GigE and 10 GigE Metro Fiber Ethernet Connect your business LANs together with low latency, security and high bandwidth.
By: John Shepler
Have you ever wished that you could stretch your LAN to cover other locations around the block or around an entire city and suburbs? You can. Best of all, you don’t have to do it personally. A Metro Fiber Ethernet connection will plug into your LAN at one location and plug into your LAN at another location.
The Problem Connecting Multiple LANs
Most all private networks are now Ethernet LANs or Local Area Networks. Within your realm, you have complete control. You string the cabling. You provide the switches and routers. You hook up the user equipment. You manage the entire network operations.
It doesn’t matter what the company next door or across town is doing. They won’t be bothering your network. They have their own to serve their employees.
This is all well and good until you get another location that is not on your campus. What are you going to do to tie them together? You could go into the business of pulling a fiber bundle across town. Just get the rights of way, bring in the trenching equipment and get to work. It keeps you in control, but it gets really expensive really fast. It also takes forever and may be blocked by city organizations that just don’t want you doing it.
The Internet Will Interconnect Your Locations… Sort of
Hey, the Internet is available. It goes everywhere. You probably have service at each of your locations already. Why not simply exchange files and route phone calls over the Internet?
Actually, this works after a fashion. You can connect anything to anything over the Internet. However, you need to be mindful about how you do this or you’ll find out it is nowhere near the expectation of a transparent line connection.
The Internet is so available and so cheap because of scale. It does connect everybody to everybody else, and they are all on one big party line. No way do you have any say over priority of traffic or who is accessing that traffic. It’s a big happy family and everybody potentially has their nose in everybody’s business.
There are ways to make this work better. First, get dedicated access. No, you won’t have a private connection through the Internet, but you can order a private line to the Internet. That helps greatly with keeping your service consistent.
Also, make sure you encrypt the daylights out of anything you send through a public network. If not, you are just asking for eavesdroppers to lick their chops as they read through all your sensitive documents or tap into your phone calls and video conferences.
To really make the Internet seem like your private lane, take a look into SD-WAN, or Software Defined Wide Area Networking. This is a technique of combining multiple internet connections of different types, such as wireless, fiber, copper, and cable, using software to pick the best path for each packet despite constantly changing network conditions. It sets priorities and knows that data backups take a back seat to interactive cloud services.
Better Yet, Go Private
Now we’re getting to Metro Fiber Ethernet. It’s a service provided by a commercial carrier but not part of the Internet. You get a LAN to LAN connection between your locations. You can set it up as point to point, like a direct line. You can also set it up as multipoint to multipoint for any number of locations in the area. They’ll all be on that one big LAN. Another flavor of this service is a direct to cloud connection that connects you to your cloud service provider through a local data center.
Sometimes the Metro designation is a bit limiting. You need to connect to cloud services or branch offices in another city, state or even country. Many fiber optic network providers have connections that go far beyond your city and may have interconnections with other networks to extend the reach across International borders.
You can also contract with a private service provider called an MPLS or Multi Protocol Label Switching network. These are wide area service providers that are privately owned and not accessible by the general public. They will guarantee performance and connect your far flung empire with low latency and high bandwidth. Security is enchanted because this type of network has its own protocol that differs from what runs on the Internet.
Do you have a need to interconnect business locations with speed, reliability and privacy? Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Metro Fiber Ethernet might be just what you need at a reasonable cost. For even higher performance 100 Gbps bandwidth are also supported in key metro areas.
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