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 DSL or T1? Which is Best for You?

Written by: Patrick Oborn - Apr 6, 2020


When is it time for a business to upgrade to a T1 line? There are several factors to consider when examining you current DSL connection and the possibility of replacing it. For many small businesses the biggest factor is reliability and the financial loss incurred in the event of lost connectivity. Many companies rely heavily on their high-speed internet to conduct their business with e-mail, video conference, and now for voice-over-internet telephony applications. An outage could take down all aspects of your business if you find yourself in the same situation.

In a practical sense, a T1 will deliver a bi-directional speed of 1.5 Mbps. A DSL line can deliver up to 3Mbps, but the speed is solely determined by your distance from the DSLAM (the telephone company's physical equipment box in your neighborhood). The maximum range of DSL is 18,000 feet, which is where the signal loss in the copper line is too great to transmit data reliably.

Another difference between a T1 and a DSL line is customer service. A T1 usually comes with a 99.999% update guarantee, which is accomplished by a 24/7 technical support department that monitors the entire network constantly. As soon as there is an outage the techs spring into action to begin diagnosing and rectifying the outage. With DSL service, you are very much on your own - leaving you with the responsibility to call customer service, wait your turn in the hold queue, and hopefully be connected with someone who can help you.

The last difference between a T1 and DSL line is price. DSL service usually runs between $19 and $79 per month, depending on the plan (residential vs. commercial, 512K vs. 3M, etc.) Just 5 years ago, the average price of a T1 line was $1000/month. Now T1 pricing is in the high $400's to low $700's per month, making it a much more attractive option to small businesses and even gamers. All things considered, a $500 T1 line can be considered as a 'productivity insurance' policy, ensuring your employees, your phone calls, and your email always keep working like they should.