Shaping a next generation network

AT&T offers a host of network options to support the needs of schools and libraries and is investing in innovation to bring even more efficiency and flexibility into network management.

Reliable, affordable and advanced networking is essential to every educational institution. Demand for communication services that support WANs, Wi-Fi and high-bandwidth educational applications continues to rise as curriculum and instruction increasingly shifts to technology-rich environments.

With a shift in E-rate funding related to upfront expenses, providers of Private Lit Fiber have taken an increased interest in working with K-12 schools. Private Lit Fiber providers offer point-to-point connections with dedicated fiber that does not route through a shared network infrastructure. They typically lay new fiber from end to end to build a school district network. This is a lengthy implementation that usually involves a significant upfront cost and a requirement for a long term lease (typically 10 to 20 years).

A closer look

Private Lit Fiber providers tell school districts that they offer significant cost savings and greater reliability, but these assertions merit a closer look.

With typical Private Lit Fiber providers, networks are designed so that the customer receives separate point-to-point handoffs at their datacenter. A less expensive alternative may be available through a Service Provider that offers circuit aggregation, where lower speed port connections are aggregated into a channelized higher speed port connection, which eliminates the need for these extra interface cards.

Another cost consideration relates to paying one-time and nonrecurring fees upfront versus over the life of the contract. Amortizing the charges over the life of the contract may provide more financial flexibility for other capital expenditures.

Next, let’s evaluate the claims of improved reliability. Private Lit Fiber providers promote greater network reliability, claiming fewer points of failure as their point-to-point services do not route through a shared network infrastructure. But if there is a failure, such as from a fiber cut or weather event, because of the point-to-point design of their network, they may not have network redundancy in place and may be more prone to extended service interruptions.

Reliability and innovation

AT&T offers a host of network options to support the needs of schools and libraries and is investing in innovation to bring even more efficiency and flexibility into network management. These network options include dedicated Ethernet, private, point-to- point transport similar to Private Lit Fiber providers, and switched Ethernet. Both dedicated and switched Ethernet provide highly reliable connections with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and redundancy to help ensure your network is highly available. AT&T has also invested heavily in building a Network Disaster Recovery team to help recover communications as quickly as possible in the event of a manmade or natural disaster.

Futhermore, AT&T has invested in network innovation and now offers emerging services that include Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). SDN provides IT leaders with the ability to configure and manage virtually every aspect of their network on their own. NFV enables organizations to virtualize premises equipment and functions into a cloud environment, helping to simplify management and reduce expenses.

AT&T is committed to offering high bandwidth, reliable and cost effective Ethernet solutions for schools and libraries, expertly designed and managed to meet your needs; with an unparalleled focus on innovation to help make your network more efficient than ever.

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