Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) is an early network technology that was well established before the Ethernet. Until a few years back, if you wanted high bandwidth data transport networking, your entry point was OC3 SONET at 155 Mbps. It was expensive but reliable data transmission. Today, network technology has evolved with many different solutions available to modern businesses. Is OC3 bandwidth still the right choice? Let’s explore!

What is OC3 technology?

SONET comes with a standardized protocol to transfer data using fiber optic cables. Optical carriers are standardized specifications for transmission bandwidths, which define the speed of the fiber-optic network.

The rates of optical carrier transmission are set depending on the bitstream of the signal, along with an integer that helps determine the rate of data transfer.  SONET has different OC levels, with each optical carrier level adding roughly 51.84 megabits per second. OC-3 transfers data at approximately three times 51.84, which is 155.52 Mbps.

How does OC3 work?

Fiber optic cables are made from pure optical glass or plastic wires. They use light for data transmission. The light carries digital signals that reflect inside the line from the transmitter to the receiver. During transmission, an optical generator boosts the signal to prevent signal degradation.

OC-3 uses a synchronous optical networking ring structure where one of the fibers, called the “working” ring, handles the data transfer. If that fiber fails, a backup, called the “protection” ring, detects the failure and takes over transfer duties. The connection remains established until the data is fully transferred to the receiver.

Benefits and Applications of OC3

OC-3 technologies are generally implemented by companies with large bandwidth and consistent speed requirements, such as for online conferences and voice data. Both ISPs and global organizations use it. Benefits of OC3 lines include:


Each T1 line is made up of 24 channels that can be used for transmitting voice and data. In comparison to this, 1 OC3 line is equal to 100 T1 connections. Hence, OC3 lines can cater to organization-wide scalability requirements. It can serve a large number of applications and users without compromising on performance.

Long term solution

Long term solution

OC3 is a long-term solution as the network backbone need not be replaced even if your enterprise-wide requirements grow unexpectedly. Over a period of time, the cost of this connection is justified by the amount of benefit it generates to the business.


The OC3 line is a highly reliable connection as it is monitored around the clock for any possible outages. Moreover, problems can be resolved remotely, and there is no need to wait for an onsite visit to address the issue. This speeds up the response and resolution time in case of any network disturbance. Quality of Service is enforced by Service Level Agreements.

Limitations of OC3 line

OC3 lines are expensive and incur both installation and maintenance charges. They may be out of reach for small businesses which are just starting out.

Is OC3 a good choice for my business?

With high bandwidth capacity, an OC3 internet line can prove to be extremely beneficial for your current and future network communication. However, your budget and operations requirements will ultimately be the deciding factor. At CarrierBid, our experts are trained in assessing your existing and future network requirements. We can help you arrive at the most appropriate solution for your business requirements. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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