Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Do Businesses Prefer T1 and DS3 Bandwidth Connections?

When a business needs a bandwidth connection for their voice/data network applications they almost always choose a T1 or T3 connection. What is a T1 and a DS3 connection? Why are there better than DSL and cable for business needs?
T1 (1.544 Mbps) and DS3 (45 Mbps) connections are traditional business-class digital leased phone lines. The technology is pre-cable and pre-DSL. The main advantage is service: If either one goes down, the phone company will bend over backwards to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Business rely on these lines for their income and a downed line can cost thousands of dollars an hour. They also have time-tested monitoring and diagnostic capabilities to keep them up, so they are more reliable.
A T1 breaks down into 24 channels. Each channel can either be used for a phone line or 64 Kbps of Internet. A business can have 8 phone lines and 1024 Kbps of Internet (16 X 64 Kbps) over a T1 for on average between $300-$500. This is less expensive than paying for 8 phone lines + DSL/cable Internet making it better for them.
A DS3 breaks into 672 channels and costs several thousand dollars a month. However, T3 (or DS3) prices have been dropping steadily the last few years and can usually be found for between $3-4,000 in most areas. however, this still makes the cost impractical for smaller businesses in many cases.
Often a business will optimize capability and cost by choosing to install a fractional T1 or DS3 rather thsn full. The obvious benefit is reduced cost....and scalability can be built in for those times when surge capability is needed or strategic business growth is planned.
They are also different in that they don't connect directly to the Internet; they connect from one customer to another. So, for example, you could have a private line between two businesses with no Internet security hazards. Many people of course simply connect them to an ISP (whom you then have to pay an additional fee on top of what you pay Ma Bell for the T1 line).
They are symmetrical, unlike most DSL and cable lines; you get the same speed in both directions. Also important for businesses, especially those exchanging data between offices.
Like DSL lines, and unlike cable lines (which are shared), they are dedicated to one customer. Cable service is often unavailable to businesses, so that's another difference.
Not surprisingly, both can be expensive for a small business, DS3's absurdly so. Cost mostly depends on distance. This boils down to two simple components; local loop (the cost the local incumbent charges to transport the signal from the end user's central office, otherwise known as a CO, to the point of presence, otherwise known as a POP, of the carrier) and the port (the cost to access the telephone network or the Internet through the carrier's network). Typically, the port price is based upon access speed and yearly commitment level while the loop is based on geography. The further the CO and POP, the more the loop cost.
Unless you are running a business that cannot afford to go down for half a day, you are better off with cable or DSL service. Otherwise....for reliability, scalability, performance, and capacity you'd best evaluate your options for T1 or DS3 bandwidth application.
Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications....including DS3 Bandwidth Solutions. Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you're always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.

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