It’s obvious by the vast difference in price between DSL/cable service and T1 that they are not the same. From the outside looking in, however, it is hard to define exactly what sets them apart. A T1 usually costs between $300 – $500 per month and has a throughput of 1.5 megabits per second. DSL or cable, which usually costs anywhere between $50 and $300 per month, can actually have quoted speeds much higher than T1. What gives?
There are several factors creating a premium price for the T1 over DSL/cable, but the most important one is the quality of the connection to the Internet. In the case of a T1, a local access line connects your location to a dedicated Internet port provided by your ISP. This creates a constant, guaranteed, bidirectional connection of 1.5 MBps.
This method of delivery contrasts greatly with that of a DSL line or a cable line. Although DSL and cable use different technologies, the important thing to remember is that the bandwidth is not guaranteed. This is why T1s really have to be used for voice circuits, because the speed guarantee is necessary to assure proper telephone service. This issue can also be problematic for computer users as well. It is very frustrating and unproductive for workers to experience slow Internet access.
Another important distinction is that with a T1, the speed of the line (1.5 MBps) is the same in both directions – upload and download. DSL and cables lines are usually asymmetrical, with the rate that is quoted as the maximum download speed. Upload speeds are usually just a fraction of the download speed.
In addition to the price difference and type of delivery, a T1 comes with a stronger commitment to deliver service. Almost all carriers provide a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees uptime of your T1. The SLA generally outlines a credit structure for any time that your T1 is down. While some carriers provide an SLA for DSL as well, it is often not as strong as a T1 SLA. If a provider is having technical issues, most likely T1 service would be repaired before DSL. Since most businesses are highly dependent upon their Internet connection, this is very important to consider as well.
DSL and cable circuits are improving in quality, speed and price all the time. In the near future, it is not unreasonable to think that these circuits (or some other technology) could be used in place of T1s in many businesses. The type of circuit you need and are able to obtain for your business depends on several factors. If you are confused or have questions, give us a call.