Friday, March 07, 2008

DSL, T1, Or DS3 Bandwidth .... What's Right For YOUR Business?

When would YOU choose DSL, T1, or DS3 Bandwidth as the network solution for your business .... and why/why not? What are the pros and cons for and against each bandwidth ttype in a business setting?

In general .....

The answer to these questions is truly related to your application requirements. If you run applications that are latency or Jitter impacted, then DSL may not provide you with the service levels you need.

An additional extension of that would be your requirements for uptime. MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) is typically greatly improved with DS1 and DS3 circuits.

The size of the business is not nearly as important as your application requirements. Many large organizations can survive with DSL or in some cases dial-up, but a small organization that has streaming application traffic, mission critical traffic, or small latency or jitter requirements then DS1 or greater connectivity would be required.

Lastly, though often primarily, cost helps determine your choices.

To be more specific ....

T1s and DS-3s give the same offering except for capacity. T1s give 1.5Mbps upload and download speeds per line. DS3s give 32-45mbps upload and download speeds.

ADSL typically give asymmetric upload and download speeds (ADSL) typically 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Mbps download speeds and somewhere between 128 -768Mbps upload speeds.

Symmetrical DSL (SDSL) gives the same upload and download speeds, typically 384, 512 or 786Mbps upload and download.

Cable offerings vary with providers and location. Doing a comparison with cable would be impossible without knowing your provider and market. Not who your provider is and your location .... but knowing how your provider is in that particular market. Ask a local expert for that detail.

T1 and DS3 are very reliable with high MTBF (mean time between failure) and low MTTR (mean time to repair). Cable and DSL on the other side.

T1 and DS3 expensive, Cable and DSL more affordable.

If you do not have a need for high upload speeds, (VPN, VoIP, high Data transfer for backup/co-location, ftp streaming media or other high bandwidth services hosted in-house, etc) then an asymmetric connection is not evil. DSL/Cable may be a good choice in that case.

If you need high speed upload then T1/DS3 is needed.

Fro growing needs, T1 or fractional T3 is a good choice. After some point in growth, a full T3/DS3 becomes more economical.

For mission critical networks, two providers from two different physical points-of-entry may be necessary depending on the natural disasters you are likely to face.

Case study one: a company had a fractional T3 coming in from the East and another fractional T3 coming in from the West. Flooding and a sinkhole cut one T3. The network slowed down but stayed up.

Case study two: a company in South Florida lost its T1s and failed over to a Satellite link. Certain services were crippled by the latency of the system but their mission-critical applications kept running.

Which brings us to Satellite: usually asymmetric with extremely fast downloads (depending on service level) but typically slow uploads (but varies depending on service level). Has an intrinsic latency due to the speed of light and the distance of satellites. Advantage: natural disaster resistant, reliable, available everywhere and no last-mile issues.

In short...here's the 3 most important factors to consider.....

1- Link Speed and Committed Rate

T1 or DS3 can be purchased as dedicated point to point bandwidth. You will get the advertised speed guaranteed from point a to point b. KEY POINT if you are purchasing access to the internet and using the Internet to provide connectivity (VPN etc) then you are buying an on-ramp, the traffic on the "highway" after you get on could slow you down. Just because you bought a DS3 to the Internet doesn't mean that you will have DS3 access to everything onthe Internet.

2- Link Symmetry

T1 and DS3 give the same bandwidth in both directions when configured as point to point. Different flavors of DSL provide different up and downlink speeds.

3- QOS

T1 and DS3 are configurable to support TDM voice (straight out of your PBX). They can also support VoIP. If you are doing everything with VoIP it may not matter. If you are keeping some TDM voice it matters a lot.

For more help to find EXACTLY the right solution for your business network .... take advantage of the free services provided here: DS3 Bandwidth

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