Thursday, November 30, 2006

Integrated T1 Service Ideal for SMBs

Small and medium businesses have come a long way from the days when a cash register and order pad were all the technology you needed to complete transactions. Today, every operation from the quick service restaurant to the insurance or real estate sales office, grocery store, electronics retailer, radio station and professional services office needs electronic voice and data communications just to open the doors every day. The challenge is to get the most reliable service at the best price.

The two most common communications needs are telephone service and Internet access. In most cases, this means multiple phone lines and broadband Internet service. A business location will typically start with a few analog phone lines tied into a key telephone system. Those are the phones where you push a button to select the line you wish to answer or call out on. Retail stores use those same phone lines for the credit card machines, many times even sharing lines between telephone and credit transactions.

How about Internet access? Businesses use the Internet for everything from online research, email, web site hosting, creating WiFi hotspots, order entry to remote sales sites, streaming audio, demonstrating technology like computers, ordering supplies, and downloading financial data to a home office or franchisor. Point of Sale systems can use the Internet for credit card verification, speeding up this part of the transaction. Security cameras can stream video to remote monitoring sites via broadband Internet.

Unfortunately, the Internet can be the weak link in the system. "Best Effort" shared access services, such as DSL and Cable broadband, have no performance commitment and no guaranteed availability. The line can go down for hours or longer, or bog down to the point where data just barely flows. At such time, any VoIP phone services will also become garbled or drop calls completely.

One solution that works for many businesses that depend heavily on reliable Internet access is to install T1 dedicated Internet service. This gives you a highly reliable connection at 1.5 Mbps directly to the Internet Service provider and not shared with residences or other businesses. If more bandwidth is needed, additional T1 lines can be bonded to create a bigger digital pipe. However, smaller businesses or those not heavily using the Internet as a core part of their business may find they really don't need all the continuous bandwidth of a T1 line. It's the reliability they really want.

Integrated T1 service gives SMBs a way to get highly reliable phone service and highly reliable Internet service in a very cost attractive bundle. How? By using a single T1 line for both telephone and Internet.

Here's how it works. A T1 line used exclusively for telephone service can replace 23 or 24 separate telephone lines. But chances are that your business doesn't need anywhere near that many outside lines. You may actually need only 3 to 12 lines connected to your internal key or PBX telephone system. The remaining capacity of the T1 line can be used for broadband Internet access rather than remaining idle. In other words, the T1 line can replace all of the separate analog phone lines plus the DSL or Cable Internet service.

The device that makes this possible is called an IAD or Integrated Access Device. One of these is installed at the business premises and another at the Integrated T1 service provider. The IAD manages the T1 line to ensure that all telephone calls have all the bandwidth they need for full voice quality. The remaining bandwidth is used for dedicated Internet access. Even with 12 phone calls in progress, there can be more Internet speed available than with many DSL services. If no calls are in progress, the full T1 line is used for Internet. This is sometimes referred as a dynamic T1 line, to differentiate it from static service which dedicates a full T1 line to all voice or all data.

What makes Integrated T1 service particularly effective for small and medium businesses is that you can use your regular phones and phone system but apply the monthly phone line bills to the cost of the Integrated T1. You will also not need to pay for separate broadband Internet service. The IAD, phone service and Internet service are all included with your Integrated T1. Even the smallest retail locations can have as robust phone and Internet service as the big companies. The size of the service and the monthly cost are scaled for smaller businesses.

Is Integrated T1 line service right for your business? Why not talk it over with our technical consultants and get competitive pricing to compare with your other options? Spend a few minutes and you may save yourself a lot of potential grief and perhaps a lot of money too. Simply call the toll free number or put in a quick online quote request at T1 Rex now.

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

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter