[lug] residential T1

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Mon Aug 7 01:24:01 MDT 2000

On Sun, Aug 06, 2000 at 08:23:47PM -0600, aaz wrote:
> We are looking to get a T1 at a condominium unit in north boulder. I have
> heard that sometimes residential installs can't happen due to "lack of
> facilities", since I'm not a big telco expert I figured I would throw this
> out to the list.
> Can anyone explain to me the likelyhood of being able to get one installed
> or what the requirements are? The condo complex was built around 1988-89.

T1 is provisioned over plain ol' copper.  Distance limitations apply,
but are more flexible than DSL.  There's also the usual requirement for
having no bridge-taps or other funky stuff between you and the CO.

> Upon inquiring w/ US West about DSL service we always got turned down due to
> "fiber in the lines" or something to the effect, hence looking at a T1.

This usually doesn't really mean fiber.  It usually means that your
voice service is provided from a channel bank or worse, a SLC-96, which
is a neighborhood copper pair concentrator which takes standard 2-wire
telephone lines and puts them into multi-T1's upstream.  Telco's like to 
blame fiber because it sounds a lot better than saying that they've been
concentrating your voice lines (and hence sometimes lowering the quality
of those circuits because of the extra A-to-D conversion done in the
neighborhood -- 28.8k, anyone?).  

Other concentration technologies which don't degrade the quality quite so 
much exist, but the older telcos have a large install base of the 
Lucent/AT&T SLC-96 units (and SLC-2000) and have been slow in accepting 
things like GR-303, etc.  

*I'm biased, I used to work for a place in Boulder that makes very nice 
GR-303 units, and all the units to provision straight from the STS-1 
(electrical SONET) ports on a Lucent #5ESS CO switch.  Worked well...
Got a free trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to install one for testing at a
CLEC too, so I can't complain!  :)

Anyway, to answer your question, the probability of you being able to
order a T1 to your residence are pretty good.  The copper is probably
available, and if you're close enough to the CO you won't need
repeaters, but T1 CAN be regenerated, whereas DSL cannot (easily) be.

Watch out for mileage charges to your final destination.  Someone else
in here mentioned that you might not know which ISP you're going to.
Many ISP's require that you buy the half of the circuit that goes to
THEM also, your side alone won't cut it.  And some, like the
aforementioned Co-op will require you buy THEIR chosen brand of CSU/DSU
(I don't blame them... troubleshooting stupid cheap CSU/DSU's sucks) or
be provisioned directly into a router with a built-in CSU/DSU on a card
that *you* buy.  Depends on the ISP.  Get them involved early.

Also, if you go the Co-Op route, make them GUARANTEE you a throughput
rating to somewhere UPSTREAM.  If you've ever seen their MRTG graphs
from their routers, you'll know why I say that.  Their pipes are
oversubscribed almost all the time.  Many people don't notice, but if
you're expecting a full T1 all the time worth of bandwidth, look
somewhere else... unless they've changed their ways from about a year
and a half ago.  (That same company in Boulder had a Co-Op DS1, and
measured throughput from sites out on the internet to a server in the
DMZ were not very good.)

Another option is a T1 into the USWest Frame Relay cloud, requiring a
router at your end that speaks FR and all that jazz... many larger ISP's
have USWest frame-relay already installed at their end and have set
bandwidth prices for accessing them this way.  Again, easier to have the
ISP of choice involved up-front.

In some areas, ISDN can be provisioned where DSL can not.  Up until the
advent of SDSL and a little bit further connections for DSL, my home was
this way... many ISP's will sell you "IDSL", which is just a goofy term
of laying the DSL's protocols over the top of an ISDN line with a custom
"router/network" device and using up the D-channel since it's not in
use.  Therefore 144Kb/s instead of 128Kb/s and an idle D-channel.

Someone mentioned checking with other DSL providers other than USWest.
It's worth it.  They all have different head-end DSLAM gear that can do
different things.  I use Rhythms here with SDSL and love it.  I
purchased business-class service (which was more expensive) and their
NOC calls my CELL PHONE if my DSL line goes down for any reason.  And
so-far no false alarms.  NICE SERVICE.

Hopefully that's all helpful.  Don't forget there ARE other T1 providers
other than USWest and you CAN get them into a bidding war.  Funny part
is, since USWest owns the copper in your neighborhood, the other T1
provider will still build the circuit as a "Type II", meaning that more
than one carrier is involved... but you can still sometimes get better
pricing out of ICG, TCG/AT&T Local Services, MCI, Sprint, etc.  Shop!

Nate Duehr <nate at natetech.com>

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