What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is a form of business-grade internet connectivity using fibre or copper leased lines. Carrier grade Ethernet solutions refer to the delivery of Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity to a customer or location by creating a point-to-point link between you and the provider.
How is it different to Business Broadband?
This is a similar concept to your standard broadband options however with a few major differences. Ethernet circuits are direct to the Internet Exchange with no contention, meaning the serving exchange does not lump your traffic with anybody else’s and the line is not shared which can create issues or delays. This is why it is a popular choice for businesses, who typically need the extra bandwidth & reliability to ensure standards of customer service aren’t compromised.
So why choose Ethernet?
Ethernet is generally fully managed by your provider who will proactively monitor the connection and may even raise & fix faults without your service being interrupted. You should choose Ethernet when your main priority is reliability and the cost of lost connectivity is much greater than the price of the line itself.
For this reason, Ethernet connections are generally employed as business solutions or for critical healthcare operations. Due to their nature, fibre leased lines are easily able to grow with you and it is worthwhile considering a larger bearer for future expansion should you wish it.
Who provides Ethernet?
Most commonly the physical connections to your premises are managed by BT Openreach whilst the switching network can be provided by a few capable, large providers such as Talktalk or BT Wholesale. The services of each will differ in their levels of support and Service Level Agreements (time to fix).
How should I choose an Ethernet provider?
Deciding on an Ethernet provider can be a lengthy process and will determine the IP layer of your solution. Depending on what type of service you intend to use the circuit for, you may choose a provider who concentrates on voice quality, reliability or management. For example you may wish to use an Ethernet circuit for a high volume of Voice over IP (VoIP) calls and desire to manage your own firewall and equipment between sites. In this case, you would pick a provider that prioritises voice traffic over their network, giving you the best voice quality possible. At this layer, you are really buying the providers network; its quality, focus and reliability, so choose carefully.
I think I know I want Ethernet, what next?
The reduction in price for Ethernet leased line access has been significant over the past few years and is now affordable for many businesses. Lower rental prices, coupled with fast repair (5 hour fix) and quick installation lead times (30 working days) have proved popular with customers who need a more enhanced service that cannot be achieved using broadband technology.