January 28, 2010

Ethernet Wide Area Networking: Routers or Switches and Making the Right Choice

Various industry sources show trends in globalization and distribution, of employees moving towards the branch. Branch office users comprise 30 to 90 percent of enterprise employees globally, with remote locations and users consuming 70 to 90 percent of business resources. To be successful, these employees require access to the same applications, systems, and tools as employees located at a corporate headquarters. They need a borderless network, where one can turn up any service, anywhere at any time. Furthermore, when working with these tools, they expect the LAN-like user performance found in headquarter offices. They expect a borderless network with a high quality user experience. Fueling this branch movement are advances in branch access speeds. The primary technology for this advancement is Ethernet Wide Area Networks (EWAN).

Ethernet has evolved from just a LAN technology to a scalable, cost-effective and manageable WAN solution for businesses of all sizes. Ethernet offers numerous cost and operational advantages over conventional WAN solutions. An EWAN offers robust and extremely scalable high-quality services that are superior to any traditional WAN technology.

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1 Comment

Ethernet is rapidly evolving from a metro-only to a WAN service as well. The advantages are many, including, perhaps most importantly, simplicity.

(This does, however, raise additional questions such as how overhead is charged for, etc.)

But then there's the bottom line question of how the CPE at the site connects to the Ethernet service - which fundamentally comes down to the question asked here: Which is "better" - a router or a switch?

Of course, the answer is "it depends." But this paper does an excellent job of providing guidance on this question by examining the strengths of each approach.

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