Monday, May 16, 2011

Primer For Businesses Evaluating DS3 Bandwidth

Before deciding on a bandwidth solution for your business there's basic fundamental questions you must be aware of. Not just what they are but also how the answers will impact your network application(s)... and most importantly the impact on potential cost of implementing that network.

Part of any business plan for installing or upgrading a computer network infrastructure is estimating potential costs .... with bandwidth requirements an obvious big chunk of the deliberation. To do this appropriately you need to know what you're getting into first. Overlook these factors ..... or make assumptions on their affect to network installation, management, and performance costs means you may end up paying more than you expected.

Here's a scenario to illustrate the message .....

You are intending to upgrade your company's computer network in the coming months basing the infrastructure on DS3 bandwidth. You are getting several quotes for adding another upstream provider, as well as trying to price new accounts. You want to know what are average costs of a DS-3's (full 45 Mbps)to end users and 100 Mbps connections?

First, there are three components of cost for upstream bandwidth that you must be aware of...

1. access, sometimes called the local loop, is the circuit between your physical location and the carrier POP (Point Of Presence)

2. port speed, which is essentially how many megs you're buying

3. equipment to interconnect between the carrier and your network.

Access price will depend on your various locations and where you can take delivery of the service. Some carriers will have "lit" buildings that will be less costly for them to serve. Generally, the farther any location you want serviced is from a POP the more your loop cost will be. The closer it is the less your cost will be. This is the most often overlooked component of any pricing exercise .... and the one that can up your costs quickly and drastically. Here's a tip ..... if you're within a reasonable distance for their POP many providers will waive the loop cost. So make sure you ask about that.

Port speed will vary by carrier, by product type, and by any specific vendor promotions ongoing at the moment. These costs are generally on the decrease overall so you should make out here .... but still ensure you compare multiple providers and negotiate for the best cost. Also make sure that provider port speed promises include a SLA (Service Level Agreement) and QoS (Quality of Service) commitment which penalizes the provider for non-compliance and protects your financial investment. Getting less bandwidth reliability than you need will impact on the performance of your intended application(s). If you learn this too late you will end up paying more through the lost productivity to your business.

Equipment costs turns to zero if you take an Ethernet connection, but typically you have to be in a "lit" building to take advantage of that. Otherwise to hang a router on a DS-3 the carrier may charge a few extra hundred dollars per month. If Ethernet connectivity is available .... grab it. It will cut your expenses dramatically. Also ask if the provider will "give" you a free router. Many do so today as sales incentive.

There you have it. The basics of what to ensure is incorporated into any deliberations on your computer network bandwidth requirements. Gloss over any of these and you will end up paying more than necessary. There are of course some more complicated and technical considerations your IT staff will ponder. But to make business sense at least the above must be your starting point.

Should you like to save even more in the deliberation process (time, effort and money) I suggest using the services of a no cost consultant such as DS3 Bandwidth who can navigate the maze on your behalf. They'll do all the research and negotiations for you .... and simplify your involvement to a less stressful approve/disapprove. That just makes even more business sense.

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