The first thing you should know is that T1 is in a completely different class of service than either DSL or Cable broadband. T1 is a regulated, tariffed telecommunications service. The other two are unregulated information services offered primarily for residential users. In return for a lower cost, consumers are willing to put up with irregularities in the service. These include bandwidth that can slow to a crawl when usage is particularly heavy, a difference in upload and download speeds, and no guarantees on service availability.
For residential and home office users, one of the consumer grade services makes sense. It’s also probably all you are going to get. Most carriers will only install a regulated telecom service to a bona-fide business address, not a residential listing. There is also a credit check and a 1 to 3 year contract for services like T1.
Having said that, you should also know that T1 lines are available to just about any business location. It’s almost like a utility. If you can get electricity, water and telephone service, you can probably get T1 service. That’s above and beyond what you can expect from those consumer services. They are very localized to cities and suburbs. It’s not at all unusual for a business to be out of the area for DSL or Cable, yet have no trouble getting T1 service installed.
Why is this? It’s because T1 technology was developed by the telephone companies for their own use initially. It’s since become available for businesses. As a telco technology, T1 was designed to be provisioned on the same twisted pair copper wiring that is used for analog telephone service. Nearly every business has a multi-pair bundle installed when the building is constructed in order to get telephone service. The wires that aren’t being used for telephone lines are available for T1. It takes two pair to support T1 service. One pair is used for transmit, also known as upload. The other pair is for receive, also called download.
As you might suspect, having separate transmit and receive wires means that bandwidth on T1 lines is symmetrical. You get 1.5 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload simultaneously. That arrangement is also known as full duplex. Check other bandwidth options and you’ll probably see that the download speed is much larger than the upload speed. It’s designed that way to save money and works just fine for casual Web browsing. However, if you regularly transfer files between locations or upload content to a remote Web server, having the same upload and download speeds can be a big advantage.
T1 service is available everywhere, even out in the boonies, because the system was designed for signal regeneration. Every mile or so there is a regenerator that takes the signal that normally degrades with distance and re-generates or reshapes back to an ideal waveform. This can be done multiple times so that you’ll get T1 service even 10 or 20 miles away from the nearest telephone company office.
Finally, you should know that T1 line prices have plunged in recent years due to deregulation, competition and heavy demand for the service. Could T1 give your business the bandwidth and reliability you need? Find out with a quick online search for T1 availability and prices now.