We talked last time about ILEC special access charges and the pain they impose on an enterprise that uses T1 and other dedicated services. Until the day when (we hope) the FCC remedies this situation, it is up to enterprises to find ways to relieve the financial burden caused by excessive ILEC rates.
There are ways to “shop smarter” when it comes to buying services and reducing or avoiding these charges, and often a series of small savings combined with a few technical add-ons can make a significant difference in the bottom line.
Wireless services can be one of the best alternative candidates for what amounts in most cases to business users T1 needs (especially for low-speed requirements). The bandwidth with a wireless service can often meet the needs of the enterprise, with the added advantage that the cost is lower (because you are “sharing” the inflated cost of the T1 circuits with other customers of the wireless carrier). Throw in the benefits of flexibility, full redundancy, and other advantages, and wireless service is something that enterprises should seriously consider. Outfit the people in your small office or remote office with mobile broadband cards, and you’ve enabled virtually the same Internet and VPN access to the corporate network as would be possible via a “traditional” leased line but with the added bonus of productivity-enhancing mobility.
DSL, while typically thought of as a residential service, is another good option for a smaller or remote office. Again, the bandwidth is typically sufficient to meet the majority of enterprise needs, but the monthly cost is a fraction of the dedicated service. Pay attention however, to how the service is delivered and other characteristics. You don’t want your business having to compete for bandwidth with the teenager down the street playing World of Warcraft.
For many larger offices, Ethernet service can be another option. When you subscribe to this type of service, you avoid the use of the traditional TDM T1, T3, or OC-n circuits where you will be hit hard by excessive special access charges. Sure, Ethernet is often provided over much of the same infrastructure, but the costs are significantly different, as are the bandwidth and growth options. Unfortunately, because the FCC prematurely deregulated ILEC Ethernet, enterprise service providers, wireless providers and competing carriers can not get reasonable access to this solution. Absent some competition, enterprise customers could well find themselves subject to excessive charges on Ethernet similar to the excessive charges now imposed on TDM circuits.
But if for any reason you must use T1s or other ILEC-provided access services, the next best option is to maximize the use of the circuits you’re buying. Don’t waste an ounce of bandwidth; try to get by on a single T1 rather than two, or two of them rather than four. We talked in earlier blogs about “Anything over IP,” and now is the time to live up to that adage. Pack as many products and services as possible onto the smallest number of access loops and use all of the available techniques to ensure that you get the right user experience. Think about using Sprint’s WAN Acceleration solution for instance, that is designed to optimize bandwidth usage through a variety of methods (caching, application prioritization, compression, Spam blocking, and more). It can ensure performance and cost savings at the same time. That will reduce your circuit needs in a big way.