Thursday, January 06, 2011

2x2 Ethernet Takes on T-1

T1 lines have been the go-to commercial telecom service for small and medium businesses over the last decade. Now a challenger is taking on the venerable T1 line. It is a brand new service called 2x2 Ethernet that’s just been launched by MegaPath, a major nationwide competitive carrier. Let’s see what 2x2 Ethernet has to offer.

Ethernet over Copper has significant cost and performance advantages. Click for service availability.You might not think that T1 lines were subject to much competition. After all, the technology is half a century old and heavily entrenched. T1 was the first broadband digital line connection readily available to businesses. It came out of telephone company research and was used as a trunking system to transport telephone calls between switching centers long before it was offered to commercial companies. With repeater technology and the ability to be deployed over two unshielded twisted pair telco wires, T1 has risen to become dominant for digital telephone, point to point connections and dedicated broadband access.

Ethernet came out of the computer industry rather than telephony. Ethernet has grown to dominate local area networks for most companies. Until recently, Ethernet was considered a LAN technology and T1 was considered a WAN technology. There’s not much chance that T1 will move into the LAN, but Ethernet has been steadily encroaching on the metropolitan and wide area networks over the last few years. Now, it’s ready to make its move to take over the role that T1 lines still serve. But why?

Part of the answer is bandwidth. T1 lines offer a fixed 1.5 Mbps of symmetrical bandwidth. You get the same line speed in both the upload and download directions. Ethernet offers a variety of line speeds over both copper and fiber optic cables. The MegaPath 2x2 Ethernet runs at 2 Mbps for both upload and download. That’s a bit faster than T1, although the bandwidth increase alone isn’t what makes this service so attractive. In addition to the 33% increase in capacity, 2x2 Ethernet is easy to interface. The handoff from WAN to LAN is a standard Ethernet connector. No extra CSU/DSU interface circuitry is required, like you have with T1 lines.

What really makes the MegaPath 2x2 Ethernet service compelling is that it is priced less than a T1 line. Ethernet has enjoyed a per Mbps cost that often beats traditional telecom services, especially at the higher bandwidths. But this is a 2 Mbps service that costs less than a 1.5 Mbps service. Not only that, but you have a choice of configuring this service for either data only or voice plus data. With at least five lines of digital, analog or SIP trunking telephone service, the 2x2 Ethernet line cost is reduced even more. It would appear that we are in the twilight era of T1 dominance.

But what about availability? MegaPath has addressed this with Ethernet over Copper connections through 1,900 central offices nationwide. They estimate that over 90% of small and large businesses are within the footprint of one of these COs. MegaPath is actually a super CLEC or Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. The company is a merger of MegaPath, Covad and Speakeasy, all significant carriers in their own right.

Is your business in need of new connectivity or are you simply interested in seeing if you can get a better deal that what you’ve been paying for your existing T1 line service? If you have an older contract, that T1 might be costing you twice as much as it should. Find out for sure with a quick pricing and availability inquiry for Ethernet over Copper services. Higher bandwidths are also available for your more demanding applications.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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