Beautiful T1ness

This is my first post utilizing my freshly installed T1 line.  It is everything I thought it could be.

The image above is from SpeakEasy.  I also tried another site that uses a java applet and it reported upload speed about the same.

The whole process worked like this:

  • I search google for T1 and my hometown, which got me a list of brokers.  I filled out the online forms for a few and received pricing via email.  I only looked at firms that would give me the pricing without speaking to me first.
  • You can get service either with or without a router included.  I wanted a router included because I know next to nothing about networking hardware, and they configure the whole thing for you if you get one through the provider.  You can also get voice service included in the quote or data only.  I went with data only and also with a full T1.  I saw quotes for 1/2 and 1/3 T1 service.
  • I chose Access2Go as my provider.
  • They fax you paperwork to sign and fax back and then the scheduling process begins.  It took about 1 month from when I signed the paperwork until I had a working line.  I assume it took this long because I live in the middle of nowhere but maybe it always takes this long even if you are in the city.
  • About once every week, Access2Go emailed me some configuration information and a status of what was going on.  In the end, they give you the external ip address for the router, called the serial address, and a block of ip addresses that the router is pre-configured to route inside your network.  The rest is information about the line itself and is only useful to you if something goes wrong.  When you activate, they give you the addresses of the DNS servers and other information like that.
  • The line is actually through Quest, although AT&T is responsible for putting the line in.  Two days ago, the installer showed up and told me that I already had adequate lines run up to my house, which was nice because we have received quite a bit of rain so I was concerned about giant trench marks across my property.  Normally, AT&T only runs the wire to the outside of the building and it is your responsibility to run it to where you need it.  In my case, that was the closet in my office.  Since I also no nothing about pulling wire, I was going to pay them to run wire to my closet but was pleasantly surprised when the installer told me the wire I need was already run to the closet.  He put in a jack, did a bunch of testing and left.  He also told me that some rather well off folks down the road have 2 T1 lines running to their house.  One for data, and one for monitoring their wine cellar.  Not sure why a high speed line is needed to monitor wine but I thought that was interesting.
  • Later the same day that the installer was here, I received the T1 router which is a Cisco 1721 with WAN card, via UPS.  I received no documentation with it so I registered with the Cisco website and downloaded everything.  I read it all and it did help me to understand all of the configuration information that Access2Go had emailed to me.  In reality, you don’t need the documentation except to know what cables plug-in where.  I also tried out the serial port interface to the router just because I thought it was cool.
  • This morning I called Access2Go to hook up everything.  A patch cable (regular ethernet cable) goes from the jack to the WAN port on the T1 router.  A crossover cable goes from the ethernet port on the T1 router out to my network.  In my case, this is a business class router from linksys that supports secure vpn and has a good firewall.  The router on your network gets assigned one of the lan ip addresses from the block they give you.  Access2Go got a Quest rep on the line and we tested everything and I was up and running.  The call lasted less than 10 minutes and was painless.

This is a good option for telecommuters that live somewhat out in the country like I do.  It is much more expensive than DSL or cable that you can get in the city and the download speed is not as good as the higher end of these services.  Upload speed is outstanding, however.  Also, a T1 is dedicated and has an SLA of 4 hours for someone to arrive on the scene if it quits working.  You won’t get that with DSL or cable, at least not at the consumer rate.

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