Business Ethernet .... Best Choice For Your Voice/Data Network?
It almost goes without saying that businesses today, small and large, need to have a reliable and rock-solid Internet connection to enable them to do business. Choosing the wrong business Internet service provider will do your business more harm than good, and can cost you customers that you can never get back.
A smaller business can usually get by with the reliability offered by T1 or bonded T1, but if Ethernet services are offered in your area, it is definitely something that you should look at closely and consider, as it can be an extremely cost effective solution.
Keep in mind that the Ethernet services being offered here are Carrier Ethernet offerings. The term "ethernet" is tossed around by DSL and cable providers but that is not true Ethernet. The services offered here are Carrier Ethernet offerings, meaning that the service is a dedicated service offered by the actual carrier, not a shared service being resold on someone else's network.
This article will arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision on all the flavors of business ethernet. Covered will be fast Ethernet, GB Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet, Metro Ethernet or Metro-E, Ethernet Over Copper, and MPLS Ethernet.
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WHAT IS ETHERNET?
Ethernet is a system for connecting a number of computer systems to form a local area network, with protocols to control the passing of information and to avoid simultaneous transmission by two or more systems. What ethernet boils down to is a layer two approach where you can talk from device to device with a MAC address (not an IP address). There is Metro ethernet which is a way for companies to communicate via the same layer two connection over long distances. ethernet is a way for carriers to connect into a customer with speeds ranging from 10 meg to 10 gig with an ethernet handoff. Cost and speed are two of the main reasons why ethernet has become so popular. ethernet essentially pushes down cost per meg a lot more than your typical copper based services like T1, and DS3 based services.
From the customer site to the actual service provider PoP, there are different ways to deliver the signal. Although fiber is the most desirable, it requires you to buy quite a bit of it before it’s a possibility. Another option is ethernet over coax, especially in the Comcast and Spectrum world. ethernet over coax is also known as EoHFC, the HFC stands for hybrid fiber coax and it delivers a symmetrical service over a coax pipe. There is also the option of ethernet over DS1, this is when you’re actually taking a T1 and making it an access pipe. Lastly, you can also go the ethernet over copper route also known as EOC. This method takes the copper pairs the utility company puts into a building and runs ethernet services over them. Although ethernet over copper is more inexpensive than ethernet over fiber, there are limitations on speed. This makes ethernet over DS1 a last resort.
The two main things to take into consideration when figuring out which types of access you’ll need are:
- How much you are going to need now and in the future
- What the physical limitations are. Has fiber been built in the building? Has coax been built into the building? Again ethernet over copper will be a last resort option
ETHERNET PRIVATE LINE & LAN SERVICE
An interesting thing to note when you’re dealing with a ethernet connection is that you can utilize the carrier network as a method of transport. This means you can have one office talking to another office over ethernet in a layer 2 environment where it replaces a physical connection. It is very secure as your packets never touch the outside internet. This is what we call ethernet private line. Carriers also offer ethernet private lines through a wide area network connection, meaning from outside your premise to another premise on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world. This can also be configured to be a multi-point solution which is what we call ethernet LAN service or ethernet local area network service.
HOW DOES ETHERNET FIT INTO SD-WAN?
Do you need internet access? You will need a router, which means you’ll need to find an ethernet provider that can interconnect. An internet connection is not standard with ethernet as it is usually a private line type service, so if you want to get an internet connection through your fiber ethernet you will have to pay extra for that internet access. The reality is that in order to get to most cloud applications you will need access to the internet at some point, when you are choosing an ethernet provider you will have to take into consideration which providers have physical access into cloud providers.
Ethernet and MPLS are over 50 percent of all of the primary SD-WAN connections. As we have said before, ethernet over fiber is your go-to way to access the internet and there are a few things that are different with carriers that offer fiber ethernet. When looking at carriers, keep in mind that if their core network isn't great, you’re not going to have a great experience.
Carrier ethernet is still the way to go on metro ethernet, everything else is the backup for the ethernet. You’ll find that when the SD-WAN router is making decisions the carrier ethernet is usually the lowest latency and the highest availability circuit.