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T1 lines are becoming more cost effective all the time. Only a few years ago, the T1 line that would have cost you more than $600 per month is now available in many areas for under $300 per month. Why is this the case? It is because of the basic economics of supply and demand, and the demand is higher which lowers pricing, even in a less-than-stellar economy.
While T1 service is very cost effective and increases productivity for just about any business operation, you need to be careful in many respects. For example, with the increasing number of home businesses and telecommuting that exist today, does that mean that a T1 circuit is appropriate for a home business or even a residential environment? No. In fact, there are many carriers and/or LEC's that will not even install a T1 circuit into a residential setting, and a residential or home business setting rarely has the real bandwidth needs that can effectively utilize the feature set that a T1 line can offer.
Many people are led to believe that their broadband needs can be adequately met by DSL and cable solutions. But nothing could be further from the truth. DSL and cable are designed to be unreliable and they are SHARED circuits, where even with the “business class” hype (which is really, for the most part, only marketing hype), your DSL or cable connection is still being shared amongst 50-100+ other businesses and residences in your area, meaning that you have NO dedicated access. This also means that you have NO guaranteed bandwidth availability, NO guaranteed uptime, NO guaranteed repair time in case of problems, and NO recourse if the circuit is too slow to be useful. Do you really want to risk your business and online presence to something that MAY work but has no guarantees? Remember that the only way DSL and cable providers really make money is to over-subscribe those services, which for the true residential user, is usually more than adequate.
As recently as a few years ago, a high speed line such as a T1 circuit might have been viewed as a mere luxury. But with increasingly complex web based services and the increasing popularity of online applications such as Google Docs, remote desktop applications, FTP sites, and professional web presence to your customers, reliable and dependable connections are fast becoming the industry standard. When talking about DSL and cable, you cannot put “reliable”, “dependable”, and “consistent” adjectives in the same sentence.
T1 Internet lines are like real estate, where they say it’s all location, location, location. In very metro locations such as many cities, a T1 line can be very inexpensive, sometimes even under $300 per month. But in very rural locations, that same circuit, perhaps even from the same carrier, could be over $700 per month. One of the keys to remember though is that for any given location, if you can get a phone line there, chances are better than 99% that you can get a T1 line there too.
But all business T1 lines are not created equally. This site only represents first tier carriers who have demonstrated that they do indeed provide the circuit performance and customer service that should be associated with a reliable T1 circuit. But as with any other commodity, you can always find a lower price. What you need to ask yourself is whether or not the price is really lower. If you are spending 2-3 hours a week on the phone with the carrier to straighten out a billing problem or find out why the circuit is down, based on your hourly wage from your employer, how much have you really spent for that circuit? You purchased your T1 connection to solve problems and create more productivity, not to create more problems.
Many times a customer is in need of more bandwidth than a standard T1 Connection can provide, and instead of making a quantum leap in price to a DS3 circuit, a much more cost effective solution is to go with a Bonded T1. This can represent a marginal increase in bandwidth, and is frequently a very cost effective option. A Bonded T1 circuit can be bonded from two T1's up to a maximum of eight T1's. Instead of having that many individual 1.5 MB circuits though, the carrier will bond them together to give you the bandwidth you need as a sum total. So in other words, with a two Bonded T1 solution you have 3 MB of data throughput; i.e., two times 1.5 MB; with a three Bonded T1 solution, you have 4.5 MB of data throughput; i.e., three times 1.5 MB. This should be looked at carefully though, because depending on your location, once you start getting into the three bonded and four bonded price range, you may discover that Business Ethernet is actually a much more cost effective option, plus it usually starts at 10 MB.
MPLS Networks have gained a lot of popularity in recent years because they can provide the same functionality as a Point To Point Network in terms of a private and secure method to connect geographically dispersed locations. With an MPLS Network, you do not use the public Internet to connect to your other sites, but use a private "cloud" which does not traverse the public Internet. This is one of the primary things that gives you MPLS Sec;urity in your network.
Additionally, each site can be configured with the size circuit it needs. For example with a sample MPLS Network, your headquarters site might have a 10 MBEthernet MPLS connection, while the secondary office might have a three bonded T1 MPLS connection, while your four remote offices in different parts of the country would have a simple MPLS T1, with the point being that your can size your MPLS network as it suits your needs.
It is possible for a single MPLS circuit to provide BOTH MPLS connectivity as well as Internet connectivity, but this is typically not recommended. The reason it is not recommended is because your Internet connection part of that circuit is going to be the "loophole" to potentially allow viruses and malware into your private and secure MPLS network, but if you take precautions with a secure and reliable firewall, this can also be a cost effective solution.