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FastE and GigE WAN Networks

Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet Wide Area Network connections are now within reach for many business users.

By: John Shepler

The need for business bandwidth is growing, but corporate budgets are not. So, does that mean that businesses will be stifled for throughput and perhaps lose customers to slow performing ecommerce websites?

No. There’s a telecom bandwidth solution available that can give you the extra network performance you need to keep up with productivity and customer satisfaction demands. That solution is Ethernet.

Standardized Ethernet WAN Connection Speeds
Standard Ethernet connections at 10 Mbps are readily available over both copper and fiber optic cable. But higher speeds are also available. These are Fast Ethernet or FastE at 100 Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet or GigE at 1000 Mbps. You’ll notice that these line speeds exactly match the common LAN speeds of 10/100/1000 Mbps. Yes, you can get WAN connections to match your LAN speed so that your network performance is consistent regardless of whether packets are traveling in-house or across the country.

In rare cases, it may be possible to provision FastE service over bonded copper pair. But that only works if you happen to be very close to the carrier POP or Point of Presence. The usual way that FastE and GigE service are brought into the building is by fiber cable. If you already have a fiber connection, you may find that you’ll save considerable cost by switching your WAN service over to Ethernet.

Don't Fret If You Don't Already Have Fiber
If your building isn’t yet “lit” for fiber, it may still be possible to have fiber brought in at little or no construction cost. It all depends on the bandwidth demand. For instance, if you happen to be in a large office building with many business offices that could benefit from higher bandwidth options than the T1 lines that they typically have now, a carrier might be interested in lighting that building to get the ongoing bandwidth business. The same is true of industrial parks where modern manufacturing and warehousing businesses need high speed connectivity. Don’t automatically write off high bandwidth services just because you don’t have them now. Telecom carriers have gotten very competitive and may well want to enable you to get their higher performance services.

Advantages of Moving to Ethernet Service
What can Ethernet connections do better than conventional telecom services? First, there is improved network performance because the protocol is Ethernet from end to end. There’s no need to convert between Ethernet and other protocols and suffer the inefficiencies that come from that process. The interface is trivially easy. It’s the same RJ-45 connector that you use for all your network connections now. You can get Ethernet for point to point connections or multi-point to multi-point to connection your far flung business sites. Dedicated Internet is also available.

By far, the most popular reason to switch to Carrier Ethernet services is the cost savings. You may find that you’ll spend half the cost or less per Mbps when you switch over to Ethernet. Sound interesting? Explore the FastE and GigE WAN connection options available for your location.

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