Understanding T1 connections
With the Internet a central player in everyday business, companies expect high performance from broadband connections. T1 Internet lines are one of the most popular. T1 Internet access lets your employees consistently communicate and exchange data with co-workers, customers, and vendors at speeds unthinkable five years ago.
T1 is symmetrical connection, allowing for downloads and uploads of up to 1.5 Mbps - 30 times faster than dinosaur dial-up. A single T1 connection can support hundreds of users, but speed and efficiency can dip as more people use it concurrently.
Levels of T1 connection service
There are multiple flavors of T1 Internet lines. At its most basic, a T1 line can be used to handle either your voice or data needs.
- Integrated T1. Provides voice and data on the same digital circuit. You can decide how many of the T1 connection's 24 channels will be reserved for voice calls, and what's left is used for data.
- Fractional T1. Uses only a portion of the total bandwidth for a percentage of a full T1 rate.
- Burstable T1. A "pay as you go" service, burstable T1 provides a set amount of bandwidth at all times, but also offers the ability to tap into much greater bandwidth during high traffic spikes.
- Bonded T1. Offers the full bandwidth of multiple T1s at once for better speed and performance. Combining individual T1s into a single pipeline allows for more bandwidth than two separate T1 lines.
Influences on T1 pricing
Pricing for a T1 line depends on the distance of the loop, or mileage between the telcom and place of business. Prices are dropping as demand increases. An ISP will lease T1 lines to provide service to their network of clients. T1 is a worthwhile investment for businesses that rely on employee and customer access to data and applications.
Other multiplexed fiber optic lines include T2 and T3 lines, which can transfer up to 44.736 megabits per second (up to 12 x 12 Mbps.) A T3 line is equal to having 28 T1 lines and used by larger businesses with higher data and voice demands.
Service Level Agreements
Reliability is the most important factor in choosing an ISP. While it's impossible to maintain 100% availability, most T1 providers aim for the lofty standard of "four nines" - 99.99% uptime over the course of a year. With service level agreements (SLAs), access providers pay penalties to customers for downtime exceeding specified totals.
The contract you sign for T1 access should be comprehensive, written in plain language with no hidden fees, and detail all costs, length of service, and the SLA.
The standard contract length for T1 Internet access is three years and may include all setup fees, installation costs, and equipment rental. If you break a contract early, expect to pay the balance left on the contract.
Getting set up
After you sign a contract, a telecommunications contractor will come to your office to set up and test the necessary circuits. Then the T1 provider or Internet access broker installs routers, connects your LAN, configures IP addresses and firewall security, and sets up any other equipment noted on the contract.
It usually takes two weeks to a month from the contract signing to set up your office for access because there's more than one company involved. Have patience and plan accordingly.
Internet access pricing
Monthly T1 prices range from $250 to $1,500 - with a similar cost for the initial setup. This depends on who provides it and where it goes. The total cost is a combination of the fee from the phone company and charges from the ISP.
Fractional T1s run about $100-$200 per month. Bonded T1s are typically priced at a multiple of a regular T1 line, so three bonded T1 lines equal around $750 to $3,000 per month. Standard T1 Internet prices include the phone company's local loop charge - typically $150 and up.
Most vendors will either provide the equipment - routers, T1 pipes, Ethernet cables - for free, or tie them into the monthly pricing. Certain setup fees may also be waived based on the length of a contract.Ready to Compare Internet Access Price Quotes?