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Dedicated Lines Connect Business Offices
Advantages of using dedicated private lines and MPLS networks to connect offices.

By: John Shepler

Many companies have two offices that they would like to link. These offices may be in the same city, across the country or even in different countries. What options are available to do this and what services can you get?

T1 Dedicated Lines
The traditional telecom services link between offices is the dedicated private line. T1 lines have been long used for this purpose because they are almost universally available and often the lowest cost solution. A point to point T1 data line will give you 1.5 Mbps of symmetrical bandwidth. That means 1.5 Mbps upload and 1.5 Mbps download. Symmetrical bandwidth is important when used to link business locations because you’ll have similar traffic levels going in both directions. That differs from the Internet where downloading predominates.

The Privacy Aspect
Two other characteristics of T1 lines are important to consider. One is that this is a private line. It’s like having a pair of wires connected at one building and the opposite end of the wires connected at the other building. In fact, for local T1 lines that may be close to the way it is wired up. Over longer distances, your T1 service will probably be multiplexed on a higher bandwidth connection, likely a fiber optic network, for the long haul portion of the interconnection. Regardless, you have a private service that is difficult for anyone to intercept. If you want to ensure the ultimate in privacy, you have the option to encrypt your transmissions on that line.

Dedicated Bandwidth
The other important characteristic of T1 lines is that the bandwidth is dedicated to your usage. You can load it up with two-way traffic 24/7 or just use it when you want to transfer a file. Whatever doesn’t get used just sits there waiting for you. You’ll never run into the situation where your service slows down because some other company is downloading HD videos from the Internet. This also means that there are no usage restrictions. Your T1 line can be used lightly or continuously and your bill at the end of the month will be the same.

Voice and Data Connections
T1 lines are available in both data and voice configurations. The voice configuration, called T1 telephone, can transport 24 separate phone conversations. A variation, T1 PRI or ISDN PRI transports 23 phone lines plus a switching and information channel used to provide Caller ID.

Higher Bandwith Options
What if you need more bandwidth? The next step up with traditional telecom services is DS3 at 45 Mbps, followed by SONET fiber optic including OC-3 at 155 Mbps, OC-12 at 622 Mbps, OC-48 at 2.5 Gbps and OC-192 at 10 Gbps.

Ethernet Connectivity
You also have the choice of Ethernet line services from typically 10 Mbps on up to 10 Gbps as point to point dedicated connections. Ethernet tends to be lower in cost than traditional services and more scalable. In other words, it’s easier to increase line speed with Ethernet than with T-carrier or SONET.

MPLS Netoworking Might Be The Low Cost Option
Another option to link offices, especially over long distances like coast to coast or internationally, is MPLS networking. MPLS networks are highly secure, well engineered to provide committed bandwidth levels, and reasonably priced. It may well be cheaper to order a last mile connection at each end and let the MPLS network handle the long haul than specify a dedicated point to point line service. You’ll get similar performance either way.

Which Private Line Solutions Is Right For You?
Are you looking to establish a dedicated line between offices, perhaps with one of them overseas? Compare options and prices online for T1, DS3 and Ethernet up to 1 Gbps. Note that US to international destination connections will require some manual effort to price, with quotes delivered promptly to your specifications.

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