|About Ethernet Services
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet is a technology the was developed to allow computers on the same network to
communicate at speeds ranging from 10 mbps to 100 mbps (also known as 'Fast Ethernet').
The next version of Ethernet, called Gigabit Ethernet, increased the data transfer speed
to 1000 mbps (or 1 gbps). This version, created in 1999, allowed gigabit Ethernet to
become the new standard of unshielded twisted pair (UTP) date communication - called 1000BASE-T.
This technology is now commonly found in your Ethernet card in your personal computer.
Gigabit and fast Ethernet runs over copper wire found in category 5 cables. Due to the high
rate of speed and the physics of transmission lines, the maximum distance between the two
points on the network is limited. Below is a chart of the varying connections and their maximum
||balanced copper cabling
||unshielded twisted pair
||single-mode fiber, over single-strand fiber
Note that the distance Gigabit Ethernet can reach is dependent upon the bandwidth
(which is measured in MHz*km). The greater the bandwidth of the fiber, the further
the distance supported.
Why is Ethernet Important to Businesses?
When a business connects to the Internet, they are in essence accessing the ISP's network
by way of a Local Loop provided by the local telephone company, as illustrated below:
"Regular" (or SONET) connections include DS1 (T1), Bonded DS1,
DS3 (T3), Frame Relay, and OCX. Each service actually requires the cooperation of the
two companies between you and the Internet (the local phone company and your ISP).
Having two companies in between you and the Internet adds cost to the equation, not
to mention multiple points of failure.
Connecting directly to your ISP is obviously ideal in that it reduces cost and increases
the amount of speed your ISP can provide. Ethernet technology allows business to "plug"
directly in to their ISP of choice providing that the customer is within a close
physical proximity to the ISP's access point, or what we call "Lit Building". Using
Ethernet, your connection to the Internet will look like this:
Ethernet technology makes is possible for businesses who reside close to the physical
Lit Buildings of ISPs to hop directly on to their networks. The ISP is then able to
control the quality of the customer's LAN connection to the outside world, or to other
points within the network.
Why is the Distance to a Lit Building Important?
As discussed above, each transmission medium has a limit to how far it can transmit
at 1 gbps. Balanced copper cabling can only transmit up to 25 meters and is primarily
used in server racks. Unshielded twisted pair can effectively carry a signal up to
100 meters (328 feet) before the signal strength falls below the acceptable threshold.
As you get into the single and multi-mode fibers, your transmission distance increases
to 2 km, but the cost per meter also increases accordingly. Likewise, fiber-capable
routers that can send and receive signals over fiber are also much more expensive than
traditional 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-CX routers.
All in all, your ability to access the Internet at very fast speeds using Gigabit Ethernet
technology depends on two factors:
There is really no easy way to get Ethernet connectivity to your ISP. Careful research must
be done to determine the specific situation, but the tools provided on this web site
provide the basis for beginning that research. Knowing which carriers to contact - and which
ones not to contact - save time, money, and headache. But in the end, getting a great Ethernet
connection to the Internet is well worth it.
- How far away (in feet) are you from the ISPs hardware?
- What capability does your ISP's hardware have?