Information and Shopping Guide

The History

While for some the term T1 may seem new, this technology is well over 50 years old! Before the roll out of the World Wide Web, this technology was brought into place to improve current telephone system signaling for carriers in an age where phone technology was still developing.

Previously, each voice line had to individually be ran from one phone company switch to the other. With the new T-1 technology, 24 voice channels could be run through one circuit creating a super efficient and more easily organized way of managing these voice channels. The AT&T (American Telegraph and Telephone) company introduced the technology in the 60′s, but was never made available for business end users until 1983.

While the year of ’83 finally made T1 technology available to businesses Nationwide, the costs were very prohibitive. Only the largest companies or government organizations could afford a T-1 line for their establishment. These companies and institutions were given the luxury of being able to transfer data from one location to another (point-to-point not Internet) without lugging around and transporting large computer tapes and reels to the locations physically.

While the technology was available, even the most important customer could expect an installation time frame of 6 months to a year. None the less, the data technology was highly sought after and envied among the telecommunications community. Other hurdles included applying the digital technology over old analog telephone lines which was remedied through the use of channel banks between the lines and the central office switch from which the services were deployed from.

With the help of the IEXs (interexchange carriers) such as MCI and Sprint, T1 installations started taking less time allowing for more deployments to more businesses. This ultimately helped feed the demand for the technology as well as supply it. Over time the combination of supply and demand would allow for less costly leasing options finally giving smaller businesses the ability to affordably benefit from T-1 lines.

Internet and Voice Line Types

What is a T1 Internet Line?

A T1 line is a high speed Internet connection capable of transmitting data at 1.544 Mbps (Megabits per second) over fiber optic lines. At one time this may have transmitted at the last mile over twisted pair copper wiring, however fiber optic is quickly becoming the standard to which the telecommunications industry is now adhering to.

What is a T1 Voice Line?

While Internet often is used, just as often voice is transmitted over these lines for business phone service. A T1 voice line is capable of 24 digital voice channels. These voice channels allow for businesses with more than 10 landlines to save money on the cost per local line (local loop). These local landlines can also provide long distance for the company deploying a T-1.

What is an Integrated T1?

An integrated T1 line is where both data and voice run over the circuit. This can be allocated into different increments per function.

What is a Fractional T1 Line?

A fractional line is a product offered to businesses who may have 10 or less phone/Internet lines needed. This line is leased out in smaller fractions and can be split into a half, a quarter, and sometimes less of a full T-1 depending on the needs of that particular business.

What is a Dedicated T1 Line?

This type of circuit offers privacy of a physical nature. The lines are run from one location to another creating secure communications for voice and and Intranet between two or more locations. Other terms include P2P, point-to-point, or private line. There are many configurations including mesh that can be made to accommodate multiple location point-to-point communications.

What is a Bonded T1 Line?

A bonded T-1 is two T1 lines bonded together to create a connection that transmits data at 3.0 Mbps or offers 46 voice channels. This is not the same as having two lines as these lines cannot combine to create the maximum transfer speed without first being bonded. Without the bonding process, two lines will each only transfer at 1.544 Mbps apiece.

What is a Burstable T1 Line?

A bandwidth line labeled as a burstable is a line that offers the full capacity of a T1 with some differences. A burstable T-1 is offered at a lower cost due to the fact you are given a smaller allocation of the full T-1 on a regular day to day basis, but on the occasion congestion increases, you are bumped up to the bandwidth necessary to handle data traffic. You pay an additional fee for every “burst” and the length of it as agreed by the provider.

Additional Information

Common Worldwide References

There are more than way to express in text a T1. Terms include T-1, DS1, DS-1 within the United States of America and Canada. In Europe the use of the letter T is replaced with an E giving the terms E1 and E-1. In Europe however the total transmission capacity is 2.048 Mbps or 30 voice channel capacity. In Japan, J-1 or J1 is the term used and runs at the same rate as the USA and Canadian version.

The Meaning Behind the Term T1

The term T1 comes from the abbreviation Trunk level 1. A trunk is basically the communication line between two locations where switching systems are put into place. These systems are comprised of equipment housed at the location of the telecommunications carrier and end user leasing the line(s).

What Makes T1 Better Than DSL?

As far as speed goes, many might consider DSL speeds and capacity a far greater asset in terms of file sharing and uploading to servers, etc. The real dilemma isn’t really speed as much as it is the reliability of the connections. A T1 circuit is a commercial grade service, therefore uptime is a QoS issue addressed in a far more aggressive manner. Most carriers guarantee 99.99 % uptime. This equates to mere seconds of downtime if any for a T-1. When DSL goes down it can be hours or days which can lose a business a significant amount of revenue during peak business hours.

What if I need More More Bandwidth or Voice Capacity?

T-1 is merely the beginning of available bandwidths. There are other options that are growing in popularity and are in high use already. The most popular is a T3 which has a capacity of 44.736 Mbps for data or 672 voice channels. Additional bandwidths include Gigabit Ethernet options or SONET which comes in many flavors including OC-3 (155.52 Mbps), OC-12 (622.08 Mbps), OC-24 (1.244 Gbps), OC-48 (2.488 Gbps), OC-192 9.953 (Gbps), and more that can include voice channels as well.

What Type of Businesses Use T1?

Businesses, enterprises, and government agencies Nationwide use this bandwidth circuit for voice and data everyday. This includes grocery stores, retail outlets, real estate agencies, airports, call centers, server centers, coffee shops, insurance agencies, DMV, court houses, lawyer offices, e-commerce sites, welfare buildings, car dealerships, military bases, embassies, schools, universities, hospitals, police stations, and many more types of establishments.

Shopping for T1 Lines

What is Behind the Price of a T1?

There are a few factors involved in the pricing of a T1 line. Here we will try to notch down some of these factors for you. This will better give you an idea of why you may expect to pay more or less for you business line.

1. Location also known as POP (Point of Placement) is a primary cost decider on what you will be paying for a T-1 or higher bandwidth line. The further you are from the carrier, the more you will pay. This is due to the physical line being provided to your establishment. These fiber optic lines can become costly to set up depending on your location. Places further away from major metropolitan areas tend to pay more.

2. One factor to not be overlooked will be the cost of hardware including routers, PBX boxes, switches, and possibly more depending on your goals. This cost can go into paying for networking this hardware too which may require a professional if you do not have one in-house.

3. An other obvious factor is the type of T1 connection you choose. A burstable or fractional will cost you significantly less than a dedicated P2P line. Of course you will need to be sure of what T-1 type you need before factoring in costs.

4. Length of contracts can be a big deciding factor on what you will pay. You are more likely to pay more on a per month basis for a one year contract than you would on a 3 year. The longer term contract not only can cost less per month, but can help protect against any rate inflation during those service years.

5. Installation fees are something you will have to pay when the carrier connects you to your service. These will vary, and depending on the carrier, can be free on a special promotion.

6. Taxes and fees are added to your leasing price after a carrier has stated pricing usually. This can include federal, state, and FCC fees.

7. How many phone lines and minutes will you be using? This will be added into your price by the minute for long distance and local.

WARNING: What to Watch Out For Before Signing a Contract

1. Watch out for this first and foremost. Low pricing. In today’s age of tight budgets, many will shop for a lease option solely on price. In many cases, a low price can mean you are buying a burstable T-1 over an already heavily trafficked line. Make sure you know where your line is coming from and what you’re really paying for.

2. Be wary of the term “T1 Speed” as a selling point. This can easily be another way of tricking you into paying for a T1 that is not truly a genuine line. Sometimes these fake T-1 solutions can cost just as much as the real one.

3. Always check for uptime guarantees in the contract before signing. If the carrier cannot guarantee the uptime, it probably isn’t a real T-1. Move on and find a real carrier.

4. Always check the contract and find out what cancellation fees may be associated with bailing out of a contract prematurely. This can happen due to their own QoS (Quality of Service), but you can still end up paying on your part anyhow. Look closely into terms and conditions.

5. Make sure you get a line that is fiber optic the last mile. If a carrier cannot guarantee you a fiber optic line for the last mile then you will want to go with another carrier. These days a twisted copper at the last mile is not sufficient for the needs of today’s demanding businesses.

The Safest Way to Shop and Save on a T1

Many might be swayed into believing that shopping from carrier themselves would be the best way to save on the price of a T-1 circuit. There actually is an easier yet cost free way, and that is through a qualified business telecommunications consultant or broker.

A telecom consultant has the ability to save you more on carrier T1 prices than if you went through a carrier yourself. Their ability relies on what is called “purchase power” which enable lower negotiated lease rates and installation costs.