T1s = Tried and True (but a little dated…)
T1s dominated the enterprise WAN market until the past few years. T1s were widely used for enterprise WAN networks, and provided modest speeds – carriers bonded T1s to achieve up to 10 Mbps. T1s were an established technology, but soon became outdated with the emergence of cable modem and Ethernet fiber access, which often offered 10x the speed, and often at a greatly reduced cost.
What Drove WAN Access Technology? Need for Speed
Emerging applications drove ever-increasing WAN speed requirements. New cloud-based applications like fast, reliable transport. User experience for these applications is highly contingent upon WAN speed and quality. Fast, reliable networks act as the underlying infrastructure required to deliver a satisfying user experience (A network for an application is not unlike steel girders in a skyscraper – they hold everything up).
Today’s High Speed Options – Cable Modem vs. Ethernet Fiber
Cable Modems (Coax)
Cable modem solutions currently dominate the small business market where there are a small number of users. Cable modems are a mass-consumed product, but can be a good fit for some enterprise WAN needs.
- Ideal for backup Internet connectivity (business continuity)
- Good fit for locations with no fiber access or locations where fiber build-out costs are prohibitive
- Often used for 5 users or less (micro-businesses, which is where cable modems dominate the market)
- Cable Modems are the “Why Not?” product – they offer the most bang for your buck for download speed – 50 Mbps download for less than $200 per month? Why not?
- Least expensive technology used for delivering high broadband speeds – up to 150 Mbps Down/20 Mbps Up
- Asymmetrical by nature – a lot more download than upload
- Designed for mass consumption of downloaded data
- Do not present Service Level Availability (SLAs) – Frequent outages are typical
- When outages occur, cable modem companies are notorious for their lack of customer service
- Not reliable enough transport for many emerging applications – which demand speed + high SLA levels
- Cable modem networks are copper-based, and have all the problems associated with degradation of this physical medium over time
- Cable modem networks are shared and oversubscribed by nature and often will not produce the download/upload advertised
- Cable companies don’t compete against each other – Their footprints don’t overlap – cable company choice is dictated by where your business is located
Ethernet fiber is the new T1 for enterprises. Most enterprises consider Ethernet fiber as the preferred option to satisfy their need for fast, reliable transport.
- Ideal for primary WAN connectivity (MPLS and Dedicated Internet Access)
- Will offer much higher SLA levels (great for emerging applications)
- New physical fiber plant – not as many problems with new physical media
- Private and dedicated – not oversubscribed
- Speeds of up to 10 Gbps
- Offer great flexibility and scalability – more bandwidth is a phone call away and only requires configuration changes
- Fiber companies compete against each other – presenting multiple carrier options
- More expensive than cable modems – you get what you pay for
- Typical Installation intervals are 90 days or more
- Business geographic location can limit options – fiber isn’t everywhere
Engineering Best Practice / Conclusion
Consider Ethernet fiber as the primary access technology for your enterprise’s WAN. The fast, reliable transport offered by Ethernet fiber will provide the infrastructure necessary to provide a quality user experience that will support emerging business-critical applications in the future.
Don’t Go It Alone!
IT budgets are shrinking, and IT staff is focused on other priority projects. iTransit has seasoned WAN and telecom engineers that will guide you throughout the process of designing a WAN strategy that meets your requirements. There are a lot of choices and we ensure you get the right solution for your enterprise’s unique technology needs…