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3 Megabit Cable Modems, Anyone? 304

Posted by timothy
from the quicker-than-the-passage-of-recess dept.
joelav22 writes: "I've got to move to San Francisco! RCN has upgraded current customers to 3 megabits of bandwith for no extra charge. In the days of all the bandwith chopping and caps, this is definitely a welcome trend. I hope ATT and Comcast can take a hint."
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3 Megabit Cable Modems, Anyone?

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  • Caching (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SpatchMonkey (300000) on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:00AM (#3826368) Journal
    You can probably get away with things like that if you use transparent proxies to do web page caching, and so on. Or traffic shaping to make individual connections a little slower.

    Call me suspicious, but I bet they have all sorts of tricks to keep the actual usage past their network down.
    • Re:Caching (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I bet they're doing that on the 1.5 meg links already.
      • Re:Caching (Score:3, Informative)

        by SpatchMonkey (300000)
        My local cable company does transparent proxying with common www and ftp ports. It seems to work ok, but it's misleading to always get a connection even when there is no server on the remote host.

        And when their caching servers are down, I can't access any webpage at all (in which case it's time to use an external proxy server)
  • What for... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Neutronix (248177)
    Sorry for being cynical, but...

    Why should I even care for 3 Mbit cable modems if sometimes my provider can even sustain a 500k connection?

    3Mb would imply a complete restructure on most cable providers and I doubt that they would invest that kind of money.

  • downloads... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    at that rate of download I'll run out of things to download.
  • upload speed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gabriel_aristos (265988) on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:07AM (#3826393)
    I noticed that no mention was made of upload speeds. How much do you want to bet they're capped at 128Kbps...
    • Re:upload speed? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by turnstyle (588788)
      Amen. There's never any mention of upstream. People don't seem to appreciate the value of outbound communication, and no doubt the cable companies would prefer to see their customers remain exclusively consumers.

      I take this personally because I make software, Andromeda [turnstyle.com], that builds streaming web sites from collections of MP3s. Some folks run it on a server at home (PHP or ASP) so that they can play their home collection while at work (or elsewhere).

      Capping upstream prevents people from fully enjoying the potential of the network.

  • But isnt bandwith... not free?

    Maybe something slipped past me.

    First bandwith = free
    Then bandwith = $$$
    Now... ?

    What is causing these changes?

    Ah ha! Smoke and mirrors my good friend!
  • The article isn't much clear about the actual speed: it is 3 megabytes per second (usually written MBps) or 3 megabit per second (Mbps, as they wrote)? I believe that usually connection speed is measured in Mbps (bits, not bytes), but they may have different habits...

  • by forged (206127) <soltesz&gmail,com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:14AM (#3826415) Homepage Journal
    Favorite quote:
    • While other broadband providers are limiting their download speeds or cracking down on so-called bandwidth hogs, we've been working to give our customers even faster speeds at a terrific value.

    Way to go, RCN! And take this, ATT, Comcast ;)

    The inaccuracy was free of charge. It's only free for customers paying the Gold and Platinum ResiLink packages. For all other bundles, there is a price increase between $10 to $25 for the 3Mbits service.

    • Not like it matters to anyone outside of RCN's territory. Because cable companies (ATT/Comcast) have monopolies in 90%+ of their markets this doesn't mean crap to them. Optimum Online [optonline.com] has been doing higher bandwidth than them for years and they apparently they don't give a damn.

      All ATT/Comcast have to do is compete with DSL in some areas and it doesn't take a whole lot of bandwidth to do that.

      So, congrats to those who can take advantage of this. Too bad the rest of us will most likely continue to suffer in 'broadband' hell.
      • Comcast offers a 3.5 Mbps downspeed for ~$95/mo. I didn't pay it because I felt it was a ripoff (especially when the increased upspeed bandwidth was less than half of what @Home offered). Now that a company offers about the same downspeed for the same cost I can see it might very well have been a ripoff. The sad thing is that this company's announcement won't affect Comcast in the least considering it's a monopoly.
        • I've asked Comcast numerous times and they always respond that there is no such thing as this higher priced, higher speed connection. I think it is fair to pay more to get more and would like to take advantage of this. Do you have any documentation of the existance of this?
    • Actually, it was two mistakes. RCN provides Local Fiber optic networks. They offer Cable, Telephone, and internet all over a single fiber optic cable. This is NOT a cable modem, and better still, it's not 'shared' bandwith. I'd also like to point out that there are a number of small indpendant cable operators that went entirely fiber optic to the home, and all of them offer much better quality than any coaxial based provider can hope for.
  • I'm trying not to be cynical about any tricks that they may try to pull, whilst the marketing boys yell from the rooftops about the speed. Looking on the face of it, this is such a good push in the right direction. Now only if a supplier in Australia would step forward with a decent plan so that we can stop being raped by Telstra's 3Gb limit and crappy reliability. (Note: I have gone back to dial-up)
    • What's wrong with a 3Gb per month limit? That's like about 100Mb per day. The difference between that and the paltry amount you'll get on dial-up is probably quite worth paying for!
      • When I first had broadband, I used it for downloading relatively low bitrate movie clips that I'd worked on, so I could do rough cut editing to them at home before I booked time in the actual edit suites at uni. I used closer to 12gb a month because of this, and when the cap came in and was enforced, I now have to use alternative methods.
      • Ah hello? Im on dialup and id go through over 3gb a month, and Im not even a l33t little doze warez dealer :P~
      • It sounds sensible until you try to download a full Linux distro (like mandrake or Redhat) which are between 1 and 2 GB each. If somone cancels your download, the computer crashes, or gets interupted for any reason you are out a lot of Downloads.

        *note: I am assuming by Gb you meant GigaByte and not Gigabit, if so my argument changes from if it fails to when you try.*

    • We had a telstra bigpond connection.
      Last year we downloaded av. 50 - 60gb per month, uploaded 10 - 20gb.

      Telstra introduced the cap. We handed them back the cable modem.

      Now I'm on a dialup connection.
      Usage from June 1 to July 1 2002: 6,200MB

      Telstra, we see your 3gb (up + down) cap. .. I'll tell you where you can shove it.
  • After ATT bought out our local cable company almost 2 years ago, they had canceled the imminent plans to upgrade my neighborhood. Now 18 months later, they finally got around to competing the job. Having a true 2-way broadband connection is so sweet, I can live with that for a long time to come. By the time they get back around to us again, fixed wireless will likely be the standard.
  • by captainclever (568610) <rj@@@audioscrobbler...com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:15AM (#3826423) Homepage
    Quoting the story from yahoo:
    "RCN Corporation (Nasdaq: RCNC - News) announced the launch of a new "super-charged" high-speed Internet service in its San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. Known as MegaModem(SM), it enables RCN's California customers to access the Internet at download speeds of up to
    3 megabytes per second (Mbps), double the company's standard downstream speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps, and up to twice as fast as competing cable modem and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services. "

    Shouldn't that be "3 Megabits per second" not megabytes?? 3Mbps (megabits-per-second) equates to theoretical maximum of 384 Kilobytes a second download, not 3 megabytes..doesn't it? :-)

    • Yes, you're right. The fun part of this one is that it's the company's mistake in a PR release. They've just promised bandwidth of eight times what they can deliver. Sign up, then sue.

      Glad someone's fallen foul of that bits/bytes marketingspeak that's been allowing bad companies to quote large impressive numbers for years.
      • Yes, you're right. The fun part of this one is that it's the company's mistake in a PR release. They've just promised bandwidth of eight times what they can deliver. Sign up, then sue.

        The disclaimer at the end of the release will probably cover them though.

        Some of the statements made by RCN in this press release are forward- looking in nature. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors. RCN believes that the primary factors include, but are not limited to[...]technological developments and changes in the industry

        I used to temp at one of the two big newswire services. Every single release has one of these at the end, and they are darn tedious to type out.
  • What's the upstream capacity?

  • I have a 3 meg modem with Adelphia and after some windows tweaking (MSS*44 = RWIN) I usually stay consistent at 2500+ from fast servers. It also has a rock solid uptime. You couldn't pay me to trade my modem in for a T1. I hope the provider that buys Adelphia keeps my service at that level.

    PS. No matter how much tweaking I do in Windows I alway get a better throughput on my Linux partitions. I've tested this with multiple *nix/win* operating systems, configs, and computers and am still looking for more information on why.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:29AM (#3826458) Homepage

    But it leaves you with a tough choice:

    1. Use it responsibly to get faster downloads of the data that you actually want.
    2. Get your snout in the trough and suck down everything you can before they admit that it's unsustainable and cut it, cap it, or start charging sensible money for it.

    Incidentally, I'm in the first category, but I'm beginning to feel like I've been pretty stupid. Sure, I understand that "all you can eat" is just marketing blurb, and that the fees charged for retail flat rate services don't cover the ISP costs of using them to their full capacity. But why would the majority of customers understand or accept that? They're sold as always on, flat rate, all you can eat. A typical user (i.e. Joe Windows) would expect to be able to use them as such, which is why all of these schemes are doomed from the get go, and are just short term marketing schemes to attract customers (1. Burn money to attract customers away from other company's profitable schemes, 2. ..., 3. Profit!).

    And so I'm inclined to say go for it, and leech like you've never leeched before. I know that's unsustainable, but the first sin is being committed by ISP's allowing their marketing droids to sell services as being all-you-can-eat, when that's just not true. Perhaps when they offer services based on an actual sustainable model them then we could consider supporting them. But as long as they're selling services that we know aren't going to work, purely to attract customers in the short term, then there's little point in being the only guy on the block trying to play by the spirit of the rules, because the letter of rules are going to change in the mid term anyway.

    • Kind of like Prisoners' Dilemma [brynmawr.edu], except that in the end you know no matter what happens the cable company is going to jack up the rates. So yeah, just wget the Internet now and check it out from your hard drives later when the rates go up.
    • Incidentally, I'm in the first category (Use it responsibly to get faster downloads of the data that you actually want), but I'm beginning to feel like I've been pretty stupid.

      Yes, downloading shit that you don't want is stupid. I am outraged by trolls like you who consider getting content you want,"leaching", and throwing BS like "unsutainable" around. Loosers who set up ftp robots to download massive quantities of mass produced junk like Britany Spears, Warez, Movies that can be had at the local video store for $3 piss me off. Why downoad software that you will never freaking use, especially cracked backdoored M$ based crap that will burn you? Cable companies who find themselves taxed by such "hoggs" should be able to figure things out and cut the line. Don't confuse the issue and tell people to set up robots to get things they don't want, simply because others are doing it. That would be stupid and it would flood the world with useless trafic.

      What most cable companies are doing is tax everyone in a ruinious attempt to make more money. The only cable service here is through Cox. I don't recomend it to the average user as is costs far too much for what they want to get out of the web and they push windblows. See how it works? Both approaches go to zero.

  • RCN Rules! (Score:5, Informative)

    by linuxlover (40375) on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:31AM (#3826467) Homepage
    I have RCN at home (zip : 94401, San Mateo, CA - aka San Francisco Bay area). They give me the combo package with phone + cable TV + broadband.

    The most impressed part gotta be their broadband. here are some stats
    - mozilla dowload speed : 324 kB/s ( ~= 2.5 Mbps!!)
    - people dowload from me on Limewire around 120 KB/s ( ~= 1Mbps)

    Now that is just leaps better compared to any DSL or cable here. Eat that AT & Pacbell :-)

    My new found obsession is Furthur (furthernet.com). And right now people are downloading from me @ 50KB/s. A buddy of mine is also on Furthur, but his upstream is capped at 15KB/s (~= 128 kbps). I told him about RCN and he is *seriously* thinking about moving to a place where he can get RCN :-)

    So people, please, if you are San Francisco Bay area give these guys a try. I have nothing but good things to say about RCN.

    IF you need further info see my website or drop me an email. /LinuxLover
    • Your friend is an idiot. I hope that smiley is indicating some form of joking.

      I could see if your friend was already moving, and had to make a decision between two locatins that he liked, and isp became the deciding factor, that is one thing. But moving soley based on the ability to get a faster connection is just stupid. Unless of course he needs the connection for his lively-hood. In that case, he'd want to get some sort of uber-reliable connection, like a T1 or T3, frame relay or some such non-cable modem technology, which would, unless he really is in the middle of nowhere, not require moving.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You are what's wrong with broadband.

      pig.
  • My cable provider (Telewest) in Edinburgh recently had us all upgrading to 1Mbit/sec download with 256kbit/sec upload.

    The cost of this is £39/month I think (it's on my girlfriends bill!). They also went and dropped to 512kbit/sec bandwidth to £25/month.

    The prices may be wrong, but the bandwidth isn't.

    I know we're way behind Europe and the rest of the World in rolling out broadband, but hopefully moves like this will force BT to speed up the DSL roll-out.

    P.S. That's the Edinburgh in Scotland that hardly even 1 in 100,000 Americans can pronounce properly!
    • I've had DSL from Telefonica in Spain now for about a year. The prices are similar to those you quote.

      There seems to be loads of competition here to provide DSL and cable services. Six different comms companies have laid fibre in the street I'm in (including BT, funnily enough). Thankfully the city council was organised enough to get them all to do it at the same time.

      P.S. For any American's reading, Spain is in Europe ;-)
    • Last time I looked, Blueyonder were offering the 1Mbps service at twice the price of the standard 512Kbps service. Which means that they're charging £50 per month for a 1Mbps downstream connection.

      I'm quite happy with my 512Kbps service though, so I won't be switching just yet.
      • Last time I looked, Blueyonder were offering the 1Mbps service at twice the price of the standard 512Kbps service. Which means that they're charging £50 per month for a 1Mbps downstream connection.

        That is certainly not true if you upgrade from the existing 512 service. I've done this and it costs 39.99 per month. If you also take telephone or TV it's less.
  • BBB in Sweden (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 05, 2002 @06:49AM (#3826506)
    If you already going to move, why not move to Sweden? :-) I've been using (among 50000 other households) Bredbandsbolaget [bredbandsbolaget.net] for 2 years now. True 10Mbit transfer both upload and download. For this great service I pay just 225 SKR/month (approx. US$25). And _no_; I'm not resident of a Campus or something like that. Cable modems are just dull and slow.. ;-)
    • 10Mbps!!!! A few more years of American environmental policy and it might be warm enough to live there too ;) Only problem then :- Jag kan inter tarla svenksa!! *sigh*
    • There's a couple of large cities here in Italy which are covered by a very similar service, more or less they hook you up to a 10Mbit lan connection, it's pretty inexpensive also (pity I don't live in one of those cities)...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Suddenly my 10 Mbps downstream/~256 kbps upstream cable modem connection (about $40/month) started to feel like antique. Well, actually it is, since it has been available in Finland since 1997 or so... :-)

      And _no_; I'm not a resident of a Campus or something like that.
    • Re:BBB in Sweden (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DiscoBiscuit (585436)
      I have a friend in Sweden with this sort of connection. His apartment block shares 10Mbit and it would appear that he is the only person using it. His connection goes from his apartment down into the basement where its plugged into a switch. The switch has a 10Mbit fibre transceiver and a fibre cable which dissapears off to the telco through a pipe.

      His ISP is also quite happy to give as many IPs as he wants on his subnet. Add a new machine, and its DHCP just allocates you another address.

      I remember when he first told me he had broadband, and I said, "What type" and he said "Ethernet" and I said "No, which type of broadband have you got - not what your internal network is" (thinking he was being dumb), and he said "No, really, its 10Mb ethernet!"

      • I read about that in Forbes. I wish we had that here in NJ. But I guess its easier to do so in an appartment block than it is in suburban hell...

        I can't even get DSL.... grr..
    • by osgeek (239988)
      Yeah, but then you have to put up with all of those beautiful Swedish women... who needs that? :)
    • Re:BBB in Sweden (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tetrode (32267)
      Same in Belgium, 10 MBit for 38 which must be around 40 $

      Mark
    • It occurs to me that perhaps one of the biggest problems for rapid deployment of broadband services in the US is that our population centers are, for the most part, very spread out. As a broadband provider, you have to run a hell of a lot more cable, repeaters, etc, to connect the same number of customers as you might in a more densely populated area. I know this is definitely true of Japan, though I don't know how the population is spread out in Sweeden.
  • I've got 100 megs of fiber running into my house, uncapped bandwith, for 65 bucks a month. Life is good when you have broadband...
  • Nice... yet sad! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kir (583) on Friday July 05, 2002 @07:36AM (#3826596) Homepage

    It's really nice to hear that bandwidth in the USA is increasing... at least in San Fran.

    It's SAD that I'm writing this from Tokorozawa, Japan via my 8Mb ADSL (3500yen/month ~= $30) that I've had for 6 months (My modem currently says 6.2Mb down, .842Mb up - I don't negotiate at max, but I'll take it)!!! SAD! I guess that article the other day was right - Japan really DOES get all the cool stuff first...

    WAY FIRST! My sister-in-law, who lives about 10 minutes from me, can't get ADSL due to fiber in the middle. That's OK. She can get 2Mb Cable (again, about $30/month) or 100Mb FIBER ($90/month)! FIBER I SAY!

    • We're still not DOCSIS, and we only go up to like 1 Mb/sec max these days (even with @Home before it died). During peak hours, maybe 10KB/sec! Type in 91745 for http://www.dslreports.com/archive/adelphia.net (ignore the first few fastest speeds because they are not from City of Industry) and cringe :(.

  • Speed in Quebec (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KissMyCpu (567606)
    I'm in Quebec and both major providers (Bell for ADSL and Videotron for cable) have created new "extreme" plans.

    Videotron's gives you 4mbit downstream and 640k upstream, with a cap of 10 gigs per month for each direction. All that for a hefty 60$. Bell has a similar plan, working at 3mbit / 640k, same caps, although they end up charging 70$ per month or so.

    These plans are the result of the previous "caps" of 6 gigs / 1 gig which P2P downloaders were going over by orders of magnitude and were paying through the nose. One of my friend ended up paying 215$ for a single month because his upload/download were at 20 gigs each.

    I guess these caps and prices may end up moderating file sharing.
  • by peterdaly (123554) <petedaly.ix@netcom@com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @07:41AM (#3826612)
    I have a RoadRunner, through Time Warner, and have been very happy with the speed and reliability of the service. Each "area" operates very independantly, so service and "culture" is not the same at all TWC offices.

    I have previously talked with head of the technical team for the local division on a professional level, and his comments were quite interesting. For instance, the no NAT clause in the contract. They know people have more than one machine behind an IP, but really don't care. They won't do anything about he user unless they suspect bandwidth reselling. The no NAT clause makes it easier for them to drop the user since manytimes it is hard to prove the reselling end of things. Our local time warner office has their own (at the time a talked to him this was the big game) Quake II server. They are very gamer friendly, and realize that is why many of their customers want the service.

    I know people here love to bash cable modem providers, but up until now I have absolutely no complaints against mine. I take the back, the retards can't get tv/internet on one bill, I get two bills from them at different times of the month, with different due dates. That sucks.

    Anyway, not all providers are bad.

    -Pete
    • For instance, the no NAT clause in the contract. They know people have more than one machine behind an IP, but really don't care. They won't do anything about he user unless they suspect bandwidth reselling.

      Great, so people have to break their contracts to do reasonable things with their cable modems, but the people working in your local office don't mind (for now). Sorry, but that's no way to run a business. What happens when the friendly guy you talked to gets a better job and the new guy isn't so friendly? Now he has the power to cut you off because you're breaking your contract. You're naive if you think that what some individual that works for your cable company tells you holds any weight against the written agreement. I've been flat-out lied to by several people at AT&T regarding my cable modem service, and when it comes down to it, they don't give a damn unless you have it in writing.

      • What happens when the friendly guy you talked to gets a better job and the new guy isn't so friendly? Now he has the power to cut you off because you're breaking your contract.

        BFD, I'm quite sure there is a "like it or lump it" clause in the contract that lets them change it on 30 days written notice, or the like. So even if NATing was allowed, if the "friendly guy" left, and "mean guy" showed up, it only makes 30 or so days difference.

        Of corse it would be nice if doing things like plopping a run of the mill 802.11 access point with the sock config onto your local network were allowed. Even nicer if they would let me pay for a reasonable number of fixed addresses. Not that the DHCP assigned ones seem to ever change. From a practal point of view though, it doesn't matter.

    • I'm also on Roadrunner on time warner in michigan, and in our T's, there is no clause about using NAT. It also states that you can run services over their network, as long as 'it doesn't adversely affect their networks'.

      They are currently blocking inbound port 80, but that didn't get enabled (disabled?!?!) until the Nimda virus came out (Thanks, Microsoft).

      I run an SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 and web server(on an alternate port), and life is good.

      Thank you, TW/RR!

  • Strange... Cox Cable, and even when it was Managed by @Home, has had a 3Mbit or faster downlink. I've downloaded things from the Adobe, Macromedia and MP3.com at 500KBS!!

    There is nothing like downloading 700mb of MP3s in 12-15 minutes.

    Now uplink... 384kbit max, unless you wanna spend for the "Business Service"

    Anyway you cut it, it's faster and cheaper than DSL, 49.95$ month for cable, 49.95 for DSL @ 1.2mbit/128kbit

    I'll be dropping DSL with a nasty note to SBC for false advertising. Think I will win?
  • by NiftyNews (537829) on Friday July 05, 2002 @07:50AM (#3826632) Homepage
    "I hope ATT and Comcast can take a hint."

    I think you meant "I hope ATT and Comcast can take a check," because you aren't getting anything for free from those two price-gouging bastards...
  • PRINCETON, N.J., July 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- RCN Corporation (Nasdaq: RCNC - News) announced the launch of a new "super-charged" high-speed Internet service in its San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. Known as MegaModem(SM), it enables RCN's California customers to access the Internet at download speeds of up to 3 megabytes per second (Mbps), double the company's standard downstream speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps, and up to twice as fast as competing cable modem and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services.

    I'm sure it's really megaBITS per second, otherwise the company would surely have promoted it as 24 megaBITS per second if the speed really was 3 megaBYTES per second (so they could use the larger number). You don't generally see 1.5 megabits per second promoted as 187.5 kilobytes per second. But this does show how reporters are still subject to making technical errors, which I suspect is due to their lack of knowledge of technical details. At least they got the case of Mbps correct.

  • Telstra upped the bandwidth to 10Mbit/s about half a year ago but this was a while after they introduced a 3GB limit, after which you have to pay 13c/MB(AUD). You can get popular files off their server at 500KB+/s which aren't included in usage though. From anywhere else the monthly allowance just gets eaten up too quickly. I have also got up to 800KB/s off a local edu site. I'm pretty sure they just took off restrictions rather than changing infrastructure.
  • I was on AT@Home for a year and a half before moving (which happened to be right before @Home died). At one time I could grab 5mbit/sec and sometimes a little more... those were the days...

    By the time I moved, I was still getting up to 3mbit/sec. Now I'm on 512kbit fixed wireless at twice the cost, ouch.
  • by wcb4 (75520)
    What's the news?.... I live in Carroll County Maryland. My provider is Adelphia... I've had 3Mbps down and 256 Kbps up since I got it. While I seldom really hit those speeds, I get close on most occasions. I don't remember ever being as slow as 1.5 Mbps down and they consistently provide well over 200 kbps up

    speed test results [dslreports.com]
  • Good old NTT is offering 100Mbs fiber to za home [ntt-east.co.jp]. (if you live in Tokyo, pay the $250 install fee etc) For about ~$70 a month... with providers available for another $20 or less, no bandwidth restrictions. My question would be how long can THAT last.

    The US gov should help fund laying fiber everywhere and rebuilding infra. Like with interstate highways, railroads and stuff.
  • although that may be lovely news to achieve 3Mb/sec connections -- i still say cable companies should model themselves off of optonline.net's backbone.. granted it's 120K/sec upstream capped now.. but downstream still peaks around 900K/sec.. -- *drools on himself* optonline = NY/CT/NJ area.
  • by Servo (9177)
    I live in Northern NJ, and subscribe to Cablevision. I have their "Optimum Online" service, which is advertised as "100 times faster than modem". Although they won't tell you an official speed ANYWHERE, I have checked my speed with several different bandwidth testors and I get 3Mb down and 1Mb up on a routine basis. Of course, during peak hours, I get nowhere near that, but hey, its the internet, you can' expect it to be all for you.
  • I can download with 425 KB/s any time a day, for EUR 45,- a month. My upload is 128 kbit.

    @Home has some slight disadvantages though:

    • Unreliable mailservers
    • Unreliable newsservers
    • Expensive helpdesk
    • Connection seems to drop for a minute several times a day
    I simply took another account with a quality dialup provider for mail and news, and I'm a happy person :-)
  • by dzym (544085) on Friday July 05, 2002 @08:43AM (#3826832) Homepage Journal
    In the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area, we have Optimum Online, a service from which I've often obtained speeds up to 7, 8 Mbits/s.

    The upload speed isn't too shabby either, I've sustained uploads at around 1.5 to 2 Mbits/s for periods of more than 1 hour at a time, according to my MRTG graph.
  • From my experience, RCN is one of the worst cable companies in existance. They are the ONLY cable provider servicing my area (and the surrounding towns for 30ish miles)

    In a recent survey, 85% of those who answered said they were dissatisfied with RCN, and would switch if another provider existed.

    When I subscribed to their cable TV service, the broadcasts were fuzzy, we had an extremely limited channel selection (no digital service either), and it was more expensive than satelitte, which is what I now subscribe to. In addition, RCN kept bugging me for several months to resubscribe, refused to cancel service, and finally slammed me with a bil for $500 for a decoder needed to view premium channels - the decoder was given to us free when we subscribed 10 years earlier, and worked for only one year.

    Their cable modems have been reported to be even worse. I don't subscribe, but have heard horror stories. Subscribers are given old first-gen modems - their service is supposedly painfully slow, and is only a 1-way connection, requiring a dial-up connection on the upstream side. RCN has promised to invest about 75 million into our area to improve their service - this was several years ago, and they have failed to take any action since making the promise.

    Of course, the SF customers seem to like them. I live on the east coast in a small town on the brink between suburbia and the rural areas - it's quite different here.
    • True story!

      My parents signed up for the 3 package deal from RCN. Getting them a working email address was a utter nightmare.

      What should have been a remarkably easy thing took 2 monthes. When my parents signed up and picked their email address. All good so far.

      A few days later their password stops working. They call, reset the password. At this point we think it was a minor glitch, no big deal. Life is good.

      The next day the password stops working AGAIN. Rinse, lather and repeat this with escalations to engineers and supervisors over the course of the next month and a half. No one had a clue what was going on.

      At some point my father's best friend emails him. His email is replied to by a nice old lady out in Ohio or some midwestern area asking who he was. After a few email swaps we found the problem: They assigned the same email address to 2 people. And talk about idioticness that they would have never figured it out on their own. Stupid, stupid RCN.

      Oh, they just changed my parent's billing cycle to squeeze some more cash out of them this month. They are in the process of moving back to ATT.

      Disclaimer: I work for ATT so I am not the most impartial of sources

      -Henry
  • Charter (Score:2, Informative)

    by without (518674)
    I'm a Charter cable customer in the Worcester, MA area. I found that they have something called Small Office/Home Office service that gives a higher bandwidth- 1 Mbs download and an increase in upload speed as well, though I can't remember what it is. They also relax the EULA so that you are allowed to (legitimately) run a server on your home machine, and with it they give you a static IP address. It costs around $65/month, so it was something I could afford. I'm willing to pay a little more to get a little more.

    Oddly, they didn't advertise this service at all and I only found out about it after calling them and asking if they had such a service.

    Charter seems to be fast and reliable. The only real problem I have with them is that their customer service stinks. They're available 24/7 to not give any meaningful answers to your questions.

  • http://comcast.comcastonline.com/memberservices/Ad ditionalProducts/serviceupgrades.asp [comcastonline.com]

    It costs $100/month, but it is an option. From the page:

    Speeds Up to 3.5Mbps/384Kpbs

    IP Addresses 5 Persistent IP Addresses with 6 month lease life

    Price $95/month

  • I've got to move to San Francisco!

    Before you make such a spur-of-the-moment, life-changing decision, maybe you'd like to consider that the $50 a month for phat bandwidth will be a drop on the bucket next to your mortgage, and it might be a little hard to get hooked up in your cardboard box.

    "Starter homes" in the Bay Area are now close to $500,000... and a lot of those "need work."

    Just though I'd let you know!
  • by toast- (72345) on Friday July 05, 2002 @09:32AM (#3827007)
    Here in the Toronto area, I'm able to download at a total speed of about 300kbytes/second if i want to.. (Of course, the site must be fast enough to feed that much data). I haven't given it a full stress test, but two transfers at 175k/sec at the same time is definately more than 3 megabits/second on the downstream.

    This is the Rogers "Hi Speed" service in Toronto. We were formerly with @home, but since the breakup Rogers has put in place their own infrastructure.

    I do get single transfers of 300k/sec+ the odd time..

    • This sounds weird to me...

      I live in Belgium, where we have 1 Cable provider (called Telenet), and like three major DSL providers. Telenet Has a 10Mbps download limit with a maximum of 10 gigs (gigabyte that is) per month. All that for 41.95 per month, and STILL people nag about them, STILL they whine about this traffic limit. Ow, did I mention yet that traffic past 23.00 (11.00 PM) and befonre 09.00 (AM) only counts for 50%. I have 2 mailboxes of 50 Mb each, and each mailbox can have 5 aliasses. And I have 50 Megs
  • Optimum Online in Connecticut caps theirs at 10 outbound. I've downloaded stuff at upwards of 700KB/second.

    This must be a slow news day.

    - A.P.
  • I have Adelphia [adelphia.net]'s PowerLink service. For the first six months, it was up about 50% of the time, although, to their credit, they did have to do a major overhaul of the entire town's cable system. (They took over... another company that had taken over the cable system, and had left it in a sad state of disrepair.)

    I now get 3 Megabits/sec download (being a cable modem, it, of course, varies, but I'm actually slightly over this sometimes -- I once got 3333kbps). I could understand download speed changing a lot, but what I don't get is my upload -- it's capped at 128 kbps, and I've never reached it. Sometimes in speed tests, I'm below 56kbps, other times I'm near 128 kbps. The download, though, is almost always consistent.

    I do want to mention that... a.) Adelphia is now in bankruptcy, but continuing to operate; b.) Their customer support is a wee bit lacking. I'm sure there are some very knowledgable people there, but I tend to get the totally clueless ones. Teaching a computer tech what traceroute is and how you use it is painful. (And if anyone gets Adelphia, I suggest you run your own nameserver. That's a frequent cause of failure -- it arbitrarily goes down from time to time, while my connection stays up.)

    Not too significant, but I might as well mention it: Their AUP strictly forbids running any sort of server. (They explicitly name any sort of server you could possibly think of, but also mention that the list is not all-inclusive.) However, I have a server running Apache and ssh hanging out on the web, and occasionally even use it; no one has ever said anything to me. I'm guessing it's the usual "We don't really care, but if Slashdot moves out of Exodus and onto your cable modem, we're going to kick you off," which is certainly understandable.

  • Why would a cable modem provider have caps on their service at all? It seems to me that if the service isn't busy then somebody gets great service. If the service is busy than everybody shares whatever bandwidth is available.

    What would motivate an ISP to prevent their users from using all the bandwidth that they can provide? Why would they try to keep the service only partially utilized?

    Vanguard
  • Any time I have to power cycle a piece of equipment 3 times per day so that it will perform correctly, I put it in the ass-munching category. I'd take consistant, reliable service out of my current service over 3 megabits worth of powercycling.

    They need to catch a hint allright...that it's not okay for them to provide crap service because they have a monopoly. This is why I am moving to DSL (yipee!)
  • As usual, I'm going to piss off half the world here, but oh well...

    I remember the halcyon days of my youth (i.e. two months ago) when I had internet access via Shaw cable. It was only 2.5 megabits, they said, but I'd hit speeds of up to 5.2 (and my stepfather, using his G4, had hit 5.6), repeatedly, reliably, and sustainably. It was very nice. Most of my large downloads (large because then I had time to see how fast they were going) would go at around 380-420KBps, but I hit 520 very often, and, yes, 600KBps and above on several occasions.

    So if you want cheap bandwidth, move to San Fran, for sure. Or, move to Canada, and pay $40/mo for almost twice the download (which is the same package they've been offering for years, so it's not going away). Oh, and the routes rock too. 7ms and 5 hops to ftp.ca.debian.org when it was still around. Le sigh.

    --Dan
    • And by $40/mo he means $43/month in Canadian currency. That's around $28 USD.
      So long as you live in Sault Ste. Marie, ON (Shaw's eastern most distribution center) or West of there, you'll get Shaw. I worked for them for a while, and was told that Shaw doesn't really care what you do with the service, or how much you use it. They have their own fibre pipe running along the Canadian National Railway. Bandwidth really doesn't cost them anything, except for the one time cost of laying the pipe, and whatever it costs to transmit data off their network. I think they're getting into VoIP soon too.
      Like the guy above said - mad speeds. The service has only improved since I subscribed.
  • by op00to (219949)
    In the NYC Area, Cablevisions Optimum Online has been providing 10, yes, TEN megabit downlink speeds and one megabit uplink speeds. I can download from my computer at work (Rutgers University) at over 1,000 Kilo*BYTES* a second. Suck it, RCN. CABLEVISION RULES.
  • by styopa (58097)
    I live in Boulder, CO and get @HOME. My connection ranges from 1 Mb to 5 Mb. Yes I have seen 5 Mb sustained connections on my Cable modem. It is never a single connection, but when you have several downloads all going 100+ kB a second it adds up real quick. I haven't even done anything illegal. Of course, the highest I have seen on my windows partition is 1 Mb.

    I hear all of this complaining but I have never seen any of the problems that everyone seems to talk about. When Excite@Home went under I was down for all of 2 days, then it went back up no problems.

    Maybe I am just lucky.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

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