One of the advantages of life in the Houston metropolitan area is access to technology such as “metro ethernet” which allows schools, hospitals, government organizations and businesses secure and seamless connections across multiple locations.
Metro ethernet is a popular way for businesses and others to connect to the Internet, to connect to private or public data centers, to multicast delivery for video conferencing, and to connect to the other offices, branches, or satellite locations.
This enhanced version of ethernet delivers higher bandwidth over longer distances on Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) over secure and reliable multipoint connections.
LANs, WANs, and Metro Ethernet
To understand the role metro ethernet plays in the world of Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs), we need to go back 40 years ago to the development of ethernet.
The wired networking technology ethernet was commercially introduced in 1980 and first standardized in 1983 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet allowed computers and other networked devices to communicate with each other in a LAN environment, typically a building or home.
Ethernet replaced other LAN technologies such as ARCNET, FDDI, and Token Ring, delivering “speeds” in the beginning of 2.94 megabits per second. Current ethernet technology can push speeds of 400 gigabits per second.
While LANs operate in a small space, WANs were able to connect sites in different cities, states and even countries, but were also traditionally seen as slower than LANs.
WANs can be set-up in a variety of methods including:
- Point-to-Point: Where two devices are directly interconnected.
- Point-to-Multipoint: Devices are connected back to a central location, such as a headquarters, and then sent out to other points.
- Internet with VPN: Since the public Internet is used to connect remote sites, a virtual private network is used to protect data.
- MPLS (multiprotocol label switching): Forwarding decisions made by customer edge routers are based on labels instead of IP addresses.
- Metropolitan Area Network: This is considered the fastest WAN technology.
MAN service providers, such as PS Lightwave, use metro ethernet technology to create a fiber ring network running between buildings and campuses in metro areas.
Since these fiber rings are built on ethernet connections, companies can take advantage of bandwidth and speeds in the 40 and 100 gig range.
Metro Ethernet in Action: Real World Applications
Companies and organizations love metro ethernet because providers can offer them secure, dedicated bandwidth with flexible service structuring and pricing.
The uses for enterprises when connected to metro ethernet are numerous, including real world applications such as:
- Health clinics securely connecting to remote diagnostic centers.
- The secure transfer of electronic health records (EHRs) over a private network.
- Smartboard integration and remote learning connectivity in classrooms.
- Continuous delivery of critical financial transmissions while ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.
- Bandwidth-intensive real-time video court hearings.
The Benefits of Metro Ethernet
One of the best benefits of metro ethernet is its redundancy which prevents wide outages.
With metro ethernet you can have a break in the fiber ring at any point and still, not only have a connection, but have a connection between any point in the ring with any other point on the ring.
Metro ethernet also allows multiple customers to be carried with each customer’s traffic separate and secure. Fiber optics make this possible as each customer can be assigned a different wavelength of light on the fiber ring.
Other benefits of metro ethernet include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Utilizing metro ethernet lowers equipment costs for businesses.
- Ease of Use: Compared to traditional WAN, metro ethernet is less complex and simpler to maintain.
- Flexibility: Metro ethernet offers total support for a wide variety of transports.
- Increased Quality: There is an increase in quality since metro ethernet supports QoS features like classification and queuing. Multiples systems can be seamlessly integrated.
- Reliability: Ethernet operations measure network performance and can detect and report any connection issues.
- Scalability: Metro ethernet is highly scalable with organizations and businesses able to incrementally enhance their available bandwidth based on the size of their port or interface.
- Security: Government agencies and businesses that value confidentiality and security rely on metro ethernet connections to securely transfer and share data between different locations.
Metro ethernet provides businesses with a great balance of speed, cost, and ease of installation.
PS Lightwave’s Investment in Ethernet Infrastructure
In the Houston area, PS Lightwave has made a strategic investment in premium-quality ethernet infrastructure to provide the greatest security, reliability, and redundancy for customers.
PS Lightwave’s ethernet redundancy is based on 50 to 60 fiber data rings located throughout the high-speed metro ethernet network in the greater Houston area.
These data rings ensure a protected switched fabric through a diverse secondary path between nodes, so even if there is a break in the primary pathway on one of the protected rings, the connection will be fully operational with less than 100 milliseconds of loss.
Contact PS Lightwave today to find out how a dedicated optical fiber backbone network can benefit your business or organization.