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High bandwidth Ethernet vs Optical - which is right for your customers?

By Paul Beacham, Senior Manager, Data Connectivity

Choosing technology solutions to support customers can feel like a minefield. With multiple products available which offer different technical specifications, choosing the right network to support customers’ specific requirements isn’t an easy task. High-bandwidth Ethernet and optical connectivity are just two examples of solutions which offer unique capabilities. Here we delve into the technical specifications of each solution and provide clarity on what type of businesses can benefit from using either high-bandwidth or optical capabilities.


High-bandwidth Ethernet 

High-bandwidth Ethernet connectivity is a cost-effective, reliable solution for customers. Expanded to 10GB coverage, its capabilities can support cloud centric architectures and digital transformation projects. Our recent research, done in collaboration with Cisco, revealed that strategic digital transformation projects are priority for 96% of customers.

Steadfast and reliable, high-bandwidth Ethernet offers customers with uninterrupted connectivity to drive business success and development. Constant adaptations and investment means that BT Wholesale is able to rapidly deliver 10GB connectivity across the country, there has been a 70% increase in 10Gb access nodes across 21CN in the last 12 months, at the moment, there are 179 live nodes for 10Gb access aggregation (core & tier 1) with over 100 nodes planned for this year. This technology reduces delays, ensures seamless connectivity, better user experience and more competitive pricing.

Customers are able to scale the solution in order to fit their requirements, accessing more bandwidth as needed. This has been a vital lifeline for businesses during the pandemic as online retailers and service providers have needed more network capacity to support their business. Our research, in collaboration with Cisco, revealed that 62% of customers have demanded more bandwidth since the pandemic began. So, working with an Ethernet solution is not only flexible but can future-proof businesses too.

High-bandwidth Ethernet offers commercial advantages, and in 2020 we launched competitive pricing which introduced the same level of investment for customers using above 1GB, such as online retailers and healthcare systems.


Optical connectivity solutions

Another option on the market offered by BT Wholesale is optical connectivity. Whilst somewhat similar to high-bandwidth Ethernet, optical solutions are best suited to customers looking for enhanced resilience, performance and low latency. Offering a network capacity of up to 100GB, this solution offers customers with the choice, flexibility and opportunity to grow with demand. This uninterrupted connectivity is offered nationwide and can be scaled to support growing traffic as needed, with a capacity of 200GB on the horizon. Supporting high volume traffic is critical for customers engaged in large scale digital transformation.

The ability to process a large amount of data with minimal delay means that optical solutions are adept at supporting businesses engaged in real-time TV transmission, storage replication and large-scale disaster recovery.

Optical solutions are also being implemented across data-centres, as cloud-based storage systems are increasingly used by customers to support growing connectivity demands. The Optical infrastructure can aid connectivity between data centres to offer customers a resilient ‘one-stop-shop’ when it comes to connectivity. All of BT Wholesale’s key data centre sites have been upgraded with 100Gb backhaul meaning that they can support up to full 10Gb VLAN bandwidths. Future expansion plans also mean that BT Wholesale will be able to offer on-net capabilities for customers to cost-effectively extend their network and back up critical information in real-time.

With higher capacity comes higher investments. Optical solutions are more expensive than high-bandwidth Ethernet, owing to increased capabilities, so this would suit customers looking to support large-scale business activity or projects.


Solutions for specific needs

Although some similarities in scalability, resilience and reliability, high-bandwidth Ethernet and optical solutions serve distinct customer needs. The former is cost effective and offers consistent nationwide connectivity, whilst the latter’s key capabilities include low-latency and large-scale growth.

Now is the best time to take advantage of our High Bandwidth solutions as we have some great offers running for a limited time only.

Find out more here or contact your account manager.

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