Thursday, February 23, 2012

Double Bonded T1 Cost and Alternatives

Companies are in love with their T1 service. They’ve had those lines for years and have become quite comfortable with the reliability and consistent performance you get from classic T1 lines. Eventually, though, the day comes with 1.5 Mbps just isn’t enough anymore. Does that mean bidding a fond farewell to the venerable T1 line?

Doubled Bonded T1 lines offer twice the bandwidth...No, it certainly doesn’t. If you are comfortable and happy with T1 as your business phone, dedicated Internet or private line connection, you can simply add another T1 and keep right on going. The trick is to order double bonded T1 service rather than a completely separate and unrelated T1 line. Bonding is an industry standard technique for combining the bandwidth of two line services so that they act as one larger service.

In this case, we are doubling the bandwidth by using 2 bonded T1 lines in place of a single line. Your bandwidth goes from 1.5 Mbps to 3 Mbps in both directions, upload and download. Everything else remains the same. This bonding is done within Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) that the service provider installs. It will likely be a T1 router with 2 T1 line inputs.

What happens when you reach the limit of 3 Mbps bandwidth? Is that the end of the road for T1? Not by a long shot. You can triple bond your T1 lines to up that to 4.5 Mbps or quadruple bond to get 6 Mbps. Five T1 lines gives 7.5 Mbps and Six lines offer 9 Mbps. Use 7 bonded T1 lines for 10.5 Mbps and 8 T1s for 12 Mbps. That’s about the practical limit for T1 line service. Beyond that, you’ll need to look at alternative technologies.

What’s the cost of bonded T1 lines? That’s easy to calculate. You simply take the cost of a single T1 line and multiple it by the number of lines you want to bond together. Unfortunately, with T1 technology there is no real economy of scale. Two lines cost twice as much as one line. However, you may wind up paying much less than twice the cost of your current T1 line.

Why? Because there is a lot of competition for these lines and chances are that prices have dropped since the last time you signed a service contract. Bonded T1 lines need to all come from the same provider. Your choice is to call up your current carrier and ask to have a second T1 line bonded to the one you have, or go out for competitive bids. A new service provider will install the bonded T1 lines you need on a new contract, probably for less than twice what you pay now. If you have very old T1 service and haven’t received any price reductions over the years, it is conceivable that you can get a double bonded T1 line for the same price as you pay now for a single line.

There’s another way you can get twice the bandwidth for the same price. That’s with a newer technology called EoC or Ethernet over Copper. EoC uses the same twisted pair telco wiring that provides your T1 lines. However it uses different terminal equipment at your location and at the far end installed in the telco central office.

One advantage of Ethernet over Copper is that you can get higher bandwidths than the 12 Mbps or so available using bonded T1. While 3 Mbps EoC is popular as an alternative to T1 lines or double bonded T1, many companies are moving up to 10 Mbps or even 15, 20, or 30 Mbps. EoC technology is distance sensitive, so the closer you are to the CO, the higher the bandwidth that can be installed. In business districts, it is not uncommon to get EoC service as high as 45 Mbps which competes with fiber delivered service.

Unsure as to which way to go? Why not take a look at both approaches and decide which makes the most sense for your business location or locations. Get pricing and bandwidth levels for both T1 lines and Ethernet over Copper services for a complete picture of available line services.

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

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