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Network Bandwidth For Big Data
The coming data tsunami and how to prep your WAN network to handle it.

By: John Shepler

We are said to be entering the age of big data. Just what is big data, why is it different than any other type of data, and what are the ramifications of having big data on our networks?

What is Big Data?
Big data is exactly what it sounds like. It refers to datasets that are so huge that they overwhelm normal database management tools. We’re not talking megabytes or gigabytes here. Those are easily handled by off the shelf tools. Big data is terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes. If you don’t know what those are, just know that each named step up in size represents an increase of 1,000 times.

Origins of Big Data
Where is all this big data coming from? It’s not the sort of thing you generate typing on your PC. Big data comes from computer generated simulations, process and financial modeling, research projects and sensor data acquisition and processing. Computer animation and video processing in high definition and beyond can spit out terabytes faster than you know what to do with them.

WAN Connections Are Your Limitation
WAN bandwidth is likely to be the big choke point for big data. It’s because we’re used to dealing with relatively small files and modest applications such as video conferencing and VoIP. We're also used to handling incremental growth in bandwidth needs by scaling up bandwidth services we are already using.

You Need MUCH Bigger Bandwidth
Big data is going to change that. Instead of incremental change, we’re talking step changes. Bonding more T1 lines or moving up to a DS3 service isn’t going to do the trick. You’ll need fiber, and likely a fiber optic solution that has a lot of room for growth.

Big Bandwith Options
Fortunately, there a lot more fiber options available today than even a short while ago. These include Ethernet over Fiber to 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps and even 40 Gbps. Carrier core networks are now moving to 100 Gbps as quickly as they can. Other options include wavelength services over Dense Wavelength Division Modulation (DWDM) at up to 10 Gbps per wavelength and dark fiber that you can light yourself.

Fiber Bandwidth For Your Data Needs
Are you feeling the pinch of too little WAN bandwidth right now, or see it coming in the near future? If so, this is a good time to check out your options from carriers that have the capacity to support your big data network needs. Get competitive fiber optic bandwidth options and prices for whatever capacity your business needs.

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