Trust No One that thinks a T1 is fast

Anyone who says a T1 fast either hasn’t used the internet since the days of America Online, or works for AT&T or one of their greedy resellers.

When caught in a conversation with one of these people, they’ll often use the following pitches to convince you that paying twice as much for a fraction of the speed you get on your cable modem at home is justifiable.

  • T1 bandwidth is ‘symmetrical’
  • T1 bandwidth is dedicated
  • T1 lines are more reliable

Let’s break down our salesperson’s argument step by step by considering the following example:

You run an office with 10 people. Each of these people rely on the internet mostly for researching which consists of browsing the internet and downloading files. You have a few people that VPN into the office from home or other locations.

You are considering a T1 versus the most expensive plan your local cable provider has to offer. Here is what the comparison is going to look like:

Cable Modem – $375/month

  • 20 Mbit downstream
  • 3 Mbit upstream

T1 Line – $399/month

  • 1.544 Mbit downstream
  • 1.544 Mbit upstream

1) Symmetry doesn’t matter. The pitch is crafted something like this “With other internet services, you are offered huge download speed with very slow upload speed. With a T1, you can upload just as fast as you download!” They ignore the fact that the upload speed of the average cable modem is still twice the upload speed on the T1.

2) T1 lines are dedicated, you don’t share bandwidth. The real scoop: The difference in the amount of bandwidth that can be handled by fiber and coax versus the copper in a T1 is staggering. It’s practically infinite. So you share bandwidth with the guy next door, across the street, and the entire apartment complex up the road. A cable modem on its slowest download day is still faster than a T1.

3) T1 is more reliable. This is largely influenced by geography and technical competence of your service provider. Speaking from experience, I’ve heard just as many horror stories about flaky T1s as any other internet connection.

When you hear these words, it takes little convincing especially when you’ve generally heard the term T1 used in conjunction with fast for the majority of your technological life. Stop and think about how long its been since someone really used those words together. Its been something like 10 or 15 years. Technology has changed, and while many companies have embraced the fact that fiber and other high bandwidth media like coax ultimately offer the highest bandwidth per dollar, there are significantly more trying to convince themselves that copper is still the cash cow it once was.

The saddest part is the fact that most of the people selling

There’s a particularly aggressive AT&T reseller in town

Here has been AT&T’s contribution to usher us into the high bandwidth era:

  • ADSL – Faster than T1, but has short range. Still uses copper.
  • VDSL (uVerse) – Faster than DSL, even shorter range. Still uses copper.

Meanwhile cable companies have rolled

think about AT&T and the phone companies that make a living reselling their lines

The fact of the matter is that T1 is a standard

What to do if you have a T1 line.