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GigE Ethernet Bandwidth Connections
How Gigabit Ethernet line services have the performance and cost advantage.

High bandwidth fiber optic connections have traditionally been handled by SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) services. GigE is now a strong competitor, offering high bandwidth, low latency and cost advantages.

Why Use GigE Connections?
GigE or Gigabit Ethernet MAN and WAN services match the bandwidth that many company LANs are running. This makes for a seamless connection to other business locations or the Internet. Cost considerations have previously dictated a speed bump for file transfers and access beyond the LAN. With cost reductions on GigE bandwidth services, it’s now practical to have WAN bandwidth equal to LAN bandwidth.

What is SONET?
SONET is a telco technology available in a handful of bandwidth options. The closest levels to 1,000 Mbps are OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-24 at 1.244 Gbps and OC48 at 2.488 Gbps. OC-24 is not as common as the others, so that OC-48 must be used for Gigabit bandwidth service. That is one of the reasons for the often large discrepancy in prices for SONET vs Ethernet bandwidth.

New Networks Are IP
Gigabit Ethernet private lines have become popular since new competitive carriers have entered the marketplace for fiber optic services. Not saddled with the need to support traditional switched circuit telco technologies, many of these operators have elected to build their fiber optic networks as IP-based from the ground up.

Why IP Networks Are Growing
IP is becoming the long haul protocol of choice for a number of reasons. First, most of the traffic today comes from IP networks and is used by IP applications. At one time, telephone calls dominated worldwide telecom traffic. No more. The changing of the guard from voice to data has been going on for decades. Now the big bandwidth user is video. This can be video conferencing or downloaded video clips and programs.

Ethernet IS the Network Protocol
Ethernet is the dominant protocol running on local networks today. It makes perfect sense to transport Ethernet without conversion in metropolitan and wide area networks. By operating all network connections as packet switched instead of converting back and forth to circuit switched protocols, the overall network is more efficient and capable of supporting Ethernet line service.

What is E-Line?
E-Line, short for Ethernet Line service, is a layer 2 connection service that can tie together LANs at two different locations as if they were one bridged LAN. This has the advantage of putting everyone in the company on an equal footing regardless of where they happen to be located. The PC in New York is right next door to the printer in Seattle and the server in Dallas as far as the network is concerned.

What Bandwidths Are Available?
You can order Ethernet private line services in a wide range of bandwidths, although the standard network speeds of 10, 100, and 1,000 Mbps are popular. Even 1,000 Mbps 10GigE connections are now available in many major markets. Unlike SONET, your Ethernet bandwidth can be easily scaled to the maximum limit of the installed port. That offers the advantage of being able to order, say, 200 Mbps today and scale it up to 500 Mbps tomorrow and 1,000 Mbps next year. As long as you have a GigE port installed, these bandwidth changes can often be accomplished in a few hours or days with only a phone call to your carrier. No truck rolls are necessary because the same equipment is used.

Uses for GigE Ethernet Bandwidth
What can you use GigE Ethernet private line bandwidth for? How about medical image transmission, scientific simulations, CAD/CAM files, and video production? If you are moving your data center to the cloud or anticipating such a move, you may well need a GigE connection to your service provider to avoid lags in using your high performance applications.

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