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Advantages of Transparent LAN Service
Wide Area Ethernet service lets you establish a single LAN for all your business locations

By: John Shepler

As businesses increasingly move from having all of their activities in a single building or campus, the need for wide area connectivity is increasing. This is especially true of companies with nationwide branch offices, and medical centers spread out over regional areas. There have always been telecommunications services to tie multiple locations together, but now there are services that actually let your local area network span an entire metro area, even multiple states.

Why Transparent LAN Service?
The service you may be looking for is called Transparent LAN Service. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Instead of maintaining individual LANs for each location and then using legacy telecom services to transfer data between them, the transparent LAN makes all those separate LANs look like one big one.

Transparent LAN Service is an Ethernet layer 2 switching service. It’s similar to bridging a number of smaller networks together as you would in-house. The difference is that this capability lets you bridge branch offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Seattle and elsewhere so that they are part of a unified whole.

MPLS Networks and VPLS
One technology that is rapidly gaining popularity for implementing transparent LANs is VPLS or Virtual Private LAN Service. This is a standards based carrier service that uses IP / MPLS networks for core network. Some carriers have a nationwide footprint for their IP networks, so they can easily offer VPLS in many major cities.

Transparent LAN Services run at native LAN speeds of 10, 100 and 1000 Mbps. Higher speeds of 10 Gbps are becoming increasingly available for enterprises with demands for high traffic levels and low latencies. Fully meshed multipoint-to-multipoint layer 2 services require special equipment at both the provider and customer edges. For that reason, a transparent LAN solution is a managed service between all locations. The carrier will install a CE (customer edge) interface and provide the last mile connection between each of your locations and their core network.

Your LAN Spans The Nation
With Transparent LAN Service, a PC on the West Coast is located right next to the printer on the East Coast. You can converge your networks so that you have voice, video and data all running on the same Ethernet network from coast to coast. You don’t have to make all of these WAN connections work, your managed service provider will take care of that. Even a huge network can be managed as if it were right there in your office building.

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