that growth is never limited...

What is an OC48?

An OC48 works as a reliable fiber optic backbone for large networks which require volume extensive voice/data/video traffic. It is a long-haul backbone fibre connection capable of transmitting data at 2.45 Gbps. To put it into perspective the speed of an OC48 is the equivalent of having 48 T3's OR 1,344 T1 lines

The pricing for these type of connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the exact application for which the connection is being used. Due to this complexity it is suggested to use the services of a consultant such as to research available providers and find the best fit to meet a specific requirement.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Is Wireless Broadband?

Broadband is generally communications that exceeds the frequency width requirements of a telephone call. This is 56kbps or 56 Kilobits per second. Note, this is the same use of "Band" as used in radio bands, citizens band etc. Specifically an allotment of frequency high enough to achieve the
greater bit rate.

Until relatively recently, it was not considered practically possible to achieve broadband wirelessly because frequency was limited. Two things have made this commercially feasible. The first is inexpensive solid state microwave transcievers. The second is what is known as "Spread Spectrum" modulation techniques. In spread spectrum multiple frequencies are used simultanously to send the same information. A single "Bit" actually goes out on short microwave bursts of different frequencies known as "Chips" or "Chirps". This allows many different communications to occur simulaneously in an alloted set of frequencies and to use them effectively for broadband.

Increasingly almost all communications, even voice and music is shifting over to wireless broadband, this is why the comment about "internet" is not true. All cell phones actually digitize the voice and use wireless broadband. Cordless phones use a similar technique. HD Radio is using wireless broadband methods over the FM radio band. HD TV which has supplanted conventional TV broadcasting uses wireless broadband techniques to pack more information into less frequencies. Yes, Internet access provided for cell phones uses wireless broadband too. So does WiFi and

Wireless broadband refers more to technologies like WiMAX and 4G networks. While EVDO, WiFi, and Bluetooth are all valid wireless technologies, they don't address the higher goal of pervasive, fast-as-wired, internet connection that "wireless broadband" promises.

Broadly, wireless broadband is the emerging technologies that the wireless carriers are deploying exclusive to data. Mostly, this is referring to technologies beyond 2G or even beyond 3G(depends on what data rate is considered true 'broadband'). 4G Wireless WAN technologies such as Wimax and LTE are considered true mobile broadband with typical rates in the 5-6MBPS range(whereas 3G technology such as EVDO is typically sub 1MBPS in current deployments).

To see what kinds of choices may be available to you check out .....

Wireless Broadband

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Introducing CLEAR 4G WiMax

We are excited to reommend an innovative wireless product ..... CLEAR 4G WiMax! Just like cellular phones revolutionized the way we communicate, and put a virtual end to the switched long distance market, CLEAR 4G WiMax will do the same thing for residential high-speed internet.

The evolution of residential broadband looks something like this .....

1995-2000 : Dial-up Internet (24K - 56K) [Cost: $19.95/month]

2000-2005 : High-Speed DSL (512K - 2MB) [Cost: $29.95/month]

2005-2010 : Fios / Cable (2MB - 8MB) [Cost: $39.95/month]

2010 : 4G WiMax (2MB - 8MB) [Cost: $29/month]

Unlike ALL of its predecesors, 4G WiMax is *wireless*, and covers an entire metro area. 4G WiMax is taking the place of the lower frequency television spectrum and can travel further, go through buildings - just like your old television signal used to. CLEAR offers plans that (if you live in one of the CLEAR markets) allow you to share your PC, laptop, and other mobile devices on one account. Add unlimited voice (local and domestic long distance) to your CLEAR account for just $25.

No more having to buy DSL, local phone line, switched long distance, and 3G wireless internet for the road. Just one account with CLEAR and you get all of these things, in one neat package. And, the best part about CLEAR, you don't have to worry about being too many feet away from the DSLAM, or on the wrong side of town for cable/fios. CLEAR's powerful signal covers 99% of all of the residents in the markets where CLEAR 4G WiMax is available!

As of today, CLEAR's 4G WiMax markets are ......

- Abilene, Texas - Amarillo, Texas - Austin, Texas - Corpus Christi, Texas - Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - Houston (Coming Soon!) - Killeen, Texas - Lubbock, Texas - Midland/Odessa, Texas - San Antonio, Texas - Wichita Falls, Texas - Waco, Texas - Chicago, Illinois - Atlanta, Georgia - Milledgeville, Georgia - Boise, Idaho - Charlotte, North Carolina - Greensboro, North Carolina - Raleigh, North Carolina - Honolulu, Hawaii - Maui, Hawaii - Las Vegas, Nevada - Portland, Oregon - Salem, Oregon - Philadelphia,Pennsylvania - Bellingham, Washington - Everett, Washington -
Kitsap, Washington - Tacoma, Washington - Seattle, Washington

To learn more about CLEAR go to:

4G WiMax

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

What Does DIA Over Fiber Cost?

This seems to come up more and more recently …. as more areas go through a fiber build out … and businesses look to that fiber web as a possible solution to meet their voice/data network connectivity requirements. The natural progression is that businesses are more aggressive now in looking for information regarding what carriers charge for DIA using Fiber access.

In general ….. 10 megs of DIA delivered via fiber will on run on average around $2300 (monthly). You could get an entire DS3 circuit (45 meg) for about $1000 more. Again, this would depend on your location and loop costs. If Metro Ethernet is an option, that would be about $600 for 10 megs - again depending on your location.

Now most providers will not hand you off fiber for only 10 MB commitment, most fiber drops are for GigE circuits (Gigabit Ethernet) which usually carries a 100 MB commitment from most larger providers. For 10 MB you are probably going to have a Ethernet handoff or a Coax DS3. Depending on the availability of Ethernet where you are located.

To get an accurate cost for any given location … and also verification if fiber is even available there …. I suggest you use the free “search and compare” service available at: Bandwidth Solution

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who Is The Best Business Broadband Provider?

This question is often asked by IT staff at any given business …. but what they really mean is “who is the best business broadband provider …. for ME?” Even more specifically … “who can give me exactly what I need ….. where I need it …. to do what I have to do with my data/voice network?”

If you ask this ….. read on so you’ll be better positioned to ask the question in a more meaningful way; and get a response that makes the most business sense for your specific situation.

Most importantly ….. to get a complete and worthwhile answer ... there really needs to be more information provided which better describes exactly what your requirements are.

What is the exact location or locations? What is your budget? What applications must your network support (voice, data, multi-media, conferencing, number of users, 1 or more locations - single building or campus, etc.). What's your current usage? What’s your projected future usage? What do you have now (T1, DS3, etherent, etc.)? What’s your current uptime, latency, SLA, and QoS? Who's your current provider? Are you currently under a contract and when does it run out?

Don’t focus solely on speed … or price either. You also need to consider uptime, latency, packet forwarding, and other issues. Both in analyzing your current “state” …. and estimating your future “grow to”.

First start by asking yourself which applications you need to run over the link. People don't buy networks, they buy access to applications.

Then you need to look at the expected usage over the link. The profile of the applications is also important -- are they latency constrained? Are they bandwidth hogs? Is it sporadic access or sustained? Are you bringing Internet over the link?

How far apart are your sites (if this is a multi-site install)? Will that introduce latency? Is that latency going to be a problem?

You also have to look at what you can get. Maybe all you can get is a T1.

Depending on the answers above, you might also need to look at WAN acceleration, Citrix, or other such technologies to get around application limitations. Some applications just don't work well when they're separated by their users by more than a few milliseconds.

That said .... initially I'd lean toward a T1; probably integrated (voice and data). But that will depend on number of users and load (video conferencing, large multi-media file sharing, etc.) and so forth. You might need to go bonded T1 or DS3 (T3) bandwidth if your load/usage is large. If available, ethernet should be an option at least from a cost effectiveness standpoint.

As for a provider .... shop around. Remember that location is key when buying broadband. Use a consultant who can talk the language and negotiate for you. If you do this yourself you'll get frustrated, spend a lot of time and effort, and likely be talked into something you really don't need ... at a cost more than you should pay. If you’d like free help with this …. I strongly recommend the no cost services at:

Compare Broadband Provider

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Is It Worth It For A Business To Go With A VoIP Only System?

Good question - as ever it all depends on what you're trying to achieve! What's the driver to change? Are you looking to reduce costs through the virtualization of multiple sites each running their own telephony or is this about upgrading a single site?

It's worth pausing for a moment to be clear about your understanding of a 'VoIP only system'. There are a number of variables in the mix that could all impact upon the 'right choice' for your specific situation/requirements. Below are a few things to consider:


You'd be hard pressed to find any new telephony platform, let's call it a PBX, from any vendor that doesn't contain an element of IP carrying Voice - i.e. VoIP. The difference between PBX platforms, and even between configurations of same platforms, will be that some may will employ VoIP to a small extent (e.g. a few internal signalling cards but traditional ISDN circuits and digital handsets) whilst others may be fully 'end-to-end' VoIP PBXs (IP instead of ISDN trunks, all signalling and processing components fully IP, IP gateways and IP handsets on the desk or even softphones on your PC).


If you are going to run a converged voice and data network then a lot of VoIP deployments can come unstuck if you haven't taken the time to validate that your LAN and/or WAN network(s) are capable of supporting the additional bandwidth required to carry voice traffic and are capable of prioritising Voice over Data (aka Quality of Service). If you don't have the skills/experience in-house then the potential service/PBX provider should be capable of providing you with a network readiness test (insist on written results).


An understanding of what your business/operational drivers are will determine the most appropriate choice of trunk connectivity to the outside world. ISDN trunks are the defacto choice however SIP trunks are about to make a big impact as they'll offer equivalent bandwidth and resilience to ISDN but at lower cost. The more commercially aggressive telcos are pushing SIP trunks as they'll effectively offer you a 'big IP pipe' for you to plug into for all your data and voice connectivity needs and they'll offer appropriate SLAs to guarantee uptime.

Avoid basic internet connectivity services like broadband for carrying business grade telephony services as it's unlikley to meet your 'quality' expectations - unless you're located really close to a BT exchange to take advantage of SDSL services (which are still very expensive).


Regarding good value vs hidden extras - I think commercial preparation and diligence is important in whatever you're looking to buy! A general comment is that the hosted market is growing and so is the choice of providers. If your/ your users requirements are basic then this may not be a bad place to start ..... and anyone worth dealing with may be prepared to let you trial their service before you commit the whole company to a contract. If your requirements are more sophisticated then you may prefer to stay with a 'premise' telephony solution.

For no cost help navigating through all the above "questions" and options simply request help and rate quotes via Business VoIP Solution

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How Do You Decide On A Colocation (Bandwidth) Provider?

You run a high volume bandwidth eating application or website .... and are in need of colocation support and services.

What do you do .... and what should you look for?

Raw bandwidth quality and price is only one of many factors you should consider. Depending on the geographic distribution of your users you may want to look for an independent content distribution network (Akamai) or a bandwidth provider that offers its own content distribution services. This can be important if your users are highly distributed geographically.

Some specific things to consider:

1) Carrier neutral colocation is the way to go for most Internet-centric applications. Colocating in a carrier-owned facility can make sense if much of your traffic will be to a private WAN provided by that carrier. Otherwise being in a carrier-owned data center makes you a captive customer and raises the cost/ effort for diverse, multi-provider bandwidth.

2) Finding the right carrier-neutral facility - make sure the facility you are looking at has a good number of carriers in it and that they are ready to provision new customers via a low-cost Ethernet hand-off. I've seen many facilities that listed a vast number of carriers available only to discover that most of those carriers only had raw fiber built into the facility - actually turning up the first customer required a significant hardware investment which frequently gets passed on to the first customer in the form of high costs.

3) Blended vs. dedicated ports - with the exception of very sophisticated blended products at facilities like Equinix I'm not a fan of the blended approach except for smaller operations that do not plan to grow above 100Mbps or so and do not plan to have multiple colos. Blended is a great option to get started quickly but you will likely find that you want the control and price advantages of connecting to specific carriers. The exception to this is resale services over a common Ethernet facility that some carrier-neutral facilities provide. For example Equinix Direct allows customers to purchase bandwidth from specific providers for short-term commitment periods. This is a great option and I'm sure many non-Equinix facilities offer something similar.

4) Burstable vs. fixed rate services - most services are burstable and measured on some sort of aggregated utilization. Most customers prefer this because their traffic patterns are bursty. Overage charges can be a major issue so make sure you have a plan for how you will address those if you find you are bursting over your expected traffic. What does the next tier of pricing look like and do you have to renew/ extend your contract commitment to move to it?

5) Make sure the SLA is meaningful. Negotiate on the SLA if it isn't. Many carriers provide non-meaningful latency guarantees. A common example is latency/ packet loss to the first-hop provider edge router. This isn't meaningful - you want to know how well your traffic will get across their network. Look for SLAs that define performance between ISP border routers. Look at what the provider excludes from coverage. For instance, it is common practice for carriers to exclude issues caused by the local exchange carrier or other parties (fiber providers). This tends to defeat the purpose of the SLA. This is generally negotiable with CLECs or with tier 1 providers you will find there is a premium SLA available.

6) Monitor what you are getting - an apalling number of customers carefully negotiate SLAs only to never monitor them. Run Cisco IP SLA and/or ping tests to various endpoints to monitor the quality you are getting. Setup synthetic application tests (HTTP GETs etc) at your home connection to test the end-user experience continually.

7) Think about routing (BGP), load balancing and failover before buying anything. Find out exactly what each carrier will support and think about how it fits for your IT capabilities. Do you want eBGP in your life and can you support it with your IT resources? Some carriers offer solutions to provide load balancing and diverse connectivity that can help you avoid the need to run BGP.

For free assistance navigating through all of the above ... simply request no cost help via the following:

Bandwidth Solution

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