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Will Ethernet Replace DS3 Bandwidth?

If you are located in an area where Metro Ethernet service has been deployed, you may find Ethernet prices as low as half the cost of DS3 bandwidth.

By: John Shepler

Larger bandwidth users have traditionally moved from T1 lines to DS3 bandwidth as their needs exceed the modest T1 line speed of 1.5 Mbps. Often, DS3 was overkill for their applications. The bandwidth jumps 30x from T1 levels, where 5x to 10x would be more than enough avoid network congestion. Now a newcomer called Carrier Ethernet or Metro Ethernet offers scalable bandwidth at often lower costs than DS3 connections. What’s to become of DS3?

Ethernet Rules... Where It Is Available
In some markets where Ethernet carriers are particularly aggressive, DS3 services are getting beaten up badly. The cost per Mbps can be half as much for an Ethernet solution compared to an equivalent DS3 service. In other places where Ethernet hasn't penetrated as deeply, prices can be equivalent. What bandwidth prices are available for your location? You'll have to run a business bandwidth comparison check to find out. Even across town, the answer can be different.

That’s the story at this snapshot in time. Next year and in coming years, the tide is expected to turn significantly in favor of Ethernet. Even traditional carriers have seen the handwriting on the wall and are busy converting their networks from the telephone-oriented TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) architecture to MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching networks that can easily provide packet switched services such as Ethernet. Newer networks are being designed from the ground up as IP core networks. There’s little interest in expanding the fading circuit switched architecture that has dominated telecommunications for over a century.

Advantages of Using Ethernet Bandwidth
What are the advantages of Ethernet WAN (Wide Area Network) services? Network interfacing is a breeze, as the handoff is the familiar RJ-45 Ethernet connector found on just about every piece of networking equipment. It is possible to set up a level 2 Ethernet connection between two or more business locations so that they can all be on one large company LAN. Ethernet can be configured as a line service for point to point connections between two locations or as a LAN service for multipoint to multipoint service.

Scalability is more common for Ethernet services than it is for TDM services. With a scalable service, you can start out with a modest bandwidth of 1 to 5 Mbps and then request an increase with just a simple phone call to your carrier. Bandwidth increments vary by provider, but can be 1, 2.5, 5, or 10 Mbps. Ethernet scales nicely right on up to Gigabit levels and beyond.

For the higher bandwidth levels you'll need fiber optic connections, of course. But in many metropolitan areas, you may also be able to get Ethernet over Copper or EoC. It is provisioned over multiple twisted pair telco line that you already have installed. That makes installation fast and avoids construction costs. Bandwidths up to 45 Mbps may be available, depending on your distance from the nearest carrier office.

Are you interested in exploring Ethernet bandwidth as an option for your business location? Find Ethernet prices and availability through the Ethernet Buildings Locator and see if it’s to your advantage to switch soon.

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