The Advantages and Disadvantages of T1 to an Outside Network

By Tommy Charles

There are some compelling advantages and disadvantages to using a T1 line with your outside network. For example, if you are planning to connect your business with an outside network, having a dedicated technology like T1 can be a big plus. However, if you are not aware of some of the potential downfalls of T1 technology, you could end up paying more than you bargained for.

Dedicated Line

The main advantage of T1 to an outside network is the fact that the organization that owns the network will not be sharing resources with anyone else. With cable or DSL, you have to share bandwidth with other users, and this can lead to slower speeds at peak hours. This phenomenon is known as "over-subscription." T1, on the other hand, is a dedicated line and there is no way that this can occur. People using the network can still experience slowdowns if they are all downloading large files at the same time, but this can be easily managed by limiting bandwidth for individual users.


T1 is used more heavily by businesses that employ very large networks than competing technologies. The reason for this is that a T1 connection experiences less downtime overall. Users on an outside network may need to connect to your database at any time of the day or night. Generally, they have an expectation of the database being available all the time. While this is impossible, many T1 service providers give a 99 percent uptime guarantee when you sign up.


A major disadvantage of using T1 as your primary Internet connection is that it costs substantially more than competing technologies, and yet offers the same speed. For instance, a 6 mbps T1 connection typically costs around $1,000 a month. If you have a network that is part of a large company, you may be able to absorb this cost easily. Otherwise, you may find that the monthly fee, and the contract that comes with it, are not worth the benefits.

Fractional T1 vs. Clear Channel

Another potential disadvantage of using T1 is that there are some T1 service providers that offer fractional T1 lines while claiming that the connection is "clear channel." A fractional T1 line is one in which two or more networks share a single line. A "clear channel" line is one in which all of a line is dedicated to a single network. Read service agreements very carefully to ensure that what you are paying for is a clear channel T1 line. If you do agree to accept a fractional T1 line, be aware that your cost should be substantially lower than a clear channel line.