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Broadband Ethernet Internet Service For Business
Ethernet over Copper offers broadband Ethernet Internet for business.

By: John Shepler

Ethernet point to point line service and LAN service have become popular with businesses, especially as replacements for T1 lines and now-obsolete Frame Relay networks. But did you also know that Ethernet makes an excellent access connection to MPLS VPN networks and the Internet?

Ethernet Services
Carrier Ethernet got its start for business as a MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) service called Metro Ethernet. Many companies have a need to interconnect multiple facilities located in the same general geographical area. The E-Line point to point services EPL and EVPL give you the same or better connectivity that you’ll get with T1 lines and even multiple T1 lines. E-LAN service links multiple LANs in a mesh network to interconnect your entire organization.

Ethernet in the First Mile
In many cases, what you want is a broadband connection to the Internet rather than a direct link to another private facility. These are traditionally provided using T1 lines and higher bandwidth services, such as DS3, OC3, OC12 and OC48. Now, EFM or Ethernet in the First Mile can provide that same connectivity and likely save you money in the process. Let’s see why.

Twisted Pair As a Low Cost Connection
The reason that T1 lines are so popular is that they are provisioned on ordinary twisted pair telco wiring. That wiring is already in place in most businesses, being used for multi-line telephone service. T1 has been around for more than 50 years and is well established and available most everywhere. The one fly in the ointment is that T1 is bandwidth limited to 1.5 Mbps. Until Ethernet over Copper became available, the workaround to this bandwidth limitation was to bond multiple T1 lines together to make one large data pipe. This proven practice works well, but gets expensive since you have to pay the full price of each T1 line no matter how many you order.

EoC vs T1 Costs
The competition to T1 now is EoC or Ethernet over Copper. As the name implies, this service also uses ordinary twisted pair copper telco wiring that is currently in place. Like bonded T1, EoC uses multiple copper pair to increase bandwidth. What’s different, though, is the cost structure. A popular Ethernet over Copper service is 3x3 Mbps EoC. That’s 3 Mbps upload and 3 Mbps download, a symmetrical bandwidth, delivered over copper wiring. The cost of 3 Mbps Ethernet is pretty much equal to the cost for a 1.5 Mbps T1 line in areas where both are available.

Scalability Makes Upgrades Easy
That’s a nice cost savings for any company, but it doesn’t stop there. Ethernet over Copper can be installed at speeds from 1 to 20 Mbps. Bonding T1 lines gets you maybe half that maximum bandwidth and gets real expensive as you add more lines. Ethernet is designed to be far more scalable. You have the provider install an Ethernet port for the highest speed you expect to need. Then order the bandwidth you require today. In the future, you can simply call your service provider and tell them to crank it up to the next level. They can give you a bandwidth increase in as little as an hour because the bandwidth capacity is already installed. No additional construction effort is needed.

Higher Bandwidth Options
What happens if you need more than 20 Mbps Internet service? At that point you need to move up to fiber optic service. The good news is that Ethernet over Fiber is more available than ever before and competitive service providers are willing to make dealson the installation cost, especially if your needs are substantial. Once you have fiber to the premises, you’ll be able to go form 50 or 100 Mbps on up to GigE Gigabit Ethernet and even 10 Gbps Ethernet broadband service if you need it.

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