Friday, July 11, 2008

How Do You Choose A T1 Or DS3 Bandwidth Carrier?

Choosing a T1 or DS3 bandwidth provider depends on location, budget, goals/priorities, and the type of application being served. The best provider depends on exact address, needs, and a good round of quoting, I won't speculate here.

If fibre is available in your area (and you may need a consultant to determine who might cover your area) its often good to jump straight there. Turnup costs are high after drilling/wiring the last mile -- but the rates and reliability over 3-5 years can't be beat.

If you decide you really need to go T1 (which is not usually my first choice these days) or DS3, it's best to choose a Tier-1 provider and a product that can be scaled up to bonded T1's or burstable DS3 later. You'll also want to make sure the router hardware you purchase/lease can support this. Beware I've seen many Tier-2 providers say they can do bonded T1's or burstable DS3 and royally screw up the implementation (its not something they know how to do well).

Make sure you choose a Tier-1 provider, Tier-2's often have the most competitive first-round quoting, but thats where the advantage stops. You can always negotiate Tier-1's down and the product is MUCH better.

You'll also need to decide whether you want self-managed or fully-managed solution. The best solution depends on factors specific to your implementation. This decision should be taken consciously with your specific needs in mind.

If you go with a T1 sign a 18 month or 24 month contract. Do not sign anything longer, even if they offer mid-way renegotiation. Ensure the autorenew clause is easily terminable and goes month to month at the end of term (instead of autorenewing for a year or more). If you go with a DS3 .... a 24-36 month contract is reasonable.

Read the SLA (service level agreement) carefully. Insist on assurances in the agreement (and don't take anything verbal or written from a telco sales rep for granted unless its in your contract). Your salesperson may move on 6 months from now and no one over there will know anything about you except what it says on paper.

Finally, if you don't have a network engineer on contract, find one (and do it before you look for/order service). A few hundred dollars now can save you huge headaches and big money down the road.

If you are looking for a T1 or DS3 bandwidth solution to meet your network needs ... you can get a free quote covering over 20 Tier 1 providers from this website: T1 Bandwidth


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