The US Signal Network: Connections Make a Difference

June 5, 2020
Network

At US Signal, we talk a lot about our fiber network. It features prominently on our web site and in our marketing and training materials because it differentiates our company and services. Here’s one of the descriptions of it that’s commonly used:

“The US Signal network encompasses 14,000 miles of lit fiber, 8 US Signal data centers in key Midwest cities, metro rings in 20 Midwest markets, access to over 225 data centers and POPs, and redundant Tier 1 peering relationships.”

So, what does this mean? Why is it important? Most important, what value does it provide for US Signal’s customers? One word answers all three questions: connections. The US Signal network not only enables a massive amount of connections, it ensures their reliability, speed and low latency. Breaking down the description above helps explain why.

14,000 Miles of Lit Fiber

For context, 14,000 miles is the equivalent of traveling from Grand Rapids, Michigan, US Signal’s home base, to the southern tip of South America and back. That’s a lot of fiber for one company to run throughout the Midwest, and enables US Signal to bring its network to doorstep of thousands of businesses across a 10-state area. Those 10 states include Virginia — home of the US capitol of the internet and Ashburn’s “data center alley,” which is widely renowned as America’s most important hub for Internet traffic and network infrastructure.

The fact that it’s a lit fiber network is significant. Lit fiber connections carry data at much faster speeds than traditional copper cable. That makes a lit fiber network ideal for providing the required speed for data-intensive applications and cloud applications.

Another important attribute of the network is that it ’s wholly owned and maintained by US Signal. Our Technical Operations Center (TOC) monitors it 24/7/365. If an issue arises, it can be resolved before it becomes a problem for customers. US Signal also has its own crew to deploy if physical repairs are ever needed, resulting in much quicker response times and less downtime.

Yet another feature to know about: US Signal maintains 60 Gig of geographically diverse upstream Internet connection across our footprint in locations away from common bottlenecks like Chicago.

8 Data Centers

US Signal’s data centers are strategically located in or near major Midwest cities. They’re easily accessible from major transportation routes, making them convenient for companies doing business in the Midwest that require reliable data center services such as cloud, colocation, and data protection.

Most are at least 200 miles apart, and all are on separate power grids. That’s important in terms of disaster recovery. There needs to be adequate distance between primary and backup sites in case a natural disaster takes out a data center.

In addition, US Signal’s data centers are audited for compliance with HIPAA/HITECH, PCI DSS, SOC 1, TYPE 2, and SOC 2, Type 1 and certified under the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework and Swiss-US Privacy Shield Framework. That  helps US Signal customers meet many of their own compliance requirements. It also ensures them of that their colocated assets, as well as the services US Signal provides, are protected by high-level security technologies and protocols.

Metro Rings

US Signal’s network includes metro rings in 20 Midwest markets. A metro ring — metropolitan ring network — is a backbone optical network that spans a metropolitan area in a ring configuration. It connects businesses to each other and to WANs, the Internet, common carriers and carrier hotels.

Metro rings bring network services closer to where customers are, enhancing  network monitoring capabilities and improving network reliability.

POPs

A PoP — point of presence — is an access point where two or more networks share a connection. Companies like US Signal that provide connectivity solutions typically have multiple PoPs located near large Internet exchange points (IXPs). How close PoPs are to IXPs determines how quickly traffic can traverse the Internet.

PoPs are also important for maintaining Internet access quality. When an Internet connection is disrupted, a PoP can identify and locate the source of trouble. This ensures quick problem solving. It also means proactive measures can be taken to deal with future problems.

Peering

The most common way of connecting to the Internet is transit, which means an end user or network operator pays another, usually larger, network operator to carry its traffic. Peering is different, because it allows networks to directly exchange traffic without paying a third-party to carry traffic across the Internet.

Peering contributes to a better user experience and lower latency because it produces a more direct path between two networks, reducing the distance data travels. US Signal has a robust peering program with over 100 companies including presence at the Equinix Ethernet exchanges in Chicago, IL and Ashburn, VA. The peering points provide one-hop connections for customer to highly used services.

Why the Network Matters

US Signal’s network is what powers our colocation, cloud, connectivity, and data protection services. It incorporates features to ensure we can deliver the bandwidth, performance, security, agility, and network speed our customers need to meet their business requirements and build future-ready capabilities.

To learn more about the US Signal network, download our free eBook, The Power of the US Signal Network — Your Connection for Digital Transformation.

You can also check out our network-powered services. Or contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss how we can put the US Signal network to work for your organization. Call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected].