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Dark Fiber is the Future of Business Internet Connectivity

Dark Fiber networks are growing, and with good reason. They offer providers the ability to prepare for future network needs while offering customers more control over their networks. But what exactly is Dark Fiber and why should your business consider it?

What is Dark Fiber?

Fiber transmits data in the form of light pulses, converting it from electrical signals to light and back using optics on either end of the fiber. When fiber is in use, it’s called “lit fiber,” as light is traveling through it. When it isn’t in use, it’s, as you probably guessed, “dark fiber.” By installing extra infrastructure from the get-go, providers are able to offer spare dark fiber strands directly to future customers.

What is DWDM?

DWDM, or Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, simply means to take data from different sources and send them over the same fiber at the same time, but at varying light frequencies. In other words, up to 80+ different channels of data can be multiplexed, or combined, into one light stream and sent via a single fiber strand. At the end of the transmission, each wavelength is demultiplexed, meaning returned to its original source format, separate from the other data sources it was travelling with.

But What Does All of This Mean for Your Business?

By using DWDM and other protocols within the pre-built out infrastructure, ISPs are able to provide virtually unlimited bandwidth and rapid scalability through their networks. According to Butter’s Law of Photonics, the amount of data that can travel through fiber optic cables doubles every nine months, due to the technology on either end of the fiber line. As technology improves, and with the use of protocols such as DWDM, bandwidth and capacity will continue to skyrocket.

Since customers are able to use their own equipment, businesses have complete control over their network’s latency, a major differentiator when businesses rely on constant, rapid communication. Dark fiber can create shorter paths, making latency more predictable and consistent. Dark Fiber connections are also dedicated, meaning that they do not share their physical connection with other customers. This benefits the customer by providing them bandwidth devoted strictly to their needs, rather than using an allotted pool of bandwidth. Likewise, they receive a private, secure medium to transfer data.

Although the upfront cost for fiber seems pricey at first, in the long-run it evens out. Connectivity essentially becomes a fixed cost, as businesses aren’t at the mercy of an Internet service provider’s rising rates. Over time, businesses benefit from being able to scale up while avoiding hefty fees to add additional capacity.

123Net Dark Fiber

123Net’s designs include single entrance, dual entrance, ring, hub and spoke, or point-to-point options. Our team handles everything in-house from design and permitting, to construction, to turn-up and support, so your network is always in local, Michigan-based hands. To learn more, visit https://www.123.net/dark-fiber/

SD-WAN: Network Management Made Easier and Cheaper

As the use of cloud services and Software as a Service (SaaS) grows, more companies are looking to SD-WAN for network management. But what exactly is SD-WAN and how can it benefit your business? Let’s take a look.

SD-WAN, the “Patient Portal” for Networks

Most of us probably have a Patient Portal of some sort through our medical provider, such as NextMD or My Health Record. These portals allow us to login, view, and interact with almost every aspect of our health. We can schedule appointments, request prescription refills, read test results, etc. This provides a single place for us to manage our healthcare needs. Likewise, SD-WAN provides a similar single place to manage our network, where we can use a centralized location to put together controls, then send it out to the other SD-WAN devices in the network that need it.

What Controls Are Offered?

Intelligent pathway control features use application profiles, IP addresses, Quality of Service markings, and even time of day to shape traffic decisions.

Lowering Costs

By reducing the number of private links necessary and relying on bandwidth instead, you’re able to save money by focusing your spending on cheaper broadband solutions. Whenever private links are required for quality purposes, the service will automatically switch over from broadband.

Secure and Agile

SD-WAN is rapidly deployed, so your business is up-and-running without lengthy setup times. It’s also easily scalable, with the ability to add connections as needed. Even remote sites are easy to add. When traffic is transferred between locations, it’s encrypted, so breaches that may occur do less damage to your network. SD-WAN also monitors the amount and type of traffic your business sees, helping your IT team quickly identify attacks.

Improving your workplace and saving money is a win-win. See how 123Net’s SD-WAN solution can benefit your business by going to https://www.123.net/sd-wan

Data Center Tiers: Which Classification Is Right for Your Server?

All data centers serve the same general purpose; however, they are not created equal. Uptime Institute created a Tier Classification System to set industry standards and help consumers determine which data centers are the best choice for their business’s needs.

Uptime Institute’s Tier System ranges from the most basic Tier I data centers to the most advanced Tier IV. Each Tier increases the redundant components utilized within the data center, making them better able to manage high-density computing and industry-leading uptime.

Tier I: These data centers offer the underlying needs of all data centers. These components include dedicated space, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, dedicated cooling, and engine generators. Momentary outages can be managed well, and Tier I data centers are ideal for smaller businesses that can afford downtime. Larger businesses that need more stable uptimes will likely want to continue down the list.

Tier II: The basic requirements of Tier I data centers are built upon in Tier II. Here, we find some redundant measures added, such as additional power and cooling equipment (UPS modules, chillers or pumps, extra generators, etc.) These open the door for maintenance to be performed, or for unforeseen IT issues to occur, with less disruption to customer processes.

Tier III: As we move into the latter half of the Tiers, data centers become heartier. In Tier III data centers, there’s no need to shut down for maintenance or equipment replacement. The redundancy of Tier II data centers is further built upon with extra paths for power and cooling to each component needed to support the IT processing environment. Larger businesses that cannot afford excessive downtime may want to start their data center searches at this Tier.

Tier IV: The top Tier in the Classification system includes Fault Tolerance, or the ability for individual equipment failure or path distribution interruptions to occur without affecting IT operations. This concept is ideal for large businesses who cannot afford any downtime.

At the end of the day, no single Tier of data center is “the best.” As we move up the Tier ladder, the costs and challenges of maintaining the data center increase, as do the intricacies of the controls put in place to maintain uptime. The Tier required for a data center will vary depending on the needs of the business, so it’s important to carefully consider what your business requires.

123Net provides premier colocation space for Michigan businesses. Our data centers are classified as Tier III, offer a 100 percent power uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA), and are trusted by over a dozen Fortune 500 companies. To learn more about 123Net, or to schedule a data center tour, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/

How Ethernet Private Line Benefits Businesses

Businesses are growing, and the demand for bandwidth is expanding exponentially. As new offices and branches are added, high-capacity infrastructure is needed to communicate between sites. Secure, point-to-point Ethernet Private Line (EPL) solutions are being implemented to meet this demand. This way businesses can seamlessly transport large files, utilize high-capacity applications and access services hosted on company servers.

Ethernet Private Line

EPL is a cost-effective solution that connects the customer edge with an affordable interface, replacing traditional private line services. It is an ideal replacement for businesses with traditional TDM point-to-point services for a variety of reasons.

Dedicated  

EPL delivers bandwidth that is 100 percent dedicated to your business. Shared access technologies, like cable, PON and DSL, combined with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), use a pool of bandwidth to access the public internet and can only provide their “best effort” to deliver your network access.

Dedicated connections bypass the public Internet, guaranteeing consistent data speeds and low latency. This provides a high Quality of Service (QoS) for business-critical applications such as video conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP). With EPL’s dedicated connectivity, enterprises will always get the most out of their bandwidth.

High Bandwidth

Ethernet Private Line solutions offer more flexibility than TDM technologies. With fiber as a transport option, businesses are currently offered speeds up to 100 Gbps. 123Net’s fixed wireless network also offers rapidly deployed Ethernet connectivity up to 10 Gbps.

Secure

Secure, point-to-point connections protect traffic from outside threats. The privacy of EPL makes it much easier to comply with strict security requirements, such as HIPAA. This makes it an attractive option for businesses in security-conscious industries such as health care, government and education.

123Net’s Ethernet solutions give businesses secure, high-bandwidth, site-to-site connectivity between multiple locations. To learn more visit: https://www.123.net/ethernet-services/

Advantages of Switching to Hosted IP PBX

Businesses depend on their ability to effectively communicate with customers. Implementing a Hosted IP PBX voice solution will immediately limit any concerns from a technological perspective, providing the scalability needed to become a long-term voice solution.

What Is Hosted IP PBX?

Hosted IP PBX replaces a customer’s premise-based PBX with the service provider’s off-site equipment. The provider becomes responsible for owning and operating all the physical equipment, taking the burden off the customer. It also improves the reliability of voice and comes with 24x7x365 support.

Reliability

123Net’s service is owned and operated within their Tier 3, 2(N+1) data centers, eliminating power downtime concerns. Their network is also backed by a reliable 100 Gbps+ backbone that allows maximum redundancy and on-demand bandwidth availability.

In case of emergency, customers always have the option to forward phone numbers or change routing easily through an online web portal. If Internet access is unavailable, users can also call the network operations center (NOC) at any time to enable emergency call forward.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX servers are virtual machines that run on host servers within the 123Net colocation spaces. The virtual servers are routinely replicated between multiple spaces throughout the day. If the primary PBX becomes unresponsive for any reason, 123Net can enable a backup at any time.

Flexibility

Hosted IP PBX services are great for customers with specific needs. Customers can provide access to a user control panel (UCP), allowing individuals to control the way they receive calls. One of these options is a softphone, which can be installed on a cellular device or desktop.

Find me / follow me is another useful feature that customers can use to shape the way they receive calls. Find me allows users to receive calls at multiple locations, while follow me allows users to be reached at several different phone numbers. Numbers are assigned to be called concurrently or sequentially, according to a user’s scheduled activities and locations. If necessary, calls can then be sent to a voicemail of their choosing. For example, a user could set their phone to ring four times at their desk, then reach their cell phone, and then leave a voicemail in their cellular mailbox if needed.

Scalability

Companies with Hosted IP PBX systems are well equipped to support future growth because lines can be easily added or subtracted without future investments. Businesses can promptly add as many lines as their network traffic permits. This gives businesses the adaptability to manage rapid growth.

123Net’s Hosted IP PBX is backed by a 99.99% network uptime Service Level Agreement. Learn more about how this solution can benefit your business here: https://www.123.net/hosted-ip-pbx/

What is a SOC 2 Report?

In the world of data centers, keeping customer information safe is critical. 123Net has taken several measures, including SOC 2 compliance, to ensure that each customer’s most valuable data will be secure.

What Is SOC?

SOC is an acronym for Service Organization Controls. It consists of standards used to determine how well organizations handle their information. Independent accounts conduct SOC audits by determining whether proper safeguards and procedures are in place.

What is SOC 2?

SOC 2 reports are targeted toward providers that store information in the cloud. It is a strict technical audit, focusing on five principles of trust: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Security

To earn SOC 2 compliance, providers must prove that customers are protected against unauthorized access. Auditors analyze how equipped a data center is to prevent theft and system abuse. Firewalls and intrusion detection services are two elements that play an important role in this.

Availability

Providers must prove that their system, products and services are accessible, as stipulated by a set contract and/or a Service Level Agreement (SLA). To ensure that both parties meet their predetermined minimum acceptable performance level, auditors track network performance, availability, site failover and security.

Processing Integrity

Data centers with satisfactory processing integrity deliver data accurately and completely in a timely manner. Auditors closely monitor data processing and quality assurance to help evaluate processing integrity

Confidentiality

Confidential information is any set of data that is disclosed and restricted to a certain group of people. Providers must show that they can avoid leaking private data, business plans, intellectual property and several other items to prove this. Encryption, firewalls and rigorous controls are pieces of evidence that auditors use to determine confidentiality.

Privacy

Providers must show that they can effectively collect, retain, use, disclose and dispose of customers’ personal information.  Details such as race, sexuality, health and religion should always be protected for the sake of the customer.

When customers choose their data center providers, security is always a top priority. All four of 123Net’s data centers are consistently audited to maintain SSAE-18 SOC 2 Type II / SOC 3, HIPAA and PCI-DSS compliance, ensuring that each customer’s most confidential data is well protected, stored and maintained.

To learn more about colocating at 123Net’s four SOC 2 certified, Michigan data centers, visit https://www.123.net/data-center/ or schedule a tour today!