Ethernet MAN offers Cost Advantages
An Ethernet Metropolitan Network or MAN can offer significant performance and cost advantages for businesses.
By: John Shepler
Metropolitan Area Networks are becoming more important in connecting business sites within the same city or city and suburbs. That’s especially important for franchise operations or businesses with many nearby branch offices, such as banks, insurance sales, gas stations and so on. What’s been limiting so far is the speed of the network connections available. Not any more. Metro networks are ready to fly.
What is a MAN?
The MAN or Metro Area Network is the networking solution between LANs or Local Area Networks and the much larger WAN or Wide Area Network. The MAN serves an important function in transporting voice, data and video traffic within a limited geographical area. Without the MAN, you are left to concocting your own solution by piecing together a collection of individual point to point telecom lines. Many companies have done this over the years with T1 lines and their own central router. But the MAN offers more bandwidth options and a significant cost savings.
Where does the cost savings come from?
It’s a function of amortizing the cost of operating the network among the customers who subscribe to it. The MAN service provider installs a protected SONET fiber optic ring or IP core network and enough access points to reach business locations within the metropolitan area. Fiber optic networks are well suited to this application. They have nearly unlimited bandwidth when you install multiple core cables and use wavelength division multiplexing. An add-drop multiplexer a key points of presence makes it easy to get traffic on and off the network. All you need then is access connections from each location to the MAN.
The SONET Legacy Service
SONET metropolitan area networks were the first to be installed using proven technology from the telephone industry and operated by the incumbent local telephone companies. OC3 connections at 155 Mbps have been popular with enterprise companies. Those needing higher bandwidth levels can upgrade to OC12 at 622 Mbps and even OC48 at 2.5 Gbps.
Why Choose Ethernet MAN?
The Ethernet MAN is newer and offers some advantages over SONET based networks. First, Ethernet is scalable in small increments, so you can generally get whatever level of service you need from 10 Mbps standard Ethernet on the low end through 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, 1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet and now even 10 GigE running at 10 Gigabits/second. Need more than that? Lease wavelength servicesor a dark fiber and install as much bandwidth as you require.
Types of Ethernet Service
Ethernet services include Ethernet line service for point to point connections between two locations or Ethernet LAN service to interconnect as many locations as you require. These are level 2 switched services to that you can treat your entire operations in the metro area as a single bridged LAN.
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