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Introduction to Point-to-Point

Point-to-Point
Matthew Hayhow

By Matthew Hayhow Web Journalist, Updated 17 May 2017

If you have a business that operates over several sites, then you have the problem of integrating your networks and communications between them. This is even more of an issue if you rely on VoIP communication or use video calling as part of your operations. Although smaller businesses may be able to do this via the internet, for larger organisations there are issues concerning reliability, security and bandwidth. In the past, this would have meant a costly and cumbersome leased line. Now, however, the established fibre optic network means that a better solution is available to establish a Point-to-Point Ethernet network, allowing you to link data, voice and even video between sites using a dedicated secure link. Upload and download speeds are guaranteed and there are no worries concerning bandwidth or contention, yet it’s cheaper than traditional leased line solutions. This introduction to point-to-point explains its benefits and how it works.

The Point-to-Point Advantage

Because it allows you to link all of your LANs and WANs together in a single network, having a Point-to-Point connection offers businesses a number of benefits. It means that all employees can access the same centralised systems no matter where they’re located. This streamlines the exchange of information between departments and locations with consequent business and operational benefits.

A Point-to-Point network is also scalable; bandwidth can be increased easily as your business grows; and you can keep an eye on what’s happening with online performance tools. You can check how your network is performing and how much traffic it’s carrying, allowing you to spot any bottlenecks and to understand peaks in data and voice traffic.

Different service classes allow you to prioritise data so that important transactions aren’t held up by less essential data. Managed options are available if you prefer to have someone else look after the network, allowing you to concentrate on your core business. Service level agreements can guarantee network availability up to 99.9 per cent of the time.

Because the network is secure you have no worries about data leaks. It’s compliant with the latest regulations for securing government data, so public sector organisations can take advantage of the benefits too. For mission critical systems, extra resilience can be added to ensure that your data is available at all times.

It keeps you in control of your budget too. With a fixed monthly charge you know exactly what you’re spending and you don’t have to worry about how much capacity you’re using.

How Point-to-Point Works

If your sites are relatively close to each other - within 25 kilometres - you can link them with a dedicated fibre optic connection. This provides a private, secure path for your traffic with speeds up to 10Gb/s available. You won’t need any new routing equipment either; the line terminates in a box provided by the supplier and is compatible with your existing network systems.

For sites that are further apart, you can take advantage of the telecom provider’s fibre optic network. You traffic is segregated from normal internet traffic, giving you, effectively, your own dedicated link regardless as to the distance. You get all the benefits of a local network but over a larger area.

It’s possible to have a single Point-to-Point link between two sites, or multiple connections where a number of sites need to connect to a central office or data centre. In either case you get improved speed with faster round trip times and reduced packet loss, because you’re not sharing bandwidth with other users.

Since it’s separated from other traffic there are, of course, security benefits. The user owns and manages all layer three devices and there’s separation at layer two, so there’s no chance of general internet traffic creating a compromise in security.

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