Which connection type is right for your needs?
ABC Internet believes in making sure that you make the right decision regarding your bandwidth needs before you sign up. Since many of the available connections come with various contract terms, it is essential that you understand the type of connection for your application to avoid frustration in the long run. For example:
- If you want to install VOIP
or other similar services, these services require a minimum speed which must be less than your consistent connection rate chosen or you will experience degraded service and frequent disconnects.
- If you want to play video games competitively over the internet you must have a connection with minimal latency to avoid drop outs which can lead to game disconnects and 'lag' which will greatly debilitate your game play by putting you at an extreme disadvantage with your competitors.
Different bandwidth delivery methods have different features, benefits, and drawbacks which we attempt to discuss and explain below. Please call if you have any questions about your options.
ADSL is Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line. It means that the upload speed is NOT the same as the download speed. Typically download speeds are substantially higher than the upload speeds. (For example 768K down vs. 128K up) ADSL circuits still use standard copper pair phone lines installed in the home or office and they "share" the line your voice calls. The upside is the money savings avoiding having to pay for separate voice and data lines. The downside is that these circuits tend to be the least reliable and are harder for ISP's (Internet Service Providers) to troubleshoot than dedicated data circuits like SDSL, Burstable T's, ISDN lines, etc. This solution is good for someone who does basic internet surfing/emailing and is trying to save money because it is generally the least expensive type of DSL. Most xDSL products require a one year contract term.
SDSL stands for Synchronous Digital Subscriber Line. This simply means that the upload and download speeds are the same. (For example, 128K up and 128K down) SDSL lines use standard copper pair telephone lines like ADSL circuits do, but SDSL lines are dedicated to data and do NOT share the line with any voice circuits. For this reason they tend to be more stable, consistent in bandwidth, and are easier to troubleshoot when problems arise. SDSL lines can reach much higher upload speeds than ADSL lines can. If you have a small office wanting to share your high-speed connection over a network of computers or are a home user that is into online games, SDSL is probably a better choice despite the slightly higher cost than ADSL. Most xDSL products require a one year contract term.
IDSL stands for ISDN Digital Subscriber Line. This special form of DSL is for people who have situations that won't allow them to get other forms of high speed. For instance, ADSL and even SDSL can only reach people who are less than 17,000 feet from the nearest central office where the xDSL equipment resides. IDSL can reach up to 30,000 feet from the central office so people who thought they couldn't get high speed DSL can sometimes qualify for IDSL. Another situation that prevents ADSL and SDSL from reaching some people who are within the distance limitation of a central office is called pair gain. This is a technology phone companies deploy to lower build-out costs by taking a single copper pair and "splitting" it into multiple voice streams to serve multiple homes from one line. This "pair gain" line cannot then support ADSL or SDSL transport, but IDSL CAN cross a pair gain line so again people who have been told they don't qualify for DSL may be able to get service from us via IDSL. This service is much more expensive at $119.95 per month and offers speeds of 144 K up and down, but for those who can't suffer a dial-up connection it may just be the ticket. Most xDSL products require a one year contract term.
Cable companies have been instituting their own internet services over traditional coaxial lines for many years now and the reviews from end users seem to be mixed based on where they are in the world. The upside to cable is that the download is often higher than that of some xDSL products, but the downside to cable is that the upload is often slower than some xDSL products. This makes cable a good solution for home users that are downloading music, surfing the web, and emailing friends. Basically it is a direct competitor to most ADSL products. But due to the number of people that share the bandwidth on a cable ring, the speed is often quite variable day to day and even hour to hour which makes relying on it for internet gaming or business use not as feasible as SDSL. The technical support one receives from cable companies which is often geared toward home users is often lackluster as well. If you need a circuit where you have 24/7 technical support and a quick resolution to your problem to get back online, cable is not as good a choice as TransEdge SDSL. Many cable providers do not enforce contract terms.
Is there anything faster or better than xDSL?
Burstable T-1s, Fractional T-1s, Full T's, and Frame Relay connections all have benefits that xDSL circuits don't have. Internet traffic is now prioritized at the central offices in devices called routers. These routers decide which traffic is the most important and pass it first, then decide which is next most important and so on until the least important traffic is dealt with.
Full T-1 circuits and fractional or "partial" T-1's offer a guarantee of bandwidth called a Service Level Agreement or SLA because they are given a high priority rating (VBR or Verified Bit Rate). If you have a business that needs high-speed always-on connections with a guarantee in writing to back it, you need a T-1 or some variant of it. If you want to do VoIP (Voice over IP) to save on long distance you need a circuit with VBR priority. If you have financial transactions that are dependent on an internet connection, you need some type of T circuit. T circuits come in different flavors called CIRs or Committed Information Rates. You can choose 100% dedicated CIR or 35% CIR if you need a guarantee equal to 35% of the circuit speed. For example a 35% CIR T-1 is actually guaranteeing you will get 540K minimum bandwidth but you can get up to 1.54MBps as long as there is not a lot of traffic to compete with. T-1s come with contract terms and generally the longer the contract, the greater the monthly discount. Typical terms are 1-3 years although we have month to month contracts on server bandwidth allocations for servers that are collocated with us.
Burstable T's are less expensive than full T's and are given a lesser priority in traffic rating. They allow you to save money while giving you an opportunity to burst quite often up to the limit you have chosen for your "ceiling". For example a full burstable T-1 gives NO minimum guarantee of bandwidth but you can burst up to 1.54MBps so long as there isn't a lot of traffic with greater priority than yours, i.e. full or Fractional T's. These circuit types do not have an SLA because there is no guarantee of bandwidth. Burstable T-1s come with contract terms and generally the longer the contract, the greater the monthly discount. Typical terms are 1-3 years although we have month to month contracts on server bandwidth allocations for servers that are collocated with us.
Frame Relay and FRoDSL
Frame Relay connections offer business that have proprietary technologies in place they don't wish to replace to communicate with other equipment in other parts of the world. One huge advantage we have is a new type of Frame connection called FroDSL. This product combines traditional Frame Relay with DSL delivery which saves money. Basically a traditional Frame Relay circuit can now travel over a copper based DSL endpoint which less expensive than fiber and cuts costs without sacrificing anything. In fact many customers can cut the cost of Frame Relay in half while doubling the bandwidth from point to point! Now that's a product worth checking into.
Satellite bandwidth is often a last alternative for high speed internet when all other options are ruled out. Many rural areas do not have suitable DSL or cable infrastructure in place to provide end users with any other high speed options. Satellite bandwidth is often the only option for higher speed connections in these areas and is considered the last
alternative due to cost/performance issues. Satellite connections are much faster than dial up and work great for basic web surfing and emailing. They are traditionally more expensive than any other option with basic installs requiring the cost of the equipment paid up front in addition to a monthly bill that generally starts around $69 and up. The installation equipment can cost from $250 to over $1,000 depending on what type of connection (business vs. residential) and how fast you want to go. The final issue that faces satellite connections is the inherent latency in the network. This latency causes laggy connections that are bad for online gaming and VOIP installations. The round trip time it takes for information to travel to outer space and back is simply too high for consistently optimum connections in these applications. If you are a gamer or want VOIP, satellite is NOT for you. If you want a higher than dial-up speed internet surfing connection, then you would do fine with a satellite feed. Satellite internet does require a roof or pole mounted mini-dish installation and a clear southern exposure in order to reach the right angle to the sky for proper reception. Satellite connections also come with a standard 12 month to 15 month term for contract.