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Ethernet Data Service Over Copper Pair
Get medium to high data connection bandwidth with EoC technology.

By: John Shepler

Traditional data service connections include T1 lines, DS3 bandwidth, OC-3 and higher level SONET fiber optic technologies. Frame Relay and MPLS networks provide nation-wide and international connectivity. So, why use Ethernet over Copper?

What is EoC?
EoC or Ethernet over Copper is a fairly recent last mile connection technology. You don’t find coast to coast EoC being offered. If you do, it is probably implemented as a short hop to the central office, IP-based MPLS networking or Carrier Ethernet over fiber for the long haul, and then another short EoC link at the destination.

Advantages of Ethernet over Copper
What Ethernet over Copper offers is a low cost, high performance solution to connect your business location to a larger private network or public network, such as the Internet. EoC offers the advantage of being able to repurpose existing twisted pair copper infrastructure to avoid the high cost of new fiber optic construction or line of sight limitations with high bandwidth fixed wireless solutions.

Bandwidth Options
What kind of bandwidth can you expect? Low speed Ethernet lines at 2x2 Mbps or 3x3 Mbps are good replacements for T1 lines. These services are typically priced the same as a T1 line but offer higher bandwidth for the money. There are higher bandwidths available, from 5 Mbps on up to 200 Mbps.

Symmetrical Line Service
The 2x2 designation indicates that this is a symmetrical line service. The bandwidth is 2 Mbps in both the upload and download directions. Similarly, 3x3 Mbps means 3 Mbps upload and 3 Mbps download. This differentiates Ethernet over Copper from services like DSL and Cable, which are asymmetrical. In other words, those services offer much higher download speed than upload speeds. For simple email or Web browsing activities, this isn’t critical. But if you are uploading large files or images, accessing cloud services, or managing a remote server, upload speed becomes much more important.

How EoC Works
It differs from traditional telco-based services in that the native protocol is Ethernet rather than TDM or SONET. Ethernet has become the standard LAN protocol and the most common interface to nearly all computers and network equipment. With EoC, you connect to the network using a standard RJ-45 Ethernet connector. That’s it. There are no special interface or conversion circuit cards required.

What Copper?
Ethernet over Copper uses dry or unpowered local loop connections from your location to the nearest telco central office. This is standard telephone wire that isn’t being used for any other purpose. Nearly all businesses have multi-line cables with multiple twisted pairs already installed. Most of the time there are numerous spare wires in that bundle. EoC equipment uses two or more of those spare pairs to transport digital data as Ethernet packets.

Distance Limitations Not That Limited
The one limitation of Ethernet over Copper technology is that the bandwidth it can carry depends on distance between the EoC equipment at the central office and similar equipment at your location. Within a mile or so, you can generally get all the speed you want at a fraction of what you’ll pay for other telecom services. At you get farther away, the maximum rate decreases due to signalattenuation in the line. More than a few miles and the signal becomes unusable. That may sound like quite a limitation, but in reality most business locations are well within the range of Ethernet over Copper. The exceptions are rural businesses, and offices where the Ethernet termination equipment isn’t installed yet.

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