Monday, May 11, 2009

Part I .... What Are The Pros And Cons Of T1, DS3, OC3, And Ethernet Bandwidth Solutions For Voice/Data Networks?

This is part one of a three part series that will hopefully help guide you to making better decisions on bandwidth solutions (T1, DS3, OC3, And Ethernet) for your voice/data network. Read closely and soak up every tidbit from all three parts.


This is one of those questions that just begs to be answered with "It Depends..."

These are really physical layer technologies and the benefits of each will depend on how they are used and what data link layer techologies they transport (ATM, Frame Relay, MPLS). Then there is always the question of availability.

T1 Bandwidth, for example, can be used as an access circuit into a multi-node network like Frame Relay or MPLS or as a point-to-point circuit. In a large multi-site MPLS network, a T1 may be an appropriate choice smaller locations with a small number of users. However, A point-to-point circuit may be appropriate to connect a small satellite office to a regional office that is connected the larger network.

Knowing the size of the business only provides part of the information required. What kind of traffic do they have? Are they running voice and video on the network? Do they have an IT staff capable of managing routers? What facilities are available in each location (copper/fiber)? Do they have replicating servers in different locations?

I think this question puts the cart before the horse. In my opinion, you need to understand your network traffic, establish bandwidth requirements and allow the carriers to make recommendations on the transport technology based on what's available in the locations required.

It's kind of like asking what's better, a pick-up truck, a tractor-trailer or a freight train?

Each of them can carry cargo over long distances, but each one will have advantages and disadvantages based on payload, availability, and cost.

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