Radiant looks to shine with Turbo DSL

Small and medium-sized businesses now have another option to increase bandwidth using their current ADSL connections instead of upgrading to a T1 connection – provided they have more than one line.

Vancouver-based Radiant Communications now offers Turbo DSL – a service which the company claims can provide speeds faster than T1 at about half the cost.

Available since late November, Turbo DSL increases upload and download Asymmetrical DSL (ADSL) speeds by aggregating up to three 1.5, 2.5, 3, or 4Mbps ADSL lines, said Ken Knapp, senior sales engineer, Radiant Communications.

Knapp said upstream bandwidth can be increased to speeds faster than T1, to 1.9Mbps by aggregating three 2.5Mbps, 3Mbps, or 4Mbps lines. In comparison, T1 offers a fixed upload and download rate 1.544Mbps, and normal ADSL upload speeds range from 16 to 640Kbps.

Download speeds are increased to 5.4Mbps when combining three bridged/routed 3Mbps lines, 4.6Mbps when combining three PPPoE lines and 4.2Mbps when combining three 2.5 lines.

Using Stallion Technologies ePipe Multilink IP (Ml-IP) access router and Radiant’s network, Knapp said packets are segmented into mini-packets and transmitted across Radiant’s network. They are reassembled at Radiant’s core network where they are delivered to the recipient.

However, Lawrence Surtees, senior research analyst, telecom and Internet for IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto said there are other types of DSL connectivity solutions for enterprises that provide greater speed than regular ADSL or T1 connections, including Symmetrical DSL (SDSL), and High-bit rate DSL (HDSL).

Although Turbo DSL is geared towards small and medium-sized businesses, Surtees added that the results of a survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) released by IDC Canada this fall indicated that over two-thirds of Canadian small businesses don’t have high-speed Internet connections to begin with. This means the market for Turbo DSL is curtailed because the majority of small businesses don’t have any ADSL lines to aggregate.

However, Knapp remained steadfast. He said there are plenty of areas where T1 services are not available and that the savings with Turbo DSL are enough to provide good ROI for any enterprise.

Radiant’s set-up fee for Turbo DSL is $1,897, and it would cost between $15,804 to $17,964 per year to aggregate three 3Mbps bridged/routed lines in Ontario and Quebec. For Turbo DSL service for a year for three aggregated 3Mbps PPPoE lines in the same provinces, it would cost between $9,324 and $10,044. And for yearly service in B.C. and Alberta, it would cost between $7,164 to $7,884 for three 2.5Mbps aggregated lines.

Radiant offers Turbo DSL in those four provinces, but offers regular ADSL service nation-wide, and will also aggregate 1.5Mbps ADSL lines.

One user, The Flight Centre, based in Vancouver, anticipating more Internet traffic between its Western Canadian headquarters in Vancouver and its largest office in Alberta, decided to increase its bandwidth by aggregating its three DSL lines as opposed to upgrading to a T1 connection.

John van Tuinen, team leader for The Flight Centre, said that they aggregated three 1.5Mbps lines and are getting download speeds between 1.2Mbps and 1.6Mbps. However he said upload speeds have not yet been tested but they are “definitely a lot quicker than we had before.”

Having about 45 locations in Western Canada, and about the same in Eastern Canada, van Tuinen said they have implemented Turbo DSL in Western but not Eastern Canada. The Flight Centre has been a Radiant Customer for three years and chose to deploy Turbo DSL instead of T1 because it was cheaper; van Tuinen added that it would be a good opportunity to test out some new technology.

When asked how much money The Flight Centre has saved from this venture, van Tuinen was not yet certain, but said that thus far his company has been satisfied with its increased bandwidth.