Internet Protocol, or IP, isn’t new―it’s been the most commonly used Local Area Network (LAN) protocol and a worldwide standard for almost 40 years, and to communicate outside of this network required the use of other protocols. Today, continued advancements in technology and new standards have extended IP capabilities to connect one computer to another anywhere in the world. Only 10 years ago, Ethernet distances increased from around 300 feet to about 30 miles, transporting data at 1 gigabit per second. Today, carriers rely on Ethernet for their nationwide backbone networks to carry data across the country with speeds exceeding 100GB.
Since the late 1950’s, telecommunications transport networks relied on time division multiplexing, or TDM, technology; and for many forms of communication and transmission, that technology is still in use today. But now many carriers are deploying pure Ethernet backbone networks to replace the more expensive and less fault tolerant TDM networks. Over the past 5 years most businesses have already migrated—or are in the process of migrating—their private networks from Frame Relay and/or Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) to Multi Packet Label switching (MPLS), which is a form of IP.
So what does this pot of ‘alphabet soup’ mean for your business? There are plenty of benefits to adopting IP as the ‘technology of choice’ for your wireless and wireline backbone networks:
- Since IP is the native protocol of most computers, the network doesn’t need to encapsulate or convert the data, so it can be delivered at the other end with less overhead.
- IP is capable of true ‘any-to-any’ connectivity using IP addresses, without building complicated routing tables in the transport network.
- IP over Ethernet is capable of higher speeds than Frame Relay or ATM, and is much simpler and less costly to deploy and maintain; thus, it is priced accordingly.
- Ethernet networks are less susceptible to data loss than traditional TDM networks.
Our insatiable need for more and more data at faster speeds has also opened up the market to fierce competition. Relatively new providers, as well as cable companies, are able to compete head on with the traditional Tier 1 providers, resulting in price drops across the board. This new wave of competition truly is a game changer for businesses, increasing functionality at a lower bottom line.
Ecova’s Telecom Lifecycle Management team is available to answer questions about strategy and best practices as it relates to your telecom network.