T1 vs. Cable Speed Test


Oct 28, 2011
I currently have cable by Time Warner and I just ran a speed test on speakeasy.net.

My speeds on cable came out to be 21.18Mbps/Download and 0.97Mbps/Upload.

My new place has T1 running through it at 7 Mega Bits Per Second up/down.

Does this mean the T1 is actually slower than the cable?

I've always been under the impression that T1 is always faster than cable. But, if I'm understanding correctly, my cable is actually faster and T1?
If you are running 7 Mbs you are not using T1 --- a T1 line has 24 channels capable of a max speed of 64Kbs per channel so a max speed of 24 x 64Kb = 1536Kbs or approx 1.5Mbs. Which at the time it was widely used was faster than the available alternatives but is nowadays pretty much lower end. The main advantage to a T1 line is that Unlike DSL or cable internet, T1 channels cannot be shared or piggybacked by another customer. Speed can never be degraded by another customer's usage.

But you are correct that nowadays Cable and many DSL connections are now faster than a T1 line due to improvements in the standards used for DSL and Cable transmission.

Also be sure to check your Cable speed over a long download period -- Many Cable services offer methods of increasing the speed for the first 30 - 60 Seconds of a download so that speed tests report much higher speeds than the line actually gets ! For Example on Time Warner they offer PowerBoost which they describe as :

PowerBoost provides a burst of download speed when capacity is available above the customer’s provisioned download speeds for the first 10 MB of a file or for Road Runner Standard customers up to 7 MB of a file. It then reverts to your provisioned speed for the remainder of the download. Actual speeds may vary. Not all service tiers are available in all areas. Many factors affect speed. PowerBoost is a registered trademark of Comcast Corporation. Used with Permission. © Time Warner Cable Inc. All rights reserved.

So it is mainly a method of getting reporting software to show a faster connection speed than the actual speed of the service by letting you use a portion of others connections if they are not being used for the start of a download making users feel they are getting better speed than what they are paying for !