Before making the jump to fibre, there are some things to consider. Kordia's Murray Goodman outlines them and a possible planning process.
The fibre rollout across New Zealand is driving conversations that inevitably turn to ‘when can I get fibre and what does it mean for my business?’
Fibre has again focused everybody’s attention on the headline speed discussion. It’s in part driven by the industry telling everyone exactly what speed they can expect over their new fibre connection. This is a move away from the full speed/full speed description used for DSL-based services as the industry tried to avoid setting a speed target that may not be achieved.
From a fibre access perspective it’s a simple conversation. We know exactly what speed we will be getting, but from a network management and performance perspective this becomes more complex. It’s exactly why you should be talking to your service provider or IT professional before migrating to fibre - especially in a managed WAN or Cloud network environment.
But there are things to consider.
Many customers think throwing more bandwidth at the problem will solve network performance issues. But your existing routing equipment could simply run out of puff. With talk about Gigabit business connections, routers can add big costs.
More capacity does not mean you can ignore good network planning. QoS (quality of service) is still required to ensure applications are supported end-to-end across the network and not impacted by ‘bursty’ applications. Without careful planning applications will just swell to use the available capacity and business critical, delay-sensitive applications may be impacted.
Faster does not mean more reliable and reliability is not just about the access. A fibre connection might enable your move to the cloud or to hosted applications, but putting all your applications over that connection makes you even more reliant on your service provider’s performance. Back-up services, security and trust in your service provider become key considerations.
As I alluded to earlier, the fibre access is just the start. The current UFB fibre network is essentially a collection of unconnected fibre islands. If you have a multi-site network you will need increased backhaul or WAN capacity. If you do not match this with good network planning, the right network infrastructure, high quality internet connections and a responsive, business focused service provider you risk a disappointing experience.
Before you make the move to fibre your planning process should include thinking about:
- What you want to achieve in terms of performance or enabling applications.
- An end-to-end network planning exercise.
- Will your existing network hardware cope with increased throughput and more demanding applications?
- If you increase access speed what about your backhaul network if you have a WAN?
- If you are moving to cloud-based applications consider internet performance – does it provide consistent performance during business hours, and how will you back-up your information and ensure it is secure?
It’s important that businesses don’t get sucked in to the headline speeds and price discussion without thinking about what they want to achieve and carefully planning how to get there.
Murray Goodman is head of product for Kordia, a New Zealand owned telco providing calling and internet services to businesses as well as broadcast services and specialised networks.