Source One and the Strategic Sourceror would like to welcome James Hightower, a new contributor to the site. James will mainly be leveraging his experience in telecommunications when he contributes.

As businesses continue to pursue cost reduction, analyzing your current telecommunications and IT infrastructure should become primary focus for many businesses.

With technology changing as fast as it does, organizations now have to ask themselves “Are we communicating in the most efficient way, at the best price possible?” ….In many cases, the answer to that question is no. So, as my first post for the Strategic Sourceror, I decided to speak with you about bandwidth.

With a vast amount of vendor competition and multiple methods available to access the Internet, the price of bandwidth has now dropped significantly from years prior. At one time, if companies required high speed internet access, they had no alternative. They had to go with T-1’s or DS3’s. These circuits are dedicated only to the customer and are not shared with the outside public. If you paid for 1.5 mbps, that’s exactly what you would have gotten, guaranteed. You also received a Service Level Agreement (SLA) on the service, which could provide further penalties or actions on the carrier’s part in order to provide further assurances to the customer. If the traffic got too slow (bandwidth ran out), businesses just added more T-1’s or DS3’s to compensate.

Now, businesses have a choice. They can opt for DSL or wireless internet at fraction of the cost of traditional T-1 services that includes install charges, equipment, and mileage. The speed can be, and often is, faster than T-1 services. However, being that you’re now in a shared environment, most providers will not provide an SLA.

So, the question is: “What will you be doing with the bandwidth?” If you’re dealing with mission critical files, dedicated bandwidth would be the way to go. Hospitals and financial institutions go this route. The small business that will be using the bandwidth just to receive and send e-mail, may want to look at operating in a shared environment (such as cable-based internet). Other options are available, such as using a combination of dedicated bandwidth for mission critical services and shared or non-SLA services for bandwidth intensive services such as video and web surfing. Hardware solutions now exist to help manage multiple forms of dissimilar bandwidth and maintaining easy to manage solutions for the IT professional, while providing seamless services to the end user.

The bottom line is we now have options. Are you sure you are using the right combination of services?
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James Hightower

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