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Point to Point Private Line Connections
Solutions for dedicated point to point private lines for interconnecting business locations.

By: John Shepler

Sometimes you need to get your traffic from Point A to Point B with as much security and transparency as possible. Let’s look at popular options to do just that.

What Are Dedicated Private Lines?
You can think of a dedicated private line as a connection between two locations that goes through a carrier. This is what you need if you can't just string the wires between buildings on your own campus. The private line acts like your own wiring, except that it is provided by another company. Private lines can go across town, between cities, or even around the world.

T1 Dedicated Lines
T1 lines are the digital equivalent of the old “dry loops” or “equalized loops” that phone companies leased to radio stations and burglar alarm companies. A dedicated T1 point to point line goes between two locations using telco twisted pair wiring. You need routers or other equipment with the T1 interface at each end.

T1 dedicated lines offer 1.5 Mbps in both directions with no usage limits. A popular application is audio transport such as studio to transmitter links (STL) for radio stations.

T1 dedicated lines are still used for cellular traffic backhaul. They were extremely popular prior to 4G LTE, which really needs more bandwidth than you get with T1. In some cases, multiple T1 lines can be bonded together to create a larger bandwidth solution. Where fiber is unavailable, it is possible to get 10 or 12 Mbps from bonded T1 lines.

DS3 Dedicated
The next step up in traditional TDM telecom circuits is the T3 or DS3 dedicated line. These offer 45 Mbps upload / download private links. DS3/T3 is considered a copper-based service. In actuality, most of the transmission distance is handled over OC3 or other SONET fiber optic circuits, with only the curb connection carried by dual coaxial copper cables.

Ethernet over Copper
Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is a technical improvement on T1, while using the same twisted pair infrastructure. EoC easily offers bandwidths in the 1 to 10 Mbps range, with some systems delivering up to 50 or even 100 Mbps over relatively short distances. If available, you may find that you can replace a bonded T1 solution or DS3 circuit with EoC for a considerable cost savings.

Fiber Optic Dedicated Lines
Higher bandwidths are more and more in demand. Fortunately, fiber optic private lines are more affordable than in years past. There are two technologies of interest, although it may not make much difference in performance which you choose. SONET is the legacy telco standard, with services such as OC3, OC12 and OC48 providing different bandwidth options. Ethernet over Fiber is the technical upgrade to SONET. It offers advantages of being easily scalable from 10 Mbps up to 10 Gbps or higher, and is usually the lower cost solution.

Virtual Private Lines
The Internet offers lower cost solutions to interconnect multiple locations, but it is far from dedicated or private. The attractive pricing comes from being a shared resource with universal connectivity available nearly everywhere in the world. You can’t do much about the fact that the bandwidth is shared and not dedicated to your own use, which might affect the performance of your applications. The lack of privacy can be addressed by encrypting your traffic which effectively creates a private “tunnel” or VPN through the Internet.

A more robust solution is provided by MPLS networks. These can be thought of as privately run versions of the Internet that connect only businesses and not the general public. Proprietary protocols are used for routing traffic on the network, which adds security to the transmissions. MPLS networks are often described as MPLS VPN. Network capacity and performance are actively managed by the network operator so that a shared core network can perform like a private line, Over long distances, MPLS offers considerable cost savings over a dedicated copper or fiber connection.

Do you need a high performance dedicated private line connection to support your critical application? If so, get pricing and tradeoffs available for a variety of private line solutions available to your business locations.

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