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While we rely on outdated copper connections we limit the potential speed as well as the consistency of bandwidth availability.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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