What Every Business Should Know When Shopping For DSL, T1, Or DS3 Bandwidth
By Michael Lemm
The most common bandwidth solutions business choose today center around DSL, T1, and DS3 bandwidth. But to make the right choice for your business there’s a few facts you must get straight.
“T1″ is a telephone company term that describes a 1.54 Mbps capacity Internet connection. It also implies that the connection is “business class,” and includes a guarantee.
The term “DS3″ is also a “business class” guaranteed Internet connection. It should not be put together with “DSL,” because in general they are not similar. However. many business customers confuse the 2 leading to some avoidable mistakes during the quote and purchase process.
Years ago, a business class T1 connection was very expensive, in excess of $1000 per month, and was designed to provide reliability to businesses whose use of the Internet was critical (they were willing to pay more for guaranteed reliability). Back in the early days, the alternative was dial-up. T1 prices have come down to the $400 per month range today.
Most other connection “speeds” (more accurately, capacity) offered by the telephone company are a “bundle” of 1.54 Mbps lines. A 3 Mbps link is also referred to as a “bundle” of 2 T1’s. Similarly, DS3 is a nickname for a 45 Mbps connection, and is simply a bundle of 30 T1’s. Since the cable TV companies began retrofitting their systems to deliver Internet access, these nicknames (T1, DS3, and others) have been borrowed, although the “speeds” originally were derived as a function of the limitations of the telephone company copper wires. Cable company equipment on the other hand can be throttled to any speed for the end user.
Around 2000 companies like TowerStream (beginning in New England, and now nationwide) began deploying business class Internet connections using equipment that, for the first time, was not retrofitted, but designed for the purpose of bidirectional data delivery. These systems also have infinitely variable throttles. TowerStream, for example, delivers a guaranteed T1 speed connection, but they also offer a 2 Mbps, 3 Mbps, 8 Mbps, and other ranges of speeds not offered by the phone companies, and their “DS3,” instead of being throttled at 45 Mbps, is rounded off to 50. These connections are also unique because they completely bypass the phone and cable “copper” infrastructure.
It is confusing to many folks why someone would pay $400 per month for a business class link. The answer is in the small print.
I’ve heard Verizon on the radio offering “up to 8 Mbps” for twenty dollars a month. At the end of the ad, the guy with the really fast voice came on and stated “speed and uptime not guaranteed.” That’s the small print, radio version.
What this means is, exactly what it says … “up to 8 Mbps.” Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it’ll crawl along at a terribly slow speed. Maybe it’ll stop working completely. Maybe it’ll go 8 Mbps. Maybe. They provide no guarantee. You certainly can not call and complain if it goes slow. They only said it might go 8 Mbps.
Less expensive connections, like DSL and cable modem, usually residential (and often small busines too), are not guaranteed. It’s important to know. Usually the more expensive connections do provide an “SLA,” or Service Level Agreement, which spells out the minimum speed, latency, uptime, and other measures of performance, which are guaranteed.
In addition, business class links (like T1’s) usually allow the customer to host a server inside his location, and he gets public IP addresses, as well as other means of support, which are generally required for Internet intensive and Internet commerce-based businesses, and businesses which have outside users working from remote locations who need to be able to access the office. Residential type services (the less expensive services) will not provide business support, and often will cut off a customer who attempts to circumvent the basics.
It’s all in the small print. Is it guaranteed? Are public IP addresses provided? Is there an SLA? Are these things important to you? They may or may not be … but the business class of service is the lifeblood of businesses of all sizes these days, and should be expected to be for many years to come.
Should you want assistance helping navigate the questions and decisions involved in choosing the right business bandwidth solution for your company….take advantage of the no cost consulting offered at …. DS3 Bandwidth
Michael is the owner of FreedomFire Communications….including DS3-Bandwidth.com and Business-VoIP-Solution.com. Michael also authors Broadband Nation where you’re always welcome to drop in and catch up on the latest BroadBand news, tips, insights, and ramblings for the masses.
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The Advantages Of Bluetooth
By Tristan Bailey
If you have heard of Bluetooth technology but are not sure what it is or how it works you may be wondering why more and more people are using it in their everyday lives. There are many advantages to using Bluetooth technology which can make using electronic devices that little bit easier.
As you may already know, Bluetooth was created as an alternative to using cables and wires so that electronic devices can communicate with each other without linking them together. The advantages of using wireless technology are obvious as you will no longer need to worry about taking connection cables with you wherever you go.
Bluetooth has quickly become the universal wireless standard technology and because it operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, which is license free, its available and compatible worldwide. This will allow you to use the technology all over the world no matter where you are.
The technology is also very easy to use because when any two or more electronic devices that are equipped with Bluetooth enter a range of up to 30 feet they will automatically start communicating with each other without any action needed to be taken by the user. There is no need to set up a connection, install any software, or push any buttons.
Although its an advanced technology, Bluetooth is actually inexpensive and easily affordable so anyone can take advantage it and start using it. It is also a standardised wireless platform and has a high level of compatibility which means that any two devices can connect with each other, even if they are different models.
Bluetooth has been designed to conserve energy and operate at low power levels which is essential for any wireless device that relies on battery power. It also uses a system called frequency hopping which improves security and allows it to avoid any interference from other devices that use the same frequency band.
The compatibility of Bluetooth allows devices to easily share data and voice communications which is perfect for things like mobile phones and headsets. It also uses a Personal Area Network or PAN which allows any device to connect with as many as seven other devices at the same time within a range of up to 30 feet.
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The Coming of Age of Video Conferencing
By Amy Linley
The art of meetings has come a long way. It started with two people standing face-to-face to talk. It progressed to people from different place sitting down together in a boardroom to people in different places talking on a conference call at the same time. The pinnacle – so far – is taking those people in different places in a conference call, and adding video through their computers so they can both see and hear each other.
What if you are already using conference calls to save money? Why would you want to add video as well? On a conference call, you can hear the tones and inflections of your participants and gauge their demeanor, mood, and attitude. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is live video worth? You could be able to see the subtle expression changes in your participants and see what they really think. You could look them in the eye and know they will get the job done.
Another reason to do video conferences is to deal with a naughty human behavior trait almost everyone has: multi-tasking. When someone is talking on a conference call, the temptation is almost too great not to check your email, finish that memo, or look at your schedule for the day. We are probably all guilty of this at one time or another, but the tell-tale signs are there. We suddenly hear our name spoken on the conference call and are jerked away from an email and we say, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? What was the question?”
While multi-tasking is an excellent skill to have, there is a time and a place for it. On a video conference, you can’t be looking away for long periods of time, or under your desk fixing those pesky wires. You – and your participants – are held accountable by video to stay in the moment and at the meeting. Studies have shown that video conferences extend participants attention span and allow much less distractions. This means that your meetings will be much more productive.
And let’s not deny it, having people from all around the world looking and talking to one another is just plain cool!
Once you’ve decided to take the next step to video conferencing, what equipment will you need? Of course there isn’t just one solution for every company. You’ll have to look at what kind of video conferences best serve your company’s needs.
The top of the line, full body or life-size from the chest up video conference experience fits nicely into the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” You will have the most realistic picture, no choppy pictures, no hang-ups and it will cost many thousands of dollars. Setups like these require dedicated T-1 lines, special equipment and monitors on ALL sides of the conference, and they cannot be moved.
Let’s look at other, more feasible options. If the quality and clearness of the view is your primary concern, you may want to consider a digital video camera. This would also be a good choice if you want to have an entire board room in your shots. These cameras are the more expensive choice, but electronics prices get more and more reasonable each day. Look for one that has USB or firewire outputs — faster than USB – and of course, can connect with online applications.
The final option for video conferencing is the webcam. Webcams are inexpensive – up to $200, but average is $30 – and easy to use. In fact, many laptops are being made with a webcam built-in. Your ideal webcam has 640×480 resolution, 30 Frames Per Second, and uses CCD technology. All of these specs will be listed on the side of the box. Webcams may be your ideal solution as their picture quality is good, they are inexpensive, and are easily transportable.
Video conferencing is not new, but the level of quality, expense, and ease of use are now such that it makes good sense to add it to your business arsenal.
Amy Linley gives practical and usable advice regarding video conferencing at AccuConference.
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