My curiosity of the internet and telephony began during the Netscape, Compuserve, and AOL days of the mid 90s. It was a 1200 baud, later 2400, and finally 1400 kpbs modem that got us online. It required the copper wire or Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phone line’s dial tone and rung out to a bullet board service someone could host out of their house. AOL and Compuserve were the big BBS (Bulletin Board Service) at the time hosting fun chat rooms and original content. kbps, POTS, BBS… Get ready for some acronyms!!
The modern day internet as we know it took over the moderate to avid computer user crowd around ’95. I remember researching the local Bay Area computer magazine for dial up internet hosting providers. Then you go home and sift through several pages of documentation to get the dial-up protocol to work with your computer’s Netscape browser. The large external modem connected to your home phone line from your PC was the bridge to evolving your computer from an autonomous machine to a gateway to the internet.
Copper is a great material for Plain Old Telephone Service
ProTip! Remember your phone line running the physical medium called copper throughout this post. It’s our countries humble beginnings of when the phone first came out… like Alexander Graham Bell beginnings. It also pretty terrible for running internet (data) communications over. I will digress about this point later.
Quick Link Resources:
Cable Management How To Guide
VoIP How To Guide
So what? I remember ’94 too!
Apparently, building computers, setting up a home network, dialing other friends to play doom, and establishing an Internet connection were respectable enough credentials to get me a job at local big name software company in their telecommunications department. We setup RAS equipment and later ISDN equipment for the Bobs. RAS is short for remote access servers. U.S. robotics sold us these big hunking box that card slots filled with modems not to serve a BBS but internet and Lotus Domino email for many large corporations.
Network Interface Unit /Smart Jack – A staple of T1 Circuits
Cheaper and faster technology that we all know and sometimes despise called Cable and DSL modems, all but eliminating the need for a 2 channel ISDN circuit. Speed doubled overnight but T1 circuits (displayed below) were still mainstream for most businesses. Fiber infrastructure has built out in most metropolitan cities to improve these technologies but the last mile (sometimes the last 30′ feet from the sidewalk) is still older copper technologies limiting the potential for extremely high speeds. Look for trenching projects in your neighbor where water pipes are being replaced. They are probably doing joint trenching projects where fiber is laid at the same time so internet speeds are improved dramatically in the neighborhood.
Fiber offers from local providers in metro areas can be found now replacing the old T1 1.5 megabit circuit. It could be found a decade ago for $1400. That same price can get you now a 250 megabit both up and down fiber circuit. 1.5 megs to 250 megs is a substantial increase. Obviously, the legacy T1 circuit has dropped in price to about $200 or $300. It’s popular for voice SIP trunking and stable data connection but should be at the sunset of its career if the telco carriers got their act together.
2008 Graph. Infrastructure improved dramatically since then.
You should know your options whether you are a residential customer being offered services backed by fancy marketing in otherwise mostly deficient setup known as U-verse or a business upgrading your lines for both voice and data. There’s a lot out there left to be desired. Talking to the sales person will get you a very limited and distorted view of your options. U-verse mission objective, along w many other carriers is to increase margins without spending a dime more on the last mile for residential unless there’s competition from the likes of Google Fiber. Business can be a different story. The providers will subsidize the cost if they can get enough businesses in the area to agree to long term contracts. I can digress further but this informational post will then become a rant. It’s best to call a good IT consulting company for internet and phone IT support in San Diego, also known as a site assessment or discovery before committing to any long term contract that you will regret immediately.
What’s Your Internet Speed?
Paying $60 for these residential speeds.
I don’t pay for cable TV so your bundled package will differ. With that said, the service deployed is Time Warner – Spectrum cable modem for $60mo. The street was tore up a year ago for a joint trenching project. Speeds were below 20 megabits with inconsistent connection prior to the fiber in the streets implementation. Everything is great now.
Below is your quick sheet of terms or lingo used in the industry:
Pairs and Loops
Pairs and loops are pretty interchangeable lingo. Pairs typically means the potential for dial tone from a copper (POTS) line. However, a dry pair was originally used with a security system but more recently used in DSL and PRI circuits. New building require pairs from the street to provide dial tone and therefore internet connectivity. A T1 can connect on a single pair to the NIU (card in the glass box you always see in a server room)
What does a pair look like?
CAT 5 cable can contain two pairs because you can split into two pairs of the 8 wires in an Ethernet cable.
CAT5e converted to two pairs or two standard (POTS) phone lines
DSL and Pairs
DSL runs on one or two pairs. Two pairs can “optimally” run at 20 megabits down and 5 megs up. The operative word there is optimal. There are many factors that can disrupt your organization or someone’s house from achieving optimal service. We will digress below.
Grab More Pairs!! – Copper over Ethernet
Copper over Ethernet is more expensive service and a fancy way of saying that more pairs bonded together. More pairs means more bandwidth over crummy copper.
Copper and Central Office Challenges to Good and Reliable Internet
Good and reliable internet is a big struggle when the infrastructure is old. Infrastructure is vague expression for the building wiring you are in and the street wiring.
Building Wiring – Phone IT Support at the MPOE – Calling Building Facilities
MPOE – Minimum Point of Entry
This is a loose term for where your circuit for your phone and internet comes into the building from. We will use an old early 80s building as an example. The orange tubing that stands out in the illustration to the right. The picture is taking from the building’s first floor MPOE. There should be a closet like this on every floor. It is less likely to have all crazy wiring on each floor.
First Floor MPOE
The first floor picture has orange (Corrugated Loom Tubing) tubing from the bottom up. The tube or cylinder that protects the orange tube is an aluminum or metal cylinder is called conduit. This is typically fiber or Coax cable from the street. These two mediums are the best of the best as far as super duper fast internet data connection goes. However, your internet or data connection is only good as the weakest link. Read more on this in the weakest link section below.
Corrugated Loom Tubing is offered for applications where spiral wrap or braided expandable sleeving may be difficult to install or where they do not offer the amount of protection required.
66 Block and Binding Post (below 66 block)
• Protects and reduces the risk of damage to wiring
• Crush impact and abrasion resistant
• Slit wall design for ease of installation
• Hold in place with push type cable ties adhesive or push type mount
• Bundle wires in control panels
Weakest Link – Blazing Fast Internet Impediments
You can’t run super fast data connections or internet connections on old legacy wiring.
Central Office Stuff and the Journey to the Building
We have a client in Del Mar, a community of San Diego who is located 5600′ from the Central Office. The local “CO” is where your internet comes from. Most cable laid under and above streets is Cat3 cabling hopefully with 24 gauge cable not 26. Most cable originally laid is 24 gauge. When street projects are done and the cable is replaced, they some replace it with the cheaper less reliable Cat3 26 gauge cable. This will for sure weaken your signal. The cable is thinner and the impedance goes up. OK, back to the 5600′ to the Central Office… The copper cable length or cat3 cable should be less than 5000′ or it will again, weaken your signal. The 20 megabits the sales man sold you on the phone is actually 15 megabits download and who knows what the upload speed is. Bottom line, get fiber to the premise and hopefully beyond. Here’s the key phrase or question you should be asking your internet service provider when getting new robust internet…
“Is there any way you can get us a fiber trunk from Spectrum or Cox?”
Sprectrum or Cox are the two cable providers in the area. We are not a fan of ATT but ATT could be the alternate variable there too. Anyway, the fiber would run all the way from the CO to the MPOE of the building. Sometimes the last leg is still copper and it’s fiber all the way to the sidewalk outside. I have fiber to the sidewalk of my house and get 75 megabit speeds. So it’s not bad but fiber to the premise or the MPOE is ideal.
66 Block and Binding Post – Your Building, Your MPOE
We will zoom in a little closer with our next illustration pic. In our Del Mar building example, the 66 block allows old copper cable to run up from the first floor MPOE to the second floor MPOE. There are hopefully tags the guy left when GTT (Global Crossing) or whoever comes into provision the circuit. Otherwise, you have to test and tone out. Anyway, this is again Cat3 wiring that will cause a weak link. Try at all cost to get a Cat 5e or fiber drop from local cable management provider (like us) to run the cable from the office suite on whatever floor to the MPOE on the first floor. Skip the 66 block all together and terminate at the “bind post” or the telco equipment coming in from the street and the CO.
The Bottom Line – Phone IT Support in San Diego
Know your lingo, avoid T1, DSL, copper over Ethernet if you can. Fiber and maybe coax for the last leg in the buiding is what you should focus on.
The billable hours to run coax, cat5e, or fiber and be the POC for whatever ISP you are work with for deploying or upgrading data connectivity from the first floor MPOE to your office suite is on average 4 to 8 hours.
What is required for the job?
- GTT (Global Capacity) is establish and tag the circuit.
- They also verify the inside wiring and test the cable from the first floor 66 block to the second floor. NOTE: We bypassed the 66 block after getting mediocre speeds (ISP should coordinate this)
- Ladder for ceiling tiles (Ask building facilities or IT team)
- 300′ minimum for fish tape (IT Team)
- Professional Cable Management Guy (IT Team or phone guy)
- Network Engineer (IT Team)
- 1000′ Cat 5e Cable (IT Team or phone guy)
T1 (Ethernet over DS1) internet circuit. T1 also come in PRI interface with 24 channels for up to 23 outbound/inbound calls from an organization at a time. PRI is much older technology compared to SIP. SIP is highly competitively priced but not necessarily better.
Fiber is the faster but more expensive alternative to the T1.
- 1 pair = 1 circuit
- Dark Fiber is unused fiber
- Single Mode is mean for much longer distances than multi-mode. Typically runs at 10 gigs speeds and connect to switches.
- Multi-mode fiber is faster but runs less than a half mile or 2000’.
- Time Warner Cable Fiber Metro E while not end to end or point to point if you lay your own fiber does offer fast of 250 meg up/down for around $1400
Polycom and Yealink are the standard phones in managed VoIP. PBX setup calls but phones communicate directly once setup.
Legacy PBX and RAS equipment
Connect to PRI T1 circuits. Legacy PBX are very limited in functionality. Leased T1 lines maintains the ability to call extensions rather than dial out.
Hosted PBX AKA Hosted Voice
This eliminates the need for a phone IT support guy to manage or administrate another network device and should contain an Edgemarc Networks edge device. Edgemark is a voice router or proxy. It routes traffic to a PBX in the cloud. The phones talks to the Edgemark using the SIP, a voice protocol. The Edgemark talk to the hosted PBX again using SIP. Hosted PBX typically lacks Unified Communications. Megapath’s website said Hosted Voice now bundled with Unified Communications will be available in a week.
IP PBX is on-site. Manage your own PBX or lease one from your provider. You can reduce the cost of the internet circuit by getting two DSL dry loops for an under 5 user environment. One for SIP and one for business internet traffic.
With SIP service, you purchase only the trunks you need based on the maximum number of concurrent calls your business requires. SIP Trunks are significantly less expensive than analog lines, further helping businesses reduce costs.
With SIP Trunking, the internet replaces the traditional trunk (a line/link that carries multiple signals at once, connecting centers and nodes in a communications system). In doing this, users are able to communicate with both fixed and mobile subscribers all over the world.
SIP gateway- This is where outgoing/receiving calls originate from.
IP/PBX -Hunt Group
In telephony, line hunting (or hunt group) is the method of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of several phone lines. Specifically, it refers to the process or algorithm used to select which line will receive the call. Hunt groups are supported by some PBX phone systems.
Bring Your Own Bandwidth BYOB
Cable SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX can be standalone options. You don’t need a bundled ISP player.
Popular Types of WAN Connections
T1 – Voice technology that’s been around since the early 70s that later introduced data traffic on the circuit
Ethernet over Copper – 20 megs down option. More expensive than T1
Cable Internet – Cheaper but less reliable. No QOS
DSL – Cheap. Setup SIP Trunk to reduce cost for under 5 users environment. Order one DSL for internet, one for SIP. Typically, has top speeds of 20 megabits or so down and maybe 4 megs up.
SIP gateway- This is where outgoing/receiving calls originate from.
Fiber – OC3 is a popular choice.
The following list shows some of the common line designations:
- DS0 – 64 kilobits per second
- ISDN – Two DS0 lines plus signaling (16 kilobytes per second), or 128 kilobits per second
- T1 – 1.544 megabits per second (24 DS0 lines)
- T3 – 43.232 megabits per second (28 T1s)
- OC3 – 155 megabits per second (84 T1s)
- OC12 – 622 megabits per second (4 OC3s)
- OC48 – 2.5 gigabits per seconds (4 OC12s)
- OC192 – 9.6 gigabits per second (4 OC48s) Fiber
Additional Phone IT Support Lingo
Medical Practice Telephone Infrastructure Example:
Modems contain 12 (aka channels) phone lines coming into the office for voice.
8 lines on modem 1
4 lines on modem 2
Modem 3 contains segmented internet connection. 25/2 meg
Internet and Phone IT Support in San Diego Future
Depending if you are a business or residence your future varies. ATT continues to look at more and more wireless options to avoid paying hard wired infrastructure upkeep. Look no further than the DirecTV deal to give you a sense of the direction they are going.
Fortunately, there are joint trenching projects in around the community to give fiber roll outs a chance to be deployed close and closer to your house. Cox has been good to the business community. They are aggressively deploying high speed infrastructure to small and large business if the math works. To give you an idea of that math, it’s $30,000 to trench across the street for laying fiber and whatever else. It will be tough them to push it out much further in older communities unless more competition is available. The news of Google Fiber making its way to town will definitely step up the efforts of all ISPs to create a speedier connection to the web.
Bonus Phone Support Resources