Let’s see what’s happened to T1 over the years. T1 for dedicated Internet access is now available just about anywhere you can get a phone line installed. The pricing has dropped from well over $1,000 to somewhere in the $300 range for most locations. Those off the beaten path will cost more, but nothing like they used to. If 1.5 Mbps isn’t enough, you can generally bond T1 lines together to get 3 Mbps or higher.
For the same price as a T1 line at 1.5 Mbps, you may also be able to get a newer service called Ethernet over Copper or EoC. The difference is that EoC will give you 2 or 3 Mbps for that price. Companies now are switching from T1 to EoC as a way to increase their Internet access bandwidth while keeping their broadband budget the same. Once the switch is made, it is much easier and less expensive to continue increasing bandwidth to 5, 10, 15, 20 and higher Mbps levels. The growth path for T1 is bonded T1 followed by DS3, which is a serious jump in both speed and cost to get to 45 Mbps.
What else can you get for your T1 line budget? Smaller retail stores that have traditionally relied on large and pricey satellite systems are turning to 3G fixed wireless at about 1 Mbps. That’s not much different than T1 bandwidth for about half the price. Like T1, 3G is available for nearly all business locations. Is works very well for Point of Sale (POS) transactions as well as general Internet access. A higher speed service, 4G fixed wireless, is starting to be deployed now and is a logical growth path from 3G.
How would you like a lot of bandwidth, say 100 Mbps, for that T1 price? That’s not impossible anymore. It’s the result of Cable business broadband that’s delivered over a standard Cable TV coaxial copper line. This is a shared bandwidth service that is very similar to home broadband but designed to meet the needs of business, including such things as static IPs if needed. A very popular service is 100 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload. You need to have the cable passing your business to be hooked up, but if that’s the case you can get a lot of speed for your bandwidth dollar.
What happens if you need even higher speeds with dedicated access, very low latency, service level agreements and other features? The traditional approach is to move on up to SONET / SDH fiber optic service, starting with OC-3 at 155 Mbps. A less expensive competing service is now Ethernet over Fiber or EoF. The popular entry level is 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet that matches the speed of many Local Area Networks. FastE, as it is called, is an almost direct replacement for OC-3 even though the bandwidth is lower. Many times OC-3 was installed because DS3 at 45 Mbps was too little and 155 Mbps was way more than enough.
Like Ethernet over Copper, Ethernet over Fiber is easily scaled up as requirements expand. You can work your way up to 250 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 750 Mbps and 1 Gbps or Gigabit Ethernet. There are often more intermediate bandwidth steps in-between these levels. With SONET, your choices are OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-24 at 1.2 Gbps and OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps. Ethernet over Fiber goes up to 10 Gbps to match OC-192 that is also 10 Gbps.
How much bandwidth do you need now and what sort of budget do you need to meet? Save yourself the time and trouble of chasing all over to get pricing from multiple vendors. The GeoQuote broker pricing engine will give you instant competitive prices for bandwidth services up to 1 Gbps, with other services quoted by experienced bandwidth experts and sent to you via email or over the phone. If you haven’t gotten pricing lately, be ready for a shock... and a pleasant shock indeed.
Note: Photo of high speed traffic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.