Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Business Ethernet Advantages

Whether it's called Carrier Ethernet, Metro-Ethernet, or Business Ethernet the premise is pretty much the same. Choosing Ethernet for the backbone to your network platform is a smart choice for most any organization. Ethernet is not a fad, but rather a proven cost effective and highly reliable transport medium for both LAN and WAN deployments.

Compared to other dedicated bandwidth solutions such as bonded T1 lines, DS3 bandwidth circuits, MPLS, and SONET (optical carrier designations such as OC3).... Ethernet by any name offers clear and distinct advantages. Just consider this.... the technology was developed by Xerox in the 1970's, while the term "Ethernet" taking it's Greek roots literally means "a network of everywhere."

Case in point.... Ethernet has become the most successful and widely deployed Local Area Network (LAN) transport technology in the world. While other technologies have become obsolete, Ethernet has more than 100 million clients deployed today, making it the interface of choice for most network-capable devices.

Carrying this further.... the last 30 years have seen significant development of Ethernet technology. However, the most significant development from a wide-area networking (WAN) perspective has been fiber optic transmission at 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gbps at transmission distances from 2 kilometers (km) up to 2000 km using long-haul dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) systems. This advancement helps allow Ethernet to uniquely support true multipoint communications..... effectively enabling Ethernet to live up to its root word meaning of "a network of everywhere".

Briefly, here are a few more advantages of Business Ethernet.....

Speed and Cost - These are Ethernet's most obvious advantages over other dedicated bandwidth options. For example, Ethernet services tend to not just rival DS3 pricing, but can be considerably less costly as well. You may well find yourself paying less for Ethernet service for point to point data connections or dedicated Internet service than you would going with traditional DS3. Plus, while DS3 caps out at around 45 Mbps, Ethernet speeds will get you up to 1000 Mbps. More if you get into the Gig-E protocols.

Upgradability - Although there are several other superfast network protocols, most must use Fiber optics and thus their price is much greater than that of Ethernet. However, since Ethernet is based upon more affordable technologies installing Ethernet should make any future upgrade to a faster network easier and less expensive in the future.

Simplicity of installation - Ethernet is much easier and less expensive to configure than other network protocols. It offers efficient ways to connect across Mac, PC, Linux, Unix workstations, IBM mainframe, and many other kinds of computer systems.

Connectivity to backbone - Ethernet has an advantage in connectivity to the network backbone because other LAN protocols lag behind in backbone innovations. For example, Ethernet can assimilate with several backbone connectivity choices such as Gigabit Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and routing switches.

Class Of Service - Another advantage of Ethernet as a transport is its support of class of service (CoS) that allows up to eight classes of service to be defined. This characteristic makes Ethernet as a WAN technology very attractive because the Ethernet WAN can be seen as an extension of the campus LAN.

The bottom line is that Ethernet technology is the most deployed technology for high-performance Network environments. With just the advantages cited.... and others not listed.... Ethernet would make obvious business sense for your organization. Choosing Business Ethernet would also put you amongst the many already benefiting from "a network of everywhere."

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications.... and 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.

For quality Dedicated Bandwidth service, protect yourself and your investment by comparing amongst 30 first and top tier carriers where you have a Low Price Guarantee. For more information about Dedicated Bandwidth and finding your best deals and options, please visit Business Ethernet

By Michael Lemm

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Broad Sky Networks...Perfect Solution For Wireless Broadband Services

Broad Sky Networks was founded by Telecommunication and Technology experts to provide a single source for the delivery of Business Class Broadband Satellite, 3G/4G , WiMAX and Optical Wireless Broadband services. In addition to offering superior wireless services Broad Sky also provides other ancillary services to fulfill service portfolio requirements to allow customers to stay focused on their business.

What You Should Know About Broad Sky Networks


Broad Sky Networks now offers Spectrum WiMAX, a fixed wireless solution in 60+ markets. Their Spectrum WiMAX bypasses the local telco, so installation can happen in days, it is easy to deploy and scale and offers bandwidth from 2Mbs to 1000Mbs for a fraction of the price. Our WiMAX guarantees 100% uptime, managed services as well as Point to Point offerings. * Major Metropolitan Areas
* Primary or Redundancy
* Provides SLAs
* Large Bandwidth, 2Mb – GigE speeds
* Great for fluctuating bandwidth needs
* Point to Point services


Broad Sky now offers their Spectrum 3G Fixed Wireless service, covering 90% of the United States population. Broad Sky's 4G covers 38 markets coast to coast. Spectrum 3G/4G service is a great alternative to DSL, they use all 3 major carriers, offer innovative equipment bundles and flexible pricing options. Broad Sky also offer a fully managed 3G service perfect for retailers, banking, M2M, etc. with Mobility options as well.

* Primary, Redundancy, Mobile or Temporary
* Average 3G speeds of 1.5K x 384K
* Average 4G speeds of 5M-12M down 2M-5M up
* Flexible Equipment Plans and Service Plans
* Layer 3 or Layer 2 options
* Plans range from 50Mb to 10Gb, pooling plans also available
* Self Installs, ships in days


Broad Sky offers a large range of satellite broadband solutions accommodating tele-workers to large private networks. Broad Sky is unique, they offer broadband internet from six different satellite providers all backed by industry leading Service Level Agreements. Broad Sky's satellite supports internet access, IPSec VPN traffic, POS, VoIP and Video applications. They are experts at securely linking locations anywhere in North America, South America, Alaska and the Caribbean. Primary or Redundancy

* Speeds from 500K x 128K up to 8M x 2M
* Private Network available for primary or redundancy
* Coverage as long as clear line of site to Southern horizon
* Disaster recovery plans available

Optical Wireless

Broad Sky now offers an Optical Wireless Point to Point or Point to Multi-Point solution, iBeam providing a high bandwidth solution at a fraction of the cost of Fiber or Microwave. This solution installs quickly with no trenching or construction and provides 100M to 1Gb connectivity. This is idea for campus environments, healthcare and municipalities.

* Connectivity from 100M to 1Gb soon to go to 2.5Gb
* 1/10th the cost of Fiber
* Point to Point, Point to Multi-Point and Mesh configurations
* Installs quickly

Broad Sky Networks Videos

We've put together the following video with more information about the Broad Sky Networks product set.

To find out more about what Broad Sky Networks can do for your business...including free quotes and support...simply ask for more information here:

Broad Sky Networks

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MPLS Networks - Best Price or Best Value?

If you have been considering an MPLS network to connect various offices that you may have spread around the country or even spread across the globe in different parts of the world, what is it you are really looking for? Do you understand that MPLS technology can bring much more to the table than simply a replacement for your traditional and needlessly expensive point to point circuits? And what have you set as your top criteria for selecting the right service provider? If your answer to that last question is that price is the overriding factor, you may want to reconsider that choice.

First of all, you need to realize that MPLS technology is not a standard, like one that has been defined by the IEEE. Rather, it is a methodology or an approach to accomplishing specific tasks. What this means to you as the customer is that your "path of least resistance" in getting an MPLS network up and operating correctly is to use the same carrier at each node. The reason for this is because every network service provider has implemented MPLS slightly differently. While, in theory, it should be possible to have multiple different carrier's MPLS circuits talk to each other effortlessly, note that the keyword in that sentence is "in theory" because in most cases, it is almost an exercise in futility, and even in best case, your IT staff is going to be spending a lot of time doing tweaks and downright kludges to make it work correctly.

Back to the issue of price, and for this let's use the analogy of shopping for a new car. If you really want the comfort and ride provided by a new car in the Lexus class, can you really be serious about it if you have defined your budget to be in the 1965 VW Beetle class? The same is true of MPLS networks, and indeed, virtually any dedicated circuit from a simple T1 line up to 10 GB Ethernet. If you want brand new Lexus quality, you are not going to get it with 65 VW Beetle budgeting.

There are a lot of service providers out there who will offer what appears to be an excellent price on a particular MPLS network configuration. But can they really deliver? Further to that question, who are you going to ask to get that question answered? Of course any representative from that carrier is going to tell you it is the best thing since canned beer and sliced bread, but how can you get a real and objective opinion?

To look at it another way, let's say you select the lowest priced option. How much have you really paid for that circuit, beyond the figure on the invoice at the end of the month, if your IT staff is spending hours on the phone with the carrier every week to try to figure out why the circuit is not up or why your billing is not correct? Your IT staff doesn't work for free, so how much has that low-priced MPLS network really cost you?

Consider using a telecom broker who works with these kinds of circuits with many carriers 40+ hours a week, and is able to be "carrier agnostic", where they are not trying to push a particular carrier but instead wants to provide you with the best value based on who can service your locations at the best price, and knowing which carriers can do that well and which carriers are likely to cause problems? And they are more than willing to share that information with you so that you can make the best decision for your company.

Lowest price rarely is equivalent to best value and you need someone with experience in the telecom field to help you avoid the land mines that are invariably there. When you are shopping for your best value in an MPLS Network and want to ensure you are going to get the best pricing available from amongst carriers that can actually deliver, you need to talk with us. For more information, please visit our web site at

By Jon Arnold

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lightpath....Perfect Communication Solution For Metro New York Businesses

Lightpath, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, is an industry leader in providing advanced Ethernet-based data, Internet, voice, video transport solutions and managed services to businesses across the New York metropolitan area.

What You Should Know About Lightpath

Lightpath formerly known as Optimum Lightpath has been around for over 20 years. Heavily focused in the New York market, Lightpath has invested more than 1 billion dollars into their metro Ethernet network. Their Metro Ethernet offering enables customers to increase bandwidth dynamically without requiring customers to purchase or install new equipment.

Their 100% fully fiber-optic network, offers true network diversity, physically independent of traditional carriers to ensure your business communications remain up and running no matter what. Here are a few more reasons why Lightpath will make a great choice for you:

* Over 5,000 Lit Buildings
* Over 4,700 Route Miles
* Over 208,000 Fiber Miles
* Network was created with a self-healing ring topology
* Simple and predictable flat-rate pricing
* Simple and predictable billing
* Fiber access rings that feed directly into a network node at the customer's location
* True, physical network diversity from traditional providers
* 24/7/365 live monitoring from Network Operations Center

Lightpath Products Include....
* Enterprise Internet
* Metro Ethernet
* Enterprise Voice
* Hosted Voice
* Managed Services
* Video Transport
* Toll Free
* Simplify Billing
* Optical Transport

Lightpath Videos....

We've put together the following videos with more information about the Lightpath product set.

Watch as the the Lightpath team shares their excitement about our new brand and their contributions to every customer experience.

Hear the experts from Lightpath introduce the Lightpath brand as well as train you on their products, offerings, and network.

To get more information on what Lightpath can do for your New York business....including taking advantage of free quotes and support...simply request more information here:

Lightpath Network

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smashing The Bottleneck....The Ethernet Revolution

I'm no clairvoyant but I reckon I can predict the future pretty well... just don't call me Mystic Dave!

So here's what I think will happen: the fibre optic rollout means we'll all get access to high speed and reliable internet. But everyone will still be sharing their bandwidth with everyone else on the same network across the entire country so our super fast internet will hit a bottle neck and slow back to snail's pace, and our applications grind to a halt!

OK, so I may have exaggerated a little, but not a lot actually. We're experiencing a dramatic increase in demand for bandwidth and high speed connections all over the country, so much so that the government has pledged that the UK internet will be the fastest in Europe by 2015. An ambitious target but one that needs to be hit.

After all, our data usage is pretty much doubling every year so we need to act now to maintain productivity and our competitive edge in the international market. I recently read that we may even require connections of up to 1gb per second by 2015... now that's fast! To put this into context; a 1gb/sec connection is more than a hundred times faster than the current average broadband connection.

This potential speed will only be possible though if the connection from the internet to the end user is capable of these speeds. Let's not forget that the connection is only as strong as the weakest link, and at the moment the bottle neck is undoubtedly the link between the green cabinet on your street corner, or other internet exchange, and your internal network.

While we rely on outdated copper connections we limit the potential speed as well as the consistency of bandwidth availability. Luckily, data is flying through the latest fibre broadband connections at speeds of up to 80mb/sec - more than enough for many businesses for the foreseeable future. But it's not enough for everyone. An increasing number of companies getting stuck in a data bottle neck are finding a solution in the latest internet connection technology to hit the market - Ethernet.

Isn't the Ethernet cable the one in the back of my laptop? I hear you say!

It's true that the Ethernet protocol is commonly used for internal networks but its potential is so much greater. In fact most people don't realise the speeds it can achieve even within their LAN, because the bottleneck is the broadband connection to the internet rather than the Ethernet connection. That's not to say everyone should hang up their broadband cables and switch to an Ethernet connection. The latest broadband connections are still great for businesses hungry for high speed web-browsing and downloading. Where broadband speeds hit a bottle neck is in its upload speeds, which are just a fraction of its download speeds.

But an Ethernet connection direct to the exchange gives upload speeds on par with download speeds - and they're fast. So Ethernet is allowing companies all over the country to cut out the bottleneck completely, whichever way the traffic of data is going. And it's doing it by effectively extending their local network directly into the high speed fibre connection. This provides guaranteed high speed internet access alongside consistent and reliable bandwidth - eliminating drops in speed at high traffic flashpoints such as the 3pm surge. And with the commitment from Open Reach to fix any disruption within six hours and a guarantee of compensation if they don't, it's becoming a very viable option.

So companies uploading and downloading a lot of data quickly, such as design or multimedia businesses, should be looking at Ethernet if they don't have it already. It's also the right option for businesses making a high volume of VoIP calls or simply any business with a lot of staff or heavy reliance on the internet. For businesses with a lower demand for internet, using it predominantly for browsing or emails, then the latest broadband connection is the way to go.

The key, as ever, is making sure you have the right technology for the job to smash the bottleneck once and for all!

Intercity Telecom has been at the forefront of business communications for over 25 years. We specialise in business mobile phones, fixed line services, cloud solutions, business connectivity and wide area networks. Our all-in-one approach makes your life easier by wrapping all your business communications into a single package. Amongst other things we give you dedicated support with a single point of contact, expert consultation to identify efficiency benefits and a customisable billing platform to manage your services and control your costs.

By Kathleen Maze

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Are The Best Business Applications For MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching)?

Given a scenario that you are developing the network architecture for a business (single or multi-site)....what would be the best application(s) where you would choose MPLS as the (or part of the) solution? This may not be as simple as it sounds.....thus the frustration faced by many responsible for a company network infrastructure solution.

First, I recommend reading "MPLS Enabled Applications: Emerging Developments and New Technologies". A simple Google search will find the best source to obtain a copy.

For additional resources check out one of these books:

MPLS and VPN Architectures, Volume I & Volume II

by Jim Guichard; Ivan Pepelnjak; Jeff Apcar

Definitive MPLS Network Designs

by Jim Guichard; François Le Faucheur; Jean-Philippe Vasseur

Traffic Engineering with MPLS

by Eric CCIE #4122 Osborne; Ajay CCIE #2970 Simha

Internet Routing Architectures, Second Edition

by Sam Halabi; Danny McPherson

Generally, MPLS is often thought of when considering replacing an existing frame relay network. MPLS is best at supporting the QoS needed for supporting integrated VoIP and data. Plus, MPLS is significantly easier to engineer and roll out than say a new frame relay cloud.

A good scenario would be an enterprise WAN with multiple service delivery needs, teleconferencing, VoIP, video, and data. Each of these services has different data delivery requirements. VoD needs bandwidth but after the initial push it is not time sensitive, data is not in any reasonable sense time sensitive, VoIP and video conferencing are both extremely time sensitive applications.

In this situation MPLS is an excellent choice as transport. Not only is it fast, not requiring deep packet inspection beyond the ingress point to prioritize traffic, it also allows for multiple levels of service which puts you in a position to future proof your network to some extent.

MPLS is also referred to as tag switching. The way that it works is at the network ingress point each packet is 'tagged', or a header put on the packet, which gives it a network identifier and a service level if service levels have been implemented. When switching within the network each router needs only inspect the tag to prioritize and forward the packet.

In addition, network service providers are moving to MPLS because of its ease of implementation and the ability to transparently provision multiple customers on the same network, as opposed to frame relay which requires a separate network for each customer, and keep those customers perfectly digitally segregated. So, it's a case of faster, cheaper, better for the service provider.

QoS for VOIP and video is the big thing. MPLS gets used a fair bit for bandwidth guarantees and limits for things like Disaster Recovery (DR). A good example is when a business has two offices in different geographical areas, and wants to use a data-syncing solution (SAN replication, for example) between them for disaster recovery. But they have limited bandwidth, and don't want the DR traffic to swamp the normal or VOIP traffic. Being able to label your traffic and set guarantees (for both minimum and maximum bandwidth) is pretty powerful. This also offers guarantees for in-order packet delivery (very important for VOIP/voice).

For a single-site business, I would probably not deploy MPLS unless there was a serious amount of bandwidth in use, or if the campus was significantly large enough to justify using label switching for speed / QoS considerations. Unfortunately, there's no easy answer for this scenario.

For a multi-site, geographically diverse business, I would strongly consider MPLS as part of the solution, particularly if I am using a service provider such as Sprint, Level 3, BT, or any others to provide the meat of the network. This arrangement allows me to leverage the availability, redundancy, and scalability of their network to take the shortest path between sites.

Most companies moving to MPLS were previously operating their private-line networks with either direct connections between offices, or utilizing frame-relay connections. A hub-and-spoke architecture is only efficient if all the data flows to/from the central location. However, most frame networks are meshed together, to facilitate office-to-office networking without overwhelming the hub site. It's very easy for a large number of sites to turn into complex and unwieldy collections of frame circuits and PVCs. If the company's IGP is not set up properly, traffic patterns can become stable at best, and down right chaotic at worst.

Using MPLS with a provider eliminates the need to worry about any of the meshing that would have been handled by multiple private lines or frame-relay networks. Usually, routing is exchanged with a provider via BGP, or in the case of smaller networks, statically routed.

An excellent application of MPLS seen in practice is that with a BGP-connected network, it is possible to set up a disaster recovery scenario at any other site connected to the network by a simple matter of moving the routing announcement for the primary location's IP block to the DR location. It's possible to do this on frame relay as well, but it can get complicated if the network is not configured properly.

For application-specific items, MPLS can handle any variety of traffic classifications, which make it an ideal candidate for multi-site voice traffic to go along with your data.

The downside of MPLS is that you're at the mercy of your provider if there's a configuration mistake or if their redundant network doesn't redirect around an outage properly. Additionally, routing can become complex if there is a private network on the back end connecting two or more sites that also share an MPLS connection.

As an overview of MPLS.......

The Pros:

* Site to Site Routing

* Enhanced Carrier Aware QoS

* Reduced Deployment Complexities

* Enhancing High Availability

* Quickened Disaster Recovery Readiness

The Cons:

* Initial Architectural Design Cycles

* Reduced Visibility of Transport Network

* Enhanced Security Concerns

In summary MPLS is really just one alternative for the WAN communication backbone. The advantages are clear over a Frame Relay are the pitfalls. Whether you choose MPLS as all or part of your network infrastructure solution must takes those into account.

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including and 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.

By Michael Lemm

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cable VS DSL Internet Buying Guide

If you have been planning to switch providers or upgrade your existing internet connection, you are bound to be confused with choosing between DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and cable internet - so, which of these is better? Is there really a difference between the two? It is quite obvious that making a choice between the two is going to be difficult if you are not aware of the difference between them and it is also a tricky choice due to the fact that there are several similarities between them.

What Do Cable and DSL Internet Have In Common?

A few of the ways in which cable and DSL are similar are:

  • Can listen to or view music, movies, and videos
  • Can chat using VoIP services
  • Both are quicker than dialup with high speed internet
  • Can tap into your existing TV or phone connections or services
  • Both work on your Macintosh and Windows computers
  • Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer both these services

But, this is where the similarities end and the actual comparison starts; read on through this cable vs. DSL internet buying guide to making your decision making process simpler.

What Should You Opt For: Cable vs. DSL Internet?

If you are trying to find a credible and simple answer to this question, you need to understand that speed is not the only crucial issue, but rather you have to consider aspects like reliability, ease of installation, availability, security and price. Here's a brief comparison of these aspects in either options.

Speed and Reliability

As far as internet service is concerned, speed is relative. Cable internet is known to possess better overall speed in theory in that its transmission rates are 10 times higher than DSL internet. But practically, since cable internet connections are shared the data coming to your computer has to fight its way through the internet downloads and television transmissions of the other cable consumers around you, meaning access is likely to be very slow when the traffic is high.

On the other hand, DSL Internet speed is considerably lower than cable internet since the connection comes directly from the phone company. The speed deciding factor here is the distance between the provider's center and your home. However, the advantage of DSL internet connections is its consistency. The speed does not change significantly once the connection is set up since it is a dedicated internet connection available only to your house. So, in terms of reliability, DSL has its advantage.

For general Internet usage, the speeds of cable would work out, but for more advanced usage, consistency becomes more important, in which case, DSL turns out to be a better choice.


It is not possible to use an internet service in places where there is no access to it. So, availability is one of the major factors in making your choice. With respect to this aspect, cable has a definite edge since the range of DSL is limited to few miles from its source.


If security is your main deciding factor, DSL has a winning edge over cable internet. Since cable is a shared connection, you would be on a local area network with other subscribers in your locality. This may create security issues if there are no security measures provided by your ISP. However, most cable service providers usually provide cable modems with integrated security features. DSL connections are more secure and the security can further be enhanced by buying extra software or hardware since the service provider may offer only the basics with the installation.


Price is one of the major factors that affect the choice of internet users. The price of cable and DSL internet services again depends on several variables, including the ISP, where you reside, and what's available in your locality (demand and supply), to name a few. If you feel that DSL does not have the same limit for speeds as cable, it may feel like you are comparing oranges and apples when discussing about prices.

Furthermore, when you compare the upload speeds of both, the prices are not too far apart. You may find a price difference of around $10 or so, the highest price here being for cable. So, research and find the prices of both in your area before making a choice.

So, gaining knowledge of these factors will help you in making a better decision. It all depends on your needs and the way you wish to use internet.

Erika Johnson the author of the above post, writers regular on tech topics and contribute to many other websites like reviewzap and others. She has written this article to educate people about making a choice between cable and DSL internet as this is one of the common queries asked by most consumers.

By Erika Johnson

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Tips On How To Migrate To A MPLS Network Architecture For Your Business

So your boss has heard of MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) and is all excited about the possibilities it holds for your company's voice and data network. The positives to your network reliability, performance, and cost make it seem to be a no brainer.'re not sure how to migrate from your existing traditional WAN (Wide Area Network) configuration to MPLS.

You're tasked with investigating if moving your company's network from a point-to-point T1 WAN architecture to a MPLS architecture makes business sense.

The easy answer here is yes. It most cases of course it does.

But.... why? And more importantly.... How do you accomplish the changeover?

In looking at changing your architecture from Point to Point to an MPLS type of network I suggest starting with the business requirements and tying your network requirements to the business needs. In this manner, you'll have clear business outcomes for comparison when you start getting the cost vs benefits discussion involved when developing your business case for investment.

A robust Total Cost of Ownership model will be needed to understand what the TCO will be going forwards. Also, I'd suggest developing a strong understanding of the costs of doing nothing and also the potential savings or new revenue opportunities for your business so you can develop a Net Present Value (NPV) of your network options.

I would also recommend looking at the interfaces you're looking to support in the network. MPLS does enable you to have a common protocol across all your networks and you can effectively establish an MPLS Cross Connect in your network. This will rely on how your local service providers will provide MPLS services to you, if at all. So you would most likely need to purchase either point to point or point to multipoint based transmission services from your provider. We're seeing that many enterprises and service providers are heading towards ethernet ubiquity as a service interface and then offering multiple services on top of the ethernet interface.

VoIP works well across an MPLS type of network, however it does depend on the services that you purchase off your service provider. As you're looking at MPLS, then I assume that you're looking at buying straight transmission services and then you'll use MPLS to aggregate traffic into your WAN links. Hence, you're business case is going to be driven by arbitrage opportunities so capture as much traffic as possible onto your network and apply QoS at the edge.

From a QoS perspective, ensure that you can also apply policing to the traffic that goes onto your WAN traffic. I recommend applying Hierarchical QoS as this will enable you to dynamically share the bandwidth in your WAN links.

As you can tell, there are lots of issues and questions that need to be addressed so I'd suggest working closely with some trusted partners and driving towards an outcome based business drivers and commercial outcomes.

We have worked with many customers that have migrated to MPLS from old school point to point. There are a few reasons our customers did this, but let me assure you the #1 reason was cost. A good competitive carrier will offer an MPLS solution that is sometimes less costly than the old point to point type solution..... with most of the same or more functionality.

But there are some factors:

1. If the point to points are crossing state or lata boundaries..... or are fairly separated by miles.... you should enjoy considerable savings.

2. If you get a carrier that bundles MPLS with an Integrated Access type solution you will save big money (combination of voice, internet & MPLS delivered on one T1 with quality of service).

Here's some additional points that might help you.

1. Is it redundant? Yes, depending on how you design your network (we can help you of course) sites can network with each other over your wide area network for disaster recovery/ redundancy. Unlike the traditional point to point architecture where you might only be as strong as that single link. We helped a huge national company with a migration from point to point and frame relay to MPLS. The big reason was with so many sites there was an outage almost every day. The network was designed with redundancy as the main driver.

2. Does it work as well? It depends who you ask. Are you talking to a salesman? He will say yes. Let me give you my "consultant" opinion. It works ALMOST as well but there are so many benefits to MPLS that typically motivate a customer to change. For example, if you have Quality of Service (QoS) sensitive applications running across your WAN then you should consider MPLS. MPLS is a private networking technology similar to the concept of Frame Relay in that it is delivered in the "cloud". The primary difference with MPLS is that you can purchase quality of service for applications across your WAN. During the provisioning process the carrier (or your agent-wink wink) will interview you in order to determine which applications are important to your business, they will then build a QoS template to service these applications on your WAN. These applications will be given priority over all other traffic in times of peak load. MPLS is by far the most costly solution between Frame Relay, VPN and MPLS.... but is the only technology that will support QoS!

But let's put the salesman aside and remember one thing. With MPLS we are using the carrier's private network which is infinitely better than creating your own VPN. But because of some "overhead" and the belief that all carriers over-subscribe somewhat I am convinced that it's ALMOST as good.

So if it's almost as good would it be worth migrating if you could enjoy cost savings & redundancy??? Maybe. But these are the things that are making MPLS the hot ticket now.

3. Does this work well with VOIP? Sure. You can get QoS like I stated above.

MPLS is an IP-based framing technology (at OSI layer 3) that inherently meshes your WAN (this is the redundancy you refer to above). MPLS has a feature called QoS or quality of service. This feature allows both your CPE router and the carrier's network to prioritize data based upon your settings or preferences (carrier's level of support of QoS can be broad) and gives you more "bang for your buck" with the bandwidth that you select for the local loop going to each office. MPLS is made for VoIP like RC Cola is made for Moonpies. Because true "toll quality" VoIP requires prioritization across a carrier network, you (or your provider) can tag VoIP traffic with high priority to easily address the jitter and latency sensitivity inherent in the service.

The other huge advantage you have is that you can add locations with a simple routing table update and maintain a fully-meshed architecture, where with Point to Point circuits, you would have had to add a separate circuit to each location you want to interconnect, making MPLS more and more cost friendly the more locations you add.

Finally, MPLS allows you (or your carrier) to configure network objects (such as servers, VPN concentrators, and Network-Based Firewalls) as nodes on your MPLS network. For instance, with a properly deployed Network Based Firewall, you can provide all of your locations with an internet connection over your MPLS network that doesn't rely on a single location to aggregate the traffic. Some carriers even offer redundant firewalls, meaning that you have redundant Internet connections fully meshed giving you more potential up-time in the case of a single failure on your network.

What do you need to consider? In my experience, the biggest things to keep in mind are:

- Stay away from MPLS enabled Frame/ATM networks with committed access rates (CAR), this committed access rate is often a lower bandwidth than your local loop bandwidth, which can degrade your quality and quantity of bandwidth across a carrier's network (its always in the fine print).

- QoS at the "Edge" and across the "Core" - choose a carrier with both.

- QoS recognition across the carrier network - some carriers will allow customers to mark packets with priority, but will not recognize and uphold that priority, don't fall into this trap.

- SLA guarantees - be sure to choose a carrier that provides acceptable service level agreements for the type of service you plan to push across your network

- Customer Service and dedicated sales rep - you want someone you can reach out to with questions that you can trust - this is the most difficult thing to find.

For free assistance designing the right MPLS configuration for your network.... and sourcing the most cost effective provider..... I suggest you take advantage of the resources listed or discussed at Broadband Nation.

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including DS3 Bandwidth. 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.

By Michael Lemm

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Setting Up Your Own Wi-Fi Network At Home

Having Wi-Fi at home is no longer considered a luxury for many people in this information age. Computer users want to get connected to the internet for a variety of reasons. Some get online for simple things like sending and receiving emails, chatting with friends, or checking their social media accounts to more complex tasks like building a website or creating online applications.

This is why in many modern homes, it's no big surprise to find a Wi-Fi network. This makes it possible for everyone at home to be connected to the World Wide Web. If you don't have a Wi-Fi network in your house, setting one up is not really rocket science. Follow these simple tips and you'll have your own home Wi-Fi network in no time:

Get a router - A router is that device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Today's devices are quite easy to install and use, so it should be easy for you to set up your router. The first step is to plug your modem into your router. You will then connect any computer that you want to be connected to it via a wire or wirelessly. If you don't want users next to or near your home to access your network, be sure to create a password for the system.

Set up your devices - The next step is to set up your computer devices so they can be hooked up with your router. For wireless computers like tablets and desktops, you'll simply turn on their Wi-Fi. If it's a wired device, you can follow the configuration settings that are in your router's manual on how to connect your wired PC to the router.

Test your connection - Once you've hooked up all your devices to the router, the next thing for you to do is to test the connection of each device. All your devices should be now be connected to the network. You can opt to allot certain bandwidth limits for each connected device as a way of regulating it. Additionally, if the connection's not too good for some of your wireless devices at home, you can choose a frequency to broadcast the signal. Make sure, too, that the router is not near certain appliances as they may cause signal interference.

As you can see, setting up a Wi-Fi network can be as easy as pie. As long as you follow the setup instructions properly, you'll be on your way to having your own Wi-Fi network at home so everyone can conveniently browse the web.

If you want to increase your Wi-Fi speeds at home, there are simple ways by which you can do that. You can visit this resource to get tips in manually increasing your internet speeds.

By Dave E Carter

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