Many organizations are finding that their legacy WAN links have insufficient bandwidth to support ever-increasing data traffic and communications needs. That represents a prime opportunity to re-evaluate their telecom services.

Tried-and-true “private line” circuits provide dedicated bandwidth that is very reliable and available at very high speeds. But these circuits are expensive and inflexible, requiring customers to purchase bandwidth in fixed increments to a maximum 45Mbps throughput. They are also difficult to scale — it can take months for the phone company to increase the speed of legacy T1, NXT1 and DS3 circuits. Changes to customer premises equipment (CPE) and onsite configuration are generally required.

That’s why Carrier Ethernet is becoming the new standard for transport. Carrier Ethernet is capable of providing the bandwidth to accommodate the latest IP-based services and delivers a better balance of speed, reliability, scalability and cost than legacy circuits.

Because it is more efficient than legacy technologies, Carrier Ethernet gives you more bandwidth at a lower cost than a T1 line. It is also highly reliable and easy to scale, with very granular bandwidth options. CPE is cheaper, and the customer maintains complete control over network routing and IP addressing. Because Ethernet is used for the customer’s LAN, the interconnection between the LAN and the service provider’s network is greatly simplified.

Carrier Ethernet can be delivered using the same copper, twisted pair phone wiring and loop technology as traditional T1 lines. Ethernet over Copper is resilient, providing business-class “five 9s” availability. It is distance sensitive, however — the farther away from the phone company’s central office, the slower the speed of the service. In fact, some businesses will be too far away to even get copper-based Ethernet services.

Ethernet over Fiber is not affected by distance, and is faster and much more scalable than Ethernet over Copper. As Carrier Ethernet services become more popular, service providers are looking to extend the reach of those services by making it easy for customers to provision fiber-optic lines.

Many of the service providers we work with will install fiber to existing private business locations without charge as long as physical access exists — that is, conduit from the street into the building. Build-out times vary, but 90 to 150 days is typical. In light of that, planning and preparation are the keys to successful deployment.

Customers often stick with legacy circuits because they’re familiar and reliable, even if they are more expensive than newer options. That, along with the headaches associated with provisioning, explains why legacy services tend to remain in place even though better alternatives are available.

But organizations that are still using older circuits should begin planning now to make the transition to IP- and Ethernet-based services. IPC can help guide you through the ins and outs of the provisioning process, ensuring that you obtain the right carrier services at the lowest cost without the risk of business disruption.