Exponential-e channel boss Alp Kostem argues that ethernet should be ranked alongside the Apple II, the first mobile phone and the Sony Walkman
The 1970s is widely considered to be the decade that saw the birth of modern computing and technology. The Intel 4004 microprocessor was launched in 1971; the first mobile phone call was made on a Motorola device in 1973; the Apple II hit the market in 1977; and the Sony Walkman followed in 1979. These are just four examples of many cutting-edge developments that would go on to change how we live, and they are now immortalised in museums and in the technology we take for granted today.
However, there's one piece of technology that was also created in the 1970s and would go on to have similar cultural impacts, yet, isn't as revered as the others - ethernet.
To the vast majority, ethernet is very much yesterday's news. It represents a time when a lack of Wi-Fi kept us chained to our desks, and we've moved well beyond simple cable connections. Of course, the channel knows and understands that the technology offers so much more, but education to wider industries is so lacking because it's just not as attention-grabbing as more recent innovations. It's the channel's job to change that perception.
The backbone of any 21st century organisation
Simply put, ethernet is essential to the future of the workplace. All organisations require a core, connected, infrastructure that acts as the underlay to all applications and functions. When that doesn't operate as it should, it creates huge issues throughout the enterprise, which lead to lost revenues and reputation. This is why connectivity and ethernet are so vital. Yet, investment in the fundamental technology which is actually powering the business is often overlooked, meaning many simply don't have the network and foundations to maximise investment in additional innovation.
When core infrastructure is supported by a superfast, 100GbE, high-bandwidth network, businesses have full confidence that the vital solutions at their heart have complete resilience and availability. This is even more imperative in today's world where so much resides in the cloud. Fundamentally, an organisation's cloud is only as good as its network. Attempting to run full-scale enterprise applications on networks that can't provide 100% uptime is akin to building a house of cards on an uneven tabletop - it's going to topple eventually.
A strong and secure ethernet network can be the backbone of a company, providing the foundations for successful cloud applications, SD-WAN deployments and full-scale digital transformations. It delivers peace-of-mind, with businesses then able to build up and out, adding the ‘cooler' technologies that often grab the headlines.
Edge technologies, like Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility applications - which enhance agility, analysis and performance - rely on real-time data transfer which needs consistent connectivity. Similarly, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed realty (MR), which many believe will revolutionise the workplace, have to be supported by sprawling low latency networks of which ethernet can provide. While 5G is the current ‘buzzword' and is talked about as the being the development needed to take things to the next level, the channel is in a unique position to educate the market that the technology actually needed is already here and as reliable as ever.
Exponential-e has ethernet at its heart
Digging deeper into networks - your network is only as good as the provider. Exponential-e was founded in 2002 and launched its internet over ethernet carrier-class fibre network in the same year. First-to-market, the network has grown and developed as the company has; it now provides the bedrock to the Exponential-e portfolio, which includes ethernet, private cloud and ICT services.
The state-of-the-art, VPLS-enabled, 100GbE, high-capacity network (which, again, was first-to-market on launch in 2006) is the second largest ethernet network in London by postcode and one of the most substantial across the entirety of the UK. It's supported through 190+ BT ethernet exchanges, as well as growing partnerships with Sky and CityFibre, giving it more than 200 PoPs - with many more planned for 2020 - across 34 datacentres. Moreover, it's a business-only network so it isn't impacted by consumer peaks in traffic.
Exponential-e's next-generation, end-to-end, ethernet supports full layer 2 and 3 deployment of multiple services across a single fibre circuit. Consistent connectivity, low latency data centre access, enterprise-wide cloud networks, as well as voice and unified communications (UC) capabilities, means companies can condense all required solutions down to a solitary offering, which can be managed from a single pane. This enables simple bandwidth management that ensures key business applications are never starved of resources due to less-vital, bandwidth-hungrier ones.
Strengthening the channel
As the ethernet's industry leader, Exponential-e ensures any development is passed on to and through its partners by offering market-leading price points. This ensures all partners have access to Exponential-e's portfolio and network - which it continues to invest heavily in - and still with room for significant margins.
Moreover, initial quoting and relationship onboarding has been simplified through Exponential-e's pricing portal, CloudPort. With live quotation tracking, users are able to see real-time prices of cloud and networking services, and how small changes in configurations can affect deployment costs. When dealing with end-users who want to act quickly, being able to quote and order services immediately removes the lag time which often sees potential deals lose momentum or be lost to more agile competitors.
Lasting relationships require more than just a smooth start, with ongoing post-sales support a minimum expectation. Yet, it's one which not everyone provides. The company's current Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 58, in an industry that averages 16-18, is displayed on its website and is a live reflection of Exponential-e's consistent dedication to service. With around 13,500 monthly interactions, each user can score the firm's service which then impacts the NPS, for all to see. Should a negative score be submitted, the account manager will contact that user within 30 minutes in order to understand and remedy the situation. On-going 24/7 platinum grade operational support is led by Exponential-e's UK-based Network Operations Centre (NOC), providing a fundamental foundation of the organisation's ‘ensuring peace-of-mind' mantra.
Ultimately, as we move further into the age of edge technologies and cloud-first setups, it's a technology from the 1970s that will provide the foundations for the future. Ethernet doesn't get the attention afforded to other technologies, but it's just as revolutionary and important. A super-fast, secure, 100GigE VPLS-switched network can be the backbone of future-proofed businesses, enabling them to handle the adoption of, and derive maximum value from, the attention-grabbing innovations of both today and tomorrow.
This article was published in partnership with Exponential-e