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Our small office (14 people) is looking for a faster internet connection. We currently have ATT DSL and a backup connection using Covad DSL. Short of moving to high end scale options (which could be really pricey in LA), are there any other high speed alternatives?

We do not want to use satellite or microwave, due to personal experience with these being flaky in weather (like rain).

Update: We are on the miracle mile, near the La Brea Tar Pits.

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LA is a big place .. can you be more specific? – tomjedrz Nov 9 '09 at 19:09
If you need local help .. feel free to contact me at tomjedrz at alumni dot hmc dot edu. – tomjedrz Nov 9 '09 at 19:28
T1 is not fast. You'll want metro ethernet. – chris Nov 9 '09 at 19:37
Thanks - added location. Doh! – Justin Nov 9 '09 at 20:58
Fixed T1 reference. Thanks. – Justin Nov 11 '09 at 13:17

I would avoid both cable and DSL for this size of office, except as backup in case of an outage. Neither of them scales well, and neither of them consistently provides solid bandwidth about the minimums. The 6MB service will peak at 6MB but will not reliably stay at 6MB, particularly when consistently used.

1- I have had good success with Covad Wireless (point to point, not satellite) in the central and east LA areas. It is relatively inexpensive and can be deployed in a matter of days. You should be in a good location for this service. The antenna is similar to a DirecTV/Dish satellite, and can mount without permanent damage to the structure.
--> I used this service for 6 years at a couple of locations in the Commerce area and never had a weather issue. Even when it rains it isn't hard enough to matter.

2- For wired connections, the biggest factor in quality is your local telco and distance to the "central office", which varies depending on the location. I believe AT&T (was PacBell and SBC) is the local provider in your area .. I strongly advise against getting a T1 from AT&T.

3- I have had good luck with Sprint as the internet provider for a wired dual-T1 speed circuit. The back office support is typical of a phone company, but the sales, implementation and tech support were good and the network is rock-solid. A phone guy I have worked with for a long time speaks well of TelePacific and PaeTec. Contact me off line if you want contact info.

Are you planning on running phone service over the same link? If so, there are excellent bundles available which combine VoIP access to the telephony network with internet access and long distance minutes. I believe that TelePacific and PaeTec both offer these kinds of bundles.

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Thanks - added location. – Justin Nov 9 '09 at 21:00
Thanks for the great info. I'll look this over with our team. We aren't planning on VOIP. – Justin Nov 11 '09 at 13:14

T1 is only going to get you 1.5Mbps. If possible you could upgrade the DSL to a faster speed, I think ATT offers up to 6Mbps down. That will depend on how far away you are from the CO, etc. Beyond that I would check:

1) ATT U-verse
2) Cable
3) Verizon Fios

Those could possibly offer up to 15Mbps. I don't live in the LA area so I couldn't tell you which cable provider to look for.

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I would avoid cable for an office of the size mentioned .. it doesn't scale or share all that well, and the published speeds are shall we say .. "optimum" at best. None of the cable companies in LA have distinguished themselves for quality internet service. – tomjedrz Nov 9 '09 at 19:39
That said, I am waiting with baited breath until AT&T chooses to put U-verse in my neighborhood. – tomjedrz Nov 9 '09 at 19:40
Comcast offers 50mbit download / 5mbit upload for $200/mo for businesses...dunno how reliable it is (I have 16/2mbit at home from them, and I always get the rated speed) – davr Nov 9 '09 at 21:06
@tomjedrz: Yeah you can never tell with cable, my last company (at least 100 people in the office) had time warner buisness class and I never noticed any problems. But that was out here in the Austin, TX. Everyone is waiting for U-verse :) – Steven Graham Nov 9 '09 at 23:00
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This turned out to really be an issue of where we had our offices. We will be moving, and better office locations offered much better Internet options based on deals the building owners had made with higher-end ISPs.

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