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What are the Pros or Cons of Bonded T1's and Fiber Optic Ethernet?

Posted on 2008-10-31
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We are currently looking at new ISP's and the media and bandwidth they offer.  Two options we are looking at are bonded T1's and Fiber optic ethernet from our local cable company.  The speed (7-10mb) and price are approximately the same per month.  What are the advantages and/or disadvantages to each of these different connections to the internet.
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Question by:ohmErnie
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Reid Palmeira earned 500 total points
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fiber (typically) is going to be a little more expensive unless you're in a building that is already "on network" for that ISP. That is, they already have fiber into taht building, or that floor of the building and don't have to built fiber to you (which is expensive). It's also generally more reliable than T1's would be. Fiber connectivity should also give you ample headroom for growth/future bandwidth expansion. However, if the building is on-net for the ISP you want to verify the SLA you're getting. Well actually you want to do that with the T1's as well. Say for example the ISP has fiber in the building already with a 1 gbps connection on their network ring. If they sell 100 customers in that building with 10 Mbps each, they've maxed out that gig link. If they sell 200 customers with 10 Mbps (over subscription) they you may get a deal that gives you a committed rate of like 5 Mbps with the capability to "burst" to 10 mbps if there's available bandwidth.

T1 side, bonded T1's are usually leased from the LEC (local exchange carrier, the people who do your local phone service) and are cheaper for the ISP than fiber UNLESS that ISP already has fiber to your building. Bonded T1's mean multiple circuits, which means (on the pro side) some redundancy if one of the loops should fail (each T1 = 1.5 Mbps so 5 T1's = 7.5 Mbps, if you lose one circuit you're down to 6 Mbps) but it also means more expensive equipment. What is the ISP's handoff to you? Are they requiring your router to accept multiple T1's or will they install equipment to handle the T1 bonding and provide you with say an Ethernet connection?

Price either being equal or a lesser factor, opt for the fiber but make sure you clearly understand your Service Level Agreements (SLA's) and what speeds you are being provided at a committed rate and at a max burst rate.
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