I want my production environment here to have connectivity to my Disaster Recovery site over there. Seems easy data_center_network_blogenough, but things rarely are in today’s telecommunications market. This is no exception. Connecting Location A to Location Z is not what it used to be and is not the quick decision that many IT professionals would probably like it to be. There are a few different product lines, and within those product lines there are a few different options depending on your specific business need and budget. I will review today’s three most prominent Point to Point options.
Before you look at carrier products and ask for quotes, you need to know several pieces of information about your project so that we can find the right solution for you. Here is a quick form with the basics that may help.

Question

Answer

  • Budget
What is your approved budget?
  • Install Date
By what time does the circuit need to be live?
  • Location A
Private Line location A
  • Location Z
Private Line location Z
  • Bandwidth Commit
What bandwidth is required for standard day to day use?
  • Scalability/Burstability Needs
Do you have scalability or burstability needs?
  • Jumbo Framing requirement
Will you set your own MTU or is Fixed acceptable?
  • Latency Requirement
Do you have an RTD latency requirement?
  • Uptime SLA Requirement
Do you need 99.9%, 99.99%, or 100% Uptime SLA?
  • Inside Wiring/Cross Connects Needs
Add inside wiring or cross connect fees to your budget
  • What handoff could you accept
Copper, MMF, SMF and what optics could you use?

 

Once you have gathered all your information, it’s time to look at your options and narrow down a product.

The three main Private Line products you want to look at are DWDM Wavelength, Ethernet, and E-Line. Here are some very quick breakdowns. (For additional details, see our Private Line Options Whitepaper.)

Wavelength: This is Layer 1, big bandwidth connectivity. Speeds start at 2.5Gigs, but many carriers could mux this down to 1Gig increments. Bandwidth could scale all the way to 100Gig today. Because this is OSI Layer 1 connectivity, you add your own Layer 2 framing to connection, which means you can set up Jumbo framing. Wavelength circuits are also 100% dedicated, meaning you will know the exact route your traffic will take each and every time it goes from point A to point B. Be sure to ask the carriers for a Visio or KMZ file showing the routes.

Wavelength is very much preferred if you have strict latency requirements. Wavelengths come in three flavors:

1. Unprotected – Standard Wave, single fiber path, single handoff, single cross connect. Because Wavelengths are built as 100% dedicated, there is no failover. If a construction team digging up the road breaks the long haul fiber your wave is using, you will be down hard. If the card on the carrier’s router fails, you will be down hard. There is no redundancy in this.

2. Protected – A Protected Wave has two fiber paths built into its topology. You will have a primary route that your traffic will take each and every time and there is a redundant WAN fiber path. This is carrier managed failover in case a break in the fiber happens somewhere. Maybe a re-gen hut went down on the long haul. The carrier will automatically move traffic to the second path and your service will stay up. However, this is not fully redundant as you will still receive a single handoff from the carrier, which means you still have a single point of failure in your network.

3. Diverse – This is not typically an established product offering, but most carriers can fulfill the request. In this instance, you basically order two Unprotected Waves. This involves a bit of extra homework. I prefer to use two different carriers for this, but it can be accomplished with a single carrier. If you choose this method, it is very important to get the street level fiber maps from the carriers on their proposed routes. KMZ’s work best for this as you can layer several maps on top of each other. You are looking for anything like shared conduit or sections where carriers may cross paths. You want to be 100% sure that you are receiving two completely diverse paths in the Metro and Long Haul.

Keep in mind this is just a basic overview of Wavelength circuits from the viewpoint of making a buying decision. There is much more that could go into the qualifying process. Once the decision to go with a Wavelength circuit is made, other items that need to be given consideration such as LAN PHY vs. WAN PHY, Optics etc.

Questions? Concerns? Additional input you would like to share? Please comment or feel free to reach out to me directly.

Learn more about Ethernet and E-Line by reading Part 2 in this series.

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