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Has this ever happened to you?  You’re talking about the internet with your techy friends and you realize: a) “I don’t know what tiered ISPs are,” and b) “I don’t really know how the internet is structured.” Well, it isn’t just “a series of tubes” as one politician put it. No, a hierarchy of infrastructure exists, which many different commercial, community-owned, non-profit, and privately-owned organizations control.

Think of the vast, interconnected highway system that connects cities large and small across the United States. That complexity is similar to the information highway that makes up the backbone of the internet, except that instead of the government owning all of it, many entities are left to sort out all of the rules. They’re called internet service providers.

This type of multi-faceted system means negotiation is key. So, let’s go over how these ISPs decide to organize themselves.

Each tier corresponds to the level of IP Network Access.

Not sure what that means? Well, an ISP simply provides access for using the internet. Most ISPs own part of the physical network – think fiber, cables lines, etc. – while some do not. And those that do can leverage the size of their network to strike up deals with other ISPs. There are various arrangements for exchanging user traffic, but the three most critical categories are known as transit, peer, and customer.

Any ISP may have a number of these types of arrangements at a given point. These relationships decide which tier they are categorized under.

Tier-1 carriers are the movers and shakers of the industry.

Carriers with Tier-1 networks can reach every other network on the internet via settlement-free peering. Basically, they own enough of the physical network lines to carry most traffic themselves, and negotiate with other Tier-1 networks to get free access to their networks, and vice versa.

You may wonder why they don’t charge each other money, as in a transit relationship. Well, the actual transit cost incurred by a particular provider is often roughly equal to that of another provider, and as a result, exchanging financial information is redundant. Some ISPs have a network peering policy that list other desired qualifications, e.g. similar geographic reach, or monetary stability.

Some world-renowned Tier-1 carriers include:

Tier-2 carriers peer with other networks, but also purchase IP transit for full access to the internet.

Carriers with Tier-2 networks are the most common internet service providers. They peer with other comparably-sized Tier-2 networks, but they’re obligated to purchase access to larger Tier-1 networks.

Just because an ISP is Tier-2 doesn’t mean that their internet service is less effective. In fact, most Tier-1 networks prefer to deal with larger clients, leaving Tier-2 networks to focus on regional consumer and commercial internet access. CTS Telecom is a Tier-2 internet provider offering reliable internet access across Southwest Michigan. You can bet we stack up to the competition.

Popular Tier-2 Carriers include:

Tier-3 carriers strictly purchase IP transit.

When you hear people talk about net neutrality, this is why. Tier-3 carriers are usually last mile providers, meaning they connect consumers to the internet without a network of their own, servicing only the connection leading into your home or office. Content providers have little control over this part. As such, tier 3 ISP networks can be artificial congested, poorly maintained, or throttled.

To Find the Perfect Internet Solution for Your Business, Contact CTS Telecom Today.

Curious about what Tier-2 Internet Service Provider can do for you?  Schedule a free demonstration courtesy of CTS Telecom. We have an array of business internet services for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, we offer colocation, voice, internet, IT services, and data transport. We invite you to discover how CTS Telecom can take care of your business’s needs. To get started, contact us today.

As you look into communication services for your business, you’ll run into a lot of technical jargon – cloud-hosted PBX, virtual PBX, hosted PBX, hosted VoIP. As someone who may not have a background in IT or computer science, you may feel frustrated at the sheer number of terms, some even describing the same concept. After all, you just want to be able to pick up your phone and have everything work as it should.

But functional knowledge of these telephonic systems can save you thousands of dollars, while keeping your business up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. Not tech-savvy? We can avoid the nitty-gritty of these complex services and look at the solutions they provide from a top-down perspective.

Let’s start with VoIP.

VOIP Phone Service
VoIP Conference Phone

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, though it’s also referred to as IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, and Internet Calling. The whole “telephone” part of VoIP comes only by association — the technology no longer requires a phone set, a headset, or analog lines.

Many businesses are turning to VoIP solutions due to its substantially lowered cost and variety of new features. Bandwidth is so plentiful that companies can offer benefits, such as unlimited extensions or apps that integrate your desk phone into your cell phone.

You may have already experienced a VoIP service yourself in the form of Skype, which is largely free to use. While consumers have adopted the technology readily, many businesses have not updated their services. Taking the internet plunge now will put you ahead of competition, some of which are still maintaining a traditional PBX.

Whoa, wait…traditional PBX? What is that?

Back in the olden days (before broadband, fiber, and even DSL), a business or large organization needed to have a PBX, or a private branch exchange, to manage calls. Basically, these were analog lines that formed their own private network, each with their own extension.

While calls outside of the network were billed by the minute, calls within the institution were free. While expensive, a PBX was cost-effective in the long run, because internal calls could be long and expensive.

VoIP inspired a paradigm shift. Instead of using a private network, it took advantage of the global infrastructure of internet. The grand scale of the web, as well as the lowered cost for access, allowed for greater flexibility and less maintenance.

So, how does a hosted VoIP work?

Well, hosted VoIP (also known as a hosted PBX) is essentially a cloud-based communications solution with a monthly service rate. To take advantage of VoIP, you’ll need a server to encode, transmit, and decode all your outbound and inbound data.

You either:

  1. Outsource access to an outside provider, and they take care of IP-PBX server maintenance, technical support, and internal networking for you.
  2. Purchase an on-premise PBX, which is a server and phone system your company maintains onsite.

Now, many will argue about which one is better, but it comes down to your needs as a business. If you anticipate rapid growth in the coming years, hosted VoIP might be a better option, since there’s no need to upgrade equipment and small adjustments can be made month-to-month.

Space is another factor to consider. If you don’t want to devote the square footage necessary to house a large amount of wires and equipment, hosted VoIP will save real estate, while sparing you from a tangle of cords and plugs.

Whichever solution you decide to pursue, know that hosted VoIP at CTS Telecom has several unique perks, including:

To Find the Perfect Voice Solution for Your Business, Contact CTS Telecom Today.

Curious about what Hosted VoIP can do for you?  Schedule a free demonstration courtesy of CTS Telecom. We have an array of voice services for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, we offer colocation, voice, internet, cloud services, and data transport. We invite you to discover how CTS Telecom can take care of your business’s needs. To get started, contact us today.

 

You’ve probably heard of fiber-optic internet, and how it’s the next step in the internet revolution. After all, the people buzzing about fiber internet run the gamut from corporate CEOs to video game addicts. And that wide spread of appeal is certainly justified. Gigabit speeds, miles-long cables, laser lights – what’s not to love?

 

But if you’re one of the 25% of Americans with access to a fiber-optic network, questions about how all this stuff works may be sprouting up in your mind.  Let’s get down to the details of how fiber-optic cable works, and how it can benefit you and your business.

 

Understanding the old infrastructure is the key to grasping the importance of fiber.

 

Old-fashioned internet, such as DSL, works by using preexisting copper wires, which were laid about a hundred years ago, as analog lines. Essentially, these wires take electrical signals and transmit them over a certain distance, until they must be reiterated again; the process repeats until the data reaches its destination.

 

Most of this data is sent via a rudimentary binary – an electrical signal goes on, and that means one, while a signal turning off means zero. This series of ones and zeros gets translated by your computer, and presto, you’re on the internet. Now, the problem with copper wires is that the digital binary can only be sent one electrical signal at a time, and that limits the amount of information that can be transmitted over a period of time.

 

And that’s why bandwidth for DSL internet never really exceeds 100 Mbps (megabits per second). Using a coaxial cable or a telephone line also means your connection is susceptible to electrical or radio interference. Signal strength diminishes during periods of high electromagnetic interference, which means more unexpected slowdowns and occasional outages.

 

So, how does fiber fix this problem?

 

Fiber Optic Internet
Optical Fiber

Imagine all those on and off signals that go through copper wire. They’re all limited to a single pathway and restricted by the speed of electrical conductivity.

 

Now, envision hundreds of those pathways wrapped around each other, each the thickness of a human hair. Together, they form a cable the same thickness as that copper wire. Then, instead of being transmitted at the speed of electricity which is 99% slower than the speed of light, they travel only 31% slower than the speed of light. Picture, moreover, that those signals are generated by a laser that can turn on and off several billion times per second.

 

Crazy, right?

 

This is possible because of what scientists call total internal reflection. Basically, each fiber strand is crafted out of a glass so pure, that even if it were several miles thick, you wouldn’t be able tell you were looking through it. The strand is then covered with a reflective optical material called the cladding. The mirrored coating reflects light at a shallow angle, allowing it to travel through the fiber optic cables over long distances without escaping.

 

A few other advantages to fiber:

 

 

 

 

Is fiber internet a good fit for me?

 

If your business or organization requires a large number of employees to access the internet simultaneously, there’s no comparison – fiber is the way to go. Many fiber optic cables contain dark fiber, which are strands of fiber that are unused for the time being. This ensures that bandwidth will be scalable in the future, in order to accommodate for ongoing technological advancement and growing companies.

 

To Find the Perfect Internet Solution for Your Business, Contact CTS Telecom Today.

 

Curious about what fiber-optic internet access can do for you? Contact CTS Telecom. We have an array of business internet services for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, we offer colocation, voice, internet, cloud services, and data transport. We invite you to discover how CTS Telecom can take care of your business’s needs. To get started, contact us today.