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September 27, 2023
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Bandwidth on Demand Gives You WAN Flexibility
How to ensure you have network capacity without overprovisioning when your bandwidth requirements fluctuate rapidly.

By: John Shepler

When you order a bandwidth service, you are expected to know the bandwidth your network requires and select the best option to deliver it. But, what if your requirements are somewhat fuzzy or subject to change? What if you are moving from an in-house IT data center to cloud computing or cloud communication services? What happens if you get it wrong?

The Limitation of Standard Bandwidth Services
Traditional line contracts are for a fixed amount of bandwidth for a set number of years. A DS3 bandwidth connection gives you 45 Mbps bi-directionally at all times. You have the security of knowing that the line speed will be there when you need it. You are also paying for the line to sit there doing nothing when you don’t.

This can lead to overprovisioning to ensure that you’ll never run out of capacity. You might only need half the capacity most of the year. Then the holiday rush hits and the network becomes congested at times. The worst situation is when you experience a sudden unexpected wealth of new business and you can’t serve the customers… because you don’t have the capacity.

Making Changes is Slow
When things start to pick up, you can order more bandwidth and keep your fingers crossed that it will be in place before your current line starts to sputter. That’s a problem with traditional telecom services because they are so specific. A T1 line is 1.5 Mbps, a DS3 connection is 45 Mbps, an OC-3 fiber service is 155 Mbps. There is a big gap between service levels and it takes equipment changes to move from one service type to another. That can translate into weeks and even months to make a change.

The Ethernet Advantage
Carrier Ethernet offers a lot more flexibility. If you have a Gigabit Ethernet port installed, you can order 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps or some other bandwidth and know that you can upgrade quickly when needed. A GigE port will run at any speed up to 1000 Mbps. You have the option to both upgrade and downgrade your service with just a phone call to your provider. How long does this take? Since there are no equipment changes needed, you may be looking at anywhere between a few hours and a few days max.

Of course, you’ll need to think ahead just a bit to know what size port to install. They are typically one of the standard Ethernet speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1000 Mbps and 10 Gbps. It’s also possible to get a 100 Gbps port installed in certain locations if you really need this much capacity. Most business users need a 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet port or a 1,000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port.

Bandwidth Bursting is Better
Additional flexibility is provided by a feature called “bandwidth bursting.” Bursting means that you have some ability to get extra capacity automatically on a short term basis. Not all line services offer this ability. It’s more typical on MPLS IP VPN networks. The capacity is already available on the network. You are simply paying for a committed information rate (CIR). It you need more, you get more and simply pay for the excess used during the month.

Bandwidth on Demand For The Most Flexiblity
Bandwidth-on-Demand takes this idea a step further. This is a dynamic network design that can give you more capacity on the fly. You don’t have to plan ahead or settle for a “best effort” by the provider. Bandwidth-on-Demand gives you extra capacity on the fly at the quality of service (QoS) level you’ve pre-selected.

What Do You Need Now?
Could your operation benefit from Bandwidth-on-Demand, burstable bandwidth or easily scalable Ethernet bandwidth? Get quick quotes and recommendation on flexible bandwidth solutions now.

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