Leased Line Networking – How to Use Leased Lines to Create a Wide Area Network

Leased Lines are symmetric dedicated point-to-point connections. By linking leased lines together it is possible to create a Wide Area Network (WAN) that links multiple sites together.

A common leased line networking topology is 'hub and spoke'. Think of a bicycle wheel. There are a number of locations around the rim that are joined by a spoke to one central point, the hub. Now imagine that the locations around the wheel are your offices, the spokes are leased lines, and the hub is your provider's core network.

This topology allows traffic to flow from any two locations. If the link to your head office goes down, your other sites can still communicate with each other.

In reality, the network topology will be far more complicated than that. For a start, your leased line networking provider will probably not have one central point. Their core network is not a point, but a collection of points joined together through high-capacity resilient links.

Wide Area Networks are becoming more popular as leased line prices fall. Once upon a time, the head office would get a leased line, and the regional offices would have to make do with ADSL broadband connections. But falling prices have changed all this. Many businesses can now afford to get a leased line for each of their offices.

When choosing a leased line networking provider there are several things you should consider. For example, does the provider provide 24×7 support? Are they able to provide carrier-independent solutions, or will all your connections (including backup circuits) travel over the same network? Are they able to prioritise traffic flowing across your WAN to minimise the impact of network congestion on quality of service? Do they provide Service Level Agreements?