But as carriers and enterprises combine voice and data on to the same networks, as as the worlds of IT networking and telecom converge, the carriers are ramping up their IT services that go beyond basic wide-area connectivity.Allstream, for example, is expanding its radio-frequency identification portfolio (see Allstream installing and testing radiofrequency identification hardware, page 8). Companies like Bell Canada and AT&T Global Services are providing network security services, and AT&T goes so far as to tell customers it can handle their firewall functions (see Fears of jail prompt some executives to look to carriers for network security, page 20). Over the next five years, carriers will see a dramatic increase in the demand for wide-area Ethernet services (see Analysts predict steady growth for wide-area Ethernet voice and data, page 18).
SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE?
Some IT professionals may wonder whether a telecom carrier should be the first choice when shopping for data networking services. But the fact that the IT network service provider is a telecom carrier that is relatively new to the IT world should not matter. What should matter is whether the carrier has a good track record providing the service. Two years’ experience in providing good service at a good price beats eight years of providing poor service at a high price.
Some may be reluctant to rely on one telecom carrier for all of their voice and data networking requirements. But what would you rather face when the IT systems fail? Two separate contractors blaming each other for a network outage? Or one contractor who has a contractual obligation to either fix the problem or give you your money back? Is it worth it to have a single point of failure when you’re also getting a single point of contact, with a single point of accountability? If you have strong opinions one way or the other, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.