Bandwidth - what would you do?

Okay here’s my situation and hopefully I can get some responses as to what you guys would do.

My company currently has 2 transport bonded T1 lines (3mb/3mb) that transport to a partner ISP of ours where they have a DS3 circuit. This worries me due to the fact that there are too many variables. The other company’s core router could crash, our transport lines could drop if the bills ceased to be paid (because we pay directly to the other ISP and they pay the telco), etc.

What I would like to do is have some redudancy. If per say, their core router died, it would take us roughly a 30-day installation time to get bonded internet-ready T1’s at our location. I doubt we will have many customers by the time we got that up and running.

I’ve received 2 proposals from 2 totally different dedicated service providers. This message will be forwarded to my superiors so hopefully we can get a good idea of the choice we need to make based on the feedback from here. I know many of you are not only Network Administrators, but also the business partners/owners. Please bear in mind that we are in a location where anything over 200 customers would be unexpected. We currently have ~50 customers (we’re mainly a Motorola Service Shop / Communications Company) @ an average of $72 per customer. We’re currently purchasing 2 bonded T1’s @ $600/per for transport.

Proposal 1 - Sprint. Sprint has suggested a proposal to us for ~$1,100 per internet-ready T1 line with a Cisco 2811 router that they will fully maintain for the duration of our contract (We currently use a Cisco 2620). The local loop at my location apparently is pretty ridiculous for them. They are the local telco here. I know I can get awesome support, and the SLA’s they forwarded to me guarentee 99.9% uptime and their average is 99.999%. As a Network Admin I realize how valuable this is. However, I also see that the cost is pretty large when compared to Proposal 2. Sprint also guarentees 55ms network round trip, 2ms jitter, and 0.3% packetloss.

Proposal 2 - United Carrier Network. UCN (partnered with apparently) has suggested a proposal to us for ~$550 per internet-ready T1 line. They are a member of the Qwest backbone. The main problem I see with them is the fact that their SLA sheet guarentees no uptime it only states their “goal” is 100%. Well 100% is pretty unrealistic in my opinion but it’s nice to have goals I suppose - as long as you come close to meeting them. Their “goal” is less than .5% packet loss and a network round trip of less than 95ms. This does not come with a router so we would have to purchase our own 2811 with HWIC cards to support multiple T1’s. (Ideally we would like more than 3mb/3mb throughput - so may end up doing 3 T1 lines).

What was proposed to me by my superiors was for us to do this: Purchase a 1-year term agreement for (1) T1 line with United Carrier Network as a test bed. We would try it out in our main office with roughly 20 computers running off of it. I could then monitor the latency/uptime from that point on. That way if this line was up and we were to lose our (2) T1 lines, we would atleast have something until our other 2 lines came back up, or we got 2 more installed.

What are your thoughts on this? Obviously we would love nothing more than to just get 3 T1 lines installed from sprint. However the cost of $3300/mo is pretty costly in my opinion. At a ballpark average of $72 per customer that’s basically 50 customers to just break even. Now granted with that throughput we could get more customers no problem. So without going huge and getting 500+ customers (which would be a challenge because the area we’re in is getting populated VERY quickly with DSL/Cable) it would be hard to really make our small-time WISP very profitable.

So as not only Network Administrators, but Business Owners - What would you do?

hum i might take 1 option 2 and 1 option 1 then you would save money and have 100% uptime and bond them your self.

just a thought cause i got 2 bonded t1’s running 100 subs with no problem so far. then you could add more later.

either option #1 or #2 is lying to you…probably #2. I wouldnt believe 550 per T1 line until it was installed. If sprint has the local loop cost then so will the other provider.

If truely you can get $550 vs $1100 even if there isnt promised uptime I would still go with the $550. They wouldnt be in biz if thier uptime was that horrible. Infact Sprint probably manages 80% of thier network anyways.

You could always load balance 2 t1 lines from two different locactions.

Also if you only have ~50 customers I wouldnt personally purcahse 2 T1s. Depending on the speeds you are selling you could oversell 1 T1 75 to 1 or even more depending on the customers you are serving.

Well there is a third option…we considered it where we are because of the large local loop. If you could get LOS to another area code that has a lower local loop and rent space for a wireless backhaul you could easily cut it in half. in my case i was paying $700 per T1 line and over the hill it was $250 per T1 line.

We ended up with 8 T1 lines before we upgraded to a fractional ds3.

Have you tried looking for other solutions besides T1? It seems that as of late T1s really aren’t the best bang for the buck these days. Check around with the local CLEC and cable companies for other solutions like fiber. Just this year we were able to get a 20 Mbps fiber connection for the same price of 3xT1.

What’s the area code and exchange in the city where you want the bandwidth? I can help you look around for some options.

Who’s the local cable company there?

Have you checked ACC Business for T1 prices? They are a reseller of ATT’s global IP network. I’ve used them before with great success. The pricing is generally around $500 a T1 with free install and free IP addresses. I remember the SLA was pretty good too.

I’m paying $459 for a Qwest T1. I purchased it trough They bill me and are in charge of everything, but the actual connection is a Qwest T1… is a “wholesaler” of many other peoples services. So far my experience has been great.

For the EXACT SAME connection, Qwest directly quoted me $650/mo.

yea all my backbones are from ACC had nothing but good luck so far except for one billing issue still working on getting it resolved but everything else is great.

I’m with keefe on this one. We looked at T1’s when we were starting out - the pricing for what you get is ridiculous now. We ended up bringing a fibre connection into our building. The initial install is higher but the monthly is less that 3xT1 and easily upgraded for more bandwidth (new media converter to go from a 10Mb to 100Mb physical connection, throttled at their end). Way less latency as well.


Yeah we looked at the load-balancing option and considered that. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted anything to do with the UCN company in the first place.

We’d prefer not to backhaul to another location because our location here has plenty of generator power and it always seems better to have the equipment in front of you - easier to manage in bad situations.

We haven’t really looked at other solutions like fiber, etc. to be honest. I just assumed the prices were out of our ballpark. That’s something I’ll definitely check into, then.

Vince: I was thinking the same thing about the local loop. I can’t see how it would be -that- much cheaper. Maybe some…but that’s a lot. I really didn’t want to go with the 1 T1 and oversubscribe it due to the fact that a lot of our subscribers use voip lines and other priority traffic. Plus we’re offering 1.5/512 packages to our businesses. That would be hard to offer with only (1) T1.

I’ll check with ACC on pricing as well. I’ll PM you Keefe with the info.

Also - how hard would it be to set up on a Cisco 2620 with 2 VWIC cards some form of load balancing between the two connections?

If it’s from seperate ISP’s how exactly does it work? Do you need to mess with BGP? If I did for instance 2 default routes it would do like a round-robin type of load balancing, which isn’t the same as routing based on the flow…but will it be that much more worse?

I was thinking using 1 VWIC card to use our current 2 bonded T1’s and just adding in the 3rd T1 on our 2nd VWIC card and load balancing all 3. That way if two went down, 1 would automatically kick in and if they came back up they would all kick back in.

What would I need to do this successfully?

Do you give your customers public IP addresses or are they using private IPs behind NAT? If you’re using NAT it would be easy to setup the load balancing on the router. If you are giving public IPs to everyone then you need you’d need BGP running on your router and all of your ISPs routers.

Back to bandwidth sources…

Who’s the local cable company there?

I looked up your local telco rate center and I found the following companies there:


Check them out and see if any of those can give you fiber or T1 circuits.

I’ve never heard of any of them except for one which is a local ISP here - but I’ll check it out. The local cable company is Comcast.

We give private IPs to our customers and use NAT. We do one-to-one NAT at the firewall to turn the private IPs into public IPs.


Say we got 2 T1’s at our current location and backhauled them to our office (we’re in a contract and we don’t even want to use those T1’s anymore but we have them for a few months) where we put in…say…2 more T1’s.

How would you go about making that work?

CMM Master->3AP’s->BHS->BHM->Cisco 2620->Transport t1’s to that other ISP.

CMM Slave->3AP’s->Cisco 2811->Internet T1’s.

Which would give me 3mb/3mb per 3AP. Which obviously is overkill but I think we’re going to try and expand a LOT more by backhauling to other counties in the area so that we can get this business off the ground.

My brain is fried for the day so I’m not thinking clearly…I know there is a much more obvious solution it’s just not popping into my head.