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Stable Internet Connectivity ( a connection to the Internet) is a key driver for Cloud Computing; Cloud Computing is not a viable option unless the connection between you and your cloud service provider (CSP) is stable and offers sufficient bandwidth and acceptable levels of latency.  Note this can be achieved via either an Internet connection OR a dedicated private connection to the cloud service provider’s network.Connectivity to the Cloud

Connectivity – whether Internet-based or decicated connection to a CSP – may be delivered in many forms – each with advantages and disadvantages. Typical forms of connectivity include;
Leased Line: Is a synchronous connection and is dedicated to the customer. Leased Lines usually terminate in a datacentre or Point-of-Presence (“PoP”) where internet connectivity options – expressed in bandwidth and contention – are then subscribed too.  Leased lines are available in a variety of speeds.
xDSL: is a term used to describe various broadband offerings ranging from simple ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) through to business-grade SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) which provides a synchronous / symmetric connection and possible lower levels of contention (shared Internet or Access bandwidth). 
MPLS: Multi-Protocol Label Switching is a method of optimising network performance principally between muliple locations of a single customer.  Effectively an MPLS network acts as a private network for the subscribing company allowing for a centralisation of their Internet access and negating the needs firewalled Internet access at each location.  
Ethernet: Ethernet represents the industry’s high bandwidth connectivity option.  Available from 10Mbps to 10Gbps typically, Ethernet is typically delivered over a dedicated fibre connection or a carrier’s backbone network.    

Stable connectivity is the cornerstone of delivering, managing and accessing cloud computing.  Below we have highlighted benefits of good internet connectivity and outlined features of differing connectivity mediums.

  • Broadband
Cost effective and widely available across the UK, broadband services range from a simple low-cost contended connection through to next generation services such as SDSL and 21CN. Broadband service and availability ranges depending on the distance from your local “unbundled” telephone exchange. Today, traffic engineering is available to stabilise poor connections and most businesses will benefit from simple adjustments to routing systems. 
  • Leased Lines
Leased lines are typically delivered on private connections with prices varying depending on your region and distance from the providers POP or point of presence. Using a local IT provider will benefit your business as they will be aware of price and performance delivered from a range of internet service providers.
  • MPLS
Before MPLS, establishing a private network to connect offices and partners required significant investment in frame-relay networks and were prohibitive to most organisations. MPLS services create a mesh of connected offices using broadband, leased lines or next generation fibre services.
  • Managed services
Your local IT provider or ISP would of developed a range of managed services such as email scanning or web security suites which are easily deployed or bundled with your connection.
  • BT 21CN Network
The UK is currently being upgraded to the next generation or “21st century” network. This is opening up new products and internet connectivity options to ISP’s and managed service providers to deliver faster better more stable services at a lower cost.

With any technology deployment there are things to keep in mind and consider. We have listed out potential pitfalls to consider when purchasing any Internet connectivity service.

  • Supplied router hardware
Not all routing hardware is equal in terms of functionality and adaptability. When subscribing to a service consider upgrading the hardware supplied.
  • Price
Look at offers but always check reviews and customer feedback for any ISP. If contracting for leased lines check provider costs and where applicable use a local IT provider who will be able to guide you in terms of price and package performance.
  • Distance from exchange
Connection speed and performance may be inhibited by your distance from the local telephone exchange. If performance is a current issue look at alternative services such as AnnexM or speak to a consultant who will be able to advise you on options available.
  • Switching providers
If you’re switching broadband based products be aware that there may be downtime incurred during the changing over period. Always prepare a written checklist of items that may need completing such as DNS changes or reboots of routing hardware.
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and to identify suitable technology partners to help with your deployment. Take a few minutes to tell us about your company in our Cloud Comparison Tool, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take full advantage of Internet connectivity options.

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