Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Best Collaborative Communication Solution For Every Business...High Definition Audio And Video

StartMeeting is a collaborative communications solution serving a range of businesses, individuals, communities and organizations around the world.

"Businesses rely on audio and web conferencing, so why not use the best?! Start Meeting has several features that will transform the way companies give presentations. Their ability to add videos, links, whitepapers, and more will give much more depth on the material that is presented."

What You Should Know About StartMeeting

StartMeeting's audio and web conferencing services include a suite of professional tools designed for screen sharing and standard conferencing. This service combines desktop sharing with integrated audio conferencing that may be utilized at the same time or individually. StartMeeting is a great resource for web conferencing, webinars, online meetings, online presentations, quarterly meetings, and distance learning.

Listed below are a few more details about what StartMeeting can do for you....

Audio Conferencing
* Free (toll) and Toll Free dial-in numbers
* Supports up to 1,000 callers
* Reservationless - available 24/7
* Includes free recording
* Freed call detail reports via email
* Accessible via fixed, mobile, and HD VoIP

Screen Sharing
* Share entire desktop or selected applications
* 50, 200, 500, and 1,000 seat accounts
* Screen recording (Windows & Mac)
* Switch presenter, attendee list, and chat
* Annotation tools included
* Integrated audio (phone & VoIP)

Customizable Meeting Wall
* Create a landing page for participants to visit
* Upload your photo and company logo
* Add meeting title and description
* Store documents and upload links
* Invite others and schedule meetings
* Includes web controls for audio

Meeting Recording
* Cloud based, no download required
* Mac and Windows compatible
* Instantly share via social media and email
* Instantly download with no conversion
* Includes 1 GB of free storage
* Records conference calls and screen sharing

Web Controls
* Control your conference calls on the web
* Record your conferences
* Put participants on mute and hold
* View attendee list and activee speakers
* Activate Q&A sessions
* Easily accessible on the meeting wall

StartMeeting Studio
* Create cloud based presentations, instantly
* Records anything on your screen with audio
* Perfect for sales, training, marketing, and HR
* Create as many presentations as you like
* On-demand, unlimited, and free viewing
* iPhone, iPad, and Droid compatible

StartMeeting Videos

We've put together the following video with more information about the StartMeeting product set.

To learn more about what StartMeeting can do for your business, simply request more information and a free quote here ....

Audio & Web Conferencing Solutions

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's The Best Bandwidth Platform For Video Conferencing And Multi-Media Functions?

Designing the "perfect" delivery infrastucture for video conferencing and multi-media functions can seem complicated, labor intensive, time consuming, and costly. But what's most important is the evaluation process you would use....what you would likely choose (e.g. T1, DS3, OC3, Ethernet)...and why. Have a plan for that....and all will fall into place.

First, you'll need to ask and answer the following questions:

•What type of content do you want to use for your Video Conference system. Is it going to be just video of talking heads, or do you need other video and audio sources as well?
•How many participants would you have?
•Do you need to speak to multiple locations at one time?
•Do you want a dedicated room or a mobile solution?
•What is your existing IT/Network infrastructure?
•Do you have other Video Conference systems? If so what types?

These are the types of questions that must be asked when you're in the process of designing a Video Conference solution. The answersthen drive the selection of a Codec, it's hardware/software options, and which manufacture best fits the needs.

If the correct front end product is selected it makes it easier to integrate into a new or existing IT/Network infrastructure.

Rather than focus on the underlying physical topology used, concern should be toward finding a network provider that can deliver the features needed to support the application. It really makes little difference what the physical or link layer is. The provider will likely manage the CPE anyway and will give you an Ethernet handoff for your network. What you are concerned about is the network layer and more specifically QoS (Quality of Service).

To support streaming media such as voice and video, there must be a QoS mechanism at the network layer that will guarantee low latency and jitter. Converged network products offered by carriers today have this, usually using MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) technology. This allows the customer to designate which packets get certain preferential treatment as they are sent along the network path.

As an example, consider a network that would deliver voice or video, VPN, and Internet access. Perhaps the application running over the VPN provided a core business function. In this case, data would be classified on the edge of the network to provide the greatest functionality. Voice and video packets would be categorized as latency and jitter sensitive, the VPN packets would be categorized as drop sensitive, and the Internet traffic as best-effort. These attributes will be honored within the carrier's network. The net effect of all this is that your VoIP phones and video will perform without noise or other problems and your Internet connection will just slow down a bit when you take the phone off the hook or put demand on the VPN.

Legacy networks have a hard time implementing QoS functionality due to the constraints of the older design and hardware (e.g. older broadband cable networks). Almost all networks built today can provide QoS but some designs work better than others. Always get references of other customers using a similar application to be sure you will be successful.

When projecting bandwidth requirements for the design, remember the human factor. If bandwidth is available, people will use it. The general trend I've seen is that usage doubles every year. Of course, adding additional networked applications can make it grow even faster.

In summary .... it all comes back to your requirements and setup backing up the deployment , such as :

•How many concurrent users
•Available bandwidth
•Type of Service to be deployed
•Connectivity technology for each peer participating.
•Required bandwidth (with room for reasonable growth) to fill the gap.

If you are just looking at a couple of talking heads with little side data, you can get away with a few hundred Kbps per connection. However, if you are looking at medical consultation during a surgical procedure in hi-def, then 20-30 Mbps or more per connection may be required.

Next, what else is going on in your network? If this is a converged network (and that will ultimately be the way to go), then this video is competing with voice, other videos, data and who knows what else. What techniques are available to manage the data on the network? Even a gigabit Ethernet can get swamped if there are lots of HD video flows on the network.

Finally, what level of quality is being demanded by the users of the system? While you can do a "video" conference with 128kbps, the video is quite poor, and any packet loss or data errors at all cause serious problems. If you want telepresence (the feeling of being there) then you demand 1-way delays less than 250 MS, which limits compression (group of frames) options and increases bandwidth requirements.

The bottom line is that there will be a large tradeoff between capability, quality and bandwidth requirements. Once those tradeoffs have been decided, then you need to decide if your existing network infrastructure can support the trade-off decision or if you need to run a separate network to support the video. Considering that a separate network is very expensive, you then must decide what technology is required on your converged network to support this video application.

So, the question is not what is the best platform? Instead the question is what do you want to do? And the answer ..... is how to do what you want to do. Everything else -128K, 512K, 20 meg, SIP, H.263, H.264, JPEG-2000, MPEG-2, and on and on .... are all just tools that can be used to derive a solution. But they are not the solution, until you decide what you may need.

For FREE assistance determing what bandwidth solution best fits your video conferencing/multimedia needs and network architecture simply ask for help here....

Network Solutions

To learn more about the collaborative communication solution I always recommend when asked click on this link.... Conferencing Services

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Challenges And Solutions For Medical Imaging Bandwidth Requirements

A Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) is integral to the smooth, timely, and quality delivery of health care in every medical setting today. Not only are they integral but they are crucial to the clinical and business aspects of radiology practice as we know it. However, PACS have long faced challenges in delivering this digital imaging support to such diagnostic modalities as X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Teleradiology.

The main issue has always been the availability of sufficient bandwidth (load and speed).....at a reasonable cost.....to support the growing demand for quick easy web-based access by medical providers. As Medical Imagery becomes more and more digitalized....with bandwidth improvements, communication will be faster and easier, and it will be possible to transmit heavier studies in less time and with high quality.

An internal (facility owned) PACS leverages a common infrastructure for all the digital imaging modalities and provides image storage and archiving....with recall as needed....for an entire medical facility or campus. By instituting a web enabled distribution system a facility PACS is able to provide ready image access to the immediate radiology department as well as the full range of clinicians and specialists, especially surgeons and referring physicians. To ensure functionality at the high level required means facing the heavy bandwidth appetite of the modalities supported.

Even an Application Service Provider (ASP) company that hosts applications, manages them and rents access to images from a centrally managed facility is not immune to the bandwidth concern. ASP providers allow an institution to outsource information technology applications infrastructure, management, support and maintenance. As defined by the ASP Industry Consortium, ASP service is designed to “deliver and manage applications and computer services from remote data centres to multiple users via the Internet or a private network.” therein lies they're challenge....a high bandwidth requirement delivered over often a subtantial difference on an on-demand basis.

PACS manufacturers have developed numerous solutions to get around the bandwidth problem. They've compressed images, supported standard network interfaces and protocols such as Ethernet and TCP/IP, and deployed local area networks (LANs) with high bandwidths to link hospitals or referring physicians in a contained environment. But how do they handle bandwidth when institutions are separated by tens or hundreds of miles, especially since images have become larger and more complicated?

Some PACS vendors rely on the communications infrastructure in an area, which varies with the bandwidth that is available from the local telephone company and the price a hospital is willing to pay, said Frederick Wagner, manager of PACS for Toshiba. Other PACS providers offer streaming technology that transports high-quality images in real time over any bandwidth, including telephone lines and enterprise-wide LANs.

Another contributing solution is a technology called Pixels-on-Demand by Real Time Media. This technology speeds processing by capturing images from archives or PACS storage without waiting for preprocessing, immediately streams data from selected regions of interest, and delivers the most visually important features of an image to the viewer first.

The underlying solution to the bandwidth issue goes beyond even system technologies, network interfaces, image compression, and infrastructure protocols. It lies with the provision of the appropriate bandwidth capacity (circuits)....at a reasonable cost....via leveraging the fiber-optic infrastructure available throughout the United States. Enabling direct fiber-optic connectivity internally, or between hospitals and distant data centers, is the most cost-effective application of bandwidth. Use of Optical Carrier (Sonet Ring) bandwidth (likely OC3 or OC48) or Gigabit Ethernet allows a medical facility to optimize it's Local Area Network (LAN). While ASP organizations can scale their application service provider (ASP) service to small imaging centers as well as large, far-flung health systems.

To find a fiber optic infrastructure provider which can deliver the bandwidth solution for your medical imaging application.....I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the free consultation providing by Medical Imaging Bandwidth Solution.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Medical Imagery Bandwidth Solution

A series of questions need to be answered before you can really get close to a "final" solution.

First question you need is to determine your scale. Some typical questions are:

1) Average File Size to be sent
2) Number of files sent / time (day, hour, min)
3) Time Critical Nature of transmission (Immediate, Few Hours Late, Day Late)

This will give you an understanding of your bandwidth needs both from a Max Size and Total Volume standpoint.

After you've determined that, you need to outline the geographic nature of your sites. Are they regional in nature or national. This will help identify whether a Local provider (ie Cable/MSO or Small CLEC) or a National provider is a better fit. Local providers are usually less expensive, but you run into challenges in using them nationally (b/c they are usually going to have to use 3rd parties for the backhaul/transport) especially when it comes to outage management. Local providers are often less likely to have systems to verify SLA'a and be able to give you an end-to-end view.

Next set of questions to be answered relate to the capabilities of the IT organization supporting these sites and the CPE. If they are bare bones, then you want either a relatively simple solution (ie Ethernet focused). If they are more advanced, then a TDM solution may be acceptable.

Finally, once you've determined the answers to the above, now you can consolidate those into a set of requirements for bid. My recommendations follow for 2 scenarios:

Case 1 .....
- Medium Sized Bandwidth needs (<10MB ave file size, 100-200 files/day, hourly delays acceptable)
- Regional Focused with limited IT resources.

Recommendation: Business Class Ethernet/Metro Ethernet offering from local Cable/MSO or CLEC

Case 2 .....
- Large Bandwidth Needs (500 MB file size, 1000's of files/day, real time transfer). - National Focused with well skilled IT resources.

Recommendation: DS-3 or similar Fiber Based Bandwidth solution from National CLEC or ILEC.

What I have found is that the best solution for any company has to be specific to their needs. How big the facility is, in the case of a hospital, how much of their records are currently and in the future will be digital, must they send MRI and X-Ray images out to other sites, etc. Do they use VOIP for their phone system. All of these can determine what the best solution for their specific needs. If they use a lot of bandwidth, like an average of 80 to 90mbps right now, then fiber optics is the way to go. If they currently have a single T-1 but project that in the next 1 to 3 years they will need to have 5 T-1's then I would recommend upgrading to a DS3. If fiber is available and easy to get access to, then that is always the best route, as it is far easier to scale it up to higher bandwidth needs than you would find with traditional copper (T-1/DS3).

Transmitting images over a network backbone is all about speed. If fiber optic is available in the area, that would be my first choice for medical imaging applications. Fiber is very scalable and the prices are can be dirt cheap compared to copper lines, such as T-1.

Although slower, the T1 lines come with an SLA (service level agreement) and regular line monitoring. You may need to check if the FTTH comes with a similar SLA.

High resolution image files are the the most common larges files used in medical imagery. Are these files being moved across a WAN? This is the usuall set up. What is the baseline usage for this link or links? What is the criticality for real-time viewing, in other words do you need this to be viewed by other persons as the images are being produced .... or can you move the images during less bandwidth intensive periods?

You can have as much bandwidth as what you want to pay for. But if you only need it to be at a new location the next day .... then your options are increased and become BOTH application and bandwidth based.

I would not bother beginning such a project without a realistic estimate for the amount of traffic the link(s) will need to support, and drafting SLA requirements. Data size, reliability/DR requirements, and SLA metrics will drive the technical choices.

In practice, if you need to link small clinics to a data bank ..... especially if the remote locations will accept best-effort link ..... than a "business" T1 should provide enough bandwidth for transfers.

If you need to link large sites or data banks, try as much as possible get ethernet (metro) links .... if those aren't available at a minimum look for a DS3 bandwidth or Sonet solution (e.g. OC3 bandwidth).

Generally speaking .... the best method for medical imagery applications depends on volumes of information and timescales for transmission, storage, processing.

Any organization which spans multiple continents would do well to chose the optimum solution for each geography .... and either the operators interconnect via NNI or the medical organization can do the same (chose carrier neutral facilities to achieve this cost effectively).

The advent of VPLS raises the question as to who should offer / own the connectivity.

Because VPLS supports multiple Layer 2 logically separate interconnects, it is possible for medical imagery to be just one of many applications available.

Therefore other applications can run "for free" across the same connectivity. Patient management systems, GPs (local doctor surgeries) can easily be added ..... even interconnects with public telephony and video applications so that patients can be visited by friends and relatives from home.

It will be interesting to see whether the medical imagery networks that are extending outwards also get used for other applications. Or whether networks for patient information and similar applications get upgraded to also support the medical imagery.

The answer is going to depend largely on the type of image. Each image type has different characteristics. The worst 'offender' in terms of bandwidth will be cardiology type images which offer essentially full motion video of the heart at very high resolutions. Secondly, it depends on what is being done at the site - diagnostic reading requires the absolute highest resolution where as consulting can often be done through a web server with lower resolution.

Finally, understanding reading patterns are key. In a large organization where the reading may be done at a different location than the image acquisition, a cloud type of network may be desirable rather than a traditional hub/spoke.

The problem with PACS is that once users start using it, the usage will increase and the usage patterns will become almost completely unpredictable unless you have very detailed information on referral patterns within the organization.

In general, metro ethernet is a relatively cheap solution that can allow for scalable bandwidth. Some providers are also providing Metro E over DOCSIS which can be very appealing for small sites.

For help in walking through all of the questions, options, pros and cons .... saving you time, effort, and money ..... I suggest taking advantage of the free support offered through: Dedicated Bandwidth Solutions

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bandwidth Requirements For Medical Imaging Systems

Medical imaging systems are requiring higher bandwidth. With the emphasis on real-time performance and higher resolutions, the amount of data processing needed may soon reach staggering levels. Using input sensors to receive large amounts of information along with digital signal processors (DSPs) to turn that analog input into digital data, medical systems are leaning toward backplane-based chassis with high performance. Traditionally, many systems use standards-based architectures like CompactPCI bus or VMEbus. But with backplane performance hitting the limitations of standard architectures, medical industry system designers are looking to new switched-fabric technologies that offer high performance and high reliability at a reasonable cost.

Medical imaging systems—such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning—are the most in need of higher performance. The intrachassis traffic between the processor boards, communications boards, display, sensor device, and storage is vast. For real-time information and clearer, higher-resolution images, the data need to travel at high speeds without errors. Not only is the data rate important, but the processing must be reliable. With redundancy and inherent reliability, the system can be highly available, with up to 99.999% uptime.

In many medical applications, latency and throughput are important requirements. In an ultrasound system, latency is critical because the technician uses the real-time image to properly position the transducer. Latency is less critical in CT scan equipment, although it is still an important factor. Both systems require the performance to scale as processing elements are added to a system. If all of the processing boards are contending for a common bus, performance could actually degrade as the number of processing nodes increases.

Bus-based architectures are running out of bandwidth for today's medical imaging solutions. The migration to switched-fabric systems is the natural evolution path. It is important that a switched-fabric architecture already have all of the necessary hardware and software components. A switched-fabric system should also be compatible with PCI-based systems, so that much of a manufacturer's previous investment in the system can be preserved. Regardless....sufficient bandwidth for operating the total facility system (all applications) is critical. At a minimum the system load will require DS3 bandwidth or OC3 bandwidth .... in larger medical facilities even an OC12 or OC48. If available a high capacity ethernet or fiber network may work, likely at a lower cost too. To assist in determining exact requirements it's highly recommended to engage the services of an independent technical consultant such as Business Bandwidth Solutions. The support provided by is NO cost ... and will save you time, effort, money, and aggravation.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rapid Growth Of Medical Imaging Creates New Challenges For Network Bandwidth Requirements

Medical imaging studies, as part of a patient’s historical records, are subject to long-term security, integrity, and availability regulations defined by governing bodies. Examples include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States and the Medical Device Directive (MDD) in the European Union. However, the change from film to digitized storage has created a new set of challenges and requirements.

Digital mammography and multidetector computed tomography (CT), coupled with post-processing techniques such as 3D and CAD, enable medical imaging to be used more extensively for diagnosis, not only in radiology but also in other departments such as cardiology. Dynamic studies using positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enable clinicians to image diseases and to increase the effectiveness of resulting therapies. These technologies enable medical imaging to be included in protocols for a wider class of clinical applications and, in some cases, replace invasive (and risky) diagnostic procedures.

The growing adoption rate of these medical imaging technologies is causing an exponential and often hard-to-predict increase in the volume of images that must be stored. The magnitude of the increasing storage requirements for medical providers is often tens to hundreds of terabytes per year. This growth makes it difficult for IT managers to ensure adequate storage capacity. These challenges also highlight the need for affordable yet flexible storage systems that enable growth on-demand. Information access and business continuity needs must be met from the provider’s perspective, while addressing the stringent regulatory requirements for data privacy and protection.

The mergers and consolidations that are so common in healthcare today have resulted in IT environments that most often do not work well together. Currentapplication architectures as well as the slow movement of the industry towards interoperability and the limited adoption of industry standards have created a utilization, management and access problem that is common to most providers.

The current healthcare infrastructure can best be described as complex, inflexible and inefficient. As a result, applications that depend on it are slow, exhibit bottlenecks, suffer unacceptable levels of application downtime due to single points, and require unnecessary amounts of dedicated resources. Managing this hybrid infrastructure demands expertise for each type of application and manufacturer at multiple levels, as well as resources to manage the environment across each storage platform. Infrastructure scaling and upgrades prove to be very costly and difficult due to the time, money and people required to perform them.

As a result of these inefficiencies, healthcare IT resources are severely underutilized with storage utilization running at between 15% and 30% over a 24-hour period.

A potential fix for these issues is use of a framework for the creation of an enterprisewide, grid-based virtual medical image storage system designed to enable healthcare organizations to share data across distributed sites. These solutions are meant to be complementary to PACS applications and extend the capabilities of these systems across a wide area network.

Many providers have implemented multiple PACS solutions across many geographies, each with its own storage environment. Each PACS implementation drives its own requirements for storage and administration. The application of grid technology enables the sharing of storage and allows the logical separation of the application from the underlying storage infrastructure. This means that multiple systems can share storage resources wherever they are available. Additionally, through their local applications, users can access remote images populated by other systems on the grid. Key benefits include higher utilization of existing storage investments, the migration from storage silos to grid-enabled storage pools that can be made available to all applications, and the ability for IT departments to administer the grid centrally from a single location.

For assistance in finding just the right grid-based storage system for your Medical organization and/or network architecture bandwidth solution for your PACS application(s).... comparing multiple providers available in your specific area....we highly recommend the no cost consulting services from: "Medical Imagery Bandwidth Solutions"

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Facts About Business Internet Costs


The whole thing about internet pricing does not make any sense to most businesses. That too often includes those who should understand it the best. The computer support staff, in house "computer guy", or IT cadre. But the key person needing an education is the decision maker. That person who will ultimately decide what solution your company will choose. This is for "them".

Remember that complex network services are like a Trojan horse. If the boss lets a "solution" in because the price looks good..... the staff is left to deal with the consequences.

Be careful... you're being tempted by the siren song of price. Woooooo ~~~ low price. Woooooo ~~~ higher speed. Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ long term contract. Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ bad service, support, maintenance and billing! And Uhhhh Ohhhh ~~~ time to update your resume.

You understand for example that a T1 connection usually has a very stringent SLA (Service Level Agreement), one that cable and DSL does not. With the number of T1 circuits in existence and the number of years that they have been available, (and the number of abandoned smart jacks at customer sites), You're apt to be frustrated that it is significantly more expensive to install a T1 than it is to install a DSL circuit.
You might even believe that if the actual physical costs (barring any repeating for long distances) are basically the same as DSL, then if you relax the SLA, why can't T1 circuitry be used to deliver internet where DSL does not go?

You're also likely to be confused because you can get a business 15/3 circuit from a cable provider for about $150/mo and the same circuit at home is about $80. Therein is another trap. Don't get off track trying to compare a business grade line with a residential circuit. That's like comparing apples and watermelons.

Is the higher cost of a T1 circuit (or DS3 bandwidth and so on) a matter of state mandated tariffs? Is it a matter of the ISPs protecting their profits with an air of exclusivity?

No..... now you're buying into the conspiracy theory excuse.

This can be especially migraine inducing if you business is one of those bandwidth orphans, stuck out in Boonieville, Any State USA. You cannot use satellite without cutting down big trees. You cannot get reasonable cell phone coverage even if you are willing to live with the 5Gb limit. You have no WiFi and there is no DSL. All you have available is dialup at 45K. Now that would really suck.

We have been waiting for over three years for BPL (bandwidth over power lines) which apparently is still a work-in-progress. For example sake let's say you may have been quoted say $850 last year for a full T.... with some less competitive prices above $1000.
You may also that we are bouncing signals off of satellites, trying to run IP over high power electric lines and bouncing wireless signals off of multiple towers, when the answer to rural internet coverage may be sitting on a little circuit board in the Demarc room.

Now that's really reaching.... and too simple a argument. The facts just don't support that line of reasining.

I can see where you might also think that the problem with bandwidth in the boonies is of our own making.

But here's the "education" you need to get through all of that cloud cover. Facts.... not excuses and conspiracy theories.

DSL and cable are shared services. Bandwidth is shared in the residential neighborhoods, and is often oversold. Thus many customers are paying for a limited resource, and the low retail price is the result. Even the facility into your residential location is shared.... cable shares the TV connection, and DSL rides on an analog voice grade line.

The flip side is that T1 is a dedicated service (as is DS3 Bandwidth and Business Ethernet for example). The circuit is engineered as a digital circuit, special repeaters might be required if you're far from the central office, and you don't share your bandwidth with other subscribers.

If you want to talk about businesses getting thrown under the bus, simply talk to any independent bandwidth consultant who make a living rescuing frustrated DSL and cable customers with T1 service (or any other dedicated bandwidth solution). Certainly not every DSL and cable customer is disappointed, but there are enough of them to support a thriving industry.

You need to understand that the cost of the physical plant is irrelevant. Only the price to you is relevant. And the price to you for an internet T1 is almost always dependent ONLY on the distance from your central office to a carrier POP (Point Of Presence).... and almost never dependent on the distance from your location to the local central office.
DSL rides on an analog voice grade line. T1 is a dedicated service. The circuit is engineered as a digital circuit, special repeaters might be required if you're far from the central office. Irrespective of SLAs and oversold/dedicated upstream bandwidth, the wires for T1 and DSL are configured differently.

I can't speak for the ILECs costs to themselves when they sell a T1, but any CLEC is going to pay $X for an unconditioned copper pair for DSL, and $Y for a conditioned loop (or loops, depending on how it's delivered) for dedicated circuits.

On top of that, DSL gets terminated in a DSLAM which is, compared to traditional TDM "telco" equipment, way, way cheaper. Old school telco gear for terminating T1, T3 and OC circuits is an entirely different world with insane pricing, and one hopes, reliability. This stuff is built to meet certain standards and it's all for 5-9's reliability, which the DSL gear simply is not.

Then there's the install and maintenance, which involves possibly installing repeaters, picking the appropriate technology (e.g. traditional T1, DSL-based solutions - yes many T1s ride "DSL", but not the cheap stuff), circuit planning and possibly new construction, in some cases dropping a fiber Mux in the building.

Ongoing you are paying for the reliability of the line and a totally different tier of people to service it.

This is just the circuit itself, I'm not even getting into the handoff to the ISP and any oversubscription issues. Even Frame/ATM services over T1 where you are agreeing to go on a "shared" medium is going to be more than cable or DSL due to the underlying T1 line connecting you to the provider.

But one thing which is a HUGE factor in price is the fact that since it's a "business-grade" line, the provider's SLA's require their Techs to respond to outages "within x hours" (usually 4 hrs). Meaning if you run a business and your t1 goes out at 11pm, an ILEC tech will be on-site (or at the cross connect box) by 3am. ILEC's build that cost into the monthly price.... whereas shared/best effort services (e.g. DSL, cable) say "within 24-48 hrs" to fix it (if you're lucky), and you're on the same dispatch queue as the kid down the street who is complaining because his porn is downloading slow.

Keep in mind that the cost of copper and the equipment to support the digital circuit (Dedicated Bandwidth) is nothing compared to the cost of rolling a truck after-hours with a line tech to your location to fix the issue. AND, if it's a problem outside your Demarc (which is usually the case), you don't pay for the fix. It's the ILEC's issue.... meaning "someone* did pay that guy to go out there, just not you. 

The bottom line is this.

If you're serious about your business internet needs and understand the importance of having top notch customer service to go with it, you need to go with a carrier with a reputation for great customer service. Dedicated Bandwidth is a very cost effective solution for any company who understands the difference from DSL and cable. Simply be aware that the lowest price rarely means the best service or quality. Because in the internet connection world, more often than not, you get what you pay for.

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including Business Broadband Solutions. Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

For quality Dedicated Bandwidth service, protect yourself and your investment by comparing over 90 first and top tier carriers where you have a Low Price Guarantee. For more information about Dedicated Bandwidth and finding your best deals and options, please visit Business Broadband Solutions

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Business Ethernet Advantages

Whether it's called Carrier Ethernet, Metro-Ethernet, or Business Ethernet the premise is pretty much the same. Choosing Ethernet for the backbone to your network platform is a smart choice for most any organization. Ethernet is not a fad, but rather a proven cost effective and highly reliable transport medium for both LAN and WAN deployments.

Compared to other dedicated bandwidth solutions such as bonded T1 lines, DS3 bandwidth circuits, MPLS, and SONET (optical carrier designations such as OC3).... Ethernet by any name offers clear and distinct advantages. Just consider this.... the technology was developed by Xerox in the 1970's, while the term "Ethernet" taking it's Greek roots literally means "a network of everywhere."

Case in point.... Ethernet has become the most successful and widely deployed Local Area Network (LAN) transport technology in the world. While other technologies have become obsolete, Ethernet has more than 100 million clients deployed today, making it the interface of choice for most network-capable devices.

Carrying this further.... the last 30 years have seen significant development of Ethernet technology. However, the most significant development from a wide-area networking (WAN) perspective has been fiber optic transmission at 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gbps at transmission distances from 2 kilometers (km) up to 2000 km using long-haul dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) systems. This advancement helps allow Ethernet to uniquely support true multipoint communications..... effectively enabling Ethernet to live up to its root word meaning of "a network of everywhere".

Briefly, here are a few more advantages of Business Ethernet.....

Speed and Cost - These are Ethernet's most obvious advantages over other dedicated bandwidth options. For example, Ethernet services tend to not just rival DS3 pricing, but can be considerably less costly as well. You may well find yourself paying less for Ethernet service for point to point data connections or dedicated Internet service than you would going with traditional DS3. Plus, while DS3 caps out at around 45 Mbps, Ethernet speeds will get you up to 1000 Mbps. More if you get into the Gig-E protocols.

Upgradability - Although there are several other superfast network protocols, most must use Fiber optics and thus their price is much greater than that of Ethernet. However, since Ethernet is based upon more affordable technologies installing Ethernet should make any future upgrade to a faster network easier and less expensive in the future.

Simplicity of installation - Ethernet is much easier and less expensive to configure than other network protocols. It offers efficient ways to connect across Mac, PC, Linux, Unix workstations, IBM mainframe, and many other kinds of computer systems.

Connectivity to backbone - Ethernet has an advantage in connectivity to the network backbone because other LAN protocols lag behind in backbone innovations. For example, Ethernet can assimilate with several backbone connectivity choices such as Gigabit Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and routing switches.

Class Of Service - Another advantage of Ethernet as a transport is its support of class of service (CoS) that allows up to eight classes of service to be defined. This characteristic makes Ethernet as a WAN technology very attractive because the Ethernet WAN can be seen as an extension of the campus LAN.

The bottom line is that Ethernet technology is the most deployed technology for high-performance Network environments. With just the advantages cited.... and others not listed.... Ethernet would make obvious business sense for your organization. Choosing Business Ethernet would also put you amongst the many already benefiting from "a network of everywhere."

By Michael Lemm

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications.... and also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

For quality Dedicated Bandwidth service, protect yourself and your investment by comparing over 40 first and top tier carriers where you have a Low Price Guarantee. For more information about Dedicated Bandwidth and finding your best deals and options, please visit Business Ethernet Solutions

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Comparing Business Ethernet And DS3 Bandwidth

When businesses are looking for the right bandwidth solution for critical business network applications, the popular options today are DS3 bandwidth and Business Class Ethernet. Either are a good choice as long as you understand what each can do for you. Do your homework, compare pros and cons as they relate to your network requirements, and choose wisely.

Outside of the cost difference between DS3 bandwidth and Business Ethernet (Ethernet tends to be cheaper or at least very competitive), the speed varies a wide range from 45 mbps to 100 mbps to 1000 mbps (FastE to GigE). If you shop around you'll likely discover that DS3 line costs have dropped dramatically in today's market. Still, Ethernet pricing is attractive where it is available. Where it is not, build out costs may be prohibitive. In terms of reliability, they're similar because they're both dedicated bandwidth circuits.

The traditional high bandwidth network connection is a DS3 line, delivering up to 45 Mbps of connectivity. Today, most DS3 services are provisioned over fiber optic cables with a copper handoff at the demarcation point. In some cases, you can get DS3 brought in over coaxial copper or even wireless transport. There's plenty of flexibility available currently to deliver DS3 capacity with little restriction from the transport mechanism.

For application, a DS3 circuit works as a reliable backbone for large networks with substantial voice/data/video traffic needs. For example, organizations that need high bandwidth such as headquarters phone lines (PBX and/or VoIP), company Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems, high traffic websites, Hospital medical imaging and diagnostic systems, data/disaster recovery and backup networks, video conferencing facilities, multi-media or virtual design centers, high security networks, and ISP backbones. Where DS3 is not quite enough capacity, opting for the "next up" OC3 circuit (fiber optic bandwidth transmission) is an option.

An alternative to DS3 is Carrier Ethernet, especially Metro Ethernet in larger cities. Ethernet services offer standardized speeds of 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps to match the common LAN (Local Area Network) speeds. But most Ethernet providers also offer other increments in 1, 5 or 10 Mbps steps. A 50 Mbps Ethernet service provides similar bandwidth to DS3.

So how do you choose one service over another?

If you need the channelization of traditional TDM services for telephony or other applications, DS3 already meets this standard. It is easily multiplexed and de-multiplexed to interface with T1 lines on the low end to SONET fiber optic services (e.g. OCx) on the high end. On the other hand, if your network interests are extending your LAN or an already converged voice and data network, Metro or Carrier Ethernet is the logical connection. Make sure to understand your existing network configuration to enable a smart decision here. Otherwise, you risk potential frustration and an "apples and oranges" scenario.

If you have any concern for interface issues don't worry. You can opt for a Managed Router Service which will take care of any such issues. Most networking applications are now packet based and more easily interfaced to Ethernet WAN services than legacy Telecom standards. But since the interface circuitry is generally an off the shelf router module, it may not matter all that much. If you go with a managed router, the service provider will take care of providing the proper customer premises equipment and monitoring the line and interfaces for proper operation. No matter whether you choose DS3 or Ethernet. In some cases, you may also get the vendor to provide the router at no cost... whether on site or remote (managed). Be sure to ask if this accommodation may be extended to you. It won't in every case, but it's worth asking.

Don't overlook availability of Fractional DS3 and Burstable DS3 either. Fractional DS3 services are available that offer less than 45 Mbps for a lower monthly lease cost. You can get fractional DS3 bandwidth at the speeds where T1 bonding becomes impractical (around 10 or 12 Mbps bandwidth depending on your intended application usage). You can also go the other direction with Burstable DS3. Which allows you to start at usually 45 mbps and increase your bandwidth as your needs grow. A Burstable DS3 is the ideal solution for businesses who seek ultra-fast connectivity for their Internet needs.....and don't require full OC3 load capacity just yet but may in the future.

On the Ethernet side, with scalable Ethernet you can specify nearly any bandwidth from 1 Mbps up to 10 Gbps and often upgrade to higher levels with just a phone call to your service provider. The flexibility of bandwidth scaling offered with Ethernet is a major advantage to this transport option.

Be advised that an Ethernet connection is not available in every location. Normally this limitation is restricted to where the network providers have fiber already laid out in the neighborhood. You'll most often find major cities or urban areas to be "lit" while more rural locales are not. Where Business Ethernet isn't available, a DS3 or OC3 circuit is the best option for a company that needs more bandwidth to grow.

If you're fortunate and you're in an area where Ethernet connections are available, whether they're FastE or GigE, count your blessings and go for it. The cost can vary from depending on the bandwidth needed and local loop (distance from the tie in to the providers Point-Of-Presence or POP). The FastE cost and GigE cost are usually less than per megabit than a DS3 or OC3... or at the minimum very competitive.

So which bandwidth option offers the best value? The fact is that DS3 and Ethernet bandwidths compare favorably. Which you choose for your particular application will most often be determined by which service offers the best pricing for your particular business location. Therein lies the foundation for your decision.... all else being equal. DS3 bandwidth is perfect for most applications. However, if a company is price sensitive and the solution is available Business Ethernet would be the recommended alternative.

By Michael Lemm

Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications.... and also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

For quality Dedicated Bandwidth service, protect yourself and your investment by comparing amongst 30 first and top tier carriers where you have a Low Price Guarantee. For more information about Dedicated Bandwidth and finding your best deals and options, please visit Business Ethernet and DS3 Bandwidth

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