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What is Integrated T1?

Integrated T1 is a high speed digital service that combines telephone voice and Internet data on the same line.

By: John Shepler

Why order Integrated T1 service?
It can save you money. Every business has telephone lines and most businesses access the Internet or use a virtual private network (VPN). A common situation is an insurance office or medical center with 6 to 12 outgoing telephone lines connected to a PBX system for phone, and business DSL service for Internet Access. By combining all the phone lines and Internet service on a single T1 line, this business may well realize a monthly cost savings.

How do you combine telephone and the Internet?
It sounds like an odd mix. The plain old telephone service (POTS) is an analog voice service that's been around for over a hundred years. The Internet is all digital. To access the Internet, most companies initially bought modems so that the phone lines could transmit both voice and data. Unfortunately, modems are limited to 56 Kbps or less of bandwidth due to the limited capability of normal phone service. But if you reverse the situation and convert the voice lines to digital, you can let one high speed data line carry phone calls and get as much Internet speed as you need.

The magic of converting phones to the digital format is usually done inside a PBX (private branch exchange) system that many offices already have. PBX lets you call within the office by dialing 4 numbers or less. Outside calls are connected to one or more phone lines. Some PBX systems already have T1 digital transmission capability built-in. Others will need to have an interface card added.

Data, such as Internet service, is already in the digital format and is distributed through a company network using devices such as hubs and switches. A router generally provides the interface between the Internet and the company network.

Combining Voice and Data
Now, here's the combination magic. A T1 line transmits and receives a digital data stream that is made of up 64 K channels called DS0. T1 strings together 24 of these in a row along with some overhead and maintenance bits to create the T1 service called DS1. Each one of those DS0 channels can be setup to carry a telephone line or 64 K of "always on" Internet data. One T1 line can carry 12 outside phone lines plus 768 K of Internet data. Or, mix and match some other combination.

What does the merging? That's a piece of equipment called an IAD or Integrated Access Device. It connects to the PBX and network router and assigns each of the 24 T1 channels to be voice or data. It then provides the access to and from the T1 line itself.

What If a T1 Line Isn't Enough?
Need more capability? You can order "bonded" T1 lines that double, triple or quadruple your capability. If you're an Internet service provider or have a fairly large office, then T3 is for you. T3 runs at about 45 Megabits per second or the equivalent of 28 T1 lines. That's 672 channels. If that's not enough, there are optical carrier services that can surely satisfy your need for speed.
Carrier Ethernet can easily give you 10 Mbps on up to 10 Gbps, and even 100 Gbps in some areas.

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