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In this #TechinThree episode, Andrew Frost gives a basic introduction to Ethernet and explains the technology’s main benefits.

When considering internet connectivity for your business, it’s natural to assume that broadband is your only option. However, as more organisations begin to invest in and use cloud-based services, Ethernet (leased lines) technology has emerged as a popular solution due to its ability to offer guaranteed speeds and high service level agreements.

In this #TechinThree episode, Andrew Frost runs through the different types of networking and how they can improve a business’ fortunes.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

What is ethernet - Whiteboard

Video transcript

Hello and welcome to another edition of #TechinThree

Today, I want to give you a basic introduction to Ethernet and explain how it can benefit your business.

So what is Ethernet?

Ethernet in its simplest sense is a cable that you plug into either your laptop or computer, and it allows you to connect to a private network, or the internet. It’s essentially a data connection and a form of connectivity, similar to ADSL and fibre broadband.

However, the key difference between Ethernet and broadband is Ethernet is a dedicated resource, whereas broadband, no matter which solution you chose, is classed as a shared resource.

This means a business using broadband will share its connection with other companies – or sometimes even the general public if it hasn’t invested in a business-grade broadband solution – and speeds will be affected by their demands. The more businesses sharing the same connection, the slower and more unpredictable your speeds will be.

Ethernet, on the other hand, will be dedicated to your business, meaning you don’t share your connection with anyone else – in other words, it’s private and delivered directly to your business. Therefore, you have complete control over what it is used for.

But Ethernet doesn’t just come in one form, there are a few different options.

The first flavour is Ethernet over FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), which is also known as General Ethernet Access (GEA). This is the cheapest option because it’s essentially a fibre broadband service that is dedicated to your business, but crucially, it’s not shared like standard fibre to the cabinet. With this option you get guaranteed minimum speeds, but the speeds you receive will vary dependent on the line quality.

The next option, is EFM or Ethernet first mile. This is a great option if fibre isn’t available in your area yet, because EFM uses multiple copper wires – which are available everywhere – to provide you with a resilient connection, and guaranteed speeds up to a maximum of 30mb/s.

And finally we have fibre Ethernet which offers businesses superfast speeds and high levels of service. It can be provided in most locations, no matter if fibre isn’t currently available, but it does come at an extra cost. If you’re a business that needs to move large amounts of data rapidly and seamlessly, such as a marketing agency or media firm, then this is the ideal solution.

But what type of organisation would benefit from an Ethernet solution?

For smaller businesses that don’t really use the internet for anything more than email or web surfing, broadband is the most obvious choice. But if you’re a company that relies on a strong internet data connection to operate, you need a service that will offer security, guaranteed speeds, and high availability – all features which Ethernet can offer.

As I’ve already discussed, one of the main benefits of Ethernet is that it can offer guaranteed, symmetrical speeds. What this means is if you purchase a fibre Ethernet or EFM solution you will receive the speeds you ordered. Broadband speeds, on the other hand, can differ significantly. Whilst Ethernet over FTTC can offer guaranteed minimum speeds, the actual speed can fluctuate because it uses the broadband network to deliver the service.

The great thing about Ethernet solutions are that they are backed up by strong service level agreements (SLAs), which basically act as an insurance policy and determine what happens in the event of a problem.

Target fix time, for example, refers to the timescale a supplier will aim to rectify a connection problem in. On broadband, the target fix time could be 40 working hours (which is almost a full working week). Ethernet, in comparison, could be just five hours, meaning any fault should be fixed in the same working day. Note: target fix time is not a guaranteed timeframe. Ask yourself: how long can your business afford to be without its internet connection?

There are several other SLAs too which differentiate it from broadband.

So that’s it. I hope I’ve helped give you a little bit more clarity on Ethernet.

If you’re a business that wants an internet connection that is always available and enables you to transfer large data files, video conferencing, VoIP, and access to cloud-based applications, then one of our Ethernet services is definitely worth looking into.

Join us again next time for another episode of #TechinThree.

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