Monday, September 22, 2008

New Poll: Internet Connections

Five people or 5 Thousand, chances are the office has Internet connectivity. In tech jargon these connections are often called pipes - for good reason. A big misconception / misstatement about Internet connections is one is "faster" than the other. The reality is that electrons all move at the same speed and what people are generally referring to is how long it takes to 'download' something. Going back to the pipe analogy, water moves through a 1 inch pipe at the same speed as a 6 inch pipe, but the 6 inch pipe can move more at the same time.

Wikipedia has a breakdown of bandwidth that different connections offer. An office's selection will generally be based on few requirements. 1) Throughput/bandwidth commonly called speed. 2) Redundancy / resiliency, 3) Service availability.

In my office a dual T1 connection is used for the equal reasons of both bandwidth and redundancy. Things would be ok running on one circuit, just slowed slightly. My location has left few options for alternative connections outside of the phone company's services for the case where a cement truck runs over the large telco box down the street. There is not a cable feed within a reasonable distance and satellite is not known for supporting vpn connections well. I did recently find out that Verizon offers staticly addressed wireless cards for a minor setup cost. In testing, these cards can offer T1 comparable speeds (using an antenna) with only minor latency overhead. Any comments / experiences with using these in this regard are greatly appreciated.

There are too many options to post a poll on what type of connections people are using so please just comment in with your thoughts.

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Matt said...


There's a certain point where one location can only have so much redundancy. If you don't have the possibility of cable modem, then you're probably stuck with phone offerings, like you said.

At my corporate office, we've got a single T1 and a single DSL line. We're so far away from the actual phone company that the DSL line is the same speed as the T1.

I route all the internal-company bound stuff out the T1, leaving the DSL for internet access. Of course, if one dies, the other picks up the slack. *That* was a fun bit of configuration.

I assume you've got another location somewhere, as you mentioned VPN, or was that remote users VPNing in?

JeffHengesbach said...

Thanks for the comment Matt. I'm a single site located, like one of yours, a long way from the telco. I use VPN in 2 respects - I have remote users that connect back into the network and also a tunnel to the 3rd party that hosts my ERP solution(the big reason I need connectivity alternatives). I run traffic shaping/limiting on my gateway to ensure that certain types of traffic have guaranteed bandwidth.

Graffiti Knight said...

We have one T1 line and one DSL. The DSL is at 1 megabit up/down. Unfortunately we don't have access to Verizon's FIOS or other cheap fiber solutions. We can get a faster downstream but it is the upstream that is the problem.

I've looked at a local WiMax provider, who does point-to-point wireless and can scale up to 10/10 for around $1000/month. We have 30 or so people who use the VPN occasionally, with typically under 10 on at any one time.