Leased Line Services
Explained Leased lines interconnect business
locations with dedicated private voice and data bandwidth.
By: John Shepler
A leased line is a private telecommunications line
that connects two locations. It may be used for telephone service,
data transfer, audio or video transport.
What is a Leased Line?
Most often, the term leased line is used to describe an exclusive
point to point connection from one business location to another.
An example of this is a PBX tie line. This is most often a T1
line that connects two PBX telephone systems together. One system
might be at corporate headquarters, the other in a branch office.
A more exotic use of a T1 leased line is
as a radio station studio to transmitter link. An unchannelized
T1 line has enough bandwidth to carry AM, FM stereo, or HD Radio
audio plus control signals for the transmission equipment. A
T1 STL replaces a point to point microwave digital or analog
Leased data lines are used by businesses
to connect point of sale, accounting and inventory systems from
retail locations and warehouses to company headquarters. Most
often these are T1 leased lines, the most cost effective bandwidth
for many companies. A T1 line gives you 1.5 Mbps. You can also
get fractional T1 service if you don't need even this much bandwidth.
Higher Bandwidth Leased Lines
T3 leased lines provide higher bandwidths of 45 Mbps in both
directions. A T3 line can transfer large amounts of data, such
as engineering drawings, medical records including radiology
images, and full motion video. A T3 leased line might connect
two data centers for overnight backups and disaster recovery.
There is almost no limit to the bandwidth
of leased lines once your building is wired for fiber optic service.
You don't need to lease all of the capacity of the fiber optic
connection. In fact, in lieu of a leased T3 line you might lease
and equivalent bandwidth DS3 service on an OC3 fiber optic circuit.
The DS3 bandwidth is still reserved for your exclusive use and
is not accessible by other parties.
A full OC3 line can provide up to 155 Mbps
of voice, data or video bandwidth. Acompeting service would
be a leased Fast Ethernet service at 100 Mbps. Other possibilities
are OC12 at 622 Mbps, Gigabit Ethernet, and OC48 fiber optic
service at 2.5 Gbps.
Loop and Port Charges
A T1 dedicated Internet service is something of a hybrid between
public and private line services. In this case, you have a private
leased line between your business location and the carrier's
nearest point of presence. That's generally at the phone company's
local office. There you connect with a carrier's Internet port
at 1.5 Mbps. The Internet, of course, is a public network. But
you are still leasing an exclusive amount of bandwidth access
to the Internet. That's different than shared services, such
as DSL, where there is no bandwidth guarantee.
How Lines Are Leased
Business telecommunications lines, such as T1 and T3 leased lines,
are leased on a contractual basis. Terms are typically 1,2,
or 3 years. Billing is monthly. Committing to a longer lease
period usually gets you better terms and has the advantage of
protecting you from potential price increases during the lease
period. Most often, leased lines include an SLA or Service Level
Agreement that spells out the availability guarantee of your
service and compensation you'd receive for more than minimal
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