When it comes to midrange capacity options, Ethernet over Copper offers the most flexibility around - even if bandwidth-on-demand functionality is scarce. This is due in part to the fact that Ethernet over Copper is available in quite a few flavors, ranging from simple Ethernet over Copper, to Ethernet over Copper over NxT1, DSL, and/or NxDS3/DS3. For these flavors, the typical speed of a bonded circuit varies from 2 to 30Mb per second, although occasionally providers employ additional bonding to further increase these rates.
Pricing for Ethernet over Copper is unbeatable as well, with 3 to 10Mb per second segments usually costing anywhere from 10 to 40% less than Ethernet over fiber or NxT1. According to Frost & Sullivan's senior industry analyst, Roopashree Honnachari, where you might pay $800 for bundling two T1s, with Ethernet over Copper you get 5Mb per second for $600. Honnachari went on to say that the real advantage is that 'the price per mbps is no longer increasing linearly.'
The potential target market for Ethernet over Copper is massive. Roughly 80% of all US businesses require more than one or two T1s-worth of access capacity, but lack fiber. This makes them perfect candidates for Ethernet over Copper because it is quicker and easier to deploy than TDM access, but equally reliable, particularly in remote or rural locations.
So what's the catch? Ethernet over Copper's biggest downside is that the capacity/signal-to-noise ratio is distance-sensitive, and declines past a certain point from the provider's central office (CO). In other words, depending upon your desired speed, full-speed Ethernet over Copper is ideal for locations that are 10,000 to 12,000 feet from the CO. However, the capacity and distance can be extended to some extent through bonding additional pairs of copper.
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