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Ethernet over Copper Cloud Connections
When moving from a local data center to cloud based services, you’ll want to get the best deal you can on WAN bandwidth.

By: John Shepler

Companies often smack their lips as they compare the cost of cloud services to the capital investment and operating expenses of running their own data centers. Then they take another look and see a big gotcha. Oops! What is it going to cost for all this cloud connectivity?

It's a Mix of Local and Long Haul Traffic
What you payfor bandwidth now depends a lot on your mix of LAN, MAN and WAN traffic. Companies with data centers in the same building as most of their employees can expect that the lion’s share of their business applications traffic stays on the LAN. Certainly you need a dedicated broadband Internet connection to stay connected with the outside world. But if all you are doing is sending email and accessing Web sites for information, a modest line speed can support a lot of users.

E-Commerce Means Big Bandwidth
E-commerce is another matter. If most of your traffic is from customers and other users via the Internet, you need a high bandwidth connection for your public facing servers. Your WAN traffic may even be larger than your LAN traffic.

Offsite Data Centers Need MAN Bandwidth
Offsite, but in-town, data centers also require high bandwidth connections even if they are used primarily for disaster backup and recovery or data mirroring. In this case, the majority of your bandwidth may be over the MAN rather than the LAN or the WAN.

What Changes In The Cloud?
Now, here’s how things change when you move to the cloud. You public servers are now rented, not owned, and your bandwidth costs are part of the service fee. You may not need a MAN connection at all if you are buying storage in the cloud. What you will need is a much bigger pipe between your office building or buildings and your cloud service provider.

The Cloud Services Gotcha
Companies that kept everything in-house can get some sticker shock when they find out that the cloud savings is offset by the increased cost of higher bandwidth private line services between their location and the cloud. Other companies that now have most of their bandwidth chewed up by Internet accesses may breath a big sigh of relief that the cloud provider is also supplying bandwidth to the Internet. It is well worth your while to build a quick chart that compares LAN, MAN and WAN bandwidth needs between your current setup and what you’ll have when you go to the cloud.

Why Not Save on Bandwidth?
Regardless of how the mix works out, you’ll want to get the most bandwidth you can for your IT dollar. Fortunately, you have much more in the way of options now than even just a few years ago. One reason is heavy competition for higher bandwidth circuits. The other is new technology that adds to the option list.

Consider Ethernet over Copper
The newest technology that you may not have investigated yet is EoC or Ethernet over Copper. EoC is a direct competitor for traditional T1 lines and higher bandwidth T1 lines. In some cases it can even be a substitute for fiber optic services.

How EoC Compares To T1
Ethernet over Copper uses multiple twisted pair copper telco wiring, just like T1. It’s a more efficient modulation scheme, however, and offers higher bandwidths than are generally practical by bonding together T1 lines. Unlike T1, EoC is distance sensitive and requires you to be within 2 or 3 miles of the nearest telco office. For companieslocated in cities and their suburbs this generally works out fine. Out in the country, you won’t find much service.

Ethernet Bandwidth Increments
Popular Ethernet over Copper bandwidth options include 2, 3, 5, 10 and 20 Mbps. Service equal to 45 Mbps DS3 is available in many metro locations. Some companies even offer 100 Mbps bandwidth using copper instead of fiber.

Ethernet Costs Less
Even more exciting is the pricing for EoC services. You can often get 2 or 3 Mbps Ethernet service for the price of a T1 line. It’s not unheard of to pay half or less for the higher bandwidth Ethernet services than what you are used to paying for traditional telecom line services.

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