California boasts one of the most impressive economies in the United States. Southern California alone has a gross domestic product larger than countries including Mexico and Turkey. And, since 2012, just six counties in SoCal have seen their gross domestic product increase from $992 billion to $1.26 trillion.¹
Businesses are driving that growth, winning customers and expanding their operations. But SoCal’s growing companies contend with their own set of challenges, including the increasing importance of scalable network solutions.
Companies can no longer rely on standard network solutions, they need scalable network infrastructure and a business internet service that can meet rapidly escalating needs. Many are turning to Ethernet services to solve their local area network (LAN) needs.
Unfortunately, not all Ethernet services are created equal. Some work best for businesses that are already established in their scope and scale, without the ability to expand with the company. To find scalable Ethernet services that can handle increasing demands as you grow, you need to evaluate providers and services on a specific criteria set that’s designed to accommodate growth.
Tips for Finding Scalable Ethernet in SoCal
Most businesses start looking for network solutions with brand name providers. By choosing a nationwide or even regional provider that covers multiple states, however, businesses box themselves into the typical telco with the typical problems – poor service, long wait times, and a lack of local expertise.
Instead of going the traditional route, start your search with local providers. Look for privately owned fiber optic networks from companies with a strong reputation in your area. Local providers are often known for a higher level of service and scalable options tailored to your area. For example, local providers usually have other options when you need to grow your network, including wavelength services and dark fiber, that you can use to meet needs as you grow.
Pro Tip: If you want a brand name provider along with the benefits of local expertise, you can jumpstart your search by looking at well-known local companies, such as utilities, that have a strong brand reputation. These companies often have offshoots that offer other local services, such as dedicated internet access for enterprises, Ethernet, Wavelength, Cell Site Backhaul and SONET services. If you can find this type of provider, you get the benefits of a local company that knows your area along with the support and reputation of a big business.
Ask About Voice, Data, and Video Communication Support
In 2016 alone, over half of U.S. workers regularly participated in video conferences.² Your business likely uses just as much, if not more, video, voice, and data to communication with colleagues, customers, and partners. As you scale, those demands will only increase.
When evaluating your options, ask about network support for communications and how that will change with increasing demands. Typically, the simplest way to determine whether providers can support you is to evaluate speeds and bandwidth. For enterprises, Ethernet services start at 50 Mb/s and can scale to 100G. Don’t select a company that can’t handle changing demands with a range of options, or you’ll quickly run into roadblocks as you grow.
Select a Provider with Committed Information Rates
Committed information rates, or CIRs, ensure you receive a certain bandwidth. Providers who offer CIRs guarantee that your available bandwidth will not fall below the CIR during normal operating conditions.
Choosing a provider with CIR options will help protect your network investment so you get what you pay for. You won’t consistently struggle with network performance, reducing the time your staff spends seeking support and instead helping increasing their productivity. CIRs also help ensure your network performance isn’t a barrier to growth as you scale – you know you have the network ability to perform at higher levels as you grow.
Look for an MPLS Ethernet Platform
Short for multiprotocol label switching, MPLS uses short path labels (in contrast to long network addresses) to direct network data from one node to the next. Using short path labels helps avoid complex lookups in your routing table.
MPLS has multiple benefits for businesses. It allows providers to use a public network while still routing customer data privately. This decreases costs, which providers can pass on to businesses. MPLS is also more reliable and predictable in terms of network traffic, which can help improve your performance.
For growing businesses, however, the major benefit of MPLS is its ability to scale. MPLS allows for automatic network configuration, making it less resource intensive than traditional methods of physically configuring circuits. MPLS will help you get up and running quickly, while allowing you to make configuration changes with less time and effort so you can meet increasing demands over time.
Request Custom Pricing
One-size-fits-all vendors rarely provide the best services. Top providers will complete the last mile to your site (connecting your business to their existing fiber optic network), but they’ll also provide custom pricing. Custom pricing takes into account the size of your site and any customizations or special requirements your business may have.
While most advantageous for large sites, custom pricing also helps you get the service you need at the best possible price. Additionally, providers who offer individual custom pricing can address any concerns you have individually, giving you a better idea of how their services can scale with your space and your company.
Bonus: What Not to Get Hung Up On
At first glance, Ethernet services from separate providers may look like completely different options simply based on the service names. Ethernet services, switched Ethernet, business Ethernet internet, and other offerings are often differentiated simply by the equipment they use or the audience they cater to. Switched Ethernet, for example, uses a switch instead of a hub.
Don’t get caught up in naming conventions when evaluating options for your business. Instead, prioritize features like the ones above that add flexibility and support to your service options.
Use Managed Network Services to Grow
Ethernet services are a great option for businesses that are growing quickly or need to scale over the long term. To avoid choosing a service that doesn’t provide the support or growth potential you need, look for managed network services providers who offer some or all of the capabilities above.
Managed network services options will provide network support so your company can focus more on its business and customers than on managing its network. They’ll ensure you get the solution you need now and in the future without adding to the workload of your IT team.