T-3 Carrier

What Does T-3 Carrier Mean?

A T-3 carrier is an acronym for digital signal level 3 (DS-3) T-carrier, a type of high-bandwidth telecommunications carrier. It corresponds to 28 T-1 lines (channels), where each channel runs at a 1.544 Mbps total signaling rate, or 44.736 million bps (approximate upstream/downstream speeds of 43-45 Mbps).


T-3 carriers are scaled to accommodate multiple users based on requirements. T-3 carriers are mostly used by organizations providing high-traffic Web hosting and requiring huge bandwidth levels on a daily basis, as well as government offices, call centers and universities.

Techopedia Explains T-3 Carrier

The T-3 carrier’s high-bandwidth capacity facilitates large database transfers through busy wide area networks (WAN). A T-3 carrier is generally installed as a primary networking channel in businesses supporting heavy network traffic.

Key T-3 carrier features include:

  • 44.736 Mbps data rate
  • Supports 28 DS-1 level signal transport within its payload
  • Widely used by wired and wireless telephony carriers and OC1 optical connections
  • Capable of transporting 672 DS-0 level channels within its payload

T-3 carriers typically run long hauls through fiber optics and coaxial cable, with some exceptions due to limited fiber channel availability in some areas of the United States.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…