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May 28, 2024
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Cloud On-Ramps Offer Better Connectivity
Bandwidth solutions that increase speed while reducing latency and congestion.

By: John Shepler

IT infrastructure is now key to your business. It’s a lot more than a few servers in a closet down the hall these days. Chances are that you are using Software as a Service (SaaS) running on popular public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure plus your own private data center. What once was an easy interconnect to everything on a company LAN is now a worrying mix of local and remote connections. Are you stuck with performance that varies constantly and nightmares of security breaches, or is there a much better solution?

Cloud On-Ramps boost performanceWeak Links In The Chain
When equipment or services are remotely located, the first thing everybody thinks of is connecting through the Internet. Broadband is readily available nearly everywhere and very reasonably priced. This is especially true if you just connect through a Cable broadband service. Reliability of HFC (Hybrid Fiber Cable) networks has gotten very good and prices are as low as you’ll find. 

The massive adoption of consumer broadband is what has kept prices low even for business broadband. The tradeoff is that you are sharing that connection with dozens or even hundreds of other users. You can’t see them, but you can feel the effect as the Internet speeds up and slows down. 

Dedicated Access Improves Performance
The Internet is an amazing data superhighway, but the on and off ramps are where a lot of the congestion is. A good solution is get a private ramp, called Dedicated Internet Access or DIA, between you and your Internet service provider. This is most likely a fiber Ethernet connection but could be Fixed Wireless as long as the path you are using is dedicated for your use only. 

Why Not All Private Access?
The next step up is a completely private line from your local network to your cloud service provider. Once again, this would be a fiber optic Ethernet running 100 Mbps to 100 Gbps with guaranteed performance. This is like having your own highway with no traffic other than your company data. It’s the closest thing to a LAN that stretches across the country to include your cloud services.

The drawback to dedicated private lines is the cost, as you might suspect. There is no one else sharing the pipe, so there is no one else helping to pay for it. You have all the bandwidth and the security of a walled-off connection, but you have all the costs too.

An intermediate solution that maintains connection performance and offers high security over long distances is the MPLS network with dedicated access lines. The MPLS or Multi-Protocol Label Switching network is a private Wide Area Network with costs that are shared among many subscribers, but with performance guarantees instead of the “best effort” you get on the Internet. Security is better than the Internet because the network uses a proprietary label switching protocol and not the easier to hack TCP/IP.

Move Next Door To Really Improve Performance
Remember how easily it was to get all the network performance you needed when everything was in the same building and all you needed was runs of Ethernet cabling? You can replicate that by choosing to move your equipment to a colocation center that also houses your software service providers or has dedicated cloud on-ramps. 

This is an example of a hybrid cloud. Your servers and storage are in racks in the colo building that supplies power and cooling. It also has direct cable or fiber connections to service providers housed in the same building. Other direct connections go to points of presence for large public cloud services that are located in multiple data centers around the world. By accessing one of these cloud on-ramps you avoid the vagaries of the Internet and connect your private cloud to their public cloud to create the hybrid cloud arrangement.

Of course, this can be expanded to include multiple services providers as long as they have a physical presence or on-ramps available in the data center. Connect to as many as make sense to create a multi-cloud that give you all the services you need. The connection to your business is then through a dedicated private line or Dedicated Internet Access from your colocated equipment back to your offices. This is considerably more cost effective than having many dedicated private lines to widely scattered service providers.

Do you need higher performance than your current connections can provide or have a requirement to interconnect multiple service providers? If so, find out what mix of dedicated, dedicated access and cloud on-ramps would work best for your company.

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