5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Ethernet Services

NICK CLAXSON

Businesses need more bandwidth to address the exponential increase in data that’s presently growing at 50%+ a year.  They need low latency to ensure the smooth operation of mission-critical applications, video content and other large, latency-sensitive traffic.  They want a logical upgrade path to bigger data connections, with plenty of on-demand scalability at a low, predictable cost.

If this sounds like your business need, then the answer almost certainly lies in the shape of Ethernet services.

Comtec is an experienced provider of business data connectivity.  We’ve put together this quick primer to help businesses get the Ethernet services they need, and enjoy the benefits of cost-effective, flexible and reliable high-capacity communications.  Be sure to quiz your provider with these questions:

Where are the hidden costs?

The headline cost per month is rarely what you end up paying overall, as most providers levy a range of add-on costs related to setup and installation.  This can make it much more difficult to make like-for-like comparisons.  Ensure you understand the pricing structure for Ethernet services as transparently as possible.  Look out for significant discount offers when you commit to 1, 3, or even 5 year terms.

Is it available at all my required locations?

Some providers will seek to limit you to their own Ethernet service networks, while others may be inexperienced in dealing with Ethernet service rollouts and be unable to give you a straight answer to this question immediately.  However, working with a provider who has access to the entire UK Ethernet services market will give you the greatest range of service options for all your sites.  In the event that the required Ethernet services are not available at one or more of your sites, an experienced and knowledgeable provider should be able to offer worthwhile alternatives – preventing you from spending extra time having to meet your data connectivity needs from multiple sources.

How quickly will services be up and running?

The answer you really don’t want to hear from your provider is, “I have no idea!”  Occasionally delays will happen and there will be differences between the availability of new services across different locations.  For example, if you are lighting up 100Mbps Ethernet services at 15-20 sites across the UK, some will connect sooner than others.  There may be any number of technical reasons for this, such as the underlying transport medium (e.g. fibre or copper).  However, your provider should be able to give you certainty about this, by way of a clearly articulated project plan with confirmed timescales and ‘go-live’ dates.  Ideally they will be capable of handling the implementation for you so that the drain on your time is kept to a minimum, and you can focus instead on more strategic matters.

Does the SLA meet my needs?

The SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a crucial part of most commercially available Ethernet services and governs the minimum standards of service delivery you can expect.  Parameters should include uptime and performance, and must clearly describe what will happen in the event that service is unexpectedly interrupted (i.e. who is responsive for fixing it, by when and to what extent you can expect to be compensated).  Most providers will be limited to standard SLAs that are the same for all customers, irrespective of their business need.  You may be comfortable with this, or you may prefer instead to work with a provider that addresses the sensitivity of your data, your internal KPIs and other special application requirements with a service wrap that’s appropriate to your needs.

How can I maximise my Ethernet service return on investment?

Don’t overlook this most critical question, as it represents your opportunity to use Ethernet services investments to drive extra strategic value into your business.  For example, Ethernet is a great vehicle for pursuing a hybrid cloud approach to your IT; increasing the resilience of business processes, protecting data and utilising cloud processing power – all for a low monthly running cost.  Comtec offers a range of Virtual IT Support services that bundle the provision of Ethernet connectivity, linking up all your sites and connecting people and data via the Comtec cloud.  The advantages of deriving these managed services as one include greater visibility and control, better data governance, reduced overheads and increased peace of mind.

Through our investment in creating a highly reliable, secure and low-latency infrastructure, and our skills in delivering and engineering market-leading data connectivity, we are able to deliver Ethernet services to any location at the service level that you require.

Contact us today to discuss your needs.