Optical Carriers and Web Hosting


OC levels are used to specify the speed of fiber optic networks conforming to SONET. The base rate (OC-1) is 51.84 Mbps,1, and each succeeding level’s speeds increases accordingly.

The table below shows the speeds for common OC levels.2
OC Speed
OC-1 – 51.85 Mbps
OC-3 – 155.52 Mbps
OC-12 – 622.08 Mbps
OC-24 – 1.244 Gbps
OC-48 – 2.488 Gbps
OC-192 – 9.952 Gbps

What do OC lines have to do with web hosting?

Well, web hosting companies use them to connect to the Internet, along with “T” (Transmission), and/or “DS” (Digital Signal) lines. Many smaller web hosts still use T1 lines to connect your site to the world at a rate of 1.544 megabits per second.3

Generally though, T1 lines aren’t sufficient for a Web host’s traffic volume, so the best hosting companies use redundant T3 lines to ensure that customers’ sites remain responsive.4 A T3 line can supply data transfer rates of 43Mbps.5

Bigger, faster providers though, use redundant, multiple OC3 lines to offer their clients the bandwidth they need for multiple user sessions on their site(s) at any given time.

Ultra-High Speed OC3 and OC12 lines offers 155Mbps and 622Mbps respectively, so you can imagine how much better they are as network backbones for hosting. Particularly given the fact that webmasters and Internet users want, or should I say demand, a speedy delivery of content to browsers.

And although the speed of a site can be affected by a variety of factors, ranging from routing, web server set up, and local area networks, the main and major concern of how fast your site is depends very much on the types of network connections.5

What does it mean for you?

The simple answer is that if you host your sites with companies that have OCx network backbones, you can expect your pages to load faster (barring all other factors outlined in our previous article on the ‘Need for Speed’).

The more complicated answer would be is that, well, good for you if you can find such a host in your neighborhood! Let us take a look at XOTM Network’s IP Assets for example. Only major cities seem to be covered by their extensive OCx networks. And when you look at NTT/Verio’s Global IP Network, you’ll also see that most areas in Southeast Asia don’t even have OC connections.

Of course, that is not to say that you can’t host your site somewhere else, after all, most things these days can be done remotely anyway. But if you find a host that tells you they’re from Sri Lanka, well then, don’t expect blazing download speeds for your site.

Crucial Paradigm is connected to a mutilple gigE network with connections from over 10 carriers, providing a total of 16Gbps of bandwidth. Each server is uplinked via a 100Mbps dedicated switch port. You can be assured that your websites will load fast.