T-1 vs. DSL

Are you looking for broadband internet access for your business? There are many options, however the two most commonly used choices for a business are T1 & DSL. As soon as you discover that DSL is approximately $50/month and T1’s are generally $300/month and up, it’s quite evident that there must be a difference. What could possibly make a T1 line cost 3-10 times as much as DSL? It’s the same internet, correct?

Actually, the main difference boils down to reliability. If you need dependable internet speed on a regular basis, a T1 may well be a great solution. If you don’t require reliability, then DSL may very well be acceptable for you.

A T1 is a dedicated internet connection which reliably delivers 1.5 Mbps (broadband) speed – and is also guaranteed to be that fast via the T1 carrier (through an SLA). Virtually all T-1s from Tier 1 providers are under an SLA and MTTR (mean time to respond/repair) agreement – in case the carrier doesn’t resolve your problem, they’ll be confronted with a loss of revenue – which motivates people to do their job! Standard SLAs offer 99.9% up-time, or 2 hours of downtime per month, and other carriers go to 99.99% or 99.999% up-time on their T-1 service. Consequently, your $300 /month is actually buying you peace of mind and also a guaranteed speed. This may become important if you host your own website, download/upload a lot of large files, or use your internet connection for Voice-over-IP. Typically, when Accelerated Technologies sells VoIP service to a business, we look for a minimum of T1 speed and reliability.

On the flip side, DSL can provide you with speed (some claim, up to 20 Mbps) – however you never really know exactly what speed you are going to get. The reason why? Because you essentially share your bandwidth with other customers who are on the same line as you are. As a general rule, the cheaper the price of the DSL, the more people you share the bandwidth with (DSL providers drive cost down by putting more and more subscribers on a single connection – this is called oversubscription and it is a widespread practice among low-cost ISPs boasting cheap and fast DSL). So, if you can live with your broadband speed being variable, then the low-cost of DSL might be for you. For example, if you are only doing e-mail and normal web surfing for your business, DSL might be fine.

There are a few other differences, like upload speed or where your office is located related to your carrier’s network (DSL might be really slow if you are too far away, for example, so you might have to go with T1). But, basically, your decision comes down to how reliable you need your broadband Internet connection to be. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

September 8, 2011
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