Replacing DSL, T1, ISDN PRI, EoC Look to fiber, wireless and cable to replace aging twisted pair copper infrastructure.
By: John Shepler
Have you seen recent cost increases for your copper-based telecom services? Did you even get a letter saying that service will be discontinued? This situation will only get worse, as telcos sunset their aging copper wire assets in favor of more modern technologies such as fiber and wireless. It’s time to make a change.
The Copper That Isn’t Going Anywhere
The copper that’s in trouble is twisted-pair analog copper telephone lines. They started the electronic communication revolution over a century ago and have run their course from innovation to obsolescence. There is another copper network line, however, that is still going strong. That is cable broadband using coaxial copper cable as a curb to premises connection.
The copper nature of cable services is something of a fooler. The vast majority of the network is fiber optic based. Only the last few hundred feet is the well known RG-6 terminated with an F-type connector. You might think of this wiring as old-school, but with the latest DOCSIS modems, it can easily deliver Gigabit broadband up to 10 Gbps.
Cable companies offer television, broadband and telephone service over the same cable line at a very reasonable cost that is attractive for small businesses, especially those that can use the TV feature for their customer waiting rooms.
Fiber Optic: The New and Improved Copper
The telephone and network industry standard that is replacing twisted pair copper is Ethernet based fiber optic service. The original standard, SONET, is still the backbone of many networks, but has actually transitioned from carrying channelized telephone calls to packet based Ethernet network traffic. Newer networks are all Ethernet, to reflect the standard Ethernet protocol used in the majority of digital networks worldwide.
Ethernet over Fiber has the advantage that it plugs directly into company routers and is vastly scalable, from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps just about everywhere, and up to 100 Gbps in many metro locations. Fiber takes over from copper data services, include DSL, T1, DS3 and even the newer Ethernet over Copper. EoC was meant to provide higher bandwidth using the same twisted-pair infrastructure, but is falling victim to the decommissioning of the copper bundles themselves.
Business telephone, which standardized its own analog and digital networks, is largely switching to a computer networking standard of Voice over IP or VoIP. This offers the benefit of supporting many newer technology features and allows computers and phones to share the same company Local Area Network.
To make VoIP work, your phones need to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network to make and receive outside calls. This is done using a standard called SIP or Session Initiated Protocol that runs on the network and connects to your phone service provider over an Ethernet WAN connection, using fiber. Both the Internet and direct connections can be employed. SIP trunks replace analog phone lines and ISDN PRI trunks to carry telephone traffic to the PSTN.
The Special Case of POTS Replacement
In many cases, the move to fiber optic private line and Dedicated Internet Access will handle business needs for voice, video and data traffic. There are special cases of FAX, fire alarms, burglar alarms, elevator phones, analog point of sale systems and some others that are specifically designed to phone company standards and don’t work well on packet based networks, such as the Internet.
For these uses, you may want to look into specialized POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) replacement options. These usually work wirelessly through private connections to the LTE cellular phone network and don’t traverse the Internet at all. An advantage of POTS replacement equipment is that it connects directly to the systems you already have.
Fixed Wireless Where There Is No Fiber
The day may come where fiber is everywhere, but today were are still in the build-out phase. Fiber is going into the ground at a rapid pace, but in more rural locations are still waiting for access. Even metro areas that don’t have lit fiber installed may be faced with huge construction costs to connect to the fiber access points.
The alternative is to skip the fiber but get high speed Ethernet bandwidth using Fixed Wireless Access. FWA is similar to cellular broadband but is intended to connect to in-house networks rather than cell phones. In fact, the major cellular companies are in competition to offer 5G Fixed Wireless broadband service to both residential and commercial users.
Other wireless companies, often called WISPs for Wireless Internet Service Providers, don’t handle cell traffic but have towers that serve a limited area with wireless Internet access.
Other microwave-based FWA providers focus on business customers with high bandwidths that can reach 10 Gbps. This can be private line as well and Internet service. An advantage to business FWA is that a small dish or other antenna can be installed on your building for reliable operation and service can get started in days rather than weeks or months for fiber construction.
Are you facing a loss of your traditional DSL, T1, ISDN PRI, EoC or analog telephone service and need replacement soon? If so, you may have an opportunity to upgrade your service and save money at the same time. Check out telephone and network replacement options now.
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