Tuesday, November 29, 2005

DS3 Bandwidth is Getting Cheaper!

While many people predicted the end of price erosion for DS3 bandwidth it continues to fall. Service providers are up against stiffer competition and are desperate for new customers to fill their pipes and turn a profit. Are you ready to negotiate for a rock bottom price? Before you do, consider a few of the reasons for the drop in price on DS3 bandwith.

DS3 bandwidth pricing had reduced as companies have gone out of business and the large number of telecommunications companies are fighting for a place in a smaller market. While many service providers did have room to lose margin, many have come dangerously close to the edge of selling circuits at a loss and many have gone beyond this point. It seems that in the race to the bottom many providers failed to learn the lesson that selling at a loss does not create a long lasting and healthy company no matter how many circuits or widgets you sell. Many companies selling at a loss have already been in bankruptcy and look like they will repeat this exercise as they did not learn from their first go around. So, solvency of the DS3 bandwidth provider should be a consideration when looking at great bargains.

Another consideration in bargain shopping for DS3 serviceis the fact that all DS3's are not created equal. Many providers are convinced (and rightly so) that customers are focused on price and are not concerned with quality of service. Many providers are now oversubscribing DS3 service connections as though they were DSL connections. This means you may not get the bandwidth you thought you would get. Make sure when you look for that bargain price you also review the SLA (Service Level Agreement) and make sure the contract protects you and guarantees you will get the bandwidth to which they committed. Remember, when bargain hunting for DS3 service you'll most likely get what you pay for.

Labels: , , ,

What is a T-3 Line / DS3 Technology?

A T-3 is high-speed line, powered by DS3 Technology, capable of delivering 44.7 Mbps (44,700K) in both directions. For many years, the fastest, and unfortunately, the most expensive way to connect to the outside world was through a ds1 or T1 connection. DS stands for Digital Signal or Digital Service. Now more commonly used and not near as expensive as it used to be, DS3 or Data Service Level 3 is the connection of choice for many large companies and places that require a lot of bandwidth. DS3 technology is used for T3 lines and allows connections to the Internet to reach speeds of up to 44.736 megabits per second

A large company needs something more than a T1 line and could probably use a T-3 line powered by DS3 technology. The following table shows some of the common line designations:

DS0 - 64 kilobits per second
ISDN - Two DS0 lines plus signaling (16 kilobits per second), or 128 kilobits per second
T1 - 1.544 megabits per second (24 DS0 lines)
T3 - 43.232 megabits per second (28 T1s)
OC3 - 155 megabits per second (84 T1s)
OC12 - 622 megabits per second (4 OC3s)
OC48 - 2.5 gigabits per seconds (4 OC12s)
OC192 - 9.6 gigabits per second (4 OC48s)
T-3 lines are used mainly by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and large companies connecting to the Internet backbone and for the backbone itself.

A T3 connection is a point-to-point dedicated line that provides 672 64-Kbps voice or data channels or in other words 28 T1 lines. A T3 is used to transmit digital signals at 44.736 megabits per second and has enough bandwidth to transmit full-motion real-time video, and very large databases over a busy network. A T3 line would be installed as a major networking channel for a large corporation or university with high volume network traffic.

When you need more capacity, you often have to buy it in the next available increment, which may end up costing more than you want or can afford to spend. Worse yet, with current, "bursty" application requirements, the need for additional bandwidth can often be as temporary as it is critical. By providing flexible capacity, or "bandwidth on demand," service providers can help customers deal with variations in traffic, and with avoiding a high fixed monthly payment. True bandwidth-on-demand services should allow for a wide range in capacity.

Although anybody can purchase a burstable T3, this type of connection can be costly, even as costly as a full 45Mbps connections. Burstable lines can be found at their lowest cost at a colocation facility. At a colocation facility, or "colo", many users share a large OC3 or OC12 pipe. As a customer you will not have to pay for a the fixed cost of such a large pipe, but will have the benefit of being able to burst up to very high speeds if necessary. If you need the reliability of a large pipe fur busty traffic but don't have the capital consider a colo. If you have a steady volume and are consistent, you may consider keeping services in house and going with a T3 connection. Whether you're considering a colocation facility or a T3 to the door, make sure you use a broker to help guide you through the providers and plans available. We recommend the free service from DS3-Bandwidth.com.

Need help With A Business Broadband Question? Here Ya Go....

The Business Connectivity discussion board at BusinessReports.com is a GREAT resource for getting all of your business broadband related questions answered. This forum is for business internet connectivity, but not limited to just DSL. They're also happy to talk about other types of connections and any issues that are unique to internet connectivity in the business world. So ask anything about ADSL, SDSL, fractional and full T1, DS3, OC3, OC12 through OC 192, frame relay, convergence, or anything else that's on your mind. There's a lot of very knowledgable and helpful folks you can connect with. Be sure and pitch in yourself. That's what really makes this forum what it is....everyone sharing and helping each other out.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Why Is VoIP Good For Small Business?

The most immediate benefit of VoIP for most businesses is savings on long distance charges. Companies equipped for VoIP can place long-distance calls over the Internet rather than the PSTN and avoid paying long distance charges. Since most companies already pay for broadband Internet connections, the only additional requirement is the equipment that connects telephones to the IP network.

In addition to the cost savings, bringing voice and data together on one network opens the door to new services. Advanced conferencing, unified e-mail and voicemail messaging and dialing calls by selecting from a computer contact list are just a few of the new service possibilities.

The benefits of VoIP can go beyond free long distance calling and new services. Because VoIP integrates voice calling with the IP network, small businesses of the future will only need one network to operate, rather than separate telephone and computer networks. A single integrated network is cheaper to install and maintain, and there would only be one network service bill to pay. We recommend Packet8 service for small businesses of today.....and tomorrow.

But fully converged networks are a long way off for most small companies. Today, traditional PSTN telephony is still crucial for the vast majority of small businesses. Since most of the telephone calls for the majority of small businesses come from local callers using the traditional telephone network, small businesses need to maintain their traditional PSTN links. For those small business where VoIP doesn't make sense yet we recommend using a "Best Rate Calculator" to optimize your PSTN usage and cost effectiveness.

Blow Skype Off Your Entire Windows Domain

The ever-watchful Russell Shaw of ZDNet.com discovered a software tool that allows Windows Sysadmins to remove Skype from their entire network with a few clicks. The company that puts it out is called I.S. Decisions. You can even program it to run at scheduled intervals, ala a spyware checker or virus checker. For more details on this anti-Skype community tool visit "SkypeKiller".

Skype Taking VoIP To Retail Via Radio Shack

Skype is about to start offering VoIP kits in thousands of Radio Shack stores across the country, ratcheting up its already tight competition with Vonage Holdings. In an aggressive move into U.S. retail markets, Skype Technologies said starter kits for its VoIP service will be offered in thousands of Radio Shack stores across the country. You can read more about it at Techweb.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices....OC3 vs OC12 vs OC48

Looking for bandwidth? That can be a daunting and frustrating task even in the best of situations. There's lots to consider in order to make the right decision for your needs. Below you'll find some help when evaluating OC3 vs OC12 vs OC48. Factors covered include Technology, Speed, Description, Application, Pros, Cons, and Cost.

~~~~~~~~~

Technology: OC3

Speed: 155.52 Mbps

Description: Optical carrier (fiber) connected by equipment capable of speeds up to 155.52 Mbps.

Application: Large enterprise or ISP backbone.

Pros: Extremely high speed and throughput.

Cons: Extremely high cost.

Costs: Expect cost of an OC3 to start at around a $10-30,000 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider).....not including local loop or extensive setup. However....the pricing for these connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. For example...Tier 1 providers may cost more than local/regional Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers but are much more stable and reliable. A Tier 1 provider should always be the provider of choice for any business serious about the quality of their OCx network.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: OC12

Speed: 622.08 Mbps

Description: Optical carrier (fiber) connected by equipment capable of speeds up to 622.08 Mbps.

Application: Large enterprise or ISP backbone.

Pros: Extremely high speed and throughput.

Cons: Extremely high cost.

Costs: Expect cost of an OC12 to start at around $1-300,000+ for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider)..... plus several hundred thousand dollars in setup costs. However....the pricing for these connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. A Tier 1 provider should always be the provider of choice for any business serious about the quality of their OCx network.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: OC48

Speed: 2.488 Gbps (Gigabytes per second)

Description: Optical carrier (multiple strands of fiber) connected by equipment capable of speeds up to 2.488 Gbps.

Application: Large enterprise or ISP backbone.

Pros: Extremely high speed and throughput.

Cons: Extremely high cost.

Costs: Expect cost of an OC48 to start at around $3-500,000 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider)..... plus several hundred thousand dollars in setup costs. However....the pricing for these connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. A Tier 1 provider should always be the provider of choice for any business serious about the quality of their OCx network.

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices....Fractional DS3 vs DS3

Looking for bandwidth? That can be a daunting and frustrating task even in the best of situations. There's lots to consider in order to make the right decision for your needs. Below you'll find some help when evaluating Fractional DS3 vs DS3. Factors covered include Technology, Speed, Description, Application, Pros, Cons, and Cost.

~~~~~~~~~

Technology: Fractional DS3

Speed: 3 Mbps - 44.736 Mbps

Description: A fraction of a full DS-3, which is comprised of 28 T-1s or 672 channels.

Application: Provides access from a location into the Internet for a large business or ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Pros: Provides very high speed access directly into the carrier's backbone. Bandwidth guaranteed by SLA (Service Level Agreement). Very reliable.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: A Fractional DS3 will likely start at around $2,000 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider)....not including the local loop. A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor. Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....the pricing for these connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. For example...Tier 1 providers will probably cost more than local/regional Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers but are much more stable and reliable. A Tier 1 provider should be the provider of choice for any business serious about the quality of their network. Also, expect to pay more if you are in a rural area or need integrated (voice and data combined) DS3 service.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: DS3

Speed: 44.736 Mbps

Description: dedicated connection made up of the equivalent of 28 T-1s.

Application: Provides access from a location into the Internet for a large business or ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Pros: Circuit runs directly into the carrier's backbone. Bandwidth guaranteed by SLA (Service Level Agreement). Very reliable.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: A full DS3 obviously will cost more than a Fractional DS3. Expect cost to start at around a $3-5,000 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider).....not including the local loop. A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor. Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. For example...Tier 1 providers may cost more than local/regional Tier2 and Tier 3 providers but are much more stable and reliable. A Tier 1 provider should be the provider of choice for any business serious about the quality of their network. Also, expect to pay more if you are in a rural area or need integrated (voice and data combined) or bonded (multiple DS3s bound in 1 network....option vs full OC3) DS3 service.


~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: E3 (Europe)

Speed: 34.368 Mbps

Description: European equivalent of T-3. Made up of the equivalent of 28 T-1s.

Application: Provides access from a location into the Internet for a large business or ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Pros: Circuit runs directly into the carrier's backbone. Bandwidth guaranteed by SLA (Service Level Agreement). Very reliable.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: A full E3 usually costs more than it's North American counterpart. Expect cost to start at around a $6-8,000 for a stable, reliable 45 Mbps system (e.g. from an equivalent Tier 1 provider). A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor (not common in Europe). Local loops range from $1,000 - $3,000/month. Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....just as with the North American version the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used.

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices....Fractional T-1 vs T1

Looking for bandwidth? That can be a daunting and frustrating task even in the best of situations. There's lots to consider in order to make the right decision for your needs. Below you'll find some help when evaluating Fractional T1 vs T1. Factors covered include Technology, Speed, Description, Application, Pros, Cons, and Cost.

~~~~~~~~~

Technology: Fractional T1

Speed: 128 Kbps - 1.544 Mbps

Description: Same service as a full T-1 provisioned in increments of 64 Kbps. A full T-1 is 1.544 Mbps or 24 channels, Fractional T-1s start at 128 Kbps or 2 channels.

Application: Used to connect a company to the Internet when less than a full T-1 is required. Circuit runs from the location into the Internet.

Pros: Provides access straight into the carrier's backbone. Unlike DSL and Cable Modem, there is no aggregation. Fractional T-1s have unused channels which can be turned up on demand.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: Fractional T1 cost starts at around $100-200 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provider). A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor. Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: T1

Speed: 1.544 Mbps

Description: A 24 channel cirucit that can be used for Frame Realy, Private Line, VPN or, most commonly, Internet access.

Application: Connects a company's LAN into the Internet or carrier's Frame Realy network.

Pros: Provides access straight into the carrier’s backbone. Only slightly more expensive than a Fractional T-1. 99% availability in U.S. Very reliable.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: A full T1 obviously will cost more than a Fractional T1. Expect cost to start at around a $400 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from a Tier 1 provder). A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor. Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. For example...Tier 1 providers may cost more than local/regional Tier2 and Tier 3 providers but are much more stable and reliable. Also, expect to pay more if you are in a rural area or need integrated (voice and data combined) or bonded (multiple T1s bound in 1 network....option vs full DS3) T1 service.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: E1 (Europe)

Speed: 2.048 Mbps

Description: The European equilivent of the T-1.

Application: Connects a company's LAN into the Internet or carrier's Frame Realy network.

Pros: Provides access straight into the carrier’s backbone. Very reliable.

Cons: Setup and monthly costs can be prohibitive.

Costs: A full E1 usually costs more than it's North American counterpart. Expect cost to start at around a $800-1000 for a stable, reliable system (e.g. from an equivalent Tier 1 provder). A required router is additional unless provided as a "freebie" incentive by the vendor (not common in Europe). Price climbs as distance from the providers Central Office (CO) increases. However....just as with the North American version the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices....Frame Relay vs VPN

Looking for bandwidth? That can be a daunting and frustrating task even in the best of situations. There's lots to consider in order to make the right decision for your needs. Below you'll find some help when evaluating Frame Relay vs VPN. Factors covered include Technology, Speed, Description, Application, Pros, Cons, and Cost.

~~~~~~~~~

Technology: Frame Relay

Speed: 56 Kbps - 1.544 Mbps

Description: A high-speed, packet based, data transmission service used in wide area networks (WANs) to connect multiple locations.

Application: Used to connect multiple locations to a main location or to each other.

Pros: Cheaper alternative to private line connections. Ability to burst when needed. Widely available.

Cons: Up-front equipment cost can be prohibitive.

Costs: Frame relay monthly cost starts at around a few $100 per location for a stable, reliable system. Price climbs as speed increases. However....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: VPN

Speed: 56 Kbps - 1.544 Mbps

Description: VPN is a software-defined network that runs over a shared public network and offers the appearance, functionality and usefulness of a dedicated private network, at a price savings.

Application: A highly flexible method of communicating between locations via a secure tunnel on a large public network. Is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to Frame Relay and Private Line.

Pros: A user can access the network from any Internet connection. VPNs often cost less and are more flexible and scaleable than competing technologies.

Cons: The availability and performance of a company's WAN is largely dependant on factors outside of their control.

Costs: VPN prices mirror that of dial-up or dedicated Internet Access. Cost of the VPN tunneling and encrypting is nominal. Expect to spend a few $100 at least for a stable, reliable system.

Evaluating Bandwidth Choices....ADSL vs SDSL

Looking for bandwidth? That can be a daunting and frustrating task even in the best of situations. There's lots to consider in order to make the right decision for your needs. Below you'll find some help when evaluating ADSL vs SDSL. Factors covered include Technology, Speed, Description, Application, Pros, Cons, and Cost.

~~~~~~~~~

Technology: ADSL

Speed: 768Kbps to 6.1 Mbps downstream. Upstream speeds range from 64Kbps-1Mbps.

Description: The most common type of DSL. Deployed over a copper wire pair in conjunction with an analog phone line.

Application: Commercial and consumer Internet service. Popular with consumers because of low-cost, short provisioning times and high download speeds.

Pros: High-speed access at a relatively low-cost. Availability is approaching 70% in most major metropolitan areas. Installation times are often less than 30days.

Cons: Not available in all areas. Slow upload speed. Bandwidth is aggregated at the Central Office and is subject to oversubscription. Not ideal for businesses or heavy users.

Costs: Consumer services starts at around $30-50. But....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier and location of service. For example...it's likely to be more costly in rural areas and some local/regional providers may offer better rates than Tier 1 carriers.

~~~~~~~~~~

Technology: SDSL

Speed: Up to 2.3Mbps both ways.

Description: A form of HDSL, provisioned over a single twisted-pair of copper wire at distances up to 12,000 feet.

Application: Ideal for businesses due to symmetrical data transmission speeds and advanced features such as multiple IP addresses.

Pros: High-speed access at a low-cost when compared to T-1. Often provides more features than ADSL.

Cons: Not available in all areas. Bandwidth is aggregated at the Central Office and is subject to oversubscription. More costly and longer install times than ADSL.

Costs: Business service starts at around $50-80 and can be as high as a few $100 monthly. But....the pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service, and the application for which the connection is being used. For example...it's likely to be much more costly in rural areas. While some local/regional providers may offer better rates than Tier 1 carriers...you'll have to consider possible tradeoffs in stability and reliabilty.

Bandwidth Speed Test Tool

Ran across this cool little tool you can use to check the speed of your T1, T3, DSL, Cable, or Dial-Up internet connection. Look for yourself: Bandwidth Speed Test Tool

ISP Directory

ISP search can be a daunting task!

GetanISP.com has an ISP directory that lists all the ISPs, so you can do a quick ISP search by city, state, and area code. You can find the cheapest and best ISP from high speed, to dialup to free ISP.

They've provided a comprehensive list of internet service providers whether they are wireless or DSL or broadband.

Good stuff...and a GREAT resource.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

OC3, OC12 & OC48 Bandwidth-Ideal Solution For High End Users

The ideal solution for high end bandwidth users where connectivity is essential for operations isn't a simple T1 or DS3 dedicated line...you need an "OC" fiber optic network. So just what is OCx, what can it do for you, and what do you need to know?

What is an OCx Circuit?

'OC' stands for Optical Carrier and is used to specify the speed of fiber optic networks conforming to the SONET standard. SONET, (Synchronous Optical Networks), includes a set of signal rate multiples for transmitting digital signals on optical fiber. The base rate (OC-1) is 51.84 Mbps. Certain multiples of the base rate are provided below with bandwidth amounts. Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) makes use of some of the Optical Carrier levels.

Optical Carrier lines provide content providers, ASP’s, ISP’s & large enterprises with dedicated Internet connectivity. These Optical Carrier Level circuits are an ideal solution for high end bandwidth users where connectivity is essential for operations. Some examples are large data centers, high tech research facilities, university infrastructure, airport complexes, and casino video security and data systems.

What is an OC3?

An OC3 can be three DS3s (T3s) or as one 155M pipe. The benefit in using DS3s is that each can be separated back out as individual T1s (each with 24 channels). To put it into perspective, the speed of an OC3 connection is 155Mbps. This is equivalent to 3 T3 lines or 100 T1 lines. An OC12 connection is 622Mbps, equivalent to 14 T3 lines or approx. 414 T1 lines.

What is an OC12?

An OC12 is approximately equal to 4 OC3s and runs at 622 Mbps. which makes it an excellent point-to-point IP delivery connection. The greatest benefit to an OC-12 is that bandwidth can be added to a business as it grows without any major system overhauls. An OC12 can also allow a business to have unlimited IP addresses which insures that growth is never limited...

What is an OC48?

An OC48 works as a reliable fiber optic backbone for large networks which require volume extensive voice/data/video traffic. It is a long-haul backbone fibre connection capable of transmitting data at 2.45 Gbps. To put it into perspective the speed of an OC48 is the equivalent of having 48 T3's OR 1,344 T1 lines

The pricing for these type of connections can vary widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the exact application for which the connection is being used. Due to this complexity it is suggested to use the services of a consultant such as "DS3-Bandwidth.com" to research available providers and find the best fit to meet a specific requirement.

Applications For DS3 Bandwidth

A typical T1 circuit is only 1.5 megabits per second. A typical digital 3 minute song is 3 megaBYTES or 24 megabits in size. A typical digital photo is about 2 megaBYTES or 16 megabits. The typical Power Point presentation is 10 megaBYTES in size or 80 megabits. If 3 or more people in the office were to email a power point presentation at the same time the office internet connection would slow to a crawl for 3 or more minutes. This does not take into account all the spam email clogging up your Internet connection while attempting to reach your mail server. Nor does it take into account many other new bandwidth hogging applications that others in office are using such as monitoring their nanny cam at home, watching MarketWatch , CNN streaming video channels, or uploading a photo album to a relative. Everyday there are new bandwidth intensive applications being developed for the Internet.

It's obvious that the common T1 connection can't handle this growth. Your best option is to research application of a DS3 bandwidth solution.

A DS3 (sometimes referred to as a T3 or E3) is a leased private dedicated line that goes directly from your office to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). A T3/DS3 connection is equivalent to 28 T1/DS1 connections and uses digital signals on fiber-optic cable at speeds of 45 million bps (bits per second) or 44.736 megabits per second. Generally this type of dedicated line is for 50-100+ users and/or high bandwidth applications. T3/DS3 connections can also be used for point to point access (direct connection between 2 business sites).

As a standard used in the North American and Japanese marketplaces, a DS3 can handle 672, 64Kbps voice conversations or one video data channel. The DS3 line has enough bandwidth to transmit full-motion real-time videos and very large databases over a busy network. Generally a DS3 line would be installed as a major networking channel for a large corporation, research facility, or university with high volume network traffic. But there are multiple smaller scale business uses also....particularly when multiple locations are involved. Bandwidth for a Fractional T3, up to a full T3, generally run at speeds between 6 Mbps through 45 Mbps.

A DS3 connection (or T3 connection), is great for companies with large bandwidth needs. It is especially useful as the backbone for Disaster Recovery systems. If your company needs computer access for 50 + users, or needs to run high bandwidth applications like video conferencing, you are likely in the market for a T3/DS3 connection. A T3/DS3 line is also a viable solution for companies looking to resell bandwidth to their customers.

The common T1 line can handle 24 simultaneous voice calls or a high speed Internet connection speed of 1.54 Mbps. This is usually the solution of choice for small to mid size businesses. A DS3 line can handle 672 simultaneous voice calls or provide a high speed Internet connection of 45 Mbps. The T3/DS3 is typically used by high end data and voice customers as it is the equivalent of 28 T1 lines or 672 voice lines.

Most DS3 circuits are "fractional", meaning a portion of the circuit. A DS3 is capable of 45 megabits per second. Fractional DS3s are usually, 8 megabit per second which is equal to about five (5) T1s. Today this is more than fast enough for most all business needs.

The cost of the DS3 circuit is always mileage based. Generally speaking the farther the distance from your ISPs Central Office (CO) connection the more it will cost. On top of that there is often a bandwidth usage charge.

DS3 service can be deployed for a wide variety of applications. The most common uses are DS3 point-to-point (tying 2 distinct business locations together), DS3 internet (data), DS3 frame relay, DS3 voice, and DS3 VPN. The pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. Using a free rate quote research service such as "DS3 Bandwidth" will allow you to obtain current pricing for your location.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cool Broadband Resources & Websites

Following is a smorgasbord of cool resources....all broadband related of course. So enjoy folks....and pass the popcorn.

- Broadband-Television.com

A comprehensive directory of broadband netcasts. A high speed connection such as cable, xDSL, ISDN or TI is required.

- Broadband Bananas

Broadband Bananas is the World's biggest networking organisation for the Interactive TV and Broadband industry and manages this online digital archive of interactive television services from around the world.

- Broadband Exchange

Broadband wireless news and a comprehensive set of links including solutions to the last-mile bottle neck.

- Broadband Week

Delivers in-depth, platform-neutral coverage of networks, applications and content. Examines the impact of current developments and trends on broadband ...

- Cable Addicts Broadband Lounge

Broadband (Cable/CATV, Dish/Satellite, Telco, Fiber) industry contract and full-time jobs, discussion forums, resources

- Broadband Daily

News on broadband, digital television, and related topics.

Monday, November 07, 2005

How To Save Money On Phone Service, VoIP, And Cell Phones

Want to save money on your land line phone service, VoIP, and/or cell phones?

Try the Best Rate Calculator and see if you can find a provider (land line or VoIP) from all those in the database who is cheaper than you're paying now.

Best Rate Calculator

Then come back and post your results as a reply to this post.

There's also a search and compare portal for cell phones/smart phones too if you're interested. Feel free to share what you find with that also.

In addition to the above......you'll also see an impressive selection and cost savings for telecommunication services you routinely use for personal and business purposes. See what you can save with these too.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 04, 2005

SBC Is Making A Costly Mistake

This non-PC timely editorial is word for word direct from Ted Wallingford of WebLogsInc.com. Why? Because I couldn't have ranted it any better. Good on ya Ted!

~~~~~~

"The power brokers in the telecom industry, until recently, have always been Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) like SBC, Verizon, Alltel, and so forth. These are the guys that control a majority of the broadband access infrastructure in the United States. They’ve always sold the voice application alongside that broadband access infrastructure. If you were a broadband data subscriber, you always had the choice of using that broadband service to run just about any application you wanted, be it web surfing, e-mail, or even music downloading, without penalty from the RBOCs.

But now that VoIP technology enables competitors to use the broadband infrastructure itself to deliver telephone service, SBC’s CEO has flipped his lid, threatening to charge VoIP players like Vonage and Packet8 a carrier access charge in order to traffic their vocie applications over SBC’s huge broadband access network. “Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?” he says, portending to blur the line between regulated services like the voice dial-tone he offers and the free, network-independent, unregulated VoIP services like Skype. He wants folks like Skype to give him kickbacks. And this may be well within his rights.

But it’s an awful idea, and here’s why.

SBC isn’t the only game in town when it comes to broadband, and their share of control over last-mile access is shrinking as each day elapses. Their assumption seems to be that because today they control a lion’s share of the broadband business in this country, tomorrow they will too. This is a poor assumption, and it could be a very, very costly mistake. Can SBC not read the signs of the times?

Wireless access technologies such as WiFi and WiMax, new metro-area gigabit fiber networks like OneCleveland, the proposed Google WiFi network in San Francisco, and the growing number of folks who use Voice-over-the-Internet more than a standard phone line (such as myself and many of my contacts) are all strong market indicators. The world doesn’t want to buy network access that costs more for one application (voice) than it does for another (web surfing), and there are plenty of outlets for this frustration if SBC continues in this vane.

SBC’s national access infrastructure is its greatest asset. Its network and staff of infrastructure management experts should concentrate on innovating at the network layer and below, where the company’s true expertise resides! If SBC decides to buffalo its competitors like an 8000 pound gorilla by passing additional fees to broadband customers who choose a different voice caling vendor, they will find those same customers leaving. Forget shareholder value, forget capital investment. Without customers, you have no cashflow. Without cashflow, you go broke. Does SBC want to be in business 20 years from now? Or do they want to be a shadow of their former selves, much like today’s AT&T, whose name they’re about to don?

When are these guys going to stop looking for destructive ways to block competition and start looking for ways to innovate their way to greater success?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Whew.....get some Ted my friend!!]

Comparing Vonnage, Packet8, and VoicePulse VoIP Phone Providers

The Travel Insider "Road Warrior Resources" has an extensive table of comparative features available for the three VoIP service providers.....Vonnage, Packet8, and VoicePulse. Very well done too. I strongly suggest you look it over carefully...especially if you're in the market for a VoIP phone from them or any other VoIP provider.

Just a word of advice....don't get afflicted by 'featuritis'. The chances are you'll never use most of these features, any more than you use many of the features on your home or office phone at present.

Don't make a buying choice purely on the number of features offered by each different VoIP provider. Instead, look for the features you need, must have, and will use, and check that your preferred provider will be able to give you these features.

Note also that in the fast evolving VoIP phone service marketplace, all three of these companies are adding new features regularly. If your preferred service provider is missing only one 'must have' feature, check with them to see if they plan to add it in the near future.

Remember too that this table covers only 3 of the many VoIP phone providers available to you....albeit maybe the 3 most popular. There are other quality providers such as SunRocket and Lingo which aren't covered in the table.

Pricewise the lowest cost service is probably VoicePulse, unless you're going to be doing a lot of long distance calling.

But this will only be a good choice for you if you are in one of the 25 states where VoicePulse currently offers service. Sure, you can get a number from anywhere to use, but if the number isn't local, then most of your calls will be long distance, and it will also cost long distance rates for people in your local area to telephone to you.

If VoicePulse is not suitable (ie if it doesn't have service in your local area, or if you're a higher volume user), then the next lowest priced service is offered by Vonage (not counting the extra fees they seem to charge over their competitors). However only another $3.50 a month gets you unlimited calling, everywhere in the US and Canada with Packet 8.

Packet 8 is clearly the best choice for people who do a lot of calling, and also has the very best prices for international calling.

Ahhhh....Good Move Sprint

While we were all cozy at home punching a way at our keyboards or chatting up our broadband phones.... Sprint has pulled off a maneuver worthy of General George S. Patton himself.

If you check out the banter at PCSIntel.com and DSLReports.com you'll catch up on a pretty nifty ploy pulled off by Sprint partnering with the DOD (Department of Defense). Seems Sprint has struck a deal with the Department of Defense, putting them - and by proxy the cable industry - in a prime position to grab wireless broadband spectrum for Wimax or WiBro by 2010.

This has the RBOCs and smaller WiMax wannabes screaming bloody murder and ready to run to Capital Hill to cry on their favorite Senators lap. Tough noogies guys....you been had. This deal gives Sprint and their cable buddies (through a recent 20 year wireless phone deal with Time Warner, Cox, and Comcast) near certain lock on future king of the hill for WiMax and WiBro.

Check...and mate.

Is offering wireless phone service a good move for the cable industry now?

Sure looks that way.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What is VoIP?

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and is a technical way of saying “using the internet for making telephone calls.”

Why would you change your perfectly good telephone at home or in the office? The main benefit of VoIP is very simple and non-technical to understand - it is cheaper than regular phone service and has more features you probably currently know or use.

Disadvantages of Pure VoIP Services

Most of these services (like Skype) suffer from two very serious disadvantages:

· They only work if your computer is switched on and the program running

· They only work if the other person is also at their computer and has the same program loaded and running

They typically have a third disadvantage as well - sound quality can be uneven and phone calls often have a lot of delay and perhaps a lot of echo. It is very hard to have a naturally flowing conversation when there is a big delay between when you speak and the other person hears you.

Hardware or Software Based VoIP

Messenger, NetMeeting, and most other computer talk/conferencing programs are software based.

Quality is improved when a separate standalone voice processing box is used. This gives more reliable and better quality performance, and does not interfere with the rest of your computer's operation.

Packet8 - a VoIP Hybrid [OUR RECOMMENDED BROADBAND PHONE PROVIDER]

Packet8 (and in similar style, Vonage) offers a wonderful solution to the traditional VoIP disadvantages. It takes the normal VoIP concept, enhances it by using the Digital Telephone Adapter (DTA, a box to plug regular phones into your router), and then, best of all, gives your phone a regular phone number that anyone can dial to, and provides a 'gateway' between the computer phones and all normal phones, everywhere in the world.

This makes your Packet8 VoIP phone functionally identical to all normal telephones, and it means that you can call any ordinary telephone user, who can in turn also call you. You are no longer restricted to only calling people at their computers, and you are no longer handicapped by poor quality conversations.

Ease of Installation

Once you receive the DTA device from Packet8, it is very simple to install. Just plug it in to your home router that supports DHCP (automatically assigns an IP address), most home routers do this. After this is completed you will get a dial tone. Then call the activation number… that is it.

Making and Receiving Calls

Making a call is exactly the same as with any other phone. Pick up the handset. Dial the number - (including a 1 and then area code).

Receiving calls is also identical. The phone will ring same as a normal phone. You can even connect a caller ID unit to the phone and it will show the number of the person calling you. Pick up the phone and start talking.

The service even offers you call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, E911, local number porting, and many other services for free which most telephone companies charge extra.

Voicemail messages can be retrieved from your phone or any phone by calling an 888 number. They can even be emailed to you!

Costs

Packet8 has multiple plans available but the most popular plan is the “Freedom Unlimited” which offers unlimited calling in the US and Canada, voicemail, caller id, three-way calling, local number of your choice, and many more features for only $19.95/month. Vonage’s comparable unlimited plan runs around $25/month.

For consumers who live outside the U.S., the Freedom International plan allows you to have a U.S. phone number and make up 1000 minutes of calling to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers for just $19.95 (US) per month.

Residential subscribers who want to add pictures to their words, they can subscribe to the Freedom Unlimited VideoPhone plan. Using Packet8 VideoPhones and video and voice over Internet protocol technology, allows consumers unlimited time to see and hear loved ones worldwide for a mere $19.95 (US) per month.

In addition Packet8 offers the Freedom Unlimited Global residential and business plans featuring unlimited calling for US/Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East..... for $49.95/month.

Key advantages to this new technology

The key thing about VoIP service (with both Vonage and Packet 8) is that your phone number no longer has any direct relationship to where in the world you are located. You can have your phone working anywhere in the world where there is a broadband internet connection, and you can choose any area code you like. For example, a military family living in Germany could have a Chicago phone number and could make and receive calls to and from the US for only $20/month. Plus their friends and family could call them from Chicago as a local number and it would ring in Germany saving them money as well.

Summary

Packet8 users call themselves on regular land line phones, call people in rural US small towns, and call friends overseas without anyone knowing that they are not using a “traditional landline.” It is recommended to have a DSL, Cable, or other High-Speed internet connection even though Packet8 only requires 64kbps of bandwidth.

This is a very exciting new technological product that is simple to use and you do not have to be an IT expert to make it work.

You can now lower your phone service costs while utilizing your 'broadband' internet connection (i.e. cable or DSL internet connection). What is the catch? As far as I can tell, there is none!

Broadband Resources

Here's a list of resources from the Federal Communications Commission regarding broadband Internet and access issues......Broadband Resources.

What's The Difference Between DS3 And T3 Bandwidth?

Don't be confused about the difference between DS3 and T3 circuits. These terms are really synonymous. Instead you should focus on what they can do for you...and the best scenarios for application.

Digital Signal (DS) is a system of classifying digital circuits according to the rate and format of the signal (DS) and the equipment providing the signals (T). DS and T designations have come to be used synonymously so that DS1 implies T1, and DS3 implies T3.

A DS3 line (also known as a T-3) is an ultra high-speed connection capable of transmitting data at rates up to 45 Mbps. A DS3 line is equal to approximately 672 regular voice-grade telephone lines, which is fast enough to transmit full-motion, real-time video, and very large databases over a busy network. A DS3 line is typically installed as a major networking artery for large corporations and universities with high-volume network traffic. Other example applications include large call centers, enterprise wide VoIP and IP PBX systems, Internet service providers, research labs, video conference centers and software development companies. A DS3 is the second fastest, non optical connection offered in North America. A DS3 line is comprised of 28 T1 lines, each operating at total signaling rate of 1.544 Mbps.

DS3 circuits provide businesses and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with up to 45 Mb/s of dedicated Internet connectivity. This is an ideal solution for users who have outgrown their T1 connections and are in search of unlimited, high-capacity access. A DS3 line actually consists of 672 individual channels, each of which supports 64 Kb/s. DS3 lines are extremely high bandwidth connections into a carrier's backbone. They typically include SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that guarantee uptime and performance.

The DS3 signal itself is composed of 28 DS1 signals and is constructed using a two-step multiplexing process. First, the 28 DS1 signals are multiplexed into seven DS2 signals. Second, the seven DS2 signals are multiplexed into one DS3 signal. Each multiplexing step uses bit stuffing to handle the different input frequencies. Overhead bits provide alignment, error checking, in-band communications, and bit stuffing control information.

Line rate: 44,736,000 b/s
Signals: 7 DS2 signals = 28 DS1 signals
Overhead bits:
56 bits total/frame
F-bits (framing) 28 bits/
M-bits (multiframing) 3 bits/
C-bits (stuffing) 21 bits
X-bits (message) 2 bits/
P-bits (parity) 2 bits/
Data bits between overhead bits 84

A DS3 connection is comprised up of two monthly charges: the local loop and the port charge. The local loop charge is the cost of the circuit provided by the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) that allows DS3 access into the carrier's network. The loop charge is based on the distance from the customer's location to the edge of the carrier's network; the farther the customer is from the network, the more the loop will cost. Nearly every carrier prices loops differently so it is in your best interest to price DS3 service with several providers to ensure that you get the best deal.

DS Internet Access is the ideal solution for businesses that require high-bandwidth access at a reduced price. Whether you host high-traffic Web sites, support Web hosting or need high-capacity bandwidth on an as-needed basis, there's a level of DS3 service (Full or fractional) that will meet your needs. Fractional to full DS3 or T3 circuits run from speeds of 3 Mbps up to 45 Mbps.

For customers that require more bandwidth than a T1 line can provide but do not yet require the capacity of a full DS3 line, a fractional DS3 connection is the ideal solution. A fractional DS3 is similar to a full DS(T)3, only with some of the channels turned off. This reduces the total monthly cost and provides additional capacity that can be turned up in a matter of days. Unfortunately, the DS3 (T) loop is still required for this service.

If a full DS3 line is more bandwidth that you really need, it is also possible to get Fractional DS3, which gives you a portion of full DS3 bandwidth at a lower cost. Of course, DS3 is also available in multiples to increase bandwidth, similar to bonded T1 service.

DS3 service can be deployed for a wide verity of applications. The most common uses are DS3 point-to-point, DS3 internet, DS3 frame relay, DS3 voice and DS3 VPN. The pricing for these connections varies widely depending on the carrier, location of service and the application for which the connection is being used. Click "DS3 Bandwidth" to obtain current pricing for your location.