Internet Service Types and Speeds

Many D&D Tech Partner clients, and especially those new to Internet services, get confused about the differences between the myriad of services available. Business Internet services differ in how they are engineered providing a range of bandwidth, performance, and cost options but presenting a challenge in identifying the correct service for the business requirements.  To make things even more challenging, not all services are available to all locations so buyers need to qualify the address for service before they start the procurement process.

This post offers a summary of the key differences in Internet services and links to an address qualification tool to help with the Internet procurement process. Review the key terms at the bottom of this post if there are things that just don’t make sense.

Fixed Dedicated Internet Services

Qualify your address for Internet service

Its a free and easy to use tool with no strings attached.

Service Type Bandwidth
Down x Up/Latency
Cost Notes
T1
Bonded T1
(Copper phone lines)
1.5 x 1.5 Mbps
3 x 3 Mbps
4.5 x 4.5 Mbps
6 x 6 Mbps
/3 to 15 Msec
$$ High availability
Predictable performance
Little Bandwidth – slow
Low Latency – quality
Low cost
Use as last resort
EoC
(Ethernet Over Copper)
3 x 3 Mbps to
30 x 30 Mbps
/3 to 15 Msec
$$ Limited availability
Predictable performance
Lots of Bandwidth – fast
Low Latency – quality
Low cost
Good option if no fiber
T3 / DS3 / T45
(Copper phone lines)
45 x 45 Mbps
/3 to 15 Msec
$$$$ High availability
Predictable performance
Lots of Bandwidth – fast
Low Latency – quality
High cost
Costly option if no fiber
Ethernet
(Fiber to the building)
5 x 5 Mbps
10 x 10 Mbps
20 x 20 Mbps
50 x 50 Mbps
100 x 100 Mbps up to
10 Gbpx x 10 Gbps
/3 to 15 Msec
$$-$$$$$ Limited availability
Predictable performance
Lots of Bandwidth – fast
Low Latency – quality
Low to High cost
The preferred service
OCx
(Custom Fiber)
OC1 51 x 51 Mbps
OC3 155  x 155 Mbps
OC24 622 x 622 Mbps
OC48 1.2 x 1.2 Gbps
OC192 2.4 x 2.4 Gbps
OC256 10 x 10 Gbps
OC768 40 x 40 Gbps
/3 to 15 Msec
$$$$$ Low availability
High construction cost
Predictable performance
Lots of Bandwidth – fast
No Latency – high quality
Very high cost
Specialized service

Fixed Shared Broadband Internet Services

Service Type Bandwidth Up x Down
/Latency
Cost Notes
ADSL
(Asynchronous)
128 x ? Kbps to
1.5 x ?  Mbps
3 x ? Mbps
6 x ? Mbps
/20 to 100+ Msec
$ High availability
Unpredictable performance
Little Bandwidth – slow
High Latency – low quality
Low cost
Use as last resort
SDSL
(Synchronous)
128 x 128 Kbps to
1.5 x 1.5  Mbps
3 x 3 Mbps
6 x 6 Mbps
/20 to 100+ Msec
$-$$ Limited availability
Predictable performance
Little Bandwidth – slow
High Latency – low quality
Low cost
Use if no Cable
Cable 768 x ? Kbps to
300 x ? Mbps
/20 to 100+ Msec
$-$$$ High availability
Unpredictable performance
Bandwidth – slow to fast
High Latency – low quality
Low to Moderate cost
Use if no Fiber
Fiber
(Uverse, Fios
Google Fiber)
10 x ? Mbps to
1 x ? Gbps
/3 to 30 Msec
$-$$ Limited availability
Unpredictable performance
Bandwidth – slow to fast
Moderate Latency – fair quality
Low cost
The preferred service

Key Terms & Symbols

Fixed vs. Wireless

Internet services that are delivered over a wire, cable, or stretch of fiber and connected to a building or office are categorized as “Fixed” or affixed to your building versus those that are delivered over the air such as Wireless or Satellite. Fixed services typically offer more predictable performance than wireless services that are more susceptible to weather.

Dedicated vs. Shared

Services that are allocated and delivered just for one business to use are termed as “Dedicated” versus services that are delivered to an area of businesses and then split up and shared among them. Dedicated services typically offer more predictable performance versus shared services that fluctuate in performance thought the day. Dedicated services are typically more expensive than shared services.

Bandwidth

Most people think of this as the “speed” of “how fast a service is. This is measured in megabits per second or Mbps and not not “megabytes” or MB. The more you have, the “faster” the Internet seems.

Bandwidth Down x Up

This is the amount of bandwidth delivered down and up. Down means the bandwidth allowing computers in the internet to send information down to a computer at the business. Up is the bandwidth allocated to allow a computer to communicate with computers up in the Internet.  Dedicated services offer the same amount of bandwidth down and up while shared services offer less bandwidth up than down.

Latency

The amount of time it takes for a computer at the business to exchange information with a computer on the Internet is termed as “Latency” and is measured in milliseconds or “Msec.” The lower the latency the higher the quality of communications from computer to computer. High latency means more information will get lost and have to be resent plus computer sessions will time out and have to be reestablished. High latency is experienced by the user as dropped Internet phone calls (VoIP), slow web page refreshes, video playback delays, and choppy sounding audio. Fixed Dedicated services typically offer a lower latency than shared. Wireless and Satellite have the highest latency from all the services.

Cost Ratings $-$$$$$

Cost ratings are used to provide a sense of how much money the service is going to cost a business compared to other services in the table. $ = Cheap; $$ = Inexpensive; $$$ = Expensive; $$$ = Very Expensive; $$$$$ = Ultra Expensive.