The Internet has become an indispensable tool for conducting business because of the greater use of computers worldwide. Further, with remote teams, the workflow can only be consistent through stable internet connectivity. Therefore, it is crucial to understand which internet connection is best for your kind of usage. This is where the T1 vs. DSL debate arises. Although both are very popular ways of accessing the Internet, each has its pros and cons.

Not all businesses might require a T1 connection; home users most of the time don’t require it. Still, in certain circumstances, no matter how good your DSL connection works for your home, you can’t work with the same in your business environment. Eventually, there are a few reasons your business can’t get DSL or Cable Internet. So it is best to understand each technology in isolation and compare the two to make a sound business decision.

What is DSL?

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is one of the most common broadband internet connections for homes in present times. A DSL internet requires a dedicated pair of copper wires connected within the user’s telephone lines along with a modem or a transceiver.

Although it uses telephone lines, DSL uses a separate frequency for internet transmissions. Therefore, it is possible to use the phone line and the Internet simultaneously, without interfering. This is made possible by dividing the telephone signals into three bands. While telephone lines work on the lowest band, the top two bands are used for internet downloads and uploads.

The most common DSL connection is the ADSL or the Asymmetric DSL, wherein the upload and the download speed are not identical. This is one of the biggest reasons why DSL is more appropriate for home usage, where the most critical factor is the download speed, while upload speed doesn’t matter as much.

What is a T1?

What is a T1?

The T1 internet uses fiber optic internet technology based on the multiple time-division multiplexed (TDM) communication framework. T1 allows both higher upload and download speed and is, therefore, more appropriate for a business environment.

The key aspect that allows the higher speed is that the T1 internet technology effectively splits the line into 24 different channels for data and voice; thereby, information is transmitted through different channels, avoiding delays due to overloading a channel.

The channel division is the reason why T1 is ideal for small businesses and can also be in the home environment if such is the need. Due to the channel splitting, T1 is efficient and more reliable, providing greater uptime. Losing connectivity might cost you more than the excess you might pay over a DSL connection. Therefore, the trade-off is worth it to maintain a consistent workflow.

Another great advantage of T1 is that it offers symmetrical upload and download speeds. Therefore, in a business environment, where file sharing and VOIP are an everyday affair, you can’t compromise on the upload speed.

With the above description of the two technologies, it seems as if T1 vs. DSL is no debate after all, and T1 is the clear winner. However, that is not always the case; you should compare the two technologies on various factors before deciding. You must analyze your requirements and the costs of each technology and then decide which technology is best for you.

What is the difference between DSL and T1?

To be able to decide, which internet technology is best for you, the below factors should be taken into consideration when it comes to the DSL vs. T1 debate:

1. Bandwidth

Services like DSL are “oversubscribed.” This mathematical calculation implies that the total bandwidth available for servicing a set number of subscribers is relatively lower. Or, in other words, the per capita bandwidth is lower. This is a direct outcome of cost. As DSL costs relatively lower, it is oversubscribed.

DSL cost is relatively lower

Oversubscription of DSL bandwidth results in a more significant difference between the guaranteed bandwidth and the advertised bandwidth compared to a dedicated service such as T1. However, it is not untrue that T1 bandwidth is “oversubscribed” as well, but the extent of oversubscription is comparatively lower.

With higher bandwidth comes greater speed, so if you need higher speed and can bear the cost, T1 is the way to go.

2. Upload Speed

While for home usage, the most crucial factor is the download speed, for business usage, upload speed is also a factor. Although the download speed of both the services is somewhat around 1.5mbps, the upload speed of DSL is far less and ranges around 384kbps. However, due to symmetrical speed, the upload speed of T1 is also around 1.5mbps.

A business might need to host its website or require employees to access the network remotely. Further, Voice over IP and other real-time applications require minimal or no latency. All this is possible only with a dedicated service offering a heftier upload speed.

Therefore, it is always better to go for T1 if your business has the usage mentioned above. Also, an internet connection is a long-term investment, so you might want to take into account the future growth of your business, rather than just the current usage. A DSL might be relevant now, but a few years down the line, it might get obsolete for your business, so think long-term.

3. Response Time

In today’s time, if the Internet stops, the entire workflow can come to a shutdown, and in times where time is money, waiting for even a day can cost you a lot in terms of lost business. Therefore, a quick response time is of utmost importance.

It is a well-known fact that T1 customers receive a better response time if they require a repair tech visit. T1s offer a service level agreement that promises a tech visit within four hours, while with DSL, the fastest possible response time is the next day.

4. Cost

dsl is less expensive than t1

Coming to the most important parameter on which everything boils down to, the cost of Internet. The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” comes into play in this debate. DSL is less expensive and in some cases will suffice, but you have to ask yourself the following questions before ordering the service:

  • If your internet service went down for a day, how would that affect your business?
  • How sensitive is the information that you’re transmitting over the Internet?
  • Is anyone accessing your network remotely?
  • Have you taken into account the cost of your phone lines and long-distance communications when you’re calculating the total cost of your telecom service?
  • Do you ever have to send large files across the Internet?

If all or most of the above are true for you, you might have to edge towards T1. Therefore, you must understand that the cheapest isn’t always the best.

The typical business DSL connection costs between $50 and $100 per month. However, if you include the cost of lost business opportunities, lower response time, and lower speed, the total price can amount to somewhere close to $200 per month.

T1, on average, costs $250 per month. So for not much more money per month, T1’s, specifically integrated T1’s, offered by companies like CenturyLink, XO, Integra, and TW Telecom, offer faster upload speeds, a more dependable download speed, a sizable block of long-distance minutes, and if you need additional lines, they’re in the $20 range instead of $40 (the average cost of a business phone line).

Decide which internet connection is the right choice for your business

Therefore, in many aspects, T1 wins the T1 vs. DSL debate, when it comes to business internet, while DSL is more of a home internet. However, for some businesses, DSL might also work. So it is best to analyze your usage before choosing an option for internet technology.

In case you are not sure of your current and future usage, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a telecom expert, or a telecom consultant or an agent like Carrierbid. If you make the wrong choice, it could take weeks to replace a DSL connection with a T1 or integrated T1. So don’t just rush into picking one service. Give it some thought and choose the right one for once and for all.

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