Cache for Clunkers: Upgrading from DS3 to Dedicated Ethernet

Just like it’s time to trade in that old car for a new one, now is the time to consider upgrading from an old DS3 circuit to the latest dedicated Ethernet technologies available at increasingly lower prices. With the emergence of fiber optics running the backbone of all of America’s networks, a DS3 circuit, which has long been the primary connection option for high-use businesses, is no longer the best option. The reasons are price and scalability.

A DS3 circuit is 28 DS1s combined to form one pipe.  It delivers a speed of approximately 45 Mbps over a copper facility that has been in the ground for 30+ years.  Termination of a DS3 circuit requires an expensive router that costs between $3,000 and $10,000. Typically, DS3 customers must purchase this router up front as part of the initial setup adding a significant cost to the price of the circuit. In contrast, the handoff method for a dedicated Ethernet circuit is an RJ-45 Ethernet connector, which is a regular network cable that you plug into a switch on your computer.  The RJ-45 connector enables you to terminate an Ethernet circuit through a more affordable router or an existing firewall resulting in significant savings for customers.

In addition to saving money, switching from a DS3 to a dedicated Ethernet connection also provides business Internet users with the ability to scale their Internet pipe according to bandwidth needs. Dedicated Ethernet comes in two varieties, Fast Ethernet (FastE) and Gigabit Ethernet (GigE).  Fast Ethernet offers speeds from 3-100Mbps, with the ability to increase speed in increments of 10Mbps.  Gigabit Ethernet speeds range between 100-10,000Mbps in 50 or 100Mbps increments. The ranges in speeds offered by dedicated Ethernet gives your business the flexibility to select the speeds that work for you today, instead of paying for more than you need, with the ability to scale upwards as your business needs grow.

The value of dedicated Ethernet is especially apparent when speed requirements increase above 45 Mbps (The max for a DS3).  If a business with a DS3 wanted to increase speeds, they would have to look towards either a fractional or full DS3.  This solution will typically double the cost of the circuit and require the purchase of a second expensive router.  On the other hand, if the business is using Ethernet, they can easily scale from 10Mb to 20Mb, 50Mb to 100Mb, or 200Mb to 1Gbps without upgrading equipment or incurring the additional costs required by a DS3.  Generally speaking the rule of thumb regarding the scalability of Ethernet is: “As you increase speeds, the cost per Mb decreases.”

You may be wondering why anyone would ever buy a DS3 circuit. The reason is that not all areas have the fiber optic infrastructure in place to provide dedicated Ethernet. For these areas DS3 is a viable business Internet solution until access to dedicated Ethernet becomes available. For business Internet users in areas that do have access to dedicated Ethernet, we at recommend you make the switch from DS3 as soon as you can. Just as you don’t want to be caught driving a clunker, you don’t want to trust your important business information to a clunker. To find out if dedicated Ethernet is available in your area contact one of’s Business Internet Experts. We are available by phone at 855-438-3283 or email at

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