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T1 vs Ethernet - weighing the pros and cons for your business

Read the latest news in telecomms and get helpful business advice on the company blog. We bring insightful articles that explain how and why telecomms will benefit the running of your business.

When it comes to technology, most business organizations will certainly look at a few important factors before making a decision. Some of these important factors are:

  • Cost effectiveness,
  • Scalability,
  • Reliability,
  • Availability,
  • Technical and customer support services from the service provider and
  • The specific advantages and disadvantages that each technology has.

One of the most commonly made comparisons when it comes to Internet connectivity is that of T1 vs Ethernet. It is true that both of these technologies - T1 and Ethernet - are predominantly used for voice and Internet connectivity. Therefore, it is indeed useful to check out a few aspects which are common to both of them.

How do they work?

When looking into the question of T1 vs Ethernet, it is useful to begin with how they operate. A T1 line is a dedicated line which runs from your business organization to the telecom company’s office. This dedicated line is capable of delivering 1.5 megabits per second of data transmission speed. Normally, a T1 circuit is made up of copper lines or fiber optic cables. Conventionally speaking, Ethernet is capable of being deployed only within a business organization’s network. However, today plenty of service providers are offering it across wider geographical locations and even giving global access. Normally, Ethernet service can be deployed with a minimum speed of 10 megabits per second. Depending on the service that you require, it can even go upwards of 1 gigabit per second.


This is a huge criterion when it comes to T1 vs Ethernet. Even though a standalone T1 line is capable of giving you 1.5 megabits per second, carriers can also give you something known as bonded T1 lines. Depending on the number of ‘bonds’, you can enjoy greater speeds. For example, with 6 bonded T1 lines, you can get 9 Mb per second. Ethernet service, as stated before can come with a minimum speed of 10 Mb per second and because it is easily scalable, you can enjoy higher bandwidth as well.

Cost factors

Obviously, for any business organization discussions about T1 vs Ethernet will also have to do with budgets. Generally speaking, the cost per meg for Ethernet services is lower than T1 lines. This is because the equipment and cables that are required for Ethernet service are inexpensive. Installation is also less expensive and the overall costs or price structure is also more competitive than T1. However, an Ethernet line may turn out to be more expensive in a direct comparison depending on the area and the amount of work required for a build-out.


While both these connections perform at pretty high levels, a T1 line comes out marginally better when you compare T1 vs Ethernet across the performance criterion. This is because a T1 line is capable of providing “always on” Internet access. This is backed up by a robust service level agreement which can guarantee customers a specific time frame for repairs and a guarantee of performance as well. Thus, when it comes to T1 vs Ethernet, a business organization can easily look at cost and performance factors and then decide between the two.

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