Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why T1 is Vastly Superior to DSL & Cable Internet

As a telecom professional for more than 20 years, I have seen the advances and growth in the industry, as well as some of the cutting edge technologies and products to hit the market. But one thing seems to unfortunately remain constant, which is the influx of bad, misleading, and downright inaccurate information regarding telecommunications and the advantages of various technologies to achieve a goal.

First of all, you need to use a reliable provider. This doesn't necessarily mean a "household brand name", and in some cases, definitely does not mean that. But you want to use a carrier whose core business is telecommunications; that is their focus and core market, and they own the networks. Buying something from a second or third tier carrier who does not own the network means you need to go through them to get problems resolved, and they usually have zero ability to fix the problems themselves, but rather need to contact the people who DO own the network. So if you already know that your network is on AT&T or Qwest but you bought your circuit from Billy Bob's, you cannot call AT&T or Qwest directly, because you are not the owner of that circuit; Billy Bob is and is the only one who can log a trouble ticket for your circuit.

You also need to understand that you can choose virtually any carrier on the planet. Just because your local phone company is AT&T or Verizon does not at all mean that they are your only choices for a T1 line. In fact, they are likely your most expensive options.

T1 lines are available just about anywhere, but like real estate, it is location, location, location. The price is highly dependent on the distance of the installation site to the nearest POP (Point Of Presence) of the carrier's distribution facility. As such, the pricing in more metropolitan areas is much better, but even so, a T1 can be had in Mosquito Junction Texas or Podunk Kansas. There is nothing wrong with Mosquito Junction or Podunk, they are lovely communities, but the law of supply and demand prevails, and the demand is just not there to bring the prices down to the same level as metro areas.

A T1 line is certainly not applicable to residential use or home office use in 99.9% of cases.

So what's wrong with DSL and cable? Outside of blatant misleadings and untruths in their advertising you mean? Many things, especially for the business user. Neither DSL nor cable have any kind of uptime guarantee, whereas T1 has a 99.99% uptime guarantee that you get in writing with your contract. And talk about misleading - did you realize that you will likely never see the "6 MB" speed advertised by DSL and cable? That is because you are on a SHARED circuit segment, and you are sharing that circuit segment with 50-100 other businesses and residences in your area, even with "business class" service. That means that only if those 50-100 other businesses and residences are logged off do you even have a theoretical chance of seeing 6 MB speed.

Oh, and that advertised speed is only DOWN. Your UP speed (the speed at which you send data TO the Internet) is typically only about twice the speed of dialup. But they don't tell you that, which in my opinion toes the line of "truth in advertising".

Bandwidth availability? With DSL and cable, you have NONE. If you are able to send or receive ONE character per month to the Internet, your carrier is meeting the terms of their service agreement, which usually says something like "best efforts", and if one character is the best they can do, then that's what you get. The fact that you are seeing decent speeds TODAY has zero bearing on what you might see tomorrow, since these circuits are designed to be oversubscribed, and the only way they can achieve the price points that they do is via over-subscription. You could also be down for a week or more, while they are "working on it" and you have no recourse.

What about FIOS I am frequently asked? FIOS is basically cable with a thyroid condition and has all the inherent disadvantages of cable.

Now let's look at T1, which is delivered very differently from DSL and cable. You have a 99.99% uptime guarantee, and you also have a guarantee of bandwidth availability that is 24x7. You have a DEDICATED circuit, not a shared circuit. I would put a 1.5mb T1 on a dedicated circuit up against a 6 mb DSL on a shared circuit any day of the week and I would win. And you have guaranteed response time if a problem occurs, where you have 24x7 access to the technical support desk in case of a problem.

Use a first or top tier carrier that owns their network. Although you may get a lower price from a second or third tier carrier, you will pay for it in service, in billing inaccuracies, and other problems. There is one well known second tier carrier who installed a "T1" line for a customer, but that customer, looking at it carefully, discovered they had actually installed a DSL circuit. First and top tier carriers cannot afford to play that kind of game.

If you are betting your business's success in large part on the stability of your Internet connection, why gamble with fire by choosing a technology such as DSL or cable that is "iffy" at best with zero guarantees? Do you provide your employees with birch bark and charcoal to save money, or pads and pens? The latter of course because it is more productive for them. The same analogy can be applied to DSL or cable versus T1. Yes a T1 line costs more, but your business operations and productivity will experience great gains, you will have an order of magnitude more reliability, and you will also have an upgrade path as your business grows that typically cannot even be met with DSL or cable.

Are you wondering about upgrading your business to a T1 line, or perhaps even a bonded T1, DS3, or Ethernet connection, in order to get rid of the unreliability and instability of DSL or cable? We represent about 30 first tier and top tier carriers, and based on the volume of business we provide to them each month, they allow us to guarantee that the prices we quote you are the lowest price that they will offer a circuit for, which we guarantee. For a quote on a T1 Line and more information, please visit our web site at

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