Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Cable vs. DSL, Explained 330

Posted by Hemos
from the it's-just-better-then-isdn dept.
Alan Shutko writes "Simson Garfinkel has a great article on Salon which explains the relative merits and disadvantages of cable modems and DSL. This should quiet the cable/DSL wars seen occasionally. " Very good overview of the difference between cable and DSL, cutting through the hype of the various companies.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cable vs. DSL, Explained

Comments Filter:
  • I would argue that the security problems one is likely to face from one's neighbors pale in comparison to those one faces from the world at large. Either way leaving one's computer connected to the Internet without a firewall is begging for trouble.
    This is irrelevant for this comparison - these hazards are the same for all technologies and he was discussing the additional local problems. In another article a few days ago, the same author said that he uses Secure BSD instead of Linux because it is much more secure. He is obviously aware of the issues.
  • A consultant here at my office has done this. The throughput seems to be very good (low latency too!). The speed he currently gets is about 1.3Mbits/sec at a distance of 25 miles.
  • The default settings for the Cisco675 is a CLEAR passoword for both modes, telnet enabled.

    What does this mean?

    USWest coustomers (that are forced to use PPP): Get your router IP, pick a random IP on the same subnet, telnet to that router. No password. Type "en" to go into "superuser" mode (again, no password). Type "show running". About half way through this report it shows CLEARTEXT username and PASSWORD for their USWest.net account. Use this to read that person's e-mail. Oh, did I mention that THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!!! --sigh--

    USWest customers: change your passwords on your routers. I have e-mailed this "issue" to many people and the only response I have seen has been "Thanks, we posted that on the newsgroup a month ago". FYI - I have never read the USWest info newsgroups, who actually has?


    A

    PS - Quick fix: set both Cisco675 passwords (not both to the same thing) and set the telnet port to something other then 23.

  • 6. Customers are strictly prohibited from running server-based applications on Residential Road Runner accounts. This would include, without limitation to the running of HTTP Web servers, FTP servers, Gaming servers, SMTP and POP Mail servers, Domain Name Servers, Chat servers, etc.

    If you use RR in Tampa, you can't. I have a friend though, that I think runs a FTP server off his machine, or did for a little while for MP3's.
  • I currently am subscribed to mw.mediaone.net in the Detroit area, and I'm very happy with the service and overall throughput. The 2 other subscribers I know have also experienced very few problems as well.
  • This exact thing happened to me. I connect my Linux box via dial-up to a national ISP so essentially I get a different IP every time. One day I happened to look at /var/adm/messages and noticed a bunch of connection attempts (inetd output.)

    It turned out that some twit was scanning the IP range, since a usenet search turned up virtually the same logs from someone else.

    Now I don't mind someone casually looking for a web/ftp server or something, but this clown had tried a buffer overflow on NFS or something, so I went after him. One of his connection attempts showed a login name: rolex@(some IP). I tried the same trick: I finger'ed rolex@a.b.n.m, where n and m varied from 1 to 254 or something like that. Sure enough, I found him on a few occasions. Turned out he was running RedHat and several services himself, so I figured he was some ignorant script kid. I checked his ISP's TOS and his behavior appeared to be in violation, so I reported him to them. I never heard from him (or the ISP) again.

  • He was saying that Bell Atlantic uses the same pair of wires for DSL and Voice. The DSL ends up interefering with the voice signal without the microfilters.

    Most likely your DSL and voice run on two seperate sets of wires.. That's how mine is running.
  • In smaller towns and in the boonies,...

    And it's not even just that. I live in Shakopee, a suburb of Minneapolis, and we can't get cable modems or DSL here. In fact, because of the way the phone stuff is set up in our neighborhood, I rarely get a higher connection rate than 26400, and never higher than 28800. I have been on a list with US West for about 6 months now (they've been saying that it will be available Real Soon Now (tm) for even longer than that), and have been hearing rumors about cable modem service for a little while, but nothing has happened yet.

    As soon as it does, though, I'm there. It's been too long with a slow connection. *g*

    -JEV
  • ahhhh shit....gotta preview next time....at least the link is valid ;)
  • When I had the ppp-dsl crap, i had the telnet port only accessable to 10.0.0.2 :) Since I dont use Telnet on my local machine... this was fine and restricted access to others.


    --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can finally get DSL in my area via Sympatico. Unfortunately, they are in the process of switching from DHCP to PPPoverE, a really lame-ass 'protocol' for configuring the DSL modems (tell me, who honestly finds DHCP difficult to use??)

    They do have a page for Linux (complete with PPPoverE clients for Linux), but they aren't very efficient. There are kernel patches for the 2.3.X series of kernels for PPPoverE which increases the performance drastically, however.

    At any rate, I think we'll all be seeing more of PPPoverE. It's a stupid 'standard' designed for idiots...if they are calling your DSL modem a 'plug n play' modem, chances are they are using PPPoverE. Even though it works with linux, it's still a dumb idea.

    Contrast this to Rogers, who won't even wire up my building for cable modems. I took a great amount of pleasure telling the Roger's @home rep at the mall that I was taking my business elsewhere...
  • OK, so /.-ers like to complain and kvetch as a general rule -- but I just wanted to say that I've been spectacularly happy with my @Home cable modem connection.

    I had DSL previously from 2 providers, and @Home is half the price for 5X the performance. Yeah, they don't give you T-1 upstream rates, but it's not supposed to be a T-1 for $40/month! The support I've experienced has been very good, too. Though you need to recognize that @Home is sold through your local cable company (so your mileage may vary). When I've gotten past them to talk to @Home, the people have been quite sharp.

    Sign me in as a cable modem happy-camper. From friends I know in the area, @Home/cable modem is outselling DSL about 9:1.

    -krak
  • The Slashdot crowd remains one of the most technically-savvy discussion groups around, and this seems like an opportune time to ask since the discussion centers around high-speed connectivity.

    Does anyone have experience with DSL in the Silicon Valley area? Some of the providers I've looked at have been:

    Do any of you know of any web sites which have customer reviews of DSL in this area? Do any of you have personal experience with these (or other) ISPs? (I'm curious how well they are connected, and how well they tolerate those of us who use a real operating system.)

  • The cable modem does the filtering. And therefore the filter will keep those 'bad things' from getting out onto the network.
  • That's silly...Your phone lines are just older, and above ground. I've got buried lines, so neither is likely to go out. Phone companies are burying thier lines as quickly as possible. It's in thier own best interest.
  • I am living with friends in Minneapolis -- when they moved there in December 1998, USWest wouldn't offer DSL because they were only wiring homes, not apartments, then the story changed a few months later, when they said that there was some problem with the lines in that area, and DSL wouldn't be possible. When I moved there a month ago, I tried ssigning them up, at which point they said that we were good up to 512KBps! Upon further research, we learned that the apartment is less than four blocks away from the CO.

    Cable isn't even an option in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN -- it's fast, but only one way service that requires a dialup connection. DSL and leased lines are the only two *true* dedicated connections.

    We have gotten great bandwidth out of the 256k access, often hitting 30KB/s between the two systems using that connection, but upon "dialing in" this past weekend (USWest uses PPP), we got no answer -- If anything, USWest is overselling ports, though their backbone *in general* does leave something to be desired, compared to MR.net. I don't think they're even multihomed -- everything on USWest's backbone in Minnesota seems to get routed straight to MCI in Chicago.

    ---------------------------------------------

    As far as cable vs. DSL, I have brought up the point before -- DSL offers a choice. You can get service from the baby Bell, or at least one CLEC in most areas, and then choose one of a dozen different ISP's, depending on the package/service you want. Speed _is not_ everything...
    --
  • I've been extremely impressed by MediaOne's attitude about Linux, running servers, and LANs. All are officially unsupported, but explicitly allowed. In fact, MediaOne even hosts private newsgroups for Linux users, people who want to connect their home LANs, etc. I was very impressed by that.

    @Home, on the other hand, specifically disallows these, and most of the DSL ISP's disallow them unless you pay extra for "business service."

    In addition, this notion that cable modems get overloaded on the local loop is mostly urban legend. Yes, it's possible, but only if the ISP/cable company lets it happen. M1 advertizes specifies a maximum number of customers on a single loop, and they periodically renumber to maintain it. In the Boston area, all of the slowdowns are upstream of MediaOne; I've never seen any delay that could be attributed to the theoretical local loop overload.

    Speed isn't always as good as I want, and the service interruptions, while brief, are too frequent. But I have to say that MediaOne is a much hipper ISP than I expected them to be.
  • My associate recently installed a cable modem in her home and was shocked to find that 'Network Neighborhood' was, literally, her neighborhood! She could see the desktops of all her connected neighbors. This seems like an enormous oversight on the part of cable modem companies...

    Geez. How is that Microsoft takes credit for inventing the Internet, yet it is the cable company's fault the security in Windows isn't worth a rat's rear-end? I mean, really. This is like buying a car with no door locks, and then complaining to the highway department when it gets stolen.

    For the record: The problem here is that in many cases, when you install a network card, Windows loads the "File & Print Sharing for Windows" (SMB) service by default. Because SMB is brain-damaged and depends on broadcast packets at the datalink layer, this is not a problem over a modem link. Put any "real" network connection on the machine, though, and your entire subnet can see your machine, and in many cases, read the entire hard drive! (MS's SMB server creates "hidden shares" for each disk drive by default as well.)

    For that matter, why do so many UNIX/Linux distributions ship with every service on Earth installed and running by default?
  • First off, let me say that I use DSL (from US West), and wouldn't trade it for anything. A couple things to remember about cable modems: The cable companies tend to be VERY clueless about non-Windows OS's. Good luck getting them to even install service on a Linux box. Or a home network. Or anything but a single Windows machine. US West, on the other hand, gave me the option (which I took) of installing the modem myself. They just sent me the router. It's not brain surgery. Plug router into phone line. Plug router into hub. Plug router into wall outlet.

    The second thing, is about choice. I can chose any ISP I want. I found one that gave me a few static IP addresses, has a very liberal AUP (no warez), and costs $20 a month! Add this to the fact that US West hasn't turned on the bandwidth caps yet :)
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @10:42AM (#1664100)
    He is comparing PacBell dsl (which sucks) to MediaOne's cable service.

    Presumably you meant "Bell Atlantic DSL"; Garfinkel lives in Massachusetts, where Bell Atlantic is the local phone company. One reader of his wrote in from the Bay Area, but mainly spoke of bandwidth problems with cable modems out here (although, from what I can see, the biggest bandwidth problem with cable modems out here is that they have no bandwidth whatsoever to most of the Bay Area - TCI/@Home are only offering it in some areas so far).

    So far, Pac Bell's service seems to have worked well for me; they're not my ISP (because, when I asked them about DSL, they gave me some line about being too far from the central office and about them lacking the facilities to provide it, and said it'd be available some time next year; when I called Flashcom, they somehow managed to get Pac Bell to get me a DSL pipe, which Pacific Bell Internet was unable to do), so I can't speak for that part of their service, but the pipe seems to stay up and to give me a pipe that's varied between 200Kbits/s and 1.5Mbits/s, with, I think, typically something between 300Kbits/s and 600Kbits/s, from their "384Kbits/s to 1.5Mbits/s in, 128Kbits/s out" service.

    But, yes, Your Mileage May Vary depending on who your ISP is and who your cable company/DSL service provider (local exchange carrier, whatever) is. Garfinkel did mention that, in his article, saying, for example, about security:

    The answers to these questions are, alas, quite technical and vary greatly between one cable system and another. Some of today's cable modem networks are quite secure, while others are wide open.
    on the last page (and saying similar things about DSL providers), and saying, although perhaps less directly, the same thing about speed on the previous page:
    That's not the end of the bandwidth story, of course. Two factors determine just how fast the Internet will seem to the average home user. The first factor is the connection between the subscriber's home computer and the ISP. But the second factor, the one that's frequently overlooked, is the connection between the ISP and the rest of the Net.
  • All I can say is I love my cable modem... It took only an hour to download RH6 the other day. Now the cable company on the other hand is LOST... I ususally have to call them up and explain to them what the problem with thier system is...

    Last year their DHCP server when down, and all "tech" support could say was "What's DHCP"

    Bottom line, don't expect ISP quality customer support, but it's worth it for the bandwidth

    Cheers
    Squirrel
  • Sounds rough. Road Runner didn't mind very much. I called them when I was installing Linux the first time, and asked about my NIC settings, which they told me. But they didn't have any software for it, and the guy told me they didn't support Linux at all. He did tell me about a newsgroup for roadrunner Linux users, roadrunner.help.linux, and that's where I got my login program.
  • Damn it ... we still have to wait for cable modem .. the US has had it for years ... and as for DSL, BT think it would cut their ISDN sales so we won't be getting that either ... why does the uk have to wait so long for it ????
  • I will take ADSL over Paragon Cable (now Time Warner) in Texas' cable modem offerings--or lack thereof--any day. Why? Until my connection reaches my ISP's outbound link from my phone company, my line is my own, and the bandwidth is shared with no one. Ok, Mr. Smarty, then what happens when your ISP's connection gets clogged? What then?! Simple. Change ISPs. ADSL around here gives me the freedom to choose from over 20 ISPs that work with GTE, and many more are coming on line soon.

    Also, since my addresses are subnetted (/29), I can have a static IP block, and no one can sniff it, since they aren't on my subnet!

    That, and my technically literate ISP doesn't care what I do with my line. They are a classic "no-frills" ISP. For $22.95/mo plus $32.50 for the line (768/128), I get a port on a Cisco router, an e-mail box and access to a news server (oh, and 10M of web space that I'll never use). Beyond that, what I do, from my machines, even including running a Linux box full-time doing light hosting things (light hosting solely because I don't pay for a high-cap ADSL line) is fine with them. They don't care if I host domains (named...not virtual hosting, as my poor 486 won't take that) or whatever.

  • I've had RR in both Tampa, FL and Austin, TX. Tampa wasn't bad, but I lived in an upscale apartment in a high-tech neighborhood- everyone had cable modems. There was a definite, noticeable slowdown from about 3pm to midnight.

    Pings would creep up to the unacceptable level over time, and when anough people complained (it seemed), they would split the load and pings would return to normal.

    I was in the 'beta test' period, and I know how good it could be- it's now being bogged and throttled from both ends. Bad routing through Cable & Worthless (cw.net) meant 20-30% packet loss at times. At other times, it was blazingly fast (the highest I ever downloaded a file was from their 'speed test' server at 520k/s).

    Austin, being the 'Silicon Hills', is another area that has an oversaturated market. Just last night, I tried to get in a friendly game of TFC, but pings were in the 160-180 range. (They normally run about 80-100). And I couldn't post to the newsgroups to find out if it was widepspread because the news server was down- again.

    Overall, the service has been decent at best- I'd trade speed for greater reliability in a heartbeat, though. And it's not quite as cheap as the cable companies like to proclaim, either. RR charges $15/month for additional dynamic IPs, and prohibits routing through a linux box, or even wingate / sygate / etc. (At least it's in their terms of service). So for my three computers, the total is $85. Which is $5 less than the cost of 384k/128k ADSL from a local provider with 5 static ips and no restrictions on what you can and can't do. Tampa RR recently blocked a huge number of ports that took out 113 - ident, 40xx - ICQ, and numerous other services. They unblocked the ports as people called to complain about 'Widget Pro doesn't work anymore.. it used to..'. But that was only after hearing 'Oh, Widget Pro, we don't support that software.' *Click* In addition to that, other RR franchises are beginning to cash in on the 'oh, so you have multiple computers connected? well that's a *pro* package' crowd. Midsouth RR recently introduced packages that would make my level of connection about $150 per month.
  • He obviously haven't tried US West's DSL service, which is tremendous

    Exactly. I've never had much good to say about US West, but their DSL has been excellent.
  • Hmm, when did Erols start offering this? I'm also in Maryland, and just got set up with Charm.net's SDSL service (192/192). Static IPs (a 16 address block), guaranted connection speed, and no problems with Linux - in fact, the SDSL router was already all set up, all I had to go was plug the cable from my Linux box into the router. I don't think the box was even on when the fellow from Covad was here. (Didn't get DNS hosting, but I could've if I wanted to fork out for it - I'll try setting up myself or using the Public DNS [publicdns.org].)

    I didn't want to go with Comcast's cable service because of their "no servers" rule, and I'm too far (just barely) from the switch for an ADSL line. The SDSL is pricy ($130-something/mo), but once I get my stuff together I figure I can do some el-cheapo web hosting and co-location (for low-traffic folks who need a static ip) and make some of it back.

  • Don't assume the US has them. Most of the larger cities do, but in smaller cities like where I am (in Virginia, USA) cable is promised to be "on the way". In smaller towns and in the boonies, cable isn't even talked about in the five year plans. What the other person was saying about tech support is important...lack of qualified technicians is slowing the process. I don't know what the delay is in the UK, but cable modems are hardly commonly available in the US. (more precisely, being able to DO anything with a cable modem is hardly common).
  • Is it true that I can't setup a web server on
    my PC if I use a cable modem? I would only let
    a few people use it.

    If it's connected 24/7, I want to be able to talk
    to my house from anywhere.

    This could open up lots of new uses for the PC.
    If we are away during the weekend, I'd like to
    be able to control my VCR from another town.
    Or anything else in the house.
  • The technology isn't nearly as important as the competition.

    Which Garfinkel indicates at the end of the article:

    ... Ultimately, this battle will be won and lost on mundane issues like price and quality of service.

    It's for these reasons, in fact, that I firmly believe companies like MediaOne should be forced to open up their cable networks to other providers. Gargantuan companies like Bell Atlantic ultimately will be able to compete against the cable modem providers: They'll just spend a lot of money to make their DSL offerings competitive with the cable systems. ...

  • Coverage is pretty spotty. I'm living in Los Angeles, and still most of the cable services aren't yet offering cable modem service. I know my cable service is planning on deploying it (they've been upgrading to fiber optics and I saw something on their website), but for the moment I am within a few blocks of one of the high tech centers of LA and I have no high speed access. Who knows how long it will take in areas that are neither affluent or conveniently located.

    It will be a factor in choosing my next residence though.
  • RoadRunner is a great cable modem carrier, (time Warner) The staff is knowledgable and I seldom have problems with it. I wish I had a faster PC to handle the speed.

    Its faster to install linux over the network than it is off of my 2x cdrom.(yeah I know)
  • I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this -- but he seemed to only quote the experiences he has had with a limited range of companies. While he admits this it still seems like he's caught up on the experiences he's had with only a few companies. Currently, I run a small network off of a 1.5/384 DSL. I pay $60/month and that includes a block of IP's (8,6 usable). The premiere cable service around here is @Home which seems very lacking. I've had people tell me that during peak hours they're bandwidth cuts down to only twice that of a dialup modem, and they pay twice as much as a standard dialup account (~$40-$50). I don't use PBi (Pacific Bell Internet) because they're government regulated and also extremely lacking in the technical department, but I do use their lines. The routing is done through a Southern CA company called Orconet. I have never had any downtime while using Orconet, ever. My latency times are typically 15ms. I have no microfilters on my phone, and I don't ever hear any static on my lines. I'm not saying DSL is better than cable -- but this article seemed slightly lobsided because this guy got stuck with a poor DSL carrier. If anybody is still debating whether to go with cable or DSL -- don't listen to much this article has to say. Most of it is so isolated to the region that unless you are in Boston it's not much good. $0.02 deposited.
    -= Making the world a better place =-
  • If you're interested in not running NAT, and having a few honest-to-goodness IP addresses in the real world (none of this 10.x.x.x stuff), then forget about getting what you need from a cable company.

    Also, some companies have gone so far as to refuse to install a cable modem for anyone not running Windows or MacOS on their machines. Last year, it even had to specifically be Win95 or 98 for one company in the Boston area -- they wouldn't even "install" their precious cable modem on an NT box!

    Bandwidth concerns aside, if you want to do more than just consume data from other sites, cable modems (and especially their parent companies) are less than friendly.

  • I am running a web server (see above URL), and SSH on my cable-connected box. It's nice having the bandwidth to be able to stream my mp3 collection to work (Radio reception in our lab is non-existent).

    The box also acts as my firewall, using IPChains to masquerade a couple other computers that sit behind it.

    I've read the cable company's TOS, and didn't see anything explicitly forbidding any kind of server, unless it is for commercial use. They do, however, filter the Netbios/Netbeaui protocols, so it is not possible to run tools to easily find out about other users on the segment.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the service, and probably wouldn't have it if I couldn't run my own servers.
  • Hell, there are cities that don't even have cable. :)
  • What I am more concerned about is security. With dial-up connections at least you were a moving target - the IP changed and you weren't connected for a long period of time.

    Now you have a static IP or a dynamic (DHCP) one that stays the same for long periods of time. All of a sudden you have thousands of computers sitting there wide open and vulnerable to attack


    Actually, I've found that it makes people a lot more "polite." If you're on a dial-up link, you don't care if your IP gets banned for whatever you do, you can just redial and get a new one. Knowing you'll always have the same ip, while taking away some of your "privacy" also takes away some of the attitude of doing something you wouldn't normally do just cause you can do it anonymously. (For related examples, see "Slashdot, Posting on").

    I hardly see how a static IP is a security risk -- unless you make someone mad at you and they specifically target your ip, and you can't hide from them by redialing. Otherwise, you're just as vulnerable in a block of dial-up IPs for people randomly scanning.

  • The majority of consumers out there are going to sign up with whomever gets to their doors first with high speed access.
    They are not going to give a rat's ass about any specs.
    So it pisses me off that the government is trying to regulate this process.
    A lot of people are putting the cart before the horse here... the main problem is that we simply do not have this available to consumers yet! Instead of worrying (right now) about the possibility of one high speed medium getting too popular, let these companies compete for my attention and get to me as fast as possible!
  • My Experience with Broadband...

    The problem with broadband internet is Availability! I live in Bergen County, NJ... 20 minutes from manhatten. Suburbia, USA. Why isn't there a DSL or cable service here!?!?

    I called cablevision about 2 years ago, and upon asking about internet services, the lady replied "No Sir, you can't watch our programs over the internet"....right.....

    Cablevision is REALLY far behind on this one...ugh. Its only avaible in a spec of Connecticut. BUT! then I read that cable is all DHCP..doe! And I quickly realized that Cable would explode once in arrived (they havent even released a press release or anything... no plans)... so I would get stuck with a fractured connection. And they too have a no-serving policy. So over to (at the time) that new thing called ADSL...

    Call up Bell (atlantic)... " O yea, that should arrive any day now(TM)" ...right....

    I was pumping the availability script with local phone numbers to see who had access -- turns out my (non-techy) friend who lives less then half a mile "as the crow flies" away, is in the circle... DAMNIT!

    So here Im sitting, with a sub-400$ linux system and 3 Macs, and Appletalk network (with the linux box running netatalk), and an Epson printer... Waiting -- no wait... DIEING for broadband. I've even read up on IP masq. so I'll be ready.

    /nutt
  • It turns out that he was talking about ISDN vs. cable, not DSL, but I think the point still holds.

    From The Dilbert Future, by Scott Adams:

    Cable companies have what appears to be a huge technical advantage--a big coaxial cable into your house that can carry far more information than a phone line with ISDN service. Most pundits argue that this advantage will be enough for the cable companies to trounce ISDN in the market of the future. This argument misses one important fact:

    Cable companies are staffed with people who couldn't get jobs at telephone companies. (p. 45)

    Thank you, Scott, for summing it up quite simply.

  • All in all, I prefer the dedicated bandwidth I get with a DSL connection. They do tend to be a bit pricy though - I get 384/128 (usually runs faster than that) for $49.95/month. It would cost me $179.95/month to go to a 1.5/384 connection - ouch! But as long as people are falling all over themselves to pay these prices, there won't be much downward pressure.
  • Huh, their website here [mediaonerr.com] they specifically say:

    Can I use Road Runner with multiple computers in my home?
    Sure. We will install the MediaOne Road Runner connection to one computer and after
    the installation, you are free to connect that computer to an existing home LAN (Local
    Area Network). Please note that MediaOne will not support or install home LANs (see our
    customer service agreement on this site for specific details regarding home LAN usage).
  • by timothy (36799) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @09:06AM (#1664140) Homepage Journal
    mochaone wrote, quoting the article,

    Ultimately, this battle will be won and lost on mundane issues like price and quality of service.


    I agree with the thrust of this post, but I don't see why "price" and "quality of service" are relegated to the realm of the mundane.

    These might not be as technically challenging, but there certainly are a lot of logistics that go into making these things attractive.

    With price, there are a lot of tradeoffs which obviously have to take place. How quickly will the company recoup its investment? Will they charge tending toward metered or unmetered? (Most things are somewhere in the middle, viewed broadly) Will they charge for service and separately for needed hardware, or lump them all into a monthly cost? Etc -- lots of variables, and no single package of them will satisfy everyone.

    And with quality of service, same thing. Do you hire lots of tech-support people and charge a commensurate amount extra on the bill? Or charge less, and offer less service? (Etc, etc.)

    As mochaone points out, "The companies that build relationships with their customers will retain them." Look at the (even dysfunctional) relationship approach that AOL has with people ... my mom is with them still, because she has gotten familiar with it and knows which icons to click. Not *exactly* the same point, but a cousin.

    Cheers,

    timothy



  • The reality of hacking peoples home computers really complicates the whole legal issue. When does it become a crime?

    Is checking if someone has any globally shared SMB volumes hacking them? Or does it depend on whether they wanted me to find them or not? And how am I supposed to know that?

    If it is legal for me to check, can someone get charged with piracy for not disabling Windows Filesharing for the network card connected to the cable/adsl adapter? If that is just considered an accident, then what about me leaving mp3 as the password on the mp3 account of my firewall computer (which also happens to be my mp3 player)?

    "Oops, it seemed so convenient, and I sure the lights were always blinking, but aren't they supposed to??"

    Or the opposite:

    "This man hacked my machine by connecting and trying common passwords!" (mp3:mp3)

    It seems a big issue that if our regimes intend to keep prosecuting based on these actions, they at least put down laws regarding what is what - that are not based on conjectures about both accused and victims intents...

    -
    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @11:22AM (#1664143)
    Flashcom is a CLEC,

    Hmm. So where exactly does Covad, say - who provide service to Flashcom, as per this item on Flashcom's site [flashcom.net], which says

    The pace at which ISPs and data CLECs are striking partnerships shows just how critical each camp is to the other's long-term prospects. The big draw for ISPs, of course, is that they get access to high-speed lines without incurring the expense of creating their own DSL networks.

    "The biggest reason we don't do it ourselves is that it takes a lot of time," says Brad Sachs, president of Flashcom (www.flashcom.com), a national ISP that sells nothing but DSL services. "It's easy enough to get CLEC status. But then you have to go out and procure rights to enter the incumbent facilities. The central offices are supposed to be open, but in reality it takes a very good legal staff and a lot of patience to get access."

    ...

    Though the CLECs say they can keep up, there are already signs of trouble. "We're all being crushed by demand," Sachs says, noting that Flashcom partners Covad and NorthPoint currently are trying to catch up on a backlog of circuit installations that numbers in the thousands. "I've got 3,000 people waiting for service today."

    fit into this picture?

    The impression I had was that my phone signal was split into voice and DSL portions at the CO, with the DSL portion going into Pac Bell's ATM network, running over that network to Flashcom, as per the comment

    To deliver megabit speed over standard phone lines, your corporate LAN or Internet service provider will need to be connected to the Pacific Bell ATM network.

    at the end of this Pac Bell page [pacbell.com]. Flashcom then routes my packets to sites elsewhere on the Internet and routes packets from those sites to me.

    Pacbell does do DSL (unless they are still testing) service also, but maybe not in your area.

    Pac Bell has provided Internet service (which I view as "routing packets to and from sites on the Internet, and possibly providing other services such as DNS lookup, mail service, netnews service, and the like"), and some amount of support for DSL for other ISPs, for several months now. They also , as far as I know, allow CLECs such as Covad into their COs as well.

  • by Narbo (11006) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @09:08AM (#1664146)
    Just for informational purposes im quickly going to run thru the major methods of getting a DSL connection. I imagine the same applies for cable.

    When you power up your DSL modem the first thing that happens after the power on test is it attempts to sync with a line card in the captive office. Depending on what kind of system you are on this could be at anywhere from 100kbps to 9Mbps and down. Typically up tends to be significantly less then down (usually in the 320kbps to 1.5Mbit range) but it does not have to be.

    There are several encapsulation methods used to get packets over the DSL wire all of them revolving around ATM.

    The end to end connection typically looks something like this:

    PC --Ethernet-> Modem --DSL-> LineCard --ATM-> ATM Switch/Router --Whatever-> Internet

    From there it your data can bounce around the net
    being re-encapsulated until it eventually becomes ethernet again. :)

    Typical encapsulation methods over DSL are:

    RFC 1483 Ethernet over ATM (most common)
    RFC 1577 Classical IP over ATM
    RFC 2364 PPP over ATM

    1483 encapsulation involves setting up a bridge group on your router. A bridge group is essentially a software hub that sucks in packets from multiple connections and forwards them along to wherever they need to go.
    If you have a setup like this, when you look in your arp cache you should only ever see the (fictional) MAC address of your bridge group.
    (and your modems MAC assuming its not a dumb bridge either)

    1577 isnt used much in the real world as it requires more effort to setup and maintain.

    2364 is becoming more prevalant, especially a nasty variant called PPP over Ethernet which is like a combo of PPP over ATM and 1483 bridging.

    Just so you can see all the work thats going on
    here are the quick protocol stacks for the data encapsulation methods before the data ever hits the phone wire. (pretty complicated :P)

    1483: TCP/IP->802.3->RFC 1483->AAL5/ATM->ADSL
    1577: TCP/IP->AAL5/ATM->ADSL
    2364: TCP/IP->PPP->RFC 2364->AAL5/ATM->ADSL
    PPP over Ethernet: TCP/IP->PPPOE->802.3->RFC 1483->AAL5/ATM->ADSL

    Anyhow, hope this was useful.

    Oh yes, one last note about speeds. While most DSL available today sits in the 1Mbit range or so
    within a year or so high speed DSL will start to roll out offering equal or better bandwidth compared to cable (i.e up to full 10Mbit down and 1.5Mbit+ up)

    Enjoy the competition, its good for you the end user.

    -N
  • OK... for full disclosure, I do tier 2 support here at @home.

    I think there is a bit of misinformation going around, and I'd like to clarify some of it (not all of this pertains to cable modems in general... mostly just to @home).

    First of all... the shared bandwidth issue. With cable service, the slowest link is not going to be your node. Each cable channel is able to handle approx. 32mbit of traffic. Not enough? Open up another 6 mhz channel on the cable spectrum and you have double the bandwidth. Clearly this is not much of an issue on the node wide basis. Typically the slowdowns are backbone saturation (we have a private dual oc-48 backbone now) and saturation at the public NAP's. The latter is a bit more of a problem -- but when we are able to document slowness it gets taken care of.
    As far as speeds slowing down during primetime, this is typically due to RF problems. Modems are pretty fickle about the signal they can use... if they are on the threshold of the signal when the lines cool down at night and contract you can be edged over into unacceptable rf levels. It's a pain the ass to call tech support but when you have that kind of problem it can always be dealt with.

    The upstream rate cap at 128kbps is comparable to what you'd experience on a similarly priced DSL connection (at least with pac bell here in CA, I'm not familiar with the price plans of any of the other telcos). This is probably the most major dissapointment as far as cable goes -- and a major deterrent to the powers users.

    As far as the no servers policy, it is almost completeley unenforced. As far as I know if you stick to less than 500MBps a day nobody is going to hassle you.

    So a lot of the major complaints about cable are pretty inacurate, or at least exagurated. I'm not able to make a reccomendation as to whether you'd be served better by cable or DSL. I think for a power user you'd probably get pretty similar experiences from either one.
  • by Guy Harris (3803) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @12:24PM (#1664177)
    I was under the impression that Flashcom was the CLEC here. According to your post, and from what I can understand, Flashcom is probably reselling Covad's services. Covad is the CLEC, not Flashcom.

    Correct (although in my case, they're using the ILEC, Pac Bell, rather than any CLEC).

    As far as I know, they're not just reselling Covad's services, though; I don't think Covad is doing the routing for them, I have the impression Covad just moves data from some ILEC's CO to Flashcom's routers.

    As far as Pacbell's ATM net, they are probably referring to their own DSL service offering, which does not have anything to do with Covad, or Flashcom.

    They're referring, as far as I know, to the pipe they provide between a subscriber and their ATM net, and to the ATM services they're providing to ISPs including but not limited to Pacific Bell Internet. See, for example, this diagram on Pac Bell's site [pacbell.com], which shows the line to the CO, the DSLAM in the CO, and the ATM network - they run a PVC over that network to the ISP, or to a corporate LAN if the DSL circuit is being used for telecommuting to work rather than connecting to an ISP.

    For CLECs, the picture is probably the same, except that the DSLAM belongs to the CLEC and is in the cage they rent from the ILEC, and, presumably, so does the ATM network - this page on Rhythms' Web site [rhythms.net] seems to imply that they have their own ATM network, independent of any ILEC's network.

    They probably use a pots splitter

    Yes, there's a splitter at my demarcation point, which sends stuff up to 4KHz, presumably, along one wire, into which my Plain Old Telephones plug, and stuff above 4KHz along another wire, into which my DSL box plugs. There's also a device at the CO that does the same; that's presumably the "Mux" in the aforementioned diagram on Pac Bell's Web site.

    Which DSLAM (Pacbell's or Covad's or Rhythms' or ours hopefully some day) depends on who sends you your bill, and or who send them their bill.

    Pac Bell puts a USD 39.95 item on my phone bill for DSL, so it's presumably their DSLAM. (I presume Flashcom will send me a USD 10.00 bill one of these days; they may offer "first month free", but it's been more than a month - I should call them to find out what the story is, as I don't want to have my Internet service cut off for non-payment of a bill that I never got in the first place....)

  • That had to be one of those most worthless article I've ever read on DSL vs. Cable. I'm sorry, but I was expecting more. Maybe something about the latency, or an average pool-size for cable subscribers. Nothing, the first 3 pages seemed like an add for the guy's cable provider. Pointless, I didn't pick up a bit of information out of that. At least the guy could of done was get some more pricing on the two services. For one, I work at an ISP and we offer ADSL for pretty low rates. (768k down/128kup for 17$) and GTE doesn't charge too much for monthly (32.50 for above mentioned). So I guess, in the end, I expected more information from that 4 pages then the writer was ready to offer. Oh well, maybe next time.

  • The cable modem they give you is much closer to a router than a modem. They can program it remotely to do a number of things, on of which is to block access to certian ports, and to accept connections to its own ports. It probably even does NAT and a few other router-ish and bridge-ish things...

    -Adam

    "So, like, does that mean that if we put everyone on the world on Australia, we'd shift the earths center of gravity enough to sink australia, and give Greenland more land?"
  • I also got DSL through Bell Atlantic. I've mentioned it here before. Basically, their phone guy was nervous, but didn't make a fuss. He just told me they don't officially support Linux, but if I wanted to use it anyway, ok. I have a static IP, although it doens't seem like that's guaranteed to remain in the future. The only complaint I have is that when I moved down the street, they charged me another hundred bucks "connection fee" even though I was using the same phone number and connecting to the same goddamn exchange. Their techs had even switched over the DSL service, and the "customer service" people didn't know it. Total comedy of errors, that netted me about a dozen phone calls. But the service worked perfectly the whole time, so it was more like entertainment for me than a real problem.

    ----
    We all take pink lemonade for granted.
  • by irix (22687) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:26AM (#1664214) Journal
    The author of the artice is right when he says that the better technology won't win. It also really depends where you live - where I am you can get 1Mbps ADSL and cable modems for $40/month.

    What I am more concerned about is security. With dial-up connections at least you were a moving target - the IP changed and you weren't connected for a long period of time.

    Now you have a static IP or a dynamic (DHCP) one that stays the same for long periods of time. All of a sudden you have thousands of computers sitting there wide open and vulnerable to attack.

    Watch for it - as more people get high-speed access, this will become a much bigger issue. Windows and even the default installs on most Linux distros are not ready to be connected full-time to the internet.

  • by Krellis (19116) <slashdot@krellis. o r g> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:29AM (#1664221) Homepage
    Whether or not you can set up servers on a cable modem connection depends on your particular cable company's policies more than anything else. I know that Time Warner in the Central NY region (I *think*) has "servers" forbidden (but not ever DEFINED) in their user agreement. Also, to the best of my knowledge, they block inbound port 25. A friend of mine has had lots of problems trying to get them to open this port, even on a case-by-case basis. In a lot of cases, they just don't care about the customers; as long as they get their money, they are happy.

    Mind you, this is not always the case. The San Jose Road Runner service from Time Warner (sorry if I am wrong about the area, I last heard about this a while ago) will open port 25 on a case-by-case basis after determining that the user doesn't have an open relay. This is a sensible procedure to prevent problems with spamming abuse, and should be a stand that more providers take.

    Basically, make sure you check out policies before you do something like running any type of server; you might get screwed out of your connection and payment if they decide to shut you down.

    ---
    Tim Wilde
    Gimme 42 daemons!

  • Whether you have xDSL or Cable modem, in the end the real bottleneck is whether or not your provider is overselling its bandwidth or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The franchise agreement for the cable company in my town (Falcon Cable [falconcable.com] in Beebe, Arkansas) expires in October. A few weeks ago, I walked into city hall and got a copy of the proposed 10-year franchise renewal.

    I asked the mayor and city attorney to insert some language for two things: high-speed two-way Internet service and "transfer of control". They did that and Falcon has apparently agreed to the changes. If it works out, I think this will be the first non-municipally owned cable modem system in Arkansas.

    It helps that Falcon is going to be bought by Charter Cable [chartercom.com] (Paul Allen) next month. (Big IPO coming soon!)

    I don't expect the telco (Southwestern Bell) to arrive with xDSL for five years - and by then, the cable companies will have already cornered the market for high speed access.

    So for those of you waiting for cable modem service in your town, get a copy of your cable company's francise agreement and find out when it expires. Familiarize yourself with Title 47 of the U.S. Code, the FCC Cable Bureau, etc., and start negotiating about a year before the franchise agreement expires. Also see NATOA [natoa.org] for additional resources and negotiating strategies.

    Little Rock is considering a publicly-owned SONET loop for high-speed Internet around the county for $100 million. It's obviously a boondoggle, but that has never stopped the idiots in Little Rock before.

    For about three years, I've been using cable modems in another nearby town (Conway, Arkansas) to host my Internet servers. The city-owned Conwaycorp.net works great and has a very liberal policy about static IPs - but they filter ICMP packets. That makes it difficult to do diagnostics.

  • I'm sure that depends on your provider, but I believe that RoadRunner prohibits servers. The policy is fairly vague, actually. I mean... if you fire up an IRC client, you're probably running an identd server, right?

    I imagine that the "no server" rule is so that people won't set up warez/porn/mp3 servers on their cable accounts, but...

    I'll take the upload/download limits on my ADSL over cable's "no server" rules any day! That way I pay for what I use, and there's not some schmuck clogging the lines since they have unmetered service.
  • It was really strange to read this article -- it was an almost exact re-telling my experiences with MediaOne and BellAtlantic.

    I moved to Cambridge in February (a move based almost solely on the availability of bandwidth...I'm such a loser. ;-) ), and immediately signed up for MediaOne cable modem service. They installed it, the guy didn't mind me hooking up my Linux box, and I was connected at really decent speeds. I never noticed much slow down -- well, occasionally a slight slow-down around 5-6 pm -- but never dipped below, say, ISDN speeds.

    Well, in June, I got a flyer in the mail from BellAtlantic saying that DSL service was available in my neighborhood, and I wasn't all that interested until I saw they offered 7.1 Mbps speeds. After wiping up the drool, I called them up and signed up for BA DSL service. They came, they installed, they left. The guy even checked the line, and I saw with my own eyes that the bandwidth was hovering around 6.5 Mbps (not the advertised 7.1 -- but I wasn't complaining!)

    Cut to me, setting it up on my system. First of all, the domain name they assign you (unlike the nice myname.ne.mediaone.net that MediaOne assigns you) turns out to be something like: adsl-192-168-288-112.more.crap.even.more.crap.bell atlantic.net. Disgusting -- having to type that everytime. And the whole point of having a host/domain name is lost when they put the actual IP address in the host name. *sigh*

    That not withstanding, I forged ahead. At least, I thought, I'd have blazing 6.5 Mbps speeds! Well, it turns out that the only time I ever got anywhere NEAR that speed was when I was on the phone with their tech support, and they asked me to download a test file from one of their servers, a mere 3 hops away. Of course I'm going to get decent speeds if I'm going straight to one of your servers and downloading! But anywhere else, I was lucky to even get T-1 speeds.

    Why? Because BA.net's network topology was designed by monkeys. OK, maybe not, but it certainly felt that way. Not only did it route traffic through 192.168.0.0/255.255.0.0 addresses, it took 11 hops just to get out of BA.net's subnet! And then, apparently, BA.net has never heard of private peering, so all their traffic dumps into public exchanges located in Nome, Alaska (ok, so it was NJ) but any traffic that I wanted routed was almost certainly sent through the Garden State, even if that traffic was to MIT or BBN.

    Ping times, needless to say, were dismal: at least 2-3 times slower than what I was experiencing with MediaOne. It's a good thing I never cancelled my MediaOne -- after a week of wrestling with them and their tech support, I unplugged the DSL modem (anyone want to buy one cheap? ;-) ) and plugged the cable modem back in.

    So now, not only am I getting better performance from my network connection, I pay less than half of what I was paying with BA.net. How do these DSL providers expect to stay in business with prices like that?

    Anyway, just wanted to echo Garfinkel's comments. If you didn't believe him, maybe you'll believe me, though I have no idea why you'd trust me over a respected journalist. ;-)

    --jeddz

  • Why not get it to turn on the T.V, switch to the desired channel, and then stream it as full motion video to the PC you're using? I can't see how your ISP would dare complain about you hogging the b/width...

    Maybe you could build one of those LEGO turtles, a really big one. Then use the PC to control it, you could open the door to let in your pets - feed them even.

    Set up a camera, to ensure that your house isn't burning down. Although this same camera may capture your Son having sex with a guy you'd previously only imagined as a guy he plays football with...

    The possibilities are endless - All thanks to Cable Modem!

    Mong.

    * Paul Madley ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • Simson Garfinkel has a great article on Salon which explains the relative merits and disadvantages of cable modems and DSL. This should quiet the cable/DSL wars seen occasionally

    Who are you kidding, Hemos? I think we both been on slashdot.org long enough to know this is just wishful thinking. :-)

    Later

    Hasdi

  • You should be able to run a Masq box, and they should never know about it. That would be a "server" pointing in to your LAN, not out to the cable company. Do it right, and they'll never know. And they shouldn't care about that in the first place....
  • The author really should have pointed out that pricing, availability, and expected speeds very VASTLY from city to city. MediaOne is the local cable provider where I live (St. paul). But the lines here aren't bi-directional, so if you get one, you need a modem for upstream. Thats an absurd speed for what you're paying, and it wastes another phone line. So I took the lesser of two evils and got a DSL line from uswest. 512 kbit, for a little under 100 a month with static IP's. Not a fantastic deal compared to some of the people I know around the country and Canada, but it still beats the hell of of my old 56k.

    The security info that was given was interesting, but beyond that any discussion on this topic is worthless without knowing EXACTLY what is available in you area.
  • by Signal 11 (7608) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:34AM (#1664257)
    Well, I can't speak for everybody's experiences with Mediaone [mediaone.com].. but mine have been unsatisfactory to say the least. During prime time you get less than 3k/s thoroughput, and latency is a joke (I routinely see latencies above 400ms after 18:00), and short service outages during the off-peak hours (usually 9:00 - 14:00) are alittle too common.

    I have a graph up [malign.net] online that'll show you what I mean. If you have any questions, e-mail me and I can give you the raw data, and some other statistics. I live up in Minnesota [state.mn.us].. and some of my friends have also expressed dissapointment in the QoS that mediaone offers up here. I'm paying $40/mo to get substandard service during prime time - my plain old analog modem (USR 56k) to a conventional ISP is actually better after about 18:00.

    I've been wanting to put together a report for the Public Utilities Commissioner (PUC) for awhile, but after contacting their office they didn't even seem to understand what I was complaining about. :( I'm out of options up here for high speed access - xDSL is available in my area (US West - keep up the good work - nothing but rave reviews) but I'm too far away to get it.

    Mediaone - are you listening? How about giving us some guaranteed QoS, or giving us more on-the-wire bandwidth?

    --

  • by doomy (7461) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:35AM (#1664259) Homepage Journal
    Recently, USWEST decided to change all it's DSL customer accounts to a new PPP-DSL based connection. This means you would have to enter a username and password in your router (aka dsl-modem). There are certain disadvantages to this new services.

    When your router is in PPP-DSL mode, the DHCP server assigns an IP directly to the router. From there you have to use NAT to pierce open ports for your own NIC. People most effected by this would be gamers and those who wish to use advanced forms of internet communcation (voice/video chat, file sharing and so on).

    USWEST ISP web site claims that they are giving a full internet service. But this is not so. I have been able to open ports 22, 80 and 21 for my various serices. But, everytime they change your ip. You have to telnet into your router and change the NAT tables. This gets worse if you reboot your router (since the nat is deleted off). After 2 weeks of this, I changed over to startnet, here in Tucson, which didnt put restrictions such as this (but did firewall off lower ports).

    So, if your getting DSL through USWEST, dont pick them as your ISP. Check the other ISP's in your area that offer DSL with USWEST as their backbone. And ask them if they are providing PPP-DSL or Bridged mode DSL. (in which case the IP is given directly to your NIC .. and all the fun).

    Most users who get DSL are powerusers and demand more from their DSL service. I was alarmed by these restrictions that USWEST was putting for DSL users. Also it went to the point that I had to use a normal modem to play quake :)
    --
  • by NickHolland (91075) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:36AM (#1664260)
    It *appears* it depends upon the service provider. Some of the service providers apparently actively LOOK for people running web/other Internet servers, while others are more indifferent. My service provider said it was against the rules, but upon asking, they told me they don't actively look, but they will investigate any curious or excessive activity.

    My web server has been on line for about a year now, without any complaints from the cable company, other than the time some (*censored*) cracked my system and set up a cracking shop, using my machine as a base to crack others. Got a nasty note from the cable company which I couldn't figured out until I realized the odd things happening on my Linux box were really odd things, not just ignorance on my part!

    I do wish to point out my web server is STRICTLY for experimentation and occasionally getting stuff to friends. I do think using Cable Internet Access to do commercial or high-volume stuff is really tacky. We get high bandwidth at a low cost because it is assumed we will be rarely using most of the bandwidth.

    I'm with the @Home service, but a friend who is waiting for Cable Internet Access who would also be getting @Home through a different cable company, sounds like he would be getting a totally different set of terms of service than I have.

    Best I can say is anyone who says "This is how it is" is probably wrong SOMEWHERE. The rules are different everywhere. The rules are still being written...

    Here, they recently put a cap on the "upstream" link (128kbps supposedly), which I am fine with...means I don't have to worry quite so much in case someone finds something interesting on my server...

    Nick.
  • BT have a tight grip on the market, despite what they may claim. OFTel is fairly weak, and the Cable Companies don't really threaten it. That said, I was with C&W and they sucked worse than BT.

    Until the Government says "Oi BT, you need to give just a ~little~", we're gonna be stuck with it.

    Norweb (or maybe Manweb?*) just withdrew their plans for DPL. Their claim? Lack of interest! they were due to start large scale trial roll-out in Manchester a while back. Apparently, there's not enough interest. In reality, it's because of a tie-up between BT and Scottish Power (who own Demon), because the rumour is that Scot Power are going to buy Norweb (or was it Manweb?*).

    * Whichever ISN'T already owned by Scot Power, is the one I'm talking about

    Anyway, it's all about greed. Me? I'm launching my own Satelite, it's probably cheaper, and far quicker then BTs ISDN ;)

    Mong.
    * Paul Madley ...Student, Artist, Techie - Geek *
  • by mochaone (59034) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:41AM (#1664268)
    If the history of technology is any guide, however, it's unlikely that the battle between cable modems and DSL will be won on technical merits...Ultimately, this battle will be won and lost on mundane issues like price and quality of service.

    Truer words have never been written.

    Broadband is beginning to take off and speaking as someone who makes his living from using the resources on the internet, it's about time!

    For most rational people the value of downloading Netscape in 5 or 10 minutes will be secondary to the relationship your broadband carrier establishes with you as a customer. How do they respond to problems? How flexible are they with with regard to how you use your broadband? Are they knowledgable about the product?

    Most of these questions will be answered based on where you live and what your previous relationships are with these broadband carriers. Have you been satisfied with your current cable service? Is your telcomm responsive to your phone line problems.

    I have had serious problems with my cable company (Cablevision). From their unresponsiveness to someone illegally billing their services to my account (had to get my my congressman on them) to their inability to offer a la carte programming (in process of going to satellite programming). As a result, I decided to go with DSL. I couldn't be happier with the service. I am paying $10 a month more than comparable cable service and haven't had one problem. I've found my provider (Bell Atlantic) to be very helpful and responsive.

    This obviously isn't rocket science. The companies that build relationships with their customers will retain them. Even in the face of a supposedly superior product. While the article was topical and timely, I think the penultimate paragraph could have been fleshed out a bit to emphasize this more clearly.
  • I should have included this in my other post.. but something worth mentioning is that Mediaone is very much anti-linux - I had a technician inform me that management takes a very strong stance against running "unsupported" systems out here. He even said that he has heard of people being fined for running linux.

    For the record (and possibly losing my access over this..), I would like everybody to know that I have run Linux on the mediaone network since last September. I have only had one problem since then - and that was due to buggy firmware on the modem. If anybody has problems with their cablemodem displaying high-ascii garbage in the text fields.. Click on this link [192.168.100.1], which will reset your SB1200 cablemodem to factory defaults. Simply removing the garbage and re-entering the data will not fix it.

    Caveat emptor people...

    --

  • "My associate recently installed a cable modem in her home and was shocked to find that 'Network Neighborhood' was, literally, her neighborhood! She could see the desktops of all her connected neighbors. This seems like an enormous oversight on the part of cable modem companies, or maybe they just don't care (more likely the latter.)"
    Heh... yeah, what an oversight on the part of the cable modem companies, allowing customers to share their C drives with the world... Certainly not the customer's fault...

    This is going to be a big deal. I imagine people will learn pretty quickly, though. They'll have to. :)

  • He really missed the mark on security. Who gives a shit if your neighbor shows up in network neighborhood? The risk is that any a-hole on your loop can put his system in promiscuous mode and read ANYTHING you send in clear text. This would include passwords on pages without encrypted connections, and every line of text to and from a telnet (including username and password).

    I know that you are at some risk in any case, but I would prefer not to intentionally broadcast my IP packets through my neighbor's house.

    As far as bandwidth goes, I think it is pretty short sighted for him to pooh-pooh the fact that you are sharing your bandwidth. This falls in line with other clever statements I have heard in the past like "you will never fill up a 10 MB hard disk" or "Why would you need more than one meg of RAM?" Granted, at this moment most cable modems are faster, but they are increasing in popularity. I'd rather not share a 700 kb connection 500 monkeys running web TV. I'll take a 400 kb dedicated connection to an ISP on a high speed backbone over a direct connection to a 700 kb backbone any day.

    I suppose there is the possibility that there will be something "better" by the time the cable loops start getting really bogged down, and I may be the one being short sighted, but I don't think this is going to be the case.


    -Peter
  • Read your AUP (Acceptable Use Policy).

    This varies from company to company. Currently, I use COX/@Home as my cable modem provider, well for 3 more days anyways. Their AUP says that you cannot run a server on your home PC's. However, they don't enforce this unless your neighbors complain about bandwidth, so I do run HTTP/FTP/Telnet services from home. I'm pretty much the only person who uses them, but I do have a MP3 archive out there for my friends to use.

    COX/@home does not have anything that physically stops you from running a server, but they have limited your upstream bandwith to 16Kb, via an "En hancement" [deja.com]. So, with them, you really aren't getting what you're think you're getting. Don't get me wrong, Downstream is blazing fast, but any upstream trafic is pretty slow.

    There are other companies that don't do this, so be sure to give them 20 questions about bandwith, static IP's and whatnot. If you can, get it in writing.

    You also certainly want to know what their packet loss and the distance it is back to your city. I am pushed through Atlanta to get back to Omaha (200+ms) and can see upto 30% packet loss, which is very nasty for telnet.

    But in anycase, its going to end up being cheaper and much better than any standard modem connection you can get (if you have a second line).

  • Well, at the request that this not turn into austin.internet, that's why one has to do research into what's best in the area. The name of the game is researching options, and Roadrunner is certainly one of them.
  • Mediaone actually blocks out the SMB ports by default. I believe at the moment you can request this filtering be turned off, but they occasionally make noise about disallowing that.
  • by bgarcia (33222) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:47AM (#1664292) Homepage Journal
    With dial-up connections at least you were a moving target - the IP changed and you weren't connected for a long period of time.
    No, not really. Each ISP has a block of IP addresses that it keeps re-using for each dial-up connection. So even though the particular address used by your machine keeps changing, it is still one of several known addresses.

    All a cracker needs to do is to keep checking these IP addresses. As soon as it gets a response from one of them, you're toast.

    99 little bugs in the code, 99 bugs in the code,
    fix one bug, compile it again...

  • Also, check out
    www.getspeed.com [getspeed.com] to check out what's available and an estimate of how far you are from the Central Office.

    ...although note that when I gave it my ZIP code, address, and area code and exchange, it listed the SDSL services Flashcom offers, but not their cheaper ADSL services (one of which I have); the only ADSL services it listed were those from Pacific Bell Internet (who somehow managed not to get the rest of Pac Bell to tell them that I could get ADSL, unlike Flashcom, who did manage to get Pac Bell to do so).

  • My experience with MediaOne around here has been
    extremely positive. The techies have all been
    Linux-friendly, and the QoS is consistently fast.

    My point is this: YMMV. When getting information,
    ask around locally. Ignore my anecdotal evidence
    if you're outside Route 128.
  • Us Worst has _NOT_ done this in the Mpls/St. Paul area.

    I have 5 static IPs.. (ok 8, but w/ broadcast, router, etc... only 5..) My DSL modem is setup as a bridge, but I personally would much prefer it if it was setup as a router. Then I could have firewall controls on the "gate" on my network.

    FYI I pay about $80 a month for 256k/DSL, 5 Statics and that includes the voice line.
  • I thought the telco and cable deregulation was supposed to foster CHOICE and COMPETITION.

    Here in Tyngsboro, Massachusettes our local cable monopoly is Continental Cablevision. *Every* town that borders my own is served by Media One, who has no plasns to ever offer work with CC and service in this town. I thought the whole point of the legistlation was competition was no longer "outlawed" and anyone can offer service anywhere? Or are the cable companies voluntarily avoiding each other's turf to prevent price wars?

    I also live 1 mile from the phone exchange... plenty close enough for good DSL, but it's not offered. They just offer me ISDN which I don't want.

    It just blows my mind that people are getting bandwidth in Okedokey, EBF and I'm just 30 minutes outside of from Boston and no one considers this a market. My cable company is based out of New York and Connecticut, where they offer cable.

    If the company that serves you cable is an island among the "big boys" like Media One or @home, you're totally screwed. I built a Linux-based LAN with a dedicated 56k connection, but without cable I can't enjoy Quake 3 dammit. Give me universal service OR doors-wide-open competition, PLEASE.

    I even looked at T1 service which has come down A LOT, but it's still way too expensive to justify because not just anyone can string up copper...

    >:-

    Slashdot bug: a left-angle bracket from the angry face got parsed out.
  • by garver (30881) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:01AM (#1664315)

    I still think Scott Adams had it right in one of his Dilbert books:

    Telephone companies and DSL will beat out Cable companies and cable modems for one simple reason: All of the people that were too incompenent for even the local telco work at the cable company.

    (I will post the exact quote and book when I get home).

  • People often complain that they don't like sharing their bandwidth with bazillions of people. With cable modems, you ARE sharing your bandwidth, but not with as many people as you think. Cable modems work on a HFC (Hybrid-Fiber Coax) network. The key word here is Fiber. Signal is pumped out to your house on different laser-nodes (all glass) to certain points in different neighborhoods where it becomes coax. The number of people on each coax segment is planned out before the deployment. This means that if there are 100 or so people on your segment, the bandwith available is optimal for sharing with those 100 people. Just because 800 people are seen in "network neighborhood" or are found while running a sniffer, doesn't mean that you are sharing the bandwith with them. A majority of them are probably on your laser node, and not all on the coax line you are sharing. If you purchase a 100Mb/sec connection. You are NOT splitting that bandwith up with the people on your segment. The cable routers push data out enough, that you will be sharing some 300Mb/sec with the people on your node. This is predetermined so that once all the expected number of people sign on, you have the 100Mb/sec (usually a little under) connection you want. I never get less than 900K/sec from my modem. =) So as you see, a dedicated line is not as important here. Also, in case anyone was wondering, cable modems encrypt all data between themselves and the cable routers. These encryption keys change periodically also. So security isn't a biggie.
  • by Hrunting (2191) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:08AM (#1664326) Homepage
    The relative merits of DSL vs. cable modem really all rests on whether or not the network built to hold those technologies can provide the type of service. He mentions that his DSL service goes through San Jose and Chicago and New York before getting back to Boston. That's just a crappy network for that person. It hurts performance and if the lines between any of those routers get cut or saturated, you're screwed. The same can be true of cable modem service. Luckily, most cable companies operate their systems locally, so your network infrastructure is going to be local. DSL, especially in the case of national providers, may not have their infrastructure local.

    I had DSL in Austin through Texas.Net this summer. Texas.Net is a regional Texas provider with massive amounts of money invested in their network, their machines, and their connections. They're ahead of their bandwidth curve, which means they have the bandwidth to support the maximum throughput possible. Thus, with DSL in Austin, local sites were pulling in at a 100K (that's kilobytes, not bits) per second, and up near the theoretical limit (150K/sec) for sites local to Texas.Net's network. BTW, if you're in Texas and want to check out this service, residential DSL service (low-speed: 1.5Mbps) is $19.95/mo plus the Bell fees. Contrary to this, my friend at MIT, who was on a shared MediaOne cable line split among an entire housing unit, never got above 60K downloading things from MIT. Routing and infrastructure take their tolls.

    The key to finding the best technology is research. Concentric was probably not the best choice for DSL for a Boston-area business. You've got to ask about the network, check what their routing is like, and find out about competitors. The best place to do this is on the newsgroups for the area. While the signal-to-noise ratio is pretty crappy, you can piece together a pretty accurate description of what is good by asking the question and then sifting through the ashes.

    Personally, I think DSL is better as it is guaranteed bandwidth (provided the external 'Net connections can support it), but maybe not in your area. If you find many, many stories in your area like this article, you'll be ready to make an informed decision. But don't make it based just on thisarticle.
  • by Captain_Lou_Albano (14154) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:10AM (#1664329)
    I work for an DSL provider in Wisconsin. I see these arguments all the time. I rarely try to argue anymore.

    The reason for this is because when you see a cable vs DSL argument on the irc, in newsgroups, or even in person, the people arguing are almost always arguing about the cable modem service in THEIR AREA vs DSL service in THEIR AREA. It's never an argument about the technology, always about the providers. They always talk about bandwidth on adsl or sdsl being less, but this is probably a function of the provider throttling it down. Everyone talks about security on cable, but this is all relative as adsl or sdsl can be just as lax if not implemented properly. It's almost an apples and oranges argument.

    This Salon article is no different. He is comparing PacBell dsl (which sucks) to MediaOne's cable service. This is not representative of the technologies involved and frankly makes me a little upset.

    Hopefully someone (maybe me) can find a good link to post that compares technologies, not services.

    Or maybe someone who really is involved with cable technology can write a article here on cable technology, and I or someone else would be happy to reply with a similar paper on DSL technologies.

    -=Ex-manager of Wrestlers=-

  • Recently, USWEST decided to change all it's DSL customer accounts to a new PPP-DSL based connection. This means you would have to enter a username and password in your router (aka dsl-modem). There are certain disadvantages to this new services.

    It's not true, is it? Tell me it's not true. They introduced a new DSL plan that was "like" dial-up. But their regular plans are still available, aren't they?

    Okay, I'm running to their site to check it out...

    -Brent
    --

  • I personally don't think much of these security issues. Granted, if you're on a dialup your IP# does change, normally. However, many a dialup user also sit on IRC, ICQ, Aol Instant Messanger, Yahoo, you name it. Many of these services will give out the ip# of the user. Futhermore, many ISPs have fingerable POPs, shell accounts, mail servers will tell you the name of the sending user. The point is that you really can't hide on the internet. I've written trivial programs to try these methods, find out when the user is online, and brute force their netbios fileshares.

    I think its foolish to depend on, or expect, any plain text internet traffic to be secure. I don't care what kind of connection you have, but you simply can't be sure that no way along your path that there is no one packet sniffing. But in regards to sniffing security, most of these cable modems do a pretty good job of filtering packets not intended for you. It would take a pretty capable person to modify the hardware such that they could see. Now sure, eventually you might see modchips or whatever which allow people to send and recieve whatever they want. But there are many kinds of cable modems out there, and it still wouldn't be that trivial to install it. This is a significant barrier. Otherwise, most of these cable modem companies have some pretty competent security people. Its not so likely that their servers are going to get hacked. Compare this to using one of these small time dialup ISPs, many of them are hacked and sniffed repeatedly. Not to mention line tapping. If someone of means really wants to target you, they can easily just tap your POTS line. Its not that complex, and its virtually impossible to detect if properly done.

    While the full time high speed connectivity might increase your exposure, I think that you're better off putting a little effort into security on such a connection--than being on a classic dialup and not concerning yourself with it (as most do now).
  • by bmetzler (12546) <[moc.evil] [ta] [relztemb]> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:29AM (#1664337) Homepage Journal
    But while competition has pushed companies to bring out new services and lower prices, it also has created consumer confusion.

    I hate it when someone talks about choice creating customer confusion. Why does everyone say that? Show me one example where choice brings customer confusion? Is the customer confused when they have 4 dozen different types of cereal to choose from? Are they confused when they have a choice of 40 resteraunts to eat at?

    Choice is *always* good. Choice creates innovation. It creates cheaper prices. It creates diversity in product. Customers are greatly benefitted by choice.

    Customers won't be "confused" because each solution is good enough. The are benefits to using either one. So they'll be hyped both and then buy the one that looks the best to them. No problems...

    -Brent
    --
  • I'm amazed at the differences in price and service level that exist across the country. For the record, i'm paying $49/month for 1.5MBit/128K service here in San Francisco. Only once since March have i had a service interruption, and PacBell's automated trouble line indicated they already knew about it; it was fixed within two hours of my noticing it.

    Cable modems aren't available here, so i can't compare to them. But such variables as price, ISP quality, download and upload speed, and so forth seem to be highly regional, so being partisan about Cable vs. xDSL seems pointless, since the particulars vary so much from place to place.

    And what's this jazz the article mentions about "microfilters" on all the phones? I never got those that i know of, but haven't noticed any noise on my phone line. Hmmm...

    But i do love having broadband service, and the article is quite correct in how such service changes the way you use the resources of the Web. The computer becomes much more of an information appliance. Plus, being a LPB (Low Ping Bastard) when playing Team Fortress Classic online is a joy to behold. Plus web radio suddenly sounds better than AM radio.

    mahlen (TFC name "SpeldRong")

    Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.
    --John Barrymore's dying words

  • wonder if the slowness has anything to do with people running web servers off their cable modems like I see you are doing?

    Did you read the spec sheet when you got your cablemodem? Webservers and warez users aren't the issue. They have ~1024 dialup IP addresses that they serve to the Minnesota area. According to the spec sheet for the SB1200 one-way, the downspeed link has a maximum speed of 25.08 mbps (after FEC) - see page 1-4 of your SB1200 manual. You do the math.

    Also just last weekend the cable was on and off for about 3 days. It is certainly more reliable than my previous dialup accounts though. Besides those two outages I have no other real complaints.

    Well, like I said.. I have the raw data here for you to go over, as well as the actual programs I run to collect them. I'd be happy to let you inspect everything and arrive at your own conclusion. I will tell you right now though that in the Roseville area outages occur approximately once per week and last up to 2 hours. Usually the connection is "intermittent" during this time.

    --

  • Also, since my addresses are subnetted (/29), I can have a static IP block, and no one can sniff it, since they aren't on my subnet!

    IP addresses have nothing to do with that. The only way they wouldn't be able to sniff is if you're on a different segment or their router/modem/whatever-you-want-to-call-it filters by MAC or IP address.

  • by pod (1103) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:16AM (#1664347) Homepage
    The article was anything but impartial and well balanced, I found.

    The description why cable modems are cool (page 2) applies equally well to DSL. In fact, take the first few paragraphs, replace cable with DSL and you have a perfectly good and valid piece of writing.

    To say that a DSL line is shared with the phone service is a lame excuse. The phone line bandwidth is so tiny compared to the total frequency range of the line DSL uses, that it's not even an issue, certainly nothing even close to the amount of sharing going on on cable lines.

    In the same paragraph saying that cable is the king of bandwidth and that the writer gets 7 mb/s is the statement that the modem is limited to 600 kb/s. So which is it?

    And then the dismissal of the issue of line sharing (page 3). If you get 600kb/s on a cable modem, and that's enough to satisy you, then DSL will do fine as well. I routinely get 600kb/s on DSL and I'm near the bottom of the serviceability scale for DSL.

    Then you have the upload speeds. How can standard cable service even compete with the ul caps?

    And prices for DSL are coming down fast these days, at least over here (Calgary, Canada). You can get a 768kb/s line for some $50/month (Canadian!, that's like 5 cents US), which almost matches cable service prices.

    I will admit, that from reading warious posts around /. and other forums, DSL service (as in people service) sucks; this gives a lot of advantage to cable service. But the article is not a well balanced article on cable vs DSL; rather it's cable vs 'something I've never really tried just heard about and I hate it and I think cable is oh so cool' article.

    So lets keep things in perspective; this article does cut through some of the hype about cable, but merely mentions DSL in passing as some other internet technology.

    Ugh, it's too early for this...

  • As a note, Time Warner and Media One are both RoadRunner.. ;-P
  • while it's true that in an ideal world, xDSL would be more secure than cable, in practice it still often not. Reason being that the DSL companies are often still fairly incompetent and end up bridging traffic instead of routing it. end result -- a lot like cable. Other people in your subnet end up seeing your traffic. With any luck this will change in the near future, but for now... don't count of the fact that your xDSL-connected PC is as safe as you think it is.
  • He gets good service via cable, so he assumes everyone will. Blech.
    Time Warner here in Jackson, MS sucks big. They don't even _have_ road runner in yet. (gee... wasn't it supposed to be this year? That's what they've said the past two years.) whereas, Bellsouth, despite their anti-linux party line, has Outstanding customer service. My ADSL gets .5mbps during the day, close to 1mbps at night.
    That being said, I have to agree this article should have been an OpEd piece or something. It shouldn't have been posted as fact, Hemos.
  • by substrate (2628) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @07:25AM (#1664374)
    Security is a problem. When I first installed LinuxPPC on my PowerMac I noticed an awful lot of failed FTP attempts. This was within minutes of me booting up, I didn't have a chance to install patches or anything at this point. I also didn't have anything important on the machine yet. This was probably happening under MacOS as well, but since I didn't have FTP enabled I never saw it.

    I sat up and watched the carnage and kept dumping the logs to a safe place. Most attempts would quickly cease but a few kept returning and I noticed them checking out other services that by default were installed. Eventually somebody took down the web server and managed to get in.

    I contacted the ISP's of some of the frequent offenders just for kicks. It turns out that the most frequent one was mp3search.lycos.com (they weren't the ones who got in) trying to search through my non-existant cache of mp3s (mp3search.lycos.com searched from some other site, I ended up corresponding with the principle engineer) Somebody had posted their leased address to mp3search.lycos.com, which resulted in lots of disgruntled people not able to download mp3s and eventually a script kiddy got into my machine.

    Had I cared I'd have rebooted with all services disabled and quicky patched, I was just watching for education/entertainment purposes. I never did receive a response from owner of the ISP I was hacked in from.
  • How can you block it on cable, when you have a pipe running essentially directly from your house to your neighbor's? Am I missing something?
  • Cable modems are broadband devices. They use two channels: one for sending and one for receiving. It's possible for the cable company to allocate many pairs of channels on the same cable: in other words, do frequency division multiplexing.

    So you are not necessarily on the same LAN with everyone else who is on the same wire as you, and the cable does not necessarily have to be split into segments.

    The question is, what does it take for a given cable company to start allocating more channels? I suspect that they just cram as many users onto the same pair of channels as they can, and won't allocate any more until enough people complain.
  • I think all of the cable versus DSL people are seeing things wrong.

    The technology isn't nearly as important as the competition.

    I have had a cable modem for three years. I'd love to have a DSL competitor in my area so that I could get a better price or maybe switch services.

    Just ask anybody who has a choice in Cable TV providers how great competition is!

    It's all about having choices.
  • With a statement like that I can only conclude that you are using MediaOne. I won't detail my entire HORRENDOUS encounter with their tech people when my hostname stopped resolving...but lets just say it was 7 transfers later ( 2 of which were sent to the Cable TV section of the company and 1 to sales ) before I found a level 3 tech who knew what a hostname was AND understood that they were mystically connected to DNS servers. I second....Speed is good, service sucks ass.

  • by UM_Maverick (16890) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @08:09AM (#1664390) Homepage
    I just got Mediaone Roadrunner installed in a boston suburb, and the performance/reliability has been spectacular so far. My only complaint is the following conversation I had with a salesperson:

    Him: Hello, sir. Will you be connecting mediaone from a windows machine
    or a mac?
    Me: Actually, I was planning on setting up a Linux server and using IP
    masquerading.
    Him: (pause). Umm, sir...we don't support anything except Windows and
    Macintosh.
    Me: I know. I'm going to set it up myself.
    Him: Would you please hold?
    Me: sure.
    Him (4 minutes later): Sir, we only support Macintosh, Windows 95, 98, and
    NT 4-point-O.
    Me: I understand that. I won't be needing support. I'll do the software
    installation myself. I'll just need you to wire it up to the modem.
    Him: Our technician needs to install the software on a computer while he's
    there, though.
    Me: Why?
    Him: Because that's mediaone policy.
    Me: Why?
    Him: Sir, please hold again.
    Me: ok.
    Him (3 minutes this time): Sir, we need to send a technician out there to
    wire the system, and provision your computer.
    Me: What do you mean "provision the computer"?
    Him: The technician needs to do that.
    Me: you just told me that...what does it mean?
    Him: I don't know. I'm not a technician.
    Me (with HEAVY sarcasm): Really? You don't say? Ok...answer me this
    question: Why does a technician need to come out, and do an installation
    that I'm going to wipe out as soon as he leaves?
    Him: because he needs to get the emac address.
    Me: What's that?
    Him: The address of your computer.
    Me: Then it's a hardware thing. You can get it in Linux.
    Him: Our technicians don't support Linux.
    Me: I know that. I'm going to do the networking.
    Him:Sir, the installation, with the fiber optics, is alot more involved
    than you think.
    Me (giving up): Fine. The machine will be windows 98.
    Him: How much RAM do you have?
    Me: 64 megs.
    Him: Ok, and what's the processor speed?
    Me (thinking i'll just put windows on the machine that will eventually be
    the Linux server): 90
    Him (another pause): uhhh...excuse me? It needs to be a pentium system.
    Me: I know that. It's a pentium 90.
    Him: We need at least 166 Mhz.
    Me: No you don't. I read the system requirements, and it says it
    requires a pentium, and a 166 is recommended.
    Him: Sir, we can't send anyone out if you have less than a 166.
    Me: Fine. It will be an AMD K6-2 400.
    Him: It needs to be a pentium, sir.
    Me: Don't worry about it, it's the same thing.
    Him: Is it a pentium-class processor, sir?
    Me: yes
    Him: and do you have an ethernet card, sir?
    Me: seeing as i am networking the systems myself once the technician
    leaves, yes I have the cards.
    Him: thank you very much sir. We'll have someone there to do the survey
    on Wednesday.

    When the guy came to install it, I started the same conversation with him. His response was basically "Do whatever you want, once I'm gone." I said "ok", and got my linux box going. If there are people out there who need help with Roadrunner for Linux, I'd recommend http://www.vortech.net/rrlinux.
  • by Wanker (17907) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @08:13AM (#1664400)

    Although this was an interesting article, it was replete with factual errors:

    DSL service is inherently more secure than using a cable modem because DSL provides a dedicated connection over your existing telephone line. A cable modem is more susceptible to hackers since it operates on a shared system, much like an old-fashioned party line

    He used this in a context which was somewhat ambiguous. This was presented as an example of "noisy ammunition for their PR battle", but he never explicity stated whether he felt this was true or not. I would argue that the security problems one is likely to face from one's neighbors pale in comparison to those one faces from the world at large. Either way leaving one's computer connected to the Internet without a firewall is begging for trouble.

    I can download Netscape Communicator 4.5-- which resides on a server in San Jose -- in less than 4 minutes.

    I wonder if he checked the IP address he was downloading from... If Netscape's "tdns" system was working properly, the IP he got was for the East Coast Netscape colocation facility in Pennsauken, N.J. rather than Mountain View.

    The company is fundamentally a West Coast ISP with delusions of grandeur. Specifically, Concentric doesn't actually have any employees in Boston. Instead, it contracts with a company called Covad to do all the grunt work.

    I'm not certain, but I believe that Concentric uses Covad "to do all the grunt work" even on the West Coast.

    The sleek "RISC" microprocessors from companies like Sun Microsystems and MIPS lost out to Intel's technologically inferior Pentium chips. Ultimately, this battle will be won and lost on mundane issues like price and quality of service.

    I guess he missed the whole evolution of Merced from HP's PA-RISC chip.

    Despite these problems, it was definately a thought-provoking article. I'm looking forward to the discussion here on Slashdot-- I bet that it provides better information than the original article!

  • I've got MediaOne in Cambridge, MA, and it's as fast as advertised. I get 185kbyte/sec download, and 37.5kbyte/sec up.

    --

Weekends were made for programming. - Karl Lehenbauer

Working...