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Old 06-07-09, 04:33 PM   #1
no1mad
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High speed internet: Cable or DSL?

Currently have a cable based ISP. Having connectivity issues. They were the only one available at the time I needed internet service 2 years ago.

Now, DSL is available. Pricing wise, it's roughly the same.

With the cable, I'm paying for up to 12 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.
DSL, would be 6 Mbps down and 3 up.

The associate with the DSL said that all of their customers have dedicated DSL lines that are not shared with each other. Basically, from my house to their 'node', none of their other customers could tie in to the line that I would be using. And that phone lines are run separately from the data lines.

He also described cable based like this: that every service that their customers use are based off of the same line. That's TV, voice, internet. So, depending on time of day/network traffic, I'm (probably) not getting anywhere near that 12 Mbps.

Now I've got to make up my mind whether to pay the cable ISP $80 (router+install) or buy a DSL gateway (modem+router+4 ethernet ports) for $80 and go with the DSL service.
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Old 06-07-09, 04:39 PM   #2
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The associate with the DSL said that all of their customers have dedicated DSL lines that are not shared with each other. Basically, from my house to their 'node', none of their other customers could tie in to the line that I would be using. And that phone lines are run separately from the data lines.
This is the bottom line. Well, that and I've heard way too many time from cable folks that their service drops or lags from time to time. DSL might have a slower "burst mode", but overall bandwidth is higher with DSL. It's really the way to go.
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Old 06-07-09, 04:49 PM   #3
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Yeah around here, every 2-3 city blocks share one cable node and at 6-8pm every night, it'd get really sluggish as everyone was checking their emails. Supposedly my Cox cable account is for 10/2 mbps down/up, but I have never ever seen that full-speed. Usually only about 50% of that and every once in a while, 75% at 3am.


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Old 06-07-09, 05:00 PM   #4
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You need to find out how far from the switch you are. The farther away, the worse your connection. Oh, they'll still feed you and charge you for the highest speed you ask for, but you'll only get what's physically possible.

Example. When I was in RI, I was at the far limit from the switch (18K linear feet unless that's changed). I was paying for 1.5 MB service but routinely saw 384KB as my best possible speed. When I complained, they said they'd look into it. A few days later, they did downgrade me, officially to the 384 service, though the price was only slightly different. I had to call and ask what was going on and they finally fessed up that I was too far from the switch to sustain 1.5, let alone any higher.

Switched to cable and was at 4-6 MB (6 MB nominal service) routinely. Cable is faster, unless you can get FIOS.

Oh yeah, as for not sharing lines, ask them why you need to put the filter on your phone, then? Yes, they share lines coming into your house. That also makes the "last mile" critical. If you have an old house that has had its phone service for decades, the lines coming in may also degrade your performance.

That's my .02. Oh, and good luck getting them to fess up to just how far you are from a switch, too!
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Old 06-07-09, 05:09 PM   #5
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You need to find out how far from the switch you are. The farther away, the worse your connection. Oh, they'll still feed you and charge you for the highest speed you ask for, but you'll only get what's physically possible.

Example. When I was in RI, I was at the far limit from the switch (18K linear feet unless that's changed). I was paying for 1.5 MB service but routinely saw 384KB as my best possible speed. When I complained, they said they'd look into it. A few days later, they did downgrade me, officially to the 384 service, though the price was only slightly different. I had to call and ask what was going on and they finally fessed up that I was too far from the switch to sustain 1.5, let alone any higher.

Switched to cable and was at 4-6 MB (6 MB nominal service) routinely. Cable is faster, unless you can get FIOS.

Oh yeah, as for not sharing lines, ask them why you need to put the filter on your phone, then? Yes, they share lines coming into your house. That also makes the "last mile" critical. If you have an old house that has had its phone service for decades, the lines coming in may also degrade your performance.

That's my .02. Oh, and good luck getting them to fess up to just how far you are from a switch, too!
House was built in '06. Just showed up on Google Earth a couple of months back. House is pre wired, and according to the DSL provider, I'm already wired into the network. They just need to 'flip a switch' on their end.

The house is about 2 miles from the phone/DSL local service depot. That office was there before my house was built, but service wasn't available 2 years ago. Leads me to believe that they have expanded/upgraded their network locally.
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Old 06-07-09, 06:36 PM   #6
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The associate with the DSL said that all of their customers have dedicated DSL lines that are not shared with each other. Basically, from my house to their 'node', none of their other customers could tie in to the line that I would be using. And that phone lines are run separately from the data lines.
And that's the reason why you should go with DSL. Connectivity is much more reliable, provided that you're close to the central office.

As far as sharing phone lines, voice is only used by a fraction of the copper running your phone lines. Dial-up took advantage of that part of the line, which is why it was not only limited to 56k downstream (theoretically), but also prevented anyone from using the phone. DSL takes advantage of the unused part of the copper, which is a significantly greater fraction.
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Old 06-07-09, 07:51 PM   #7
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So, speed aside, DSL appears to offer a more stable, dependable connection? That's what I need.

The cable ISP should be able to make their equipment play nice with each other.

But the DSL people are willing to rebate the cost of their gateway (if purchased from them). And the sales guy said that I would get some sort of code/log-in to access private WiFi spots, like McDonalds and Starbucks, that would normally charge for access.
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Old 06-07-09, 08:27 PM   #8
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I switched from cable a few years ago to DSL. It has worked well for me.
In fact, DSL through our phone company has been significantly more stable than the constant outages I experienced through the cable company.
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Old 06-07-09, 08:49 PM   #9
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So, speed aside, DSL appears to offer a more stable, dependable connection? That's what I need.

The cable ISP should be able to make their equipment play nice with each other.

But the DSL people are willing to rebate the cost of their gateway (if purchased from them). And the sales guy said that I would get some sort of code/log-in to access private WiFi spots, like McDonalds and Starbucks, that would normally charge for access.
That is an awesome add-on. Starbucks, McDonalds and many other locations use Wayport for WiFi pay services, so having this code will let you use these points for free. Helpful when you need it.

I'm on DSL right now (3.0 Mbps UP/768K down), and it's working great for me. My family, on the other hand, has FiOS at 10 Mbps UP/6 Mbps down and it's freaking smokin'.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:09 PM   #10
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Had to Google FIOS. Verizon only offers wireless here, no phone or internet. But AT&T has their own fiber optic system that they are working on. It's not in my town yet, but it is in the area. Right now they are just promoting the fiber optic for delivering TV...
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Old 06-07-09, 09:18 PM   #11
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They probably aren't the Incumbent provider there. I believe AT&T does offer fiber-based internet down there in their U-Verse plan; call them up and see if you qualify.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:28 PM   #12
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They probably aren't the Incumbent provider there. I believe AT&T does offer fiber-based internet down there in their U-Verse plan; call them up and see if you qualify.
Well, AT&T is the DSL provider I've been talking about. The fiber optic network isn't available to me yet. They pulled up my address to see what services were available. Don't know when the system will work its way to my place. I'll probably move at the end of the next school year (oldest is graduating HS) to be closer to both of our employers, provided that a)our employers are still operational and b)we are still working for them.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:34 PM   #13
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We tried cable through Mediacom, it was horrible...worked maybe 2/3 of the time (literally). Qwest DSL has been so much better, virtually no issues.
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Old 06-07-09, 10:23 PM   #14
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Well, AT&T is the DSL provider I've been talking about. The fiber optic network isn't available to me yet. They pulled up my address to see what services were available. Don't know when the system will work its way to my place. I'll probably move at the end of the next school year (oldest is graduating HS) to be closer to both of our employers, provided that a)our employers are still operational and b)we are still working for them.
In that case, you're better off just getting their DSL plan, provided that it's financially reasonable. There could be opportunities for you to save money in the future for being a customer, so that might be something to keep in mind.
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Old 06-08-09, 06:20 AM   #15
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hmmm
Qwest has a fiber optic network here in Co with some nice speeds. Perhaps my company will pay to upgrade me.
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Old 06-08-09, 06:29 AM   #16
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Well, our family got a nice discount on FiOS service for being voice customers. Also, some plans on Verizon's network are exclusive to customers, such as some triple play deals.
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Old 06-08-09, 08:09 AM   #17
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i don't think you can say dsl as whole is better. it depend how far you are from the local exchange. if you live in a city you will have less problems than in the coutryside.

and this idea that you don't share your internet connection is very very unlikely. unless you are a corporate user and pay for dedicated internet connectivity, you will be sharing ports at the node with others in your street at the very least.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:07 AM   #18
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I switched from my cable company to Clearwire over a year ago. The cable was constantly having connectivity issues (we still have issues with the television, but they're the sole provider to the area.)
Switching to Clearwire, we've had no issues. They don't make any crazy speed claims like the cable providers, they just provide a steady download/upload stream that even with large streaming downloads like Netflix movies, after the initial buffering I haven't had anything lag on me.
Plus, they'll be rolling out WiMax soon (at least that's the rumour) and bumping up their speed significantly.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:58 AM   #19
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Cable may have higher bandwidth, but DSL has lower latency. For a lot of people, having lower ping times is more important than the amount of bytes being stuffed down a link.

I personally have been happy with AT&T DSL over the years. Outages have been relatively rare, maybe once every 3-6 months.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:03 PM   #20
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FIOS is what we have/use, on the 5/2 plan.
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Old 06-08-09, 12:47 PM   #21
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I switched from DSL to cable several years ago. Cable is MUCH faster here. And no real stability issues.
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Old 06-08-09, 03:18 PM   #22
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I'd be happy with either one, stuck with satellite.
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Old 06-08-09, 03:19 PM   #23
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whatever the neighbor with the unsecured wireless has.
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Old 06-08-09, 06:43 PM   #24
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whatever the neighbor with the unsecured wireless has.
Pretty much what I'm doing now. I lose the signal every now and then, but have better connection with it than my own currently. If I knew for sure that whoever has the unsecured signal had no plans to go secure, I might be tempted to just drop my service altogether and save some cash. But I'm taking an online class that requires me to watch some streaming videos, and it sucks losing the signal during viewing.
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Old 06-08-09, 06:54 PM   #25
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Verizon's MyFi might be something that might be useful for both portability, and a solution if nothing else works.
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