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Ethernet As A T1 Line Replacement

If you have outgrown your T1 line but can't justify the cost of DS3 bandwidth, Ethernet services can be a cost effective solution.

By: John Shepler

You've been hearing about the rise of Metro Ethernet as a desirable access technology for businesses WAN connections. The key word has been "metro." Metro is short for metropolitan, which means larger cities with their larger, concentrated business districts. They've been the first target of competitive bandwidth providers with IP core networks and lower per-Mbps pricing. But you have to be located downtown or in a large suburb to take advantage of Ethernet WAN services, right?

New Technology Expands The Range Of Ethernet WAN Services
Not for long. Hatteras Networks recently introduced a line of repeater and line power modules that can enable service providers to deliver Mid-Band Ethernet up to 25 miles over ordinary twisted pair telephone wire.

Hey, wait a second. Hasn't this been the domain of T1 lines? You bet it has. The competitive advantage of T1 lines is that they can be deployed on two pair of ordinary twisted pair copper. That's the type of telco wiring that's been pulled into nearly every business for multi-line telephone service.

The Traditional Distance Advantage of T1
T1 lines are reasonably cheap and available just about anywhere you can get landline phone service. After all, T1 is just a digital service that runs on the same type of wiring as analog voice. The key to making T1 as popular as it is has been is the repeater or regenerator. This is a device that you install a mile or so down the line to boost the signal so it can go farther. As a digital repeater, the voltage of the signal is amplified and the shape of the digital waveform is regenerated or brought back to its original specs. When the signal leaves the regenerator on its way down the line, it looks just the same as it did when it left the original T1 router.

How far can you repeat a T1 signal in practice? About 25 miles is reasonable. That puts nearly every business, including those in rural areas, within reach of a telco office that provides T1 line service.

Ethernet over Copper Now Rivals T1 Lines
But now Hatteras has done the same thing for Ethernet over Copper or EoC services. EoC has been in demand in metro areas because businesses can get anywhere from 5 to 45 Mbps of bandwidth without having to pay expensive construction costs to bring in fiber optic services. The hitch is that your building had to be within a few miles of the carrier's POP or Point of Presence. Those are similar to a telephone company's CO or Central Office. But with this new repeater equipment, competitive carriers will now be able to offer Ethernet services far from their metropolitan POPs. It's the long-awaited high bandwidth solution for suburban, exurban and rural areas.

Carrier Ethernet services are still in the rapid growth phase. What you can get for your business depends on location and which competitive carriers have a service footprint in your area. Use the easy Ethernet Building Instant Locator to see what's now available in the way of high bandwidth / low cost Ethernet for business addresses.

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