Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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12 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 MULTIFAMILY BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY Purchasing Bandwidth Bandwidth isn't all the same. Make sure the circuit you purchase is appropriate for your community's needs. By Sebastian Pereira / Multifamily Broadband Council, Broadband Enterprise S ervice providers and property owners that don't own middle-mile networks must purchase bandwidth to connect buildings and communities to the internet. Before choosing a bandwidth source, type and technology, it's important to be clear about the application the bandwidth is intended for. ese typical applications all have different requirements: • Gigabit internet bulk services for multiple tenants • Multiple senior housing sites with centralized servers for email, administration and other uses • High-availability cloud IPTV and low-latency traffic in a hotel • Residential, non-bulk internet with over-the-top services • Fixed wireless network offering internet to underserved areas • Municipal or rural network offering residential internet and critical public services • Small cell towers providing mobile or cellular backhaul • VoIP traffic with 911 calling. e ideal, best-in-class internet offers zero packet loss, low latency and high availability. Unfortunately, only a few carriers provide that level of service. Most carriers oversell bandwidth, some by as much as 300 percent. Some carriers lack the personnel to configure changes, with the result that their networks collapse or drop packets during peak periods. To choose a bandwidth provider, begin by knowing your region and the providers in your area. ere are usually only two operators in each vicinity. Some are willing to build fiber to a site within 2 miles of existing construction; others will build only within 500 feet. Reaching out to carriers directly makes sense only if you purchase 20 or more circuits per month. Otherwise, dealing with a reseller or wholesaler is more advantageous. Even dealing with resellers or wholesalers can pose problems. Some resellers sell bandwidth only from providers they have contracts with. Some wholesalers may not contract with providers in your area. However, wholesalers often have better purchasing clout and terms with carriers than you can obtain on your own, and they can remove an early termination penalty by transferring the liability to another customer. If you need bandwidth urgently, they can get expedited installation on their dime. ey also offer higher layers of support, enabling you to have four to five levels if needed. Wholesalers vary in the pricing they offer – some have high operating costs, and a number of them do not pass along savings – and some are difficult to build relationships with. THE BEST PRICE Today, the best bandwidth prices and technology are provided by telco and cable operator networks. Trying to mimic a telco network by taking Layer 2 point-to-point or multipoint is much more expensive than using dedicated internet access (DIA) or software-defined WAN (SD WAN) – it could easily add $18,000 per year to 1 Gbps service. Sometimes mixing and matching different types of fiber connections makes sense. In some metro areas, fiber 50/50 Mbps service with 99.999 percent performance is available for only $40–$45 per month wholesale. A 200/200 Mbps connection is comparably inexpensive, and sometimes promotions enable no-cost fiber construction. Find a wholesaler willing to give you a price as close to wholesale as possible. Getting the best price may require knowing how to rig the system. If you're off the beaten path, your construction cost for a 1 Gbps connection will be high. Start by asking for a low-bandwidth service, such as 50 or 100 Mbps. Once that bandwidth is deployed, the carrier will consider the building to be "on-net" and offer a 1 Gbps price about $300–$400 lower than if you had requested gigabit service originally. Again, use a wholesaler to make this happen. THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY Not all carriers are technologically equal. Only Tier-1 companies that own facilities end-to-end offer best-in-class

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