Almost all businesses today rely on the Internet to perform common functions, some more than others. Whether you are opening a new business or you have been running for years, taking the time to understand the different types of data circuits can be important. A data circuit is the method that you use connect to the internet, or even to connect your local network between two (or more) offices.
There are quite a few different types of data circuits available, each of which have a set of advantages and disadvantages. The following will provide a brief introduction to the most common types of data circuit used for businesses today so you can be equipped to decide which is right for you.
MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching)
MPLS circuits allow you to establish private connectivity across the public network. It is one of the more popular options for businesses that want to connect different offices together safely. An MPLS circuit has more to do with the way that the circuit communicates rather than the medium over which the signal is transmitted. For example, you can get an MPLS circuit on T1 lines, DS3 lines, fiber circuits, and more.
You will often see an Internet service provider (ISP) offer MPLS circuits at a specific speed or bandwidth level. Based on how much speed or bandwidth you need, they will decide what type of actual connection is required. MPLS circuits are an excellent option for many things, though they are often more expensive than some other solutions.
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Fiberoptic circuits are by far the fastest option out there since they use light to transmit data. There are quite a few different technologies available for fiber circuits, and the one you use will determine exactly how much bandwidth your circuit can handle.
When you need the most speed and bandwidth possible, this is typically going to be your best option. Most companies, however, will not need this level of connectivity. Remember, once your connection gets out to the public Internet, it will likely travel on fiber circuits within the ISP’s network anyway so paying the extra to have fiber connectivity all the way to your facility is often overkill.
End to end fiberoptic circuits are very expensive compared to most other options. In addition, if a fiber cable is cut or damaged, it can be quite expensive and time consuming to repair. While you certainly cannot beat fiber for speed and bandwidth, it is really only ideal for very specific situations.
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Wireless connectivity to the Internet is definitely convenient since you do not need to run cables to every device. Up until recently, however, wireless connectivity (other than local WiFi) just wasn’t fast or reliable enough, and it certainly didn’t have the capacity to meet the needs of many businesses.
That being said, 5G wireless is a huge improvement over previous generations of wireless connectivity. If your business operates in an area where 5G is available, it could be an excellent option to consider. 5G wireless is extremely fast, offers plenty of bandwidth, and in most areas, is very reliable. You can even get private 5G systems setup, so your wireless system is safe and secure.
Cable Internet really revolutionized the Internet in many ways. Using the physical cables that brought cable television to homes for years to access the Internet was a massive upgrade compared to using telephone wires. While this technology has been around for a very long time now, it is still one of the best and most reliable options available.
Cable Internet is one of the best options for small to mid-sized businesses because it is affordable, allows for a good amount of bandwidth, and is quite fast. Many people think of cable Internet as just for homes, but that really is not the case. It is an excellent way for businesses to get online as well and most cable companies today offer cable Internet options made specifically for companies.
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T-1 and Bonded T-1
T-1 lines use a dedicated phone connection to connect from a home or business to the ISPs office. While these were once extremely popular and offered a fast and reliable way to access the Internet, they are quickly falling out of use thanks to advancements in other technologies.
T-1’s simply cannot provide the level of bandwidth that is often needed by companies. A single T-1 can offer speeds of 1.544 Mbps. Bonded T-1’s (joining multiple T-1 circuits together using a router) can achieve up to 13.5Mbps.
This type of circuit is still commonly used as a backup connection since they are very affordable, and the infrastructure is already in place to most facilities. They are easy to work with and will likely be around for many more years for use in specific situations.
Which Data Circuit is Right for Your Business?
There is no specific answer to this question since every company is unique and has different requirements. To determine which one is right for you, make sure you know how much bandwidth you need, how important it is to have the Internet up and running at all times, and how fast the connectivity needs to be. Based on this information, you can determine which type of circuit you require.
Another thing you can do is contact your local Internet service providers to talk to them about what options they have available since not all of the above options are available in all areas. While it may take a little time and effort to determine which is right for you, getting set up with the right data circuit will help ensure your company has access to the Internet today and long into the future.
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