The data network selection process must incorporate a number of variables that go beyond basic technical considerations. Others include budget, security, compliance, and business requirements. This article will provide a list of questions to help you identify the right network solution. Then it will describe the key differences between data network configurations, including point-to-point WAN, point-to-multipoint WAN, and scalable Ethernet services.
Covering Some Data Network Technical Basics
You are probably already familiar with the principle technical considerations for data network selection. Bandwidth reflects the amount of data that can pass through your connection. Latency is the time it takes data to move from point to point in your network. Quality of Service (QoS) refers to the ability to prioritize specific data, such as telecom data, over other data types. In addition, redundancy indicates the number of alternative paths that data can take across your network, in case one path fails.
Once you have established that a provider can meet your basic technical requirements, business considerations should guide further decision-making. Most businesses rely heavily on their data network to perform everyday functions. The goal, therefore, is to understand how the provider measures up with respect to ensuring that you will be able to perform business as usual in a range of situations.
Questions to Ask Your Data Network Solution Provider
- How often does your network experience slow-downs resulting from your current customers overloading available capacity? What steps do you take to mitigate the situation when that occurs?
- What security measures do you have in place to protect my business' data?
- If our primary network connection fails, how long will it take you to restore connectivity to my business using an alternate connection?
- Do you provide options for self-service so that my in-house technical professionals can handle certain tasks if they choose?
- If my business experiences significant growth that requires us to request additional bandwidth from you, will you be able to support that request? What will the cost be?
- What guarantees do you provide with respect to network availability?
- In which regions do you provide service? If my company were to open branches in other states, or internationally, would you be able to support us?
- What guarantees do you provide with respect to data speed, and what is the range of data bandwidth that you offer?
- How quickly do you typically provide resolution to data network problems? Similarly, how quickly do you fulfill requests for changes to service or request for new services?
Understanding Different Data Network Solutions
All data network solutions achieve the same goal: keeping you business connected. Different configurations, however, achieve that goal in different ways. Depending on your business' structure and needs, one or the other might be more beneficial.
A point-to-point solution takes a hub-and-spoke configuration. This means that there is one point in the network to which all other points in the network can connect. Using the central point as a relay, any point in the network can connect to any other point. When the points connect, they have access to the entire channel capacity. As a result, it can make it easier to transmit large volumes of data.
A point-to-multipoint solution connects every point in the network to every other point in the network. This configuration does not require a central point to act as a relay. Since it does not have a single point of failure, it can offer significant resiliency.
Are you shopping for a data network solution? Contact us today for a professional consultation with recommendations specific to your business.