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May 23, 2018
2:35 PM
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Ethernet 2x2 Is Cheaper Than T1
The new MegaPath 2x2 Ethernet over Copper service could spell the end of T1 dominance.

By: John Shepler

T1 lines have been the go-to commercial telecom service for small and medium businesses over the last decade. Now a challenger is taking on the venerable T1 line. It is a brand new service called 2x2 Ethernet that’s just been launched by MegaPath, a major nationwide competitive carrier. Let’s see what 2x2 Ethernet has to offer.

T1 Comes From Telephone Technology
You might not think that T1 lines were subject to much competition. After all, the technology is half a century old and heavily entrenched. T1 was the first broadband digital line connection readily available to businesses. It came out of telephone company research and was used as a trunking system to transport telephone calls between switching centers long before it was offered to commercial companies. With repeater technology and the ability to be deployed over two unshielded twisted pair telco wires, T1 has risen to become dominant for digital telephone, point to point connections and dedicated broadband access.

Ethernet Moves Into The WAN
Ethernet came out of the computer industry rather than telephony. Ethernet has grown to dominate local area networks for most companies. Until recently, Ethernet was considered a LAN technology and T1 was considered a WAN technology. There’s not much chance that T1 will move into the LAN, but Ethernet has been steadily encroaching on the metropolitan and wide area networks over the last few years. Now, it’s ready to make its move to take over the role that T1 lines still serve. But why?

Faster and Easier Interface
Part of the answer is bandwidth. T1 lines offer a fixed 1.5 Mbps of symmetrical bandwidth. You get the same line speed in both the upload and download directions. Ethernet offers a variety of line speeds over both copper and fiber optic cables. The MegaPath 2x2 Ethernet runs at 2 Mbps for both upload and download. That’s a bit faster than T1, although the bandwidth increase alone isn’t what makes this service so attractive. In addition to the 33% increase in capacity, 2x2 Ethernet is easy to interface. The handoff from WAN to LAN is a standard Ethernet connector. No extra CSU/DSU interface circuitry is required, like you have with T1 lines.

Even Cheaper Than T1 Lines
What really makes the MegaPath 2x2 Ethernet service compelling is that it is priced less than a T1 line. Ethernet has enjoyed a per Mbps cost that often beats traditional telecom services, especially at the higher bandwidths. But this is a 2 Mbps service that costs less than a 1.5 Mbps service. Not only that, but you have a choice of configuring this service for either data only or voice plus data. With at least five lines of digital, analog or SIP trunking telephone service, the 2x2 Ethernet line cost isreduced even more. It would appear that we are in the twilight era of T1 dominance.

What about availability?
MegaPath has addressed this with Ethernet over Copper connections through 1,900 central offices nationwide. They estimate that over 90% of small and large businesses are within the footprint of one of these COs. MegaPath is actually a super CLEC or Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. The company is a merger of MegaPath, Covad and Speakeasy, all significant carriers in their own right.

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