What's better? ADSL......Metro E or a T1? We get asked a lot about internet and broadband services. And it seems like customers are always looking at the cheaper solution. But, in some cases they have to look at what's available in their local area and also consider what the business application needs are. Are you a cloud based application user? Are you a VoIP consumer? Do you have multiple offices with VPN needs? All of these answers will directly affect not ony the type of Internet that is available in your area but what you need.
To most people they look at the big number from the marketing flyer or TV commerical and think the bigger the number and the lower the price they better service it will be. WRONG!
Let's start with basic terminology.
ADSL (Asymmetric digital subscriber line)
- 'up to' 12Mb(download)/896K(upload)
- runs over existing telephone lines; doesn't require a special build
- fast but inconsistent downloads
- slow and inconsistent uploads
- connected to DSLAM with a 'one to many' network design
- bottleneck as multiple ADSL subscribers compete for bandwidth
- best effort service; NO SLA
- distance sensitive
- 4 pair dedicated access line
- requires a new network build out
- dedicated 1.5Mb(download)/1.5Mb(upload)
- consistent dedicated, uninhibited bandwidth throughput
- Dedicated port
- faster upload
- Ethernet based network design
- dedicated bandwidth
- high bandwidths
- scalable and incremental bandwidths
- Fiber optic backbone
- Cost effective
Location: Metro E is only available in select areas as it's a new technology. ADSL is more readily available but still is limited to distance from the DSLAM. A T1 can be provisioned to almost any location by the very nature of it's technology.
Price: T1's will run about $500 per month with a one-time install charge. This price can vary depending on the term length of the service you are willing to contract to. Metro E typically starts at 5Mb and will cost about the same at the T1 but you get 300% more bandwith. Prices go up from there. ADSL is significantly cheaper with 12Mb down and 896k up will cost you about $100 per month.
Applications: If you are a simple office with basic surfing needs and need to access email then ADSL will be just fine. If you are running servers, such as MS Exchange, or you have your office systems in the cloud, such as NetSuite, SalesForce, ZOHO or other proprietary web based applications and you need both fast and realiable upload speeds, then you need to look at a bigger, more reliable connection such as Metro E or a T1.
Upload Speed Requirements: If you are running VPNs across multiple offices, you will need a stronger more consistant internet connection. If you are backing up your data into the cloud using Carbonite or Mozy, for example, with ADSL and depending on the size of the file(s) could take significantly longer and quite possibly days vs hours.
VoIP: Depending on how many simultaneous calls you make at one-time will also affect your decision. An ADSL 12/896k connection is good for about 6-7 calls. But, that doesn't leave you much bandwith for other activities. Download speeds with ADSL and VoIP are really never the issue; it's the throttle of 896k on the upload that becomes the issue.
What does this all mean?
We have a lot of offices running a significant amount of applications across ADSL. But, as they grow and take on new technologies they have found that their Interne needs have changed. The more dependent they become on the Internet for their business needs the more reliable Internet they require.
What I find amazing is that small offices are running their own MS Exchange Server with an ADSL connection. Email has been so critical that if the ADSL connection goes down; so does a significant part of their business communications...email. It would be better suited to move that service to a hosted or colocation facility so if there is an Internet problem you can still get email via web mail at the local wifi hotspot or on your iphone. A very simple disaster recovery tactic.
A quick rule of thumb; the cheaper the ADSL...typically the more traffic on the DSLAM and slower, inconsistant Internet speeds making it very hard for businesses to manage their cloud based applications or provide QOS on the existing LAN. You don't have these issues with your own dedicated port from a T1 or Metro E Internet connection.
ATG monitors ALL of its Internet connections via ATG|view. We can tell: 1) if the Internet is down, 2) if the latency on the Internet is high, 3) what the bandwidth is being utililzed coming into the network (download) and what is being sent out of the network (upload). With ATG|view we can graphically show our customers what kind of Internet requirements they are using on a daily basis. Try and call your current Broadband Provider, and ask them what your daily bandwidth has been over the last week or thirty-days.
Don't get me wrong; ADSL is a great technology but it has its limits. And, as long as your business can work inside the limits then that technology is a great choice. If you continue to push the limits of that service then you will have nothing but problems that will affect your employees, vendors and ultimately your customers.
Be sure to contact ATG|voice at 877-747-4284 for all your voice, data, and media needs.