GigE for Business is Well Within Reason
Once the unique domain of the
telecom companies, Gigabit Ethernet is now something for corporate
Online technologies have been getting more
and more resource demanding. Much of this is due to the sophistication
of the applications, the move from plain text to graphical solutions,
and the extensive use of video. The promise of improved productivity
and additional sales opportunities are coming at a price. That
price is increased WAN bandwidth requirements. Yesterday, ordering
a T1 line was a big decision. Tomorrow you may be leasing a Gigabit
Gigabit Ethernet in business? Wow! We normally
think of that kind of throughput, 1,000 Mbps, as needed for carrier
backbones or interconnecting supercomputers. How would it apply
to business situations?
The WAN Lags The LAN
Think about the corporate LAN. What started out as 10 Mbps Ethernet
has been upgraded to 100 Mbps to the desktop and GigE over copper
or fiber between wiring closets. You know that 10 Gigabit Ethernet
isn't far off. It's just a matter of the production learning
curve bringing the price down enough to spark mass adoption.
So is GigE to the desktop.
The laggard in these increasing speed levels
has been the WAN or Wide Area Network connection. You may have
hundreds of employees on your networks at various plant sites
and office complexes. Files zip around these nets without delay
inside each facility. You may have already deployed enterprise
VoIP solutions to converge your telephone and computer networks.
But what happens when you try to send something outside? Are
you still poking along with a 45 Mbps DS3 connection?
Smaller and medium size companies may wince
at the thought of "poking" along at 45 Mbps. But when
hundreds or thousands of employees are accessing the Internet
as an essential part of doing their jobs, that DS3 can easily
become a bottleneck. A few seconds delay here, a few seconds
there. Pretty soon we're talking some serious lost productivity.
Cutting Edge Businesses are Bandwidth
The situation is more dire for companies on the cutting edge
of HDTV video production, medical imaging, animation rendering,
or CAD simulation. The WAN bandwidth between your company and
your customer may well limit how much "product" you
can ship in a day. Collaboration on product design can become
an exercise in futility. The only way to make the operation of
the tools invisible in the process is to take bandwidth limitations
out of the loop.
In case you are still thinking that 1,000
Mbps WAN connections are way beyond reason, consider that South
Korea is planning to bring Gigabit Ethernet to all Koreans within
5 years. They're looking at implementing this infrastructure
as a strategic advantage for the country.
In the United States, such a public infrastructure
is well down the road. But Gigabit Ethernet is here for business
users, and prices have dropped dramatically over what they were
a few years ago. Thanks to competitive service providers who
now offer GigE connections on their own fiber optic networks
and DS3 level connections over twisted pair copper, bandwidth
upgrades are within reason for most companies.
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