Metro Ethernet Case Study: Sequoyah Electric

When an electrical contracting company needed a reliable solution for connecting multiple locations, it turned to an all-optical metro Ethernet solution from Wolfe for productivity, reliability and affordability.

The problem:

Sequoyah Electric, a commercial electrical contracting company based in Redmond, Wash., needed a dedicated fiber solution to provide the higher capacity and more reliable bandwidth that would keep its facilities around the Seattle region connected, and also provide sufficient backup of critical data.

The challenges:

Most of the available solutions were cost-prohibitive—and slow. Sequoyah was using a 10 Mbps pipe to transport and back up as much as 5 TB of data, mostly consisting of big Autocad files and other data from all of the contracting company’s various job sites. But backups typically took 16 hours. Fiber would provide the speed and reliability necessary, but optical solutions from Sequoyah’s current service provider were cost-prohibitive.

The solution:

A customized, all-optical point-to-multipoint metro Ethernet solution from Wolfe, delivered over dedicated fiber. The point-to-multipoint architecture ensured that Sequoyah’s multiple locations could quickly, seamlessly and securely transport and back up the data that was the lifeblood of Sequoyah Electric’s projects.

The backstory:

How can Wolfe offer more speed and more reliability for less money? Customization. One-size-fits-all just no longer fits. Rather than an off-the-shelf offering, Wolfe conducted one-on-one meetings with Sequoyah and did research into its unique needs. The end result was the creation of a custom-designed and custom-provisioned network solution that was tailor-made for the particular requirements of Sequoyah.

The benefits:

Improved business productivity, faster backup, no network downtime and significant cost savings.The approach reduced Sequoyah’s backup time from 16 hours to 3, and reduced the company’s monthly costs for network services from $6000 to $2500.

The results:

“We needed a service provider with the skills and experience to help us map out a unique solution and set up the optimum routing and configuration we required,” said Joe Winn, technology manager for Sequoyah Electric. “Wolfe designed and delivered a unique solution to order, and it wasn’t cost-prohibitive—in fact, the customized, more reliable, and more scalable solution they provided was far more affordable than the alternative.”

About Wolfe’s approach:

Every form of service for businesses—from simple Internet connectivity to complex and extensive MPLS configurations—should get the same personalized and customized treatment as the solution Wolfe created for Sequoyah. Business customers should have the opportunity explain their unique situations in depth to their service provider, and have the chance to ask the tough questions that will help ensure that their providers not only know what they’re doing, but also that they have the right network resources in the right places to supply the most economical and capable solutions—for the price quoted.

How do such customized solutions get designed, built and delivered? By leveraging a state-of-the-art optical infrastructure that’s reliable, flexible and dynamic enough to continually adapt to the changing needs of a broad range of customers. By being established in carrier points of presence to allow access to expansive fiber connections at competitive rates. By listening to the customer. And by not price-gouging customers, but rather delivering a higher-quality service at a fair price. 

Top Reasons Why You Should Opt for a Smaller Internet Service Provider

Everyone says “bigger is better,” but it seems that the world could do a lot of good with things that are smaller in size. Just ask this year’s Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks, whose city is still reeling with excitement from the team’s landslide win. The team was led by one of the league’s smallest quarterbacks Russell Wilson, who is now being touted as the league’s most valuable player of the year.

Also, remember the 2011 Smartcar commercial that took a creative spin on the whole “big” phenomenon? In the bit, there are reporters, press, newsmen and even a pop diva all saying “Big” in various situations, with one individual finally saying “small” as a way to shift focus not to the size of something but the value of which it offers the user (click here to watch for yourself).

These guys have a good point: sometimes, smaller can be better. We believe this point also applies to the Internet service provider (ISP) you entrust, too. In fact, here are three reasons why you should consider a smaller ISP before falling into the “big” hype:

  1. 100 Percent Customizability: You’ll never have to settle for cookie-cutter commercial IP services or network connectivity plans with a smaller ISP.
  2. A True Partnership: For a larger service provider with customers in the thousands, you may feel like just a number. This will never be the case with a smaller provider, who can offer a more intimate, personalized relationship.
  3. Better Cost Savings Opportunities: A more customizable solution means pricing that is custom-tailored to meet your business’ exact needs.

Sure, there’s something appealing about going with the larger guy who has a more renowned name, but that doesn’t necessarily speak to the value that is being brought to the table. Click here to learn more about the high speed Internet benefits that a smaller provider can offer you. 

FCC Shells Out $2 Billion for High-Speed Schools in the U.S.

The U.S. has been picking up slack in the race for high speed Internet, where President Obama even vowed to make high speed service available at a more affordable price point in 2014. The high speed Internet crisis is a serious one for the country. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks 35th out of 148 countries in Internet bandwidth, according to the World Economic Forum.

So, what better way to ramp up Internet service in the States than by starting with the school system? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently revealed that it will be doubling its investment in high speed Internet within the U.S. education system, going so far as to pledge an additional $2 billion over the next two years specifically to improve broadband networks in schools and libraries.

For the U.S., this is a wise investment indeed. In fact, a recent Pew study revealed that teachers of the lowest-income students are more than twice as likely as teachers of the highest income-students to say that students’ lack of Internet access is a “major challenge.”

According to the FCC, nearly all U.S. schools have access to basic Internet; however, the speed and quality of that service can vary drastically. This new initiative aims to connect 20 million students within 15,000 schools across the country.

And this isn’t all that the FCC has been doing lately. The commission is also knee-deep in a new initiative to begin embracing fiber networks as opposed to using “the nation’s traditional copper infrastructure,” according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a November 2013 blog on the FCC’s official website.

What do you think of the FCC’s latest commitments to heighten the United States’ digital stature? 

#TelecomExchange West: Michael Scott of Wolfe

Internet Service Provider Lessons Learned From Super Bowl XLVIII

Everyone loves a success story and everyone loves a dark horse. In the case of this year’s Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks, this was certainly the case.

As it turns out, the greatest impact was made thanks to something on a much smaller scale, or should we say someone: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. With a notably small physique, Wilson was initially considered a poor pick for the team’s offense. But now, ESPN describes him as “a perfect fit” for the Seahawks and he is being touted by the New York Times as “the most valuable player” during the game, despite stiff competition from big-name teams as well as physically larger players.

So, how does this relate to Internet service providers (ISPs)? Because, similar to this year’s Super Bowl, it seems that people have a harder time believing that smaller carriers can enable them to come out on top. It can be surprising when one realizes that smaller providers who may not have the big name or the influence are on the same level—if not, higher—than the conglomerates.

When you dig deeper, you can see just how much of a powerhouse smaller providers are in the industry and just how crucial of a role they play for taking the end-user to the finish line, just as Wilson lead his team to victory this year. That’s because smaller carriers can provide the following (among many other things):

  • A completely customizable solution to meet your business’ exact needs and to keep up with the pace of today’s ever-changing marketplace
  • Heightened employee productivity
  • Robust network security
  • The close and intimate working relationship needed to ensure the success of your investment
  • 24x7 access

Perhaps the greatest benefit of them all, however, is cost savings. Not only will you enjoy less upfront costs (a smaller carrier has been proven to reduce IP costs by up to 50 percent compared to the competition) but you’ll also see greater long-term cost savings associated with maintenance and provisioning. It’s one of the top reasons why so many people turn to smaller carriers to get the job done.

Our very own general manager Michael Scott predicted the rise of small carrier for the New Year, as well. Back in December, he explained: “Small carriers will win over 2014. Companies like us have been gaining significant traction over the larger, more well-known carriers. This will be even more of a win for the smaller guys because smaller carriers are more nimble and they have more time to adapt to newer standards and trends than the larger carriers do.”

You can’t deny that there’s something special about a team reclaiming its title after an entire decade. As a company based in Seattle, we want to congratulate our home-town team on a very exciting win!

What do you think? When it comes to the game of high speed bandwidth, do you believe that small carriers will walk away with the trophy or that larger, more well-known carriers will take the ball and run? Let us know in the comments section below!

High Speed Internet Becoming Main Priority for Underserved Areas

Underperforming Internet is a problem faced by both rural and metropolitan regions. While it is more so associated with the former—seeing how more densely populated areas have a greater incentive to add cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots—underserved areas can also be right within the major cities that millions of people inhabit. This has been a long-standing issue and one that countries across the globe have been working to counter.

For example, across the pond, the British government just announced a new £10 million fund to bring high speed Internet to underserved parts of the country. Meanwhile, a new study reveals that almost 7,000 local regions in Russia have no opportunity to get online.

This call to action for high speed Internet certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in the U.S., either. Many states have revealed new initiatives to bring better service to Internet-lacking locations. For example, New York and Washington are two of many states working to do an Internet overhaul to better cater to their residents.

Just recently, it was reported that Albany, NY would begin ramping up Internet service thanks to a $14.5 million state initiative. According to reports, the state capital will be under a new program aimed at bringing broadband to over 29,000 homes and over 2,000 businesses in the region, including Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mohawk Valley regions.

The state will see an incredible 614 miles of new fiber thanks to the new plan, which state officials hope will connect more than 500,000 New Yorkers with high speed Internet.

“Access to high speed internet is a critical resource for businesses and residents in today’s global economy,” Governor Andrew Cuomo explained in a statement. “These grants will connect underserved and rural communities to the many benefits of broadband access, including giving local businesses the opportunity to reach consumers from around the world.”

Seattle is also diligently working to strengthen Internet speeds in such areas as well after a deal made with a private service provider fell flat.

Recently, the city struck up a deal with Gigabit Squared, a digital economic development startup company, to provide high speed Internet to underserved areas of Seattle. However, the deal is no longer in the works due to problems being encountered by Gigabit Squared. The company promised speeds 100 times faster than traditional broadband with a fiber network operated by the company. The state was willing to shell out $25 million to get the necessary infrastructure in place.

“We understand the Gigabit problems had developed before the election,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently told reporter Marc Stiles in an interview.

The entire ordeal has put the city in a very sticky situation. Not only did the agreement unravel—letting down many of Seattle’s citizens in poor Internet areas—but Gigabit Squared left the city with a hefty bill totaling more than $52,000 due to city employees already having started work on the project. This debt has been sent to the city’s lawyers.

Getting Seattle’s residents back on track requires providing reliable high-speed Internet with a similarly reliable service provider. This consists of not only solid financial resources, but also a strong knowledge of the local area.

The need for dependable, high speed Internet extends not only across the nation but across the world. Citizens of Albany and Seattle may not be able to relate to those of England and Russia on many levels, but they have all felt the frustration of enduring poor Internet service. 

U.S. Picks Up Slack in the Race for High Speed Internet

High speed Internet is one item that President Obama has ranked high on the United States’ 2014 agenda. For the U.S.—a pioneer of the Internet movement—achieving high speeds at an affordable price continues to be a persistent obstacle.  

For example, the New York Times reports Latvian capital Riga’s Internet speed to be two and a half times faster than San Antonio’s—the U.S.’ seventh largest city comprised of 1.4 million people. This boils down to notably longer download times, such as a two-hour movie taking 35 minutes to download in San Antonio and only 13 minutes in Riga. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks 35th out of 148 countries in Internet bandwidth according to the World Economic Forum. 

As one can imagine, there are plenty of questions that have gone unanswered here. The Obama administration has been working to answer as many as it can.

 “To create jobs and grow wages at home, and to compete in the global information economy, the delivery of fast, affordable, and reliable broadband service to all corners of the United States must be a national imperative,” the Obama administration cautioned in its June 2013 “Office of Science and Technology Policy and The National Economic Council” report.

The government’s warning should come as no surprise, nor should its aggressive push for reliable high speed Internet, considering the above statistics. Where do you stand in the world race for high speed Internet?   

The Battle of the Cables: Fiber vs. Copper

Today, most telecommunication networks depend on one of two types of cables for delivering Internet: fiber or copper. For anyone unfamiliar with one term or the other (or someone who is simply interested in learning more about what each brings to the table), it could be helpful to flesh out the differences between each. After all, each boasts quite an interesting history and can be used for different purposes.

Perhaps you’re currently utilizing copper cables and are interested in the benefits that fiber can afford. If you are you’re not alone, as many businesses have been actively pursuing this initiative. To help, read on for the ultimate need-to-know guide about these two core cables.

How Does Each Work?

Copper cables transmit information as an electrical signal. Meanwhile, fiber optic cables transmit data digitally via light from a laser or light-emitting diode (LED). The data travels along the cable via Total Internal Reflection, meaning it bounces from one side of the glass’ inner surface to enable it to move along the path to reach its final destination. 

What Industries Use Each?

Copper cable is mainly used to manufacture electrical wire and cable conductors. This includes power generation, transmission and distribution. An example of this can be seen in the electrical wiring within a commercial building.

On the other hand, fiber is heavily relied on for network connectivity. In fact, companies can lease or sell unused fiber to providers who are searching for service in a specific area.

How Much Bandwidth Can Each Hold?

Fiber optic cables are known to carry far more data with much greater bandwidth than copper. Although more advanced techniques may enable copper to carry more data than it could in the past, it still doesn’t match the power of fiber optic cables. For example, the very first generation of fiber optic cables was able to carry 280 megabits of data per second – even going so far as being able to transmit terabits (millions of megabits) of data per second. Meanwhile, copper cables were only able to carry 2.5 megabits per second – or only a fraction of what fiber could do.

Main Differences between Copper and Fiber

Beside the fact that copper cables are antiquated when compared to fiber technology (dating all the way back to the 1820’s with the invention of the telegraph), they are also more vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. Because fiber transmits data by light and not metal, it is not affected or threatened in this way. For this reason, copper cables also offer less efficiency and pose a greater risk of signal disruption. Additionally, as mentioned above, fiber transmits data at over 100x faster than standard copper cables. Fiber is almost inherently very strong and certainly more so than copper.

If you’re looking to make the move to fiber cables to ensure high speed Internet, you should first ensure that your provider is a long-term reliable professional. Click here to schedule a consultation with Wolfe today.

Wolfe End of the Year Recap

It’s unbelievable to think that yet another year is coming to a close. Throughout 2013, we kept our eyes on some important happenings throughout the Ethernet space and have been speculating on where they may be headed in the future.

To dig a bit deeper, we sat down with our very own General Manager Michael Scott, who divulged what he thinks were the highlights of 2013, what these new trends could mean moving forward, and what we can expect from Wolfe in the coming year.

Q: What do you think are the largest trends to emerge in the Ethernet and network connectivity spaces over the course of 2013?

We’ve seen significant growth in terms of the amount of connectivity that’s out there. That has really impacted our business in the number of opportunities that have been sent our way and the partnerships we’re delivering on. [This growth] far outpaced the expectations that we originally had at the beginning of the year. We had some ideas about where it was going, but the tremendous growth seen over the course of 2013 blew those out of the water.

Q: Where do you see these trends heading in 2014?

This tremendous growth is far likely to stop now. We see it only continuing further into 2014 and beyond.

Q: What’s the single most exciting thing you see happening in the above spaces in the near future – be it 2014 or beyond?

Small carriers will win over 2014. Companies like us have been gaining significant traction over the larger, more well-known carriers. This will be even more of a win for the smaller guys because smaller carriers are more nimble and they have more time to adapt to newer standards and trends than the larger carriers do.

Given the amount of small carriers jumping into the game and gaining traction over the competition, I think 2013 was just the start and in 2014, we’re going to see it explode even more so. For example, we were able to be more nimble, adopt different standards faster and get them to market faster.

After spending a few minutes with Scott to pick his brain on the industry as a whole, we briefly discussed what Wolfe has been up to this year. It seems that 2013 may have been one of our company’s busiest and most successful yet.

Not only is Wolfe in the midst of a 100 Gigabit backbone deployment – nationwide from Washington to Chicago to Atlanta to New York – but Scott explained that the company is also implementing a super point of presence (POP) in Las Vegas.

“We also have plans in early 2014 to branch into Dallas and Miami as well as Phoenix,” he says. The company will also be rolling out a white label IT service with a data center company that boasts over 15 data centers worldwide. Scott says that customers can expect to learn more about this come January and February.

“It’s an exciting time,” he says. “There are quite a few things on our plate that we continue to make progress in. It’s only going to make it that much more successful for the end-user.”

The 12 Days of High-Speed Ethernet

We’re currently neck deep in all things holiday season; cups of hot cocoa are by the fireplace, stockings are being hung, and we’re listening to good old holiday jingles. With the holiday season in full swing, the Wolfe team thought it would be fun to play off one such traditional song and take a look at the 12 ways that businesses can benefit from high speed Ethernet service.

On the first day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: a solution that was customizable to my business’ needs.

On the second day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: heightened employee productivity (i.e. faster communication, outreach, collaboration and audio and video communications).

On the third day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: the ability for employees to work from home during the busy holiday week.  

On the fourth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: amazing network security.

On the fifth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: five hours of uninterrupted video streaming.

On the sixth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: unwavering reliability.

On the seventh day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: the gift of truly fast speed.

On the eighth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: guaranteed business continuity.

On the ninth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: a better competitive edge.

On the tenth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: higher customer satisfaction and retention.

On the eleventh day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: huge cost savings

On the twelfth day of high speed Ethernet, my service provider gave to me: Bandwidth levels up to 100 Gb/s.

But business owners shouldn’t be reflecting on the benefits of high speed Ethernet for just 12 days – they should be doing so every day. Click here to request a consultation with Wolfe to realize even more benefits and ways to amplify your existing service with a fiber optic Ethernet connection.