Bonded T1 Lines for Bigger
You can increase your dedicated
bandwidth in 1.5 Mbps increments.
By: John Shepler
A standard T1 line will give you 1.5 Mbps
bandwidth. This is often plenty for PBX phone, audio transport,
business Internet access, and small email and web servers. But
what if you need more bandwidth? The next readily available service
is a T3 line at 45 Mbps. That's the equivalent of 28 T1 lines.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were some choices in-between?
There are a couple of ways to combine the
capacities of T1 lines to effectively make a bigger digital line.
Some routers offer a feature called load sharing or load balancing.
They act like traffic cops to keep two or more T1 lines equally
loaded with packets.
A more standardized approach is called
inverse multiplexing or loop bonding. In multiplexing, the bit
streams from a number of different sources are combined into
one transmission line. Inverse multiplexing, or IMUX, divides
traffic from a single bit stream among multiple transmission
Bonding sounds a bit like gluing a bunch
of T1 lines together, which effectively it is. Bonding is also
an acronym for an industry standards group, the Bandwidth On
Demand INteroperability Group. You can get dual bonded T1 which
gives you 3 Mbps, triple bonded T1 which is 4.5 Mbps, quad bonded
T1 for 6 Mbps, and sextuple bonded T1 for 9 Mbps. Above 6 bonded
T1 lines it becomes cost effective to order a full T3 circuit.
What are bonded lines used for? A typical
application is Internet service for an apartment complex, subdivision
or wireless ISP. You might start out with a single T1 line as
an Internet service backbone until there are enough subscribers
to require, and pay for, additional bandwidth. Then you can bond
in a second T1 for growth. Another good use for bonded T1 lines
is transmission of very high quality audio or video signals that
exceed the 1.5 Mbps bandwidth of a single T1 line but don't justify
ordering T3 service.
Competition from Ethernet
A newer technology, Ethernet over Copper, uses the same copper pair and bonding as T1 lines, but boosts available bandwidth at a lower cost. EoC gives you 2 to 20 Mbps (approx) and Ethernet over Fiber offers 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps of reasonably priced commercial bandwidth.
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