cable vs dsl?


Old 06-17-05, 04:04 PM
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cable vs dsl?

back 3-4 yrs ago, when i got cable, it was blazing. (almost as fast at the ads claim it to be) it has steadilly gotten worse. No, it is not my computer, which I run virus protection and add ware on regularly. First, the cable speed of my connection is the slower of the two, (not sure exactly what speed)

What I would like to do is "try" dsl to see how it performs, but they want a year contract and or a big connection/disconnect penalty for month to month.

I have heard that cable get's bogged down by too many people using it in the neighborhood. (like after school when all the kids come home and trade music and stuff) On the other hand, i heard that dsl is not as fast, but it is consistant.

I don't play games, don't download music. I just do email, occasionally post on forums like this and occasionally upload a pic or two onto ebay to sell something.

Which would I be better off with? I know i can run some diagnostics to tell how fast it is downloading and stuff, but it doesen't make much sense to me and doesn't give me a comparison. I can't tell you what speed it is running, but i can tell you when it get's annoyingly slow.
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Old 06-17-05, 07:30 PM
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I don't know of any "try it" arrrangements for DSL.

Cable generally slows when many in one area a using it. It resiliency depends upon the equipment installed. You might have the cable folks come by and check the signal strength and quality. Noise on the line won't affect the television, but will slow the internet service.

DSL is supposed to be as fast as it is, just as cable is. It may well be more consistent because the equipment deployment is different from cable.

You can google for speed test and try some of the sites to test the speed of your connection. Recall that isolated tests may show anything depending upon the speed of the overall connection and load on the internet links in your area. Test feeds of small files are not particularly helpful, moving at least a megabyte should show you something. You could try this several times at different times of the day to get a feel.

If your computer is 4 years old, it may be that it cannot keep up with the heavy flow of graphics from the internet and appear to be slow when it is not.

I would have the signal checked.

Hope this helps.
Old 06-18-05, 03:50 AM
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I made the switch from cable to DSL two years ago. At the time, DSL had a 30 day trial period. I ordered and installed DSL and tried it for a month, marking my decision to keep it just before the 30 day period ran out. Had I canceled DSL, I would have only had to pay shipping on the DSL modem (both the original shipping charge and charges to return it).

During the trial period I ran tests side by side, or as close to side by side as I could. There are sites that you can use to tests connectivity speed. I used some of those sites and I also did my own tests of downloading files from sites I frequently visit, as well as transferring files back and forth to/from my company, using a VPN connection.

What I discovered was that DSL was just as fast as cable, or even faster, most of the time. This was especially true during the busy time periods, early evenings. The only time cable won out was very early in the morning.

My decision to keep DSL was easy. It was ten dollars a month cheaper (now fifteen dollars a month cheaper), and satisfactory for my needs. I also have never had technical issues with DSL. They have always admitted when DSL was down, and were honest about when they thought it might be back up. I had to argue with the cable guy about a problem. I knew more than he did, and had to tell him the problem was on their end. Eventually they admitted it was their problem, and eventually it was fixed.

Cable is now supposedly faster than it was. They are also stating that they have added hardware to eliminate the bottlenecks. That may be true, but it doesn't matter to me. I'm happy saving $15 per month, even if it means a slower connection than I could have. What I have works great.
Old 06-18-05, 10:04 AM
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It also depends on how far you are from the phone comapny "switch". If you are 2-3 miles, you won't get the speeds DSL advertises.

Part of it could be your computer. Do you regularly clean-up files and defrag? That helps a lot.
Part of it are web sites you visit. This forum, for example, can be terribly slow at times, even on a T-1 line. If traffic at the server is heavy, it matters little what you have at your house.

Some cable companies are better than others. Time-Warner does a good job. Before we moved, my cable modem was almost always fast. But we had fiber to the box in front of my house. The only copper was from that box to my computer. I've read tales of other companies that are not as diligent. The differences are so great, you'd think it was entirely different technologies.
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