Point to Point
Best ways to interconnect businesses
with multiple locations needing high speed digital line services.
By: John Shepler
Businesses with multiple locations need a way to
network their far flung operations. Within a corporate campus
or industrial park, you can often use copper pairs, fiber optic
cable, wireless or free space optical transmission. But if your
corporate office is in one city and you have dozens, hundreds
or thousands of retail locations across the country or around
the world, you need a long haul infrastructure.
T1 From Point to Point
A popular connection is the dedicated T1 point to point line
service. It's called dedicated because it is 100% dedicated to
your communications. No one else uses the line, which helps keep
your information secure. It's also always available. You lease
the line facilities with a monthly charge on a 1, 2 or 3 year
contract and it's your private connection.
What can you use your T1 point to point
service for? Just about anything that can be digitized and will
fit within the bandwidth of the circuit. T1 is bi-directional
with 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth in each direction. That makes it suitable
for carrying traditional PBX based telephone calls, VoIP telephone,
broadcast quality stereo audio, surveillance video, video conferencing,
medical imaging and telemedicine, remote instruction, sales and
accounting data, computer aided drawings and manufacturing instructions.
Bonding For Higher Bandwidth
If you need additional bandwidth you can "bond" T1
lines together to get two times, four times, up to six times
the bandwidth or 9 Mbps. Above that, it makes sense to move up
to the next higher grade of service which is T3, also known as
DS3 line service. That runs at 45 Mbps and is capable of carrying
broadcast quality video with some compression.
If you need reliable connections between
locations but not on a full time basis, frame relay service may
be more cost effective. Each of your locations connects to the
frame relay network, which sets up virtual connections from point
to point. Other people also use the network, so you buy a committed
information rate or CIR which guarantees your packets reliable
transport when you need it.
Using the Internet For Transport
The least expensive option is to use DSL or T1 connections from
each location to the public Internet. You can set up a VPN or
virtual private network using encryption software to protect
the privacy of your data. It's possible to get connected to the
Internet from just about anywhere and you can add locations at
will. You are only subject to the vagaries of the Internet, which
is a "best effort" service rather than guaranteed performance.
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