It almost goes without saying that businesses today, small and large, need to have a reliable and rock-solid network architecture to enable them to do business. With digital transformation paramount in today’s economy, making the wrong decision about your network design will do your business more harm than good, and can cost you customers that you can never get back.
Keep in mind that the Ethernet services being offered here are Carrier Ethernet/Fiber offerings. The term "ethernet" is tossed around by DSL and cable providers but that is not true Ethernet. The services offered here are Carrier Ethernet offerings, meaning that the service is a dedicated service offered by the actual carrier, not a shared service being resold on someone else's network.
WHAT IS ETHERNET?
Ethernet is a system for connecting a number of computer systems to form a local area network, with protocols to control the passing of information and to avoid simultaneous transmission by two or more systems. What ethernet boils down to is a layer two approach where you can talk from device to device with a MAC address (not an IP address). There is Metro Ethernet which is a way for companies to communicate via the same layer two connection over long distances. Ethernet is a way for carriers to connect into a customer with speeds ranging from 10 meg to 100 gig with an ethernet handoff. Cost and speed are two of the main reasons why ethernet has become so popular.
The two main things to take into consideration when figuring out which types of access you’ll need are:
- How much you are going to need now and in the future
- What the physical limitations are. Has fiber been built in the building? Has coax been built into the building? Ethernet over copper will be a last resort option.
ETHERNET PRIVATE LINE & LAN SERVICE
An interesting thing to note when you’re dealing with an ethernet/fiber connection is that you can utilize the carrier network as a method of transport. This means you can have one office talking to another office over ethernet in a layer 2 environment where it replaces a physical connection. It is very secure as your packets never touch the outside internet. This is what we call ethernet private line. Carriers also offer ethernet private lines through a wide area network connection, meaning from outside your premise to another premise on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world. This can also be configured to be a multi-point solution which is what we call ethernet LAN service or ethernet local area network service.
HOW DOES ETHERNET FIT INTO SD-WAN?
Ethernet and MPLS are over 50 percent of all of the primary SD-WAN connections. As we have said before, ethernet over fiber is your go-to way to access the internet and there are a few things that are different with carriers that offer fiber ethernet. When looking at carriers, keep in mind that if their core network isn't great, you’re not going to have a great experience.
Carrier ethernet is still the way to go on metro ethernet, everything else is the backup for the ethernet. You’ll find that when the SD-WAN router is making decisions the carrier ethernet is usually the lowest latency and the highest availability circuit.
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