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T1 vs Cable for Business Internet Service

There are a number of pros and cons for each type of business Internet service.   Cable vs T1 lines have a number of factors which can affect speed, up-time, latency, packet loss, and repair time-frames.   Once you are aware of these issues you can determine the best business Cable or T1 Internet service for your needs and budget.   Here are the biggest factors with T1 vs Cable for business Internet.

Cable Internet Cost and Performance

Business Class Cable Internet service is a low cost, high bandwidth connection, via a coax cable network (Local Cable Provider).    Business Cable speed varies based on the cable provider in your area and network capabilities.  Typically they are a minimum of 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speed.   Cable Internet for business is a “Best Effort” service, meaning they do not offer any guarantees on service performance (aka Service Level Agreement).  Also, the network is shared among many users in your area like a  LAN.  So when you buy a package speed (ie; 10Mbps x 1Mbps), during peak usage times you will only get a fraction of those Cable speeds due to network congestion.   Another issue you encounter with business Cable Internet is higher latency.   This means data takes longer to get from point A to Z, which can lead to delays in connecting and issues with VOIP call quality.   Packet loss is typically higher as well, meaning Cable Internet data packets get dropped and don’t make it to the destination, leading to timeouts and dropped VOIP calls.

Cable Internet Reliability

Reliability and repair time-frames are probably the biggest issues for business Cable Internet subscribers.   It is not uncommon for outages to occur 2-3 times a month.  This is because when business Cable Internet providers do maintenance on the network in your area, like a LAN, it affects others users on the network.   Repair timeframes are typically longer to get a tech onsite for an issue, this again is why it is called a “Best Effort” service.    Cable for business Internet service is a low cost solution for higher bandwidth needs, but there are many risks and performance issues to consider.   In most cases, business Cable Internet is not recommended for a larger business without a back-up connection and a separate voice network connection (VOIP, PRI T1).

T1 Internet Cost and Performance

T1 Internet service is a higher cost, but a dedicated connection over traditional telecom networks (local phone company,  CLEC’s, ISP’s, backbone networks).  T1 speeds are fixed and do not vary based on location or provider, they are always 1.54Mbps download and 1.54Mbps upload.     A T1 line is not a shared network connection, but is dedicated, meaning the T1 line goes from your site to the Internet directly (via Point to Point T1).    T1 lines come with a Service Level Agreement which guarantees all metrics of service and performance, as well as provide compensation if those metrics are not met.   T1 speed and performance are the highest available with low latency, packet loss, and downtime.

T1 Reliability

Outages and service issues are rare.   Telecom networks are built with a high level of redundancy in place (99.999% up-time), and repairs to other parts of the network do not affect other users.   T1 Internet service is suitable for all types of applications requiring QoS, including VOIP, Video, VPN, and remote applications.    T1 service is a higher cost, but a very reliable Internet service for all types or businesses.   If a speed higher than T1 is needed there are other options available including Bonded T1, Ethernet Internet, or DS3 Line.

T1 vs Cable Advantages

When looking at T1 vs Cable, you need to review each of the services pros and cons, as well as applications used with service.  Cost alone should not be the determining factor when deciding on T1 vs Cable for Business Internet Services.

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