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Understanding the differences in cost between T3/ DS3, OC3, FastE, and GigE

For businesses that have a DS3 line already and looking to upgrade to more bandwidth and wondering if getting an OC3 connection or an fast ethernet (FastE) is the way to go, you'll have a better idea after reading this article.

Outside of the cost difference between DS3 bandwidth and OC3 bandwidth and ethernet bandwidth, the speed varies a wide range from 45 mbps to 155 mbps to 100 mbps to 1000 mbps (FastE to GigE). In terms of reliability, they're similar because they're all dedicated bandwidth circuits.

Now where does OC3 fit into all of this? An OC3 is part of the optical carrier numbering scheme called SONET for Synchronous Optical NETwork. OC3 runs at 155 Mbps at max speed. An ethernet connection whether it's a FastE or GigE (gigabit ethernet), can run at up to 1000 mbps. OC3 is the abbreviated term for Optical Carrier level 3, and is used to specify the speed level of fiber optic networks over SONET. The speed itself is measured through SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) standards.

An ethernet connection is still limited in certain areas, usually in the major cities where the network providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, Sprint, Level3, have fiber already laid out in the neighborhood. When they're not available, an OC3 is the best option for a company that needs more bandwidth to grow.

When searching for just the right bandwidth solution for critical business network applications, a popular option is an OC3 circuit . An OC3 circuit works as a reliable fiber optic backbone for large networks with substantial voice/data/video traffic needs. For example, organizations that need high bandwidth such as headquarters phone lines (PBX and/or VoIP), company Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems, High traffic websites, Hospital medical imaging and diagnostic systems, data/disaster recovery and backup networks, video conferencing facilities, multi-media or virtual design centers, high security networks, and ISP backbones.

An important factor to consider is that OC3's can be burstable, which allows you to start at usually 60 mbps and increase your bandwidth as your needs grow. A Burstable OC3 is the ideal solution for businesses who seek ultra-fast connectivity for their Internet needs.....and don't require full OC3 load capacity just yet but may in the future. Options cover selection from 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 120, 140, or a full 155 Mbps of service. The FastE or GigE is also burstable.

It is ideal to get an OC3 , FastE or GigE at one of the colocation/data centers as the fiber is already there and you would have to pay very little local loop cost and at times only a cross connect charge of a few hundred. Otherwise the local loop for an OC3 can range from $3,000 to $10,000+ per month depending on the location. The port charge vary between $3,000 to $7,000+ per month depending on the area and network providers.

If you're fortunate and you're in an area where ethernet connections are available whether they're FastE or GigE, the cost can vary from $1500 to $10,000+ per month depending on the bandwidth needed and local loop. The FastE cost and GigE cost are usually less than per megabit than an OC3 or OC12. That would be the recommended option if a company is price sensitive and the solution is available.

To get detailed OC3 pricing, FastE pricing or GigE pricing, go to www.shopforbandwidth.com and we're here to assist you with any of your business bandwidth needs.

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