Ethernet Over Copper Challenges
DS3 Speed How EoC solutions can give you the
same bandwidth on twisted pair copper as traditional DS3 solutions
that require fiber optic cabling.
By: John Shepler
Once a company has outgrown its T1 lines,
the standard upgrade has been to move to DS3 for more bandwidth.
But DS3 is typically delivered over fiber optic SONET connections.
That can mean significant construction costs unless your building
is already lit for fiber optic services. But now a new service
offers DS3 speeds over standard copper telco wiring. Can this
be a money saver? You bet it can.
The Option to Fiber Optic WAN Connections
The new service is called EoC or Ethernet over Copper. What it
gives you is higher bandwidth services, even up to the DS3 level
of 45 Mbps, without fiber optic cabling. But if DS3 requires
fiber optics, why doesn't EoC?
The explanation is in the technology. DS3
is a signal level definition developed for the original T-Carrier
digital telephone standard. It was originally deployed over coaxial
copper cable called T3 lines. But coaxial copper has given way
to fiber optic cable with its much higher bandwidth capability.
Nowadays DS3 is most often deployed over SONET fiber optic services.
The usual SONET service starts at OC3 or 155 Mbps. But the way
the T-Carrier and SONET signal levels were defined, DS3 and even
DS1 (the signal level for T1) are easily multiplexed and demultiplexed
onto SONET carriers.
High Bandwidth Over Twisted Pair Telco
Ethernet over Copper, EoC, is something else entirely. It's not
based on any of the earlier telco standards. But it uses telco
wiring. The way that works is that the Ethernet provider leases
the wires running to your building from the local phone company.
Only the wires are leased. There's no dial tone or other services
provided by the telco. Bare lines like this are called "dry
pairs." The Ethernet provider hooks specialized termination
equipment at each end of the dry pairs to transport the Ethernet
signals. Usually a number of pairs are connected or "bonded"
so that the system has enough capacity to deliver significant
The mechanics of how this is done are technically
interesting, but are not something that you as a user need to
deal with. The service provider will install customer premises
equipment at your location to provide the interface between the
copper telco pairs and the RJ45 connector that provides the WAN
network signal to your local area network.
Distance Make a Difference
Nearly all businesses are already wired with multipair telephone
cables used for traditional office telephone service. Some of
the wires in these cables will be pressed into service to deliver
your Ethernet service. But you should know that EoC is a limited
range service. In other words, you need to be located within
a few miles of a carrier office or POP (Point of Presence) to
take advantage of this service. The closer you are to the POP,
the higher the bandwidth you can get. Bandwidths of 5, 10, 20
and up to 45 Mbps are available depending on location.
The EoC Cost Advantage
Speed is one of Carrier Ethernet's advantages. The other is cost.
Ethernet services tend to not just rival DS3 pricing, but can
be considerably less costly as well. You can attribute that to
aggressive new competitive providers as well as the technology.
You may well find yourself paying less for EoC service for point
to point data connections or dedicated Internet service that
you would going with traditional DS3 over SONET. That's especially
true if you don't need the full 45 Mbps but require more than
the 1.5 Mbps you get from T1 lines.
EoF offers Higher Speeds With a Cost Advantage
Ethernet over Copper is the choice for most lower speed applications, but the demand for higher bandwidths continues to accelerate due to cloud services and video content. When EoC isn't enough, you can often make the move to EoF or Ethernet over Fiber. You keep the advantages of easy scalability and low price per Mbps. You gain the option for much higher bandwidths.
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