T-1 Telephone Service
T1 lines give you the ability
to consolidate multiple analog telephone lines for a cost savings
or switch to VoIP telephony.
By: John Shepler
You may have heard that T1 lines offer
a cost advantage over regular telephone lines for businesses
with multiple phone lines. But did you know that there are several
flavors of T1 line service? Here's how they work and how to pick
the right one for your application.
T1 digital line service was originally
developed as a trunking system to transfer groups of telephone
calls between phone company offices. It was designed from the
ground up to be a direct replacement for multiple phone lines
to a business location. A standard T1 voice line carries 24 telephone
calls and replaces 24 separate pairs of telephone line between
your location and the closest telephone office.
So how do you squeeze 24 phone calls onto
two pair of copper wires used for T1 service? You need a device
called a CSU/DSU or Channel Service Unit / Data Service Unit
to convert the phone calls to and from the digital format and
to pack and unpack them on the digital trunk. In most cases,
the CSU/DSU will be part of a T1 interface card that plugs into
your PBX telephone system. You can also get stand alone CSU/DSU
equipment that will make a T1 line look like 24 individual phone
lines to your analog phone system.
You don't need to use all 24 phone lines
if you don't need them. You just need enough to make a T1 telephone
line more cost effective than a bunch of individual analog telephone
lines. That break even point can be as low as 10 or 12 phone
T1 PRI or Primary Rate Interface is a variation
on T1 telephone service that replaces up to 23 phone line. What
happened to the 24th line? That capacity is used to provide Caller
ID or ANI (Automatic Number Identification) information. This
is an especially valuable feature for Call Centers.
Integrated T1 service combines both telephone
calls and Internet service on the same T1 line. Where available,
Integrated T1 lines can replace both analog phone lines plus
a DSL or Cable Internet connection. Since most businesses have
some type of Internet access these days, Integrated T1 can be
even more cost effective than regular T1 phone service.
A new and completely different way to use
T1 lines for telephone service is by using them as data lines
for VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol telephone. This is also
known as broadband phone. For this technology, you have an IP
PBX or special IP Telephones that take care of digitizing the
telephone calls. VoIP transmits phone calls over the Internet
or a private company network, and is a way to bypass some long
distance toll charges.
How About Ethernet?
Carrier Ethernet directly competes with T1 and is available with both copper and fiber optic delivery. Bandwidths range from 2 or 3 Mbps on the low end up to 10 Gbps and beyond. Pricing per Mbps is more attractive than T1 lines.
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