> This is not really a Linux related question but I thought I'd ask it here
> as many of you have more network experience than I do and it is a local
> list.

Its so quiet on this list now, compared to the old days.

> The business I work for are moving buildings to Birmingham Drive. Our
> telco currently supplies a business connection to the internet that is
> limited and guaranteed to 30Mbps upload 30Mbps download but we are looking
> to increase that to 50 or 100 Mbps each way.  The telco also want to
> supply us with a new router, a Cisco 4331 to replace our old Cisco 1812 as
> it will handle the faster speeds better but it is limited to 100Mbps
> without additional licensing costs.

> The pricing on all this is a bit severe so I was looking at other options.

OK Cisco is damn expensive for what it is, but you do get the option of
buying smartnet, which gives to access to cisco TAC.  So if anything
breaks on your router, its warrantied for the duration of your smartnet
contract.  That includes forward replacement rather than having to send it
Smartnet is also required for firmware/IOS downloads in the future.

In short - cisco's expensive but you do get a business grade solution.
Personally, I'd look at a pfsense box with a support subscription to keep
the management happy, but that may or may not suit your needs as a

>>From the router perspective:
>   We have an ip address range of (router has .241 on
> WAN side) but this traffic is all passed straight through to our
> firewall devices so no real work being done by the router I think.

That's right - a router routes, and a firewall firewalls, and a switch
switches.  Combo devices exist but tend to degrade both functions.
- I've seen a device capable of routing 950 MBit slow to under 100 once
firewalling and SPI and prioritisation etc were turned on.

> There are some rules that restrict what ports are open to what
> addresses, but  this is more of a hangover from previous years,
> we now have much more
> robust firewalling and could do away with these. Traffic wise there are
> several web servers, 40 or 50 ssh sessions concurrently, office internet
> access (20 people), 1 or 2 SSL VPN sessions, and backup traffic to
> offsite storage. Looking at a graph of allowed packets we seem to peak
> at around 5MB/s (this may be higher at night when more backups are
> replicating offsite).

>   This Cisco 4331 appears to be rather expensive. I'm not sure of the
> exact model - pricespy indicates $2500 to $5000 maybe, telco will charge
> almost $200 per month to rent and manage it for us which is similar to
> current charges, but feels like they're creaming for not much work.

I couldn't comment on the pricing of the hardware - but pricespy can only
see retail listings.   Cisco has tiers of pricing to resellers depending
on their volume, where a bronze partner gets 5~10% off list up through
silver/gold/platinum and education pricing can be anything up to 99% off
list price.

Point is, the hardware is only one part of the package there....  see
above for smartnet comment.

> I'm really not sure what advantage this telco managed router is giving us
> over something like the much cheaper Cisco RV345?

That isn't a cisco - thats a linksys domestic-grade router in drag.
Does it run IOS ?  Does it have a CLI?  If not, its a rebadged linksys.

> Or do we even need a router as such since the traffic appears to be passed
> through using original addresses?

If its supplied by your telco to terminate the connection, then yes you do
need it.  The link into the building will not be a plain old internet
connection - instead it will have a management VLAN and one customer VLAN
per service.  So your inet link will be one  VLAN and your voice link wil
lbe a second VLAN.
If more customers appeared in your building, then their service could be
delivered over the same fibre access, with no loss of bandwidth to either

Since its your router, perhaps you don't need it.  All depends what your
firewalling device is and how it handles the load.

> And as to the Internet plan:
>   We are on fibre, we have a 'BIA' that guarantees the 30Mbps with
> unlimited data and costs $950 per month!!

BIA is an old Clear product called Business Internet Access, and it has a
CIR, or Committed Information Rate.  Essentially you're guaranteed to get
those speeds though the ISP's international links, and if you don't then
start asking for rebates.

That's why it costs more, for the cost of certainty.

> We could go to their Business Max Fibre plan at $160 per month which has
> 700-900Mbps download and 400-450Mbps upload but no guarantees of available
> bandwidth.

That sounds like a UFB connection.  Of course its priced lower due to lack
of guaranteed minimums.

> The much higher speeds and lower price are definitely enticing but we
> couldn't operate if speeds fell below 30 to 50 Mbps.
> Does anyone have experience of what the minimum speeds across something
> like this is we could expect? And its reliability?

Compare the two tyles of fibre.

UFB fibre.  This is a colour of light on a fibre to a cabinet down the
road, where a passive optical splitter sends each light to a different
Cheapest way of doing fibre, but your speed maxes out at ~gigabit.

* Delivery of UFB is the same for Business vs Residential connections. 
The differentiation is how your RSP allocates bandwidth, and how Enable
(or Chorus or the local fibreco) allocate resources if there's a physical
outage.     Residential UFB is lower priority to repair than Business UFB,
which is reflected in the price.

Dedicated fibre.  This is out of price range for home users, and consists
of your very own fibre from site to the local exchange.  As such it can
carry 1/10/25/40G or more.  Again, at these prices you get top priority on
repair for physical faults.


As it stands, your BIA is either a dedicated fibre or a VLAN on a
dedicated fibre (essentially the same thing)

If all you want is an internet link, and the business does NOT depend on
inet links for function then a UFB is probably totally okay.  This would
be occasional web browsing or non-time sensitive emails and so on.

Are you "cloud" for anything?   Payroll/GST/orders/etc?  To me that put a
higher level of importance

If your business would suffer because of an internet outage (ie something
can't happen that reduces the profit/throughput for the day) then your
business suffers.   Does the saving of a UFB link outweigh the value lost
to outage?

If your business uses VOIP then how much business would be lost by the
internet dropping ?  Even if its rarely, you have to do the
cost/saving/benefit check and make your own decisions.

And remember VOIP is about convenience and flexibility just as much as it
is about cost savings.     A voip link over the internet may not cut it,
just as a fax catcher was a poor substitute for a dedicated fax line in
the 90s.



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