Wednesday, December 31, 2008

T1 Bandwidth Or DSL .... What Is The Better Choice For Today's Small Business?

In today's technolgy environment every business simply must have a robust voice / data network to handle the myriad of requirements they face. Part of that equation is ensuring the right bandwidth backbone to run all those "neat functions" on ... without loss of time, product, or productivity. In fact ... the newtork must complement and leverage the conduct of those "functions".

So ... what is the better choice for that network foundation. T1 Bandwidth or DSL??

The primary reason businesses reject DSL and Cable technologies is reliability. It's not necessarily that they are bad technologies .... but they are hindered by politics and economics. You truly get what you pay for. I regulary ask if the client is okay with being down for a day or two .... or a week .... when recommending these different technologies.

Cost really isn't a factor anymore. Cost has been dropping for all manner of bandwidth solutions for some time. For example, T1's can be configured to be afffordable for most small business with as little as 5 employees .... and if they have more than 5 they shouldn't even consider DSL or Cable.

What many businesses neglect to evaluate is latency and other service level guarantees that business grade T1's provide. In a business environment latency is much more important than bandwidth ..... but we're all bombarded with very clever commercials geared at pitching speed=bandwidth only. A good consultant should evaluate the applications the business utilizes. Bandwidth is definitely more important for our most popular residential applications like video and audio streaming. These applications are usually blocked by your business network manager.

Many business applications will send a single packet from point A to point B .... requiring point B to respond that the packet arrived before sending the next packet. The time this packet takes to get from point A to point B is called latency. For example, an Excel spreadsheet would be transmitted this way.

Business grade latency guarantees on Internet T1's are usually under 100 milliseconds. I've never seen a DSL or Cable modem that would give you a latency guarantee.

So ... in my mimd. To really answer the question .... focus on latency. With that in mind T1 bandwidth should be the answer for every business .... unless you need more like DS3 bandwidth.

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