When evaluating options for networking and internet connectivity, smart choices can be complicated by the many varying pros and cons of different media and technologies. For example, DSL (digital subscriber line), which is a fixed-wireline type of broadband, is widely available, as is Wi-Fi. Both are usually quick and easy to activate. Monthly recurring costs (MRC) also tend to be lower than for, say, fiber-optic connections. DSL is usually more reliable than Wi-Fi, but both have low reliability compared to cable and fiber. Businesses with a single small location and a small staff of office-based workers may be fine with DSL or Wi-Fi when their online activity is limited mostly to email.
More businesses today are increasingly large consumers of data, and their bandwidth needs are beyond what DSL and Wi-Fi can deliver affordably to power daily operations. Growing businesses in sectors that include real estate, healthcare and entertainment, as well as professional services such as government affairs, communications and PR, law and HR, need major bandwidth for their heavy cloud-computing requirements. Highly mobile and collaborative teams depend on advanced applications for CRM, ERP, VOIP and more that are best delivered by cable or fiber-optic networks. A common technology for cable transmission is TDM (time division multiplexing) often with a PBX box. With fiber, Ethernet is the standard.
For businesses that are on the move, the connectivity choice will often come down to TDM with cable—also referred to as T1 service--or Ethernet over fiber—also known as metro or carrier Ethernet. Where fiber is available, Ethernet excels on a number of fronts. Two key points are worth considering.
1. More speed and bandwidth.
Ethernet far exceeds what TDM can deliver. With Ethernet’s high capacity over fiber, bandwidths of 10 Gbps are available on a single line. To reach these levels with TDM, additional circuits must be purchased at prices that become very steep very quickly.
2. Design that enables secure and scalable business communications.
Ethernet is easily configured to accommodate class of service (CoS) for separating sensitive and bandwidth-heavy apps from, for example, email, social media and web surfing. A circuit-switched technology, TDM is out of sync, literally, with the packet-switched technologies that dominate cloud computing.