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What are the best transport options for dedicated internet access?

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What are the best transport options for dedicated internet access?

If you've ever changed the broadband service to your home, you might have come across marketing materials that tout a specific plan providing "up to" a specific downlink/uplink speed, indicating likely real-world performance degradation. For example, a package marketed as "gigabit internet" might fall well short of its potential 1,000 Mbps peak, especially if you're using Wi-Fi on an older device; an Ethernet connection directly from the modem may be the only way to even get close to the maximum speed.

With dedicated internet access (DIA), you don't have to worry about such issues. If you purchased a symmetrical 100 Mbps plan for your business, that's exactly the speed you'll get, thanks to a binding service-level agreement (SLA). The bandwidth is guaranteed and specifically reserved for your organization as per the SLA, which isn't the case with shared broadband connections. DIA is not a "fast lane" per se, but more akin to a private road providing a reliable alternative to a gridlocked highway.

DIA circuits are available in multiple modes of delivery, from T1 to dedicated fiber; which one is right for your organization will depend on the particular performance you require, as well as your budget and location. That said, each type has its own distinctive benefits and drawbacks worth exploring in advance. Here's what you should know, at a high level, about DIA options:

T1 and T3

Invented in the mid-20th century for telephone service, the T1 line has long been a staple of reliable network service, capable of serving many concurrent internal users without any competition from external subscribers. It can't match the speeds of more modern technologies like Ethernet-based solutions, but it's still fast and highly cost-effective for organizations in rural or remote locations, and much more widely available.

A T3 line is simply 28 T1 lines aggregated. Companies that have outgrown their T1 lines can still get economical DIA via T3 plans that offer greater capacity for higher numbers of users and more bandwidth-intensive applications.



Ethernet over Copper (EoC)

EoC serves the same purpose as a T1/T3 line, namely the delivery of asymmetrical (i.e., same uplink/downlink speed) and low-latency business internet connection. It leverages the twisted copper pairs present in any building with a conventional telephone line. Thanks to the copper infrastructure, EoC has excellent electrical conductivity, but its speeds degrade as distance increases from the service provider's main office.

The upshot is that EoC is well built-out in high-density cities and suburbs and less available (and much slower) elsewhere compared to T1/T3. It's often compared unfavorably to dedicated fiber, due to their respective speeds, environmental resilience (copper is vulnerable to electrical interference) and bandwidth capacities, yet EoC has some key advantages.

For starters, copper lines are ubiquitous and easy to terminate, with a wider installation footprint than fiber, plus they have some built-in redundancy as a result of the pairing. EoC remains a good option for DIA, private networks and transmission of hosted VoIP and SIP as well as traditional voice services.

Dedicated fiber

Fiber has sufficient advantages over the alternatives to be nearly synonymous with DIA. Whereas the electrical current passing through copper connections degrades due to friction, it can pass much more efficiently through fiber line cores since they're made of glass. That means fast, consistent network service even over great distances.

Fiber is also immune to electromagnetic and radio transmission interference, unlike copper. Its durability and thin design make it practical for a wide range of operating environments and help minimize downtime. It can reliably support even the most demanding applications, such as video conferencing, hosted VoIP and web hosting.

The main downsides are higher costs and relatively limited installation footprints. There are fewer miles of fiber than copper, and a length of fiber is costlier than the same stretch of copper. However, it's important to note that although the upfront costs of fiber may be considerable, there could be savings down the line from reduced downtime and easier maintenance. Plus, "limited installation footprints" only means less total coverage than T1, T3 and copper, which are virtually everywhere; there are still thousands of miles out there.

Why you should start exploring DIA options

No matter the transport option you select, DIA is the ticket to superior internet connectivity for your business. In addition to customizable and adjustable bandwidth, you get Telesystem's managed services for connection monitoring and security. We support our DIA with our network core, which is hardened against distributed denial-of-service (aka DDoS) attacks that can compromise your services.

Our team is always available to help you evaluate a DIA upgrade and select the key services that it will support, such as hosted VoIP and video conferencing. Contact us today to get started.


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