Thursday, July 10, 2008

T1 Phone Lines Offer More For Less

Once your business gets big enough that the telephone bill is a significant part of your monthly expenses, you may be ready for a higher volume, lower cost service. That's especially true if you have started a dedicated contact center for your customers or have grown to a dozen or more outside lines.

The service you'll be interested in is called a T1 telephone line. A T1 "line" is a digital telephone trunk as opposed to a single telephone line. What trunk means is a group of phone lines all bundled electronically into a single line. If you order your phone lines one at a time, as most growing companies do, you'll get individual analog lines with local dial tone and perhaps long distance service. Each line is independent of the others. You select the line you want with a multi-line phone or key telephone system. Or, your PBX system will automatically pick one for you.

T1 telephone lines come bundled up to 23 or 24 to a T1 line. Each line is still independent and can be configured for local and/or long distance service, incoming or outgoing or both, depending on your needs. What T1 telephone service does is offer a volume discount compared to just adding more and more analog phone lines.

Do T1 lines connect to your phones the same as conventional analog phone lines? Not exactly. You need something to perform the conversion between analog and digital formats. If all you want to do is consolidate a bunch of analog phone lines that feed a bunch of analog handsets, a device called a "channel bank" will do the job for you. The T1 line feeds into one side of the channel bank and up to 24 individual phone lines come out the other side.

Most of the time, if you have a dozen or more phone lines you probably have a PBX telephone system in-house. The PBX or the newer IP PBX systems have gotten small and inexpensive compared to the closet full of equipment they used to be. Many newer systems come with a T1 line interface or can be ordered with that configuration. If your existing PBX system doesn't have T1 line capability, you can usually order a plug-in card that will make the connection.

There's something else you need to know about T1 phone lines. There are two types. The original configuration is a channelized T1 line with 24 individual channels, one to transport each telephone line. A newer arrangement is the T1 PRI or ISDN PRI. PRI stands for Primary Rate Interface. This is the most popular version of T1 phone service because it offers up to 23 telephone lines plus Caller ID information and faster call switching. Most PBX and IP PBX phone systems can handle T1 PRI as well as conventional channelized T1 lines.

Because of their economy of scale in combining multiple phone lines into a single digital trunk, T1 phone lines can offer you more capability for less money. How much more for how much less? That depends on how you want your service configured. There are often limited time special offers from competitive carriers that can make the line lease cost even more attractive. Find out how much you can benefit from the most competitive offers on T1 phone lines now.

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

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