High-speed data networks typically come down to the choice of these two services for most applications. A T3 Line is a 45Mbps connection for private data networks (Private Line, Point to Point Circuit, MPLS VPN) or access to the Internet (T3 Internet). Fractional T3 is available as well for MPLS Networks or Internet access, usually in 3Mbps increments from 6Mbps to 45Mbps. Metro Ethernet Service is available for private data networks and Internet access, with bandwidth speeds typically from 5Mbps to 1Gbps.
Metro Ethernet Network Advantages
Metro Ethernet Networks are delivered as a fiber connection to end user locations in most cases (or Ethernet over Copper, Fixed Wireless). This offers greater bandwidth capacity, with the simplicity and flexibility of Ethernet networks. Metro Ethernet access is not constrained by traditional telecom data capacity limits such as T3 (45Mbps), OC3 (155Mbps), or OC12 (622Mbps). This allows you to upgrade bandwidth speeds without having to install a new type of circuit or replace your CPE. With fiber access it ensures a future-proof technology and bandwidth capacity as well. Also, since the WAN handoff is Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet, there isn’t a need for a special router or WIC card, which lowers CPE costs. T3 lines are delivered as either fiber or coax connections to end-user sites, with a maximum data capacity of 45Mbps. The WAN handoff is T3 (aka DS3) which requires a more robust router with a T3/DS3 WIC card installed, this increases the CPE cost and management.
Metro Ethernet Availability
Metro Ethernet Services dominate data networks with bandwidth speeds of 100Mbps to 1Gbps. A big factor is the installation location and the market it resides in. Rural locations typically have no Metro Ethernet providers or very limited Metro Ethernet availability, so T3 service is the only option available. Inside major metro areas and larger markets, the availability of Metro Ethernet Service becomes greater and Metro Ethernet pricing decreases as well (with more competition). This makes Metro E a better choice vs T3 lines in most metro areas. The ideal situation is when the location is a Fiber Lit Building, with multiple Local Loop providers, which is typically the highest percentage of total Metro Ethernet cost. With competition comes decreased fiber access costs, which lowers the total Metro Ethernet pricing you pay. Bottom line, check out Metro Ethernet Service availability when locations are in metro areas, and T3 Lines when it is rural or a smaller market.