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AT&T Caps Bandwidth On Former @Home Users 488

graznar writes: "It seems that AT&T users have been limited to 1.5 megabits of bandwidth. According to AT&T (after calling and waiting for 30 minutes), the service my friend was originally on went bankrupt (@home maybe?) so they were transferred to an alternate network. AT&T claims they will be getting this back up to speed soon. What I would like to know is if this is a nation wide problem, or if this is just in California where he lives?" More generally, I wonder what type of experiences -- good or bad -- the people who've just gone through a forcible @home weaning are experiencing.
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AT&T Caps Bandwidth On Former @Home Users

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  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @09:43PM (#2742729) Journal
    like we really have to ask?
    • Re:Links? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Lostman ( 172654 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:00PM (#2742807)
      As a @home customer (comcast if you must know) that was REALLY watching out for new developments during the showdown, I used the DSLREPORTS forums for new developments. They even tossed ATT out of the @home forums and created their own cable forum for att users seperate from @home (so they can bish in piece it seems).

      Linked here [dslreports.com]

      From the look of it, the ATT users are none to pleased about the goings on... even talking about something worse than SPEED caps -- a download limit [computerworld.com].

      The forum goers seem ALL OVER THIS... for real information its a good bet to get it directly from them, so to speak.
  • Here in Austin, TWRR originally didn't cap us. We got 10 Mbit/s down, and 768 Kbit/s up, and it was nice.

    Then suddenly it got slower. And stayed slower. Finally, we confronted TWRR, and they admitted that they'd capped us at 2 Mbit/s down and 384 Kbit/s up. Well, at least they finally admitted it.

    In any event, 1.5 Mbit/s down isn't too bad. Did they put a upstream cap on too? If so, what's it set at? Didn't @Home have a 128 Kbit/s cap on upstream?

    • It's still stuck at 128kbit/sec. I sure wish they would double it, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon!
    • 128 Kbit/s cap on upstream?

      Comcast@Home in INDY has claimed a 128kbp upstream cap since I signed up in Aug 2000. It's only been a reality for the last few months.

      Downstream still screams, although not quite as fast as a year ago. I get 280-300kBps (yes, bytes) downloading from good servers, whereas a year ago 350kBps+ was not unusual.
      • I was on cable before I moved into the dorms at school, and it seemed that it was screaming. I'd max out, on a good day, at about 200 kBps down.

        With a download accelerator on the university connection, I have hit 1.4 MBps (350 x 4 connections). That's megabytes, not bits. That kind of speed is really appreciated when downloading the lastest version of Castle Wolfenstein.

        The bottleneck when downloading there is my memory and hard drive write speeds, not the net connection.

        Cable seems a lot like dial-up to me, now.

        I love college.

    • Here in Chicago comparable service from RCN gets you 800k down and I forgot how much up. Its been a while since I left them. Two months of them refusing to do anything about my outtages except occasionally changing the cable modem, which did nothing, made me switch to @home. For the same price as AT&T's, DSL gets you 800k down with 128k up.

      How bitter have we become? 1.5 mbps is the downstream on a T1 line. Anyone every consider that the lack of capping downstreams may have been one of the contributing factors in excites demise?

      Also, no one was forced to switch to AT&T. It was simply convienant. If you don't like their pricing policy and bandwidth go someplace else. Yep, AT&T has kept their 128k upstream mainly to keep people from running busy servers at home.
  • This is news? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xonker ( 29382 )
    AT&T made its users aware that there would be a cap at 1.5MB -- there's a FAQ on their Website that says as much and (much more disturbing) they've made clear they plan to charge for speed in the future. How that's affected by the merger, who knows...

    This is a non-issue, people on AT&T @Home are already aware of it if they've paid attention. It might suck, but it's not unreasonable.
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @09:46PM (#2742751) Homepage
    Is this really a limit? After two years with a cable modem (first Rogers, then Rogers@Home, then Shaw@Home, then Shaw), I never saw transfer rates of over 1.5Mbps. I generally considered myself lucky if I got half of that.
    • By contrast, I see speeds of about 5Mbit off of cable in NJ using Comcast(@Home). I managed to download large files at 400k/s (average) just yesterday - in other words, there are no limits, they seem only to crop up at certain hours due to congestion.

      Comcast's network switches on Dec. 27th to "Comcast" cable internet from @Home, it will be interesting to see how transfer rates change. They sent a "kit" in the mail to prepare for the network change, but I don't know what good it will do me since there's a linux firewall here at my folks' place.
    • Actually, ever since I installed the registry speed tweaks [speedguide.net], I had been getting over 500k/sec on occasion to my FTP at college. no more... :(
  • as an @home user.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by X-Dopple ( 213116 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @09:47PM (#2742752)
    this is OLD news. AT&T has been capping their bandwidth for a month now.

    AT&T has been providing quality service for all your needs [att.com]
  • When I signed up for Comcast@Home, I signed up for 1500 kilobits/s down, 128 kilobits/s up. And that's pretty much what I get, depending a bit on the network itself. Now if my contract said 1.5 Megabytes/sec, then I'd certainly have issues.
  • As people become used to broadband and start trying to use their high speed connections, all broadband providers will either cap speeds, or switch to tiered or metered pricing.

    The can't really provide a T1's worth of downloads to each customer for $50/month.

    • The can't really provide a T1's worth of downloads to each customer for $50/month.

      let's check that out.

      Ok assuming a graphics intensive web page of 100kbytes.

      8x100kbytes = 800kbits

      lines speed of t-1 1.544kbits/sec

      or 2 (rounded) downloads of this page per second.

      Now if we assume that people work 24x7 on the net and download a page every minute then the maximum number of people on a single t-1 is reached in 60 seconds.

      if d = downloads

      t = time (in seconds)

      n = number of people getting full speed

      f = monthly fee

      R = total revinue

      d x t = n and n x f = R

      so 2 x 60 = 120 120 x 50 = 6000 or 6 times the cost of the line.

      now if we then assume that the figures of the average person spending 2hrs per day on the net round up for error correction to 4 you can, instead of assuming 24x7 usage move to 4 x 7 per cusomer.

      24 / 4 = 6 which means 6 times as many customers can go on a t-1 (if they are spread out evenly) as in the previous model. So we then have 6 x 6000 or 36000 dollars per line, per month in revenue.

      Now as we all know they aren't spread out evenly over the 24 hr spectrum and instead tend to glob together at peak times (6pm-10pm is the worst) so you then have periods of uneven speeds or degraded usage. You must remember that always on doesn't mean always transmitting or recieving. Estimates range from 80 to 90% idle time (downloading idle time)even on the most active connection (Seti at home anyone). This is why so many modems (dial-up style) have a keep alive signal built in to maintain the connection. Nothing worse than getting cut off because you are a slow reader.

      Finally what worries me the most is the effect it will have on the WinXP users. How are they going to keep up with the security patches [go.com] if they are limited to 10mbits per day?
  • Wow... sucks to be me... now I only have 1.5 Mbps of bandwidth. Wait, I've never seen anything faster than that on this network (AT&T, Chicago area). I'm also assuming that means download speed... I've never seen upload that fast. So what's the big deal about download being limited to 1.5 Mbps?

    Quite frankly, however, this isn't that big a deal (even if it was possible to get better speeds) as long as AT&T doesn't start doing nasty things like blocking incoming or outgoing ports or start rotating the IP address (like I've heard some cable providers do). For $50/month, I exect at least a little service from the ISP...
    • I saw speeds _well over_ 1.5Mbps downstream all the time even with single file downloads before the cap came into effect. Now, with damn near all of my downloads I hit this cap. I should be downloading faster, but I'm not. Why? The damn cap.

      Also, what if you have 2 simultaneous downloads that can each go at 1.0Mbps? You can't anymore, they have to share the bandwidth. Of course, I see this all the time too.

      Hell, at least they haven't blocked ports around here (yet)...
  • by omega9 ( 138280 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @09:51PM (#2742767)
    I'm in Richmond, VA, and my cable access provider is Comcast@Home. Our network has not been purchased by AT&T, however my speed has dropped (only slightly) since @Home went down. Comcast has been rolling commercials like nothing happened around here: deals if you subscribe to digital cable and cable modem access together.

    I must hand it to Comcast. They've kept the network up with no outages that I'm aware of. They're not as fast as other cable access companies (my avg. speed is ~400kbps), but they have had killer uptimes while I've been on.

    I wouldn't get to worried about AT&T limiting your bandwidth anyway. You have to expect something in a time of adjustment. If this becomes prolonged practice, then I might start bitchin', but sometimes you just need to let the industry figure itself out.
  • There were a lot of threads about this back when slashdot was covering the changeover. But anyway, yes, the 1.5 mbit limit is across the board for AT&T customers, AFAIK. I am limited here in Sunnyvale, California. But while the limitation is noticable (no more insanely fast KaZaA downloads), the switch to AT&T's backbone was so fast (about 3 days, I think) that I really can't complain. Their service has been good. So I'm fairly happy with AT&T, although I would look at better deals.

  • This is a FAQ on the ATTBI help site [attbroadband.com]:

    What are the Upstream and Downstream Rates for AT&T Broadband Internet?

    The new AT&T Broadband Internet network as been built to optimize our customers' high-speed Internet experience. This means that customers speed settings will be set at 1.5 MB downstream and 128kb upstream to ensure that all customers receive an optimized broadband experience. These speed settings are part of our continuous effort to provide customers with the fastest, most consistent broadband service at the lowest possible price.

    Our lightning-fast connection enhances Internet experiences through fast e-mail communication, quick access to research and surfing, a fantastic gaming experience, quick video clip and music downloads and a whole lot more.

    The AT&T Broadband Internet network also has been built for future advanced service offerings. We're examining tiered speeds as a future service enhancement in addition to other offerings.

    My own experience with ATTBI has been fine during the transition to @Home, despite the bandwidth caps. My guess is that ATTBI will lift the caps only when they are ready to charge more from customers who use more bandwidth.

    For lots of useful information and experiences from ATTBI users, see the ATTBI forum on DSLReports [dslreports.com].

  • i used to have a static ip when i was with @home. They sent a letter to me a few months ago asking if i wanted to keep my static ip or switch to DHCP. I wanted to keep static because i was too lazy to change my linux router. They allowed this, but when they switched over to AT&T they switched me to DHCP. I did not want this, and now AT&T forces me to have a dynamic ip
  • The big problem were the absolutely shitty AT&T nameservers which were also rigged to hijack whatever name you were trying to resolve at random moments and direct you to the attbi.com help page.

    Thank god for OpenNIC [unrated.net].

    Other than that, service has been reliable, though it is true that downloads are now limited to 1.5Mbps instead of ~8Mbps I was getting before.
  • Time Warner RR (Score:5, Informative)

    by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:03PM (#2742820) Homepage Journal
    I've been noticing for weeks now an ability to shut your whole connection off [only briefly enough] if they don't want you doing something.

    I've only had this happen to me doing these things:
    * Kazaa [one port, easy to detect]
    * Gnutella [any client, only using 6346 port!]
    * WinMX [anytime I connect to an opennap server]
    * USENET [not all groups, but a general 'backup' of anything in the alt.binaries.* tree. No more playboy pics for me :(]
    * Uploading [When uploading to a private FTP... expect to get booted]

    I thought this was a windows issue since I have just moved and as a consequence started a new account with new hardware. Since the move, I've gotten my boxen up and they get disconnected using even SCP! [if it takes more than one hour]

    So I can't SSH to my boxen because what? There is no excuse for this. I can see the blocking of P2P systems since TimeWarner DOES own all the content people are trying to share.

    The problem is they don't actually watch what you do. They figure, port 1214... Kazaa, shut him down. But when is the line drawn for LEGITIMATE USE?

    I can't connect to my own PC for private toying around? I can't download a distro? I guess I can't even install over FTP?

    Just when I was loving 'Broadband' and it's perks. You know, constant updates to anything. Even if it is for your slash.applett....

    • I can see the blocking of P2P systems since TimeWarner DOES own all the content people are trying to share. The problem is they don't actually watch what you do. They figure, port 1214... Kazaa, shut him down. But when is the line drawn for LEGITIMATE USE?

      <sarcasm>AOL Time Warner Inc. defines "legitimate use" as HTTP GET and POST requests on port 80 to web sites operated by AOL Time Warner Inc.</sarcasm>

    • [When uploading to a private FTP... expect to get booted]

      How are you supposed to update your remote web servers at the hosting facility?

  • Seattle Cap (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rothfuss ( 47480 ) <chris.rothfuss@g ... Dl.com minus bsd> on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:04PM (#2742831) Homepage
    I'm in Seattle. I'm capped at 1.5 mbps also. Have been since the switch. Complained to CS for the record, but obviously they could do nothing for me.

    More annoying is the change in the way they handle DHCP. @Home used to assign each user a unique name that would be associated with a DNS entry for the IP address given to the machine by the DHCP. The result is that I could always find my machine through name resolution, regardless of my changing DHCP lease (they also gave static IPs if you wanted, but it wasn't necessary if you could resolve your name to an IP address). Now the Powers That Be at ATT have had the utter lack of foresight to assign dynamic names to the DHCP clients, which are in fact simply the TCP/IP address with slashes. For example if your IP address is

    Then your name resolves to


    I suggested to a tech to tell anyone who would listen that they should be using MAC IDs, but once again he had the obligatory complete lack of power that goes hand in hand with phone tech support, so he did nothing.

    I think the key will be to not pay them for services, since they are not giving me the service I expect. They have avenues for diminished payment due to support failure. As far as I'm concerned, my service has been down since the switch.

    • One reason for this is to make it a little harder for you to run servers and such on your system. RR does the same thing here in FL.
  • by b.foster ( 543648 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:05PM (#2742833)
    In my area, Time Warner service is letting us burst at 20Mbps/3Mbps, and transfer steadily at 10Mbps/1.5Mbps. Needless to say, their service is very snappy. How are they able to do this?

    Well, as my warez kiddie neighbor's son found out last week, they are capping uploads to 10MB/day and downloads to 150MB/day. After that point, their filters drop about 25% of your packets and the connection is pretty much useless until midnight.

    Since I am a responsible internet user who does not try to download gigabytes of stuff that I don't want to be 1337, I am getting more than my money's worth (especially that 20Mbps burst rate). And Time Warner is making a special effort to punish the jerks who just leech all day and waste bandwidth. The result? The network has been extremely responsive, and reliable to boot.

    I will be sticking with TW for the forseeable future because this is one company that has finally figured out how to provide excellent cable modem service.


    • I consider myself a responsible DSL user, and I can easily chew through over 150 mbytes a day. I think many other broadband users will agree with me on this fact as well.

      And another thing: try and make your trolling just a *tad* less obvious.
    • by krogoth ( 134320 ) <slashdot@garandnet . n et> on Saturday December 22, 2001 @11:03PM (#2742998) Homepage
      At first I thought your speeds looked impressive, but those caps would make it unusable. I could hit them within two hours easily. On one day I probably downloaded 6 full isos (and not just to be 1337), and I regularly transfer large files to people through my server. At the sustained transfer rate of 10Mbps, you could hit your download cap for the day in 2 minutes - I'd consider that service to have a very low availability. Even if they let you save unused transfers for other days, that service is next to useless for anyone who does more than read the news and email.

      My DSL is only 1.5Mbps/384Kbps, but it's a much better deal because I can transfer as much as I want (of course, I haven't tried using the full bandwidth 24/7 for a month straight...). I can't remember the last downtime that was caused by something outside my network (the Linksys router being the main point of failure), and I haven't found any limits other than the basic bandwidth limitations. You may have a fast connection, but I don't see how that can be useable with the limits they put on it. I never knew using the bandwidth you bought was abuse... it may sound like a lot, but even the 10Mbps for "steady transfer" is just a rate for very short bursts according to your description.

      I personally think my ISP has done something even better: they let you open any port, and yet the IIS worm attack rate from their subnet is very low - maybe they are smart enough to kick off people who have more worms than real software on their computers, but I haven't found out. That's real abuse of a service, not trying to use the bandwidth you think you have.
    • "...as my warez kiddie neighbor's son found out last week, they are capping uploads to 10MB/day and downloads to 150MB/day. After that point, their filters drop about 25% of your packets and the connection is pretty
      much useless until midnight."

      The implication that someone who downloads more than 150MB of data in a day is of course linked to some form of mischief is both ludicrous and wrongheaded. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use more than 150MB of downstream data transfer per day.

      There are days where I may do a complete network install of an operating system by FTP... everything from system sources to X11 and perhaps 350 software packages... I could easily hit a few gigabytes in a day... and none of it on any "warez kiddie" (read: illegitimate) purpose.

      I don't mean to offend, but, it sounds like the service you need (basically "fast web browsing") is one-way satellite service.

      A broadband service that caps data transfer such as you describe is a rip off.

      This is an issue where private monopolies aren't really listening to "demand." Yes, a large number of people simply want "fast web browsing," but for the most part, any broadband service will provide that... however, there is a large segment of the computing population who'd like to be able to do more than just that.

      It baffles me as to why these companies do everything in their power to curtail this sort of thing. Surely they must realize that if these people could afford "business-class" service and the QOS guarantees that provides, they would have contracted for the service already. So there's certainly no economic motivation--at least, not one that has any meaningful chance of playing out.

      (Well, acutally, the above assumes that we're talking about companies who are in the business of providing data services. However, we're increasingly seeing Internet providers that are becoming dominated by media production companies. Time Warner is the perfect example. I've written about this before on Slashdot, and, it seems that large media companies are tailoring commercially available residential internet services to curtail not only alternative media voice, but, of course protect their all-important "intellectual property." Thus, we've got Internet services that behave more and more like television. Custom--and restrictive--browsers, proxies, network filters, asynchronous transfer rates ludicrously biased in favour of downstream (consumptive) usage over upstream (productive) usage... the list goes on. It seems a little insidious, but, the more you look at it... you start to see that from the perspective of a media company, not an ISP, the sorts of business practices being pursued by some broadband providers make more sense.)

      • Well, I didn't mean to be misleading, but I do subscribe to the least expensive package that TW offers, simply because I do not need anything better. They also offer a business-class service that provides unlimited transfers, for about $90 more per month. For T3 speeds, that's really an excellent deal unless you happen to live in a cage at Exodus.

        As for your comparison with satellite access - I am not sure why you brought this up, but IIRC it costs about $70/month and has horrible latency. Contrast with my 8ms ping times to Yahoo for half the price, and the cable modem wins hands down.

        The simple fact remains that your cable company has to pay for a lot of extra T1s every time a handful of warez kiddies join their network. And anything they can do to keep their costs down (and avoid raising rates or going bankrupt [home.com]) is just swell. Especially if it keeps my level of service high.


    • >Well, as my warez kiddie neighbor's son found out last week, they are capping uploads to 10MB/day and downloads to 150MB/day. After that point, their filters drop about 25% of your packets and the connection is pretty much useless until midnight.

      Oh yeah, that strategy is a real winner [google.com].

      Read that newsgroup, or search on deja for "leaky bucket" on the various direcpc newsgroups and enjoy how absolutely pathetic that solution really is.

      If my provider did that to me I'd drop them so fast I'd ask for the other half of the day back. That and I'd avoid buying anything their company touches, ever. For the rest of my life. Period.

      If I get internet I expect it to be at least reliable to the point that the provider doesn't purposely cause my connection to fail. Yuck!

      >I will be sticking with TW for the forseeable future because this is one company that has finally figured out how to provide excellent cable modem service.

      If alt.satellite.direcpc has anything to say, you may as well stick with them. Once all their real users drop off (you know, the ones that reccomend the service to the light users so the internet company can make more money) the speed will be ultra snappy.
    • No, what they should have done is provide the bandwidth irrespective of how much you've consumed in a day, but imposed a monthly bandwidth cap for which you're charged for exceeding. 150/10MB/day is not an acceptable restriction. I would rather have a 10GB/mo restriction with reasonable charges if exceeded. BTW, this is whay my ISP (IStop.com) does, and their over the limit charges are not outrageous.
    • You see this as an advantage. I see it as a limitation of the cable services. In fact, what they have done, is deprive you of the very overselling that makes the service reasonable in the first place. Yes, it will keep the warez kiddies in check, however you are now no longer able to download an iso as it will easily exceed 150 megs, unless we're talking a VERY small CD. How can you even justify this as useful?

      Fact of the matter is, 150 megs a day is probably what their system can handle ON AVERAGE per user. They expect to have a lot of casual webserfers and people who check their email who don't consume much bandwidth and they expect the occasional warez kiddie who are pretty well responsible for the infamous 128kbps upstream cap that many providers have implemented. They expect this to even out in the long run and charge appropriately.

      What they have done is constrain ALL their users to the least common denominator. Now, this is EXTREMELY cost effective for them, but it doesn't do squat for any power users. They would be far better off just canceling the service of anyone who's abusing the system and letting the rest of the users have free reign.

      But yeah.. like THAT'S going to happpen.


      Play with my webcams and lights at [].
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:11PM (#2742855) Homepage
    @home made a fatal flaw by trying to offer more than they could offer. 10Mbps access speeds. Having basically a T3 for every customer to the internet is business suicide and was purely moronic for them to ever have offered. (Example, they' failed.)

    T-1 speeds are plenty fast enough, I just want the latency to drop. I dare anyone (other than in Chicago) to get a T-1 for 5 times the price they pay for a cable modem.. Ok I can already hear the "well I can run a server, bla bla waaaah,waaaah. Yes you can on a Real T-1 and you are paying through the budd mercilessly for it. A T-1 is from $700 - $1500 a month USD and this gives you nothing but a wire from A to B no net access at all. you need to pay another $400 - $800 a month for that. So you're paying $1100 to $2300 USD a month for a T-1 line... 1.5Mbps (MAX, you usually get much less) and the right to run servers, porn sites, warez sites. whatever...

    You have a residental cable modem, you pay $40.0 - $60.00 a month for T-1 like speeds for download so you get the net effect that the guy being mercilessly raped by the phone company and ISP does for a miniscule fraction.

    and now we bitch about it. Good grief, Us americans are a bunch of snotty spoiled brats. No wonder the rest of the world cant stand us.

    I agree, that most of us signed up under the old advertising which promise things that were never possible, and we knew it. and now we are looking for a reason to complain about it... Just like how we get pissed when the police start enforcing the traffic laws on our stretch of highway to work. we are minorly inconvienced and that pisses us off.

    My question? what are your alternatives? DSL isnt as fast as 1.5Mbps (some are but it's rare, very rare) sattelite? please dont mention that, I dont need to laugh that hard.. can we say 3sec ping times at the minimum? What have any of you done to create any free alternatives? 802.11b freenets are super easy to create and cost peanuts to build the hardware. (Granted you will never get your precious 10Mbps back. never ever unless you buy your own T-3)

    It is about time that people quit whining and start acting. every one of the problems we face today can be solved without billions of dollars, and special laws or lawyers.
    • I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you aren't simply trolling...
      The FOTM is that as an AT&T customer, you are bound to two agreements: One with Excite@Home (now defunct, obviously), and one with AT&T. Along with those two agreements, many subscribers also signed paperwork which granted them the use of a static IP address.

      The galling part of all of this is that AT&T has simply decided they will no longer uphold their end of the agreement. I've yet to be notified that my original @Home agreement is "null and void" (of course I know it is, but AT&T doesn't seem to find it necessary to make it official). I've lost my static IP address, I now have download caps completely contrary to the information supplied by AT&T at the time I agreed to their terms of service, but I'm still bound to paying a monthly charge for what amounts to a new and far inferior service. Better believe that if I unilaterally change the terms of our agreement, and simply refuse to pay for inferior service, AT&T will cut me off in a heartbeat.

      I do agree with your comment that instead of whining, we need to start acting. Unfortunately, many of us whiners don't have many alternatives to turn to (DSL isn't available where I live), and I doubt the neighbors will be real keen on pitching in for an 802.11b wireless net across my 56k dial-up line.

      • I remember quite clearly that the contract I had with AT&T @Home didn't say a damn thing about bandwidth. Why don't you scan in a copy of your agreement and post it on a web page, with the parts that have been violated underlined.

        (What I'm saying is, I don't believe your claim that the terms of your agreement have been violated.)

    • I work on satellite IP [idirect.net], and you can get 500ms-700ms ping times with a good system.

      Its still more latency than you want with games or even ssh, but for web-surfing its fine. With the added bandwidth (right now I can go 4.5 mbit to a single remote, downstream) you dont even notice the latency.

    • The telco's stopped reliance on non packet switched networks.

      First off you gotta understand how most of the telco copper is utilized. Whenever you make a phone call, the copper between you and the person on the other end is built on the spot. It connects your line, to the Central office, then the CO looks for some free copper to connect to the CO that is servicing the person recieving your call. To quote the book Nerds2.0.1 "It's like if you were taking a trip from LA to D.C., and just for your car alone you took up all the lanes until you finished your trip"

      Now i'm pretty sure calls do hit a packet based network somewhere along the way, like on sprints fiber optic long distance network, but i'll get to that in a minute.

      So locally, you have all this potential bandwidth that could be saved if we were all using IP phones and such. Unfortunately the equipment to upgrade this network still costs an arm and a leg (i.e. cable or dsl modems) So standard POTS service is still around for 1 good reason, the price of manufacturing the equipment hasn't become cheap enough for the cost to come from either the consumer or AT&T. Give fab technology a few years to catch up because eventually all telco's will need to force an upgrade to save on costs.

      Back to the major backbone providers. As with any major telco they have extremely overpaid executives with salaries that would make a MLB player envy. Thats problem #1. Problem #2 is they are slow to adopt things like Internet2 and IPV6 because of the "prohibitivly high costs of upgrading" Well maybe if they didn't have 14 guys getting paid 10 million a year they could afford to have us "peons" perform the upgrades and do the support for the transition.

      Change scares these people, but without change there is no progress, and without progress well, I can't really tell you the value of progress but sitting here in my centrally heated home with indoor plumbing and a computer is a helluva lot better than hunting animals with spears or foraging some bushes for berries. I think I'll go microwave me a burrito right now.
    • Why the heck is bandwidth so expensive? I thought there was dark fiber coming out the ears of tech companies...
      • Where to start? Last-mile bandwidth involves copper in the ground mostly (cable, xDSL), and of course routers and switches, and the DWDM kit to light dark fibre, are pretty expensive. And the people who understand how to keep a network operating are expensive - much of this is independent of bandwidth, but the more broadband users, the more last-miles and aggregation routers you have, and the more tech support calls.

        Dark fibre is only cheap where it's already been laid in plentiful amounts, creating a surplus, and where the owner is willing to sell it as a commodity (most owners would rather light it themselves and sell it as a higher-priced service, getting the most out of their investment.)
      • It's not. Well, in the USA/ canada it isn't - it's damn near free. Europe is a different story, the "top level" isps tend to charge quite a bit for bandwidth... There is tons of dark fiber, but it isn't hooked up to anything (i.e. a major backbone provider)
    • I know a t-3 is 45 Mbps. but you cant buy a 10Mbps pipe so you have to buy the next step which is cheaper than 10 T-1's and the equipment to multiplex them. also for the many of you whining about the prices I quote. thoseare real world prices from my last round with the telcos and ISP AT&T was the cheapest for the T-1's (I have 5 of them, 4 go to sattelite offices 1 to the net) and net access. yes we sign multi year contracts, but the companies legal department is really good at breaking them when we want to, so I have to shop T-1 and Net access prices yearly. (management likes to tourment me as we changed all the T-1 circuts from MCI to AT&T last year... oh yeah I loved working 17 hour days for 3 days in a row to switch all offices over to the new circuits.)

      again I issue my challenge... Get a T-1 in your house with Net access for 5 times the cost of your Cable modem. it cant be done.

      Also I manage a Heughes sattelite link to corperate. No "shared" bandwidth like drect PC and I get on a really good day 700ms pings, most of the time we get 3-4 second pings. and corperate went with this to get decent bandwidth and it was cheaper than a T-1 from here to Colorado. (we move about 3gb of video daily and usually only during the hours from 4-7pm.. some spill off to later happens often. I am glad we dont have to move more video like that than we already do.) but I still hate the sattelite link. (espically during snowstorms and heavy rain.. and I get a call from the NOC wanting me to fix the link... Ahem, ok I'll stop it from snowing/raining.... why cant they look at the weather chanel before they call us?

      Oh well..
  • I don't have any question that this is a good move. First of all, 1.5mb is hardly a strict cap ( I have never pulled that much on Cox@home). @home's big mistake (well, one of them) was to give unlimited bandwith - so those who downloaded gigs of warez every month payed just as much as my gradmother who checked her email once a week.
  • If you're an average user, this won't effect you. I do lots of downloading, so speed is important to me. But the fact of the matter is I've never seen download speeds over 375 kbps on my @Home cable line. The other reason it won't effect the average user is most users just surf, and when you surf the bottleneck is almost always the web site's server. There is no realistic difference between 5 mbps and 375 kbps when surfing normal sites. And even places with large images/video, 375 kbps is really VERY fast. The only people negitivly effected by this are those who were running ISO mirrors and the like.
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:20PM (#2742885) Homepage
    Yes, it's true, and it's national. I don't like it, but I'm no longer complaining. Yes, I used to be able to get ~400,000 bytes/sec.. but I can see how selling a $3000/mo connection for $45/mo might be a cause for bankrupcy.

    Same thing has happined with the local telco/isp (a rural telco co-op) in my hometown. Because the rather small city has two switchhouses, almost everyone within city limits could get a flavor of 2.1 Mbps SDSL. For $39 per month, no less. The telco tried hard to keep up with the bandwidth usage, but after their second T3 plus an OC3, they gave up and capped thruput to 1 Mbps for everyone on the $39 rate. Static IPs are now an additional $5 per IP and multiple computers per DSL "modem" are no longer supported (but they do continue to work). Still, $44 per month for 1Mbps SDSL with a static IP is a hell of a deal. Yet, folks continue to moan that they're no longer getting the world for $39.

    The upload limit has been 12,800 bytes/s for the last year. (I'm using bytes, because nobody seems to understand the diff between KB, Kb, Mbps, MB, etc).

    I hear you. Folks around town confuse them as well, and some will even toss MHz into the mix. Yikes!

    • I don't know how they do it, but my ISP (Sympatico - Bell Canada) seems to have a DSL service that is theoretically impossible from all the complaints people post here. The basic service is 45$ CDN/mo, it has 1.5Mbps/384Kps bandwidth, there is no port blocking and little IIS worm activity, there is no recent downtime (I think two years ago we were off for a few hours)... Do the american providers just have really bad management? The DSL here is the equivalent price of (and probably less than) the cheapest service in the US, and yet few US providers can come close to it. Maybe they could learn a lesson from the Canadian telcos...
  • I signed up with @home/ATT as soon as it was available in my area (Silicon Valley), and that was almost 2 years ago. Here's what the progression has been in my bandwidth:

    Mar 2000.....4.5 Mb.........1.5 Mb
    Sept 2000....4.5 Mb.........128 Kb
    Dec 20001....1.5 Mb.........128 Kb

    But I'm still paying the same price! If this continues, soon I'll be better off with IDSL, the only DSL service offered in my area.
  • I'm finally making the switch to DSL now. The current network state is very unreliable. Connectivity is off and on, and their DNS servers still suck. Of the three that are assigned via DHCP, one doesn't work at all, one will work about 20% of the time, and one works just fine. The problem arises when your system cycles through the three DNS servers. For a while I had to click on a link several times before it would work right (before I deleted the two flakey DNS servers from my configuration).

    Overall, it sucks pretty bad and it hasn't gotten any better in the past few weeks. If you have a choice between DSL & cable modem, I highly recommend DSL.

  • I have/had @Home through ComCast. I sometimes spiked at 2Mbps, but 1.5Mbps was pretty much the average top speed I got. What I'd like to see is an increase in uplink speed. Doubt I'll see it, but that's what I care more about. I'm stuck with a lousy 50kbps uplink which sucks since I have 3 computers at home, 1 at work, and I use them all from work or home.

    Honestly, it's hard to find sites where I can download faster than 200kbps anyway, so a more than 1.5Mbps wouldn't do me much good anyway.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun.gmail@com> on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:41PM (#2742938) Journal
    So, basically, you're complaining that for fifty dollars a month, you're *only* getting download speeds of a T1, which still go for a hell of a lot more?
  • For everyone bitching about a "1.5Mb cap" on their cable modems, here's a little piece of info you might not be aware of... you were SUPPOSED to be "capped" at 1.5Mb down to begin with! The only reason you weren't rate-limited before was because @Home had lots of money for bandwidth, and were too stupid to figure out rate-limiting until only a month or two before their collapse. Nowhere in your EULA did it say you were to get an unlimited download speed.

    Which brings me to my second point... bandwidth doesn't come cheap, y'know. Exactly what were you expecting for $35-$40 a month??!? In my area anyhow, the cable ISP I work for is EASILY the cheapest per meg per month on the download side. The alternatives are DSL, which usually only offers up to 1Mb download, and that's if you're damn close to their equipment, and it's around $120-$130 a month for that download speed, once you include your ISP fees. There's always a T1, but is anyone really up for $700 a month for the same download speed as a single cable modem? Cable modems are THE best "value" (much as I hate that word) for heavy downloaders available, but we still have to make money, too. You're not charged by the meg for your downloads, but WE ARE. If everyone ran uncapped, all the time, we'd probably pull an @Home too, and go bankrupt.

    If you want something to bitch about, bitch about the ACL's that don't allow personal web servers, or the lack of the option for a static IP. Now there, you've got my sympathy. But as for the speed? Think of the uncapped speeds you got for years as a gift, not an expectation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I really feel for them.

    AT&T limiting to 1.5 Mbit incoming should be plenty for a home user. If you need a T3 or higher of incoming bandwidth, you have a more serious porn addiction and should seek help.

    As for outbound, 256K, I'd wager. I was just about to put MRTG on my firewall machine and toss some files out to Exodus to see how I perform outbound.

    I'm an AT&T customer, formerly MediaOne in NH, for the record, and off of fast sites, MS Downloads, or our servers at Exodus, I can push 1.8/2.0 Mbit coming down, but I wouldn't complain about only getting 1.5.

    I see one maggot, it all gets thrown away -- My Fiancee [nhdesigns.com]
  • I'm trying really *really* hard to feel your pain, but here in auckland, NZ the fastest we can get at flat rate is 128k DSL. Anyone want to email me some bandwidth? (you can attach *anything* to a Eudora email :)
  • I worked at an ISP this summer and talked a lot with a guy who used to work at the local cable ISP. He said that through experimentation, the cable company found that an upstream cap of 64kbps/128kbps limits the user to a downstream of 512kbps/1Mbps, because the user's system cannot send ACKs fast enough to keep the stream coming any faster. So even if you don't have an explicit downstream cap, an upstream cap approximately caps downstream at eight times that.
    • The way to calculate this is based on having to send one upstream TCP ACK for every downstream TCP data packet. Assuming a 1500 byte MTU (i.e. packet size = max) for the downstream packets, and a 40 byte TCP/IP ACK packet, you end up with the key ratio being 37.5 - if your upstream is >= 37.5 times faster than your downstream, TCP download sessions are limited to 37.5 * the upstream bandwidth, because you need 1/37.5 times the downstream bandwidth just to send the TCP ACKs fast enough to keep up.

      So a 128 Kbps upstream limits you to at most 4.8 Mbps downstream, not 1 Mbps (latter would hold only if your MTU was 320 bytes). And if you are doing anything else in the upstream direction, you'll end up reducing download speed further.

      For a canned Linux QoS/shaping setup that will work for most broadband connections, and solve the upstream ACK issue, see the Linux 2.4 Advanced Routing HOWTO. For the truly geeky, there are potential solutions to the asymmetric bandwidth issue - do a Google search for TCP ACK filtering, sender adaptation and ACK reconstruction. However, these all involve modified TCP stacks on sender and receiver, so you'd have to use some sort of proxy located upstream of the constrained link, or get the servers of the world to modify their TCP stacks...
  • Charter Pipeline ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <be@nosPam.eclec.tk> on Saturday December 22, 2001 @10:51PM (#2742974) Homepage Journal
    Well Charter Cable customers now have the wonderous Tioga spyware installed on their systems. It's been posted to slashdot a few times and been rejected. Members from the MadLug (Madison, WI). Have noted that the new service listens on a specific port to monitor and "Assist" The county board is also investigating this.

    The software is supposed to be a VNC-Type program that helps Service Reps service computers. Basically I see this as a way for them to not only monitor, but have their way with your system. Along with this software also comes a real annoying Internet Explorer with Charter MSN crap everywhere, diabling network shares, and reformating TCP/IP to their network. Basically everything you can do yourself, but they won't tell you because they want you to install their software.

    The whole thing stinks and the company is hiding behind lawyers and PR reps to try and get the whole situation worked out. Basically they released a new service, and the MadLUG guys were on them in 2 days when they noticed weird activity.

    Moral of the story ... don't screw with geeks ... we'll find you ... we know who you are :-)


    Haven't noticed a huge speed difference though

  • Everything went really smoothly. No dropped service except for a few hours, but I'm not entirely sure that wasn't just some random glitch completely unrelated to all the goings on. I think the only thing changing in my service is my email address, from @home.com to @home.net

    And I've been happy with the service just when it's operating as normal. I think part of it is not many people in my neighborhood are on cable :) pretty good speed all the time.
  • I have my uplink capped at 15k/sec. It NEVER goes above that, it always maxes out at a crappy 15k. My service used to be fast, but I never get above 50k/sec. download and 15k/sec upload. Anyone else have this problem? (My service used to be AT&T @Home, then CableOne bought the service and speed went to hell, but reliably increased.)
  • I'm on Comcast@Home in Philadelphia. According to a letter I received from Comcast, as part of the impending switchover to Comcast High-Speed Internet, I need to have my current 3 year-old cable modem replaced. I have to schedule an appointment for someone to come out and do this, though it is nothing more than unhooking the old cable modem, and replacing the new one, and probably changing from my beloved static IP to DHCP. So I'll have to waste a vacation day waiting for a tech who's probably less qualified than I am, to come out and do something I could do myself if they'd let me.

    I put up with upload speed caps. I put up with @Home shutting down their IRC server because they were too incompetent to maintain it and keep assholes from abusing it. I put up with them restricting the Usenet groups I can read. I put up with some majorly spotty mail services. And now, Comcast states they have no plans to run their own Usenet servers once they are out from under the @Home umbrella. AT&T, who Comcast plans to merge with, is tightening the leash in other ways.

    I have to ask myself, what the fuck am I paying for? Crappy mail, throttled speeds, no Usenet and no ISP-run IRC?

    I've been pondering switching over to DSL, where I'll get 2 static IPs from SpeakEasy, and can do everything that I'm doing now and more, but without having to worry about Comcast putting their boot to my throat at some point for violating their sacred ToS. I'll run my own Goddamned mail server, web server, and DNS, and it'll be a hell of a sight more reliable than the ones I paid someone else to run.

    So, Comcast, Excite@Home, and AT&T, thanks for helping me decide that I can find a better ISP than any of you.

  • Happily sucking down some Linux ISOs at 273 KB/sec, as reported by both my download manager and interface stats of my Netscreen firewall.

  • by jcostom ( 14735 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @12:05AM (#2743156) Homepage
    Let me get this straight, you pay $40 or so a month for your cable access, right? Boo freaking hoo, poor you, only T-1 speeds. How'd you like to pay for that T-1 to the tune of over $1000/mo?
  • by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @01:47AM (#2743361) Homepage
    First, they had to change my email address to the new domain that they're using on comcast's network. So they took my old user name, added my 6 digit account number and my state abbreviation. So I feel like I'm an aol user now. Maybe they should have just named me "teenMforF028734927".

    Next, they send a CD with all kinds of ominous warnings about how if I didn't run it by a certain date to install their new software, my access would be interrupted. I wasn't sure what software was necessary, since I currently use no special software, but I decided to go ahead anyway. Big mistake. It tried to update my email account to my new aol-luser account name and update the mail servers. But, I have both Outlook and outlook express (No comments that I should just use linux, I use multiple OSes, including windows thanks). So it didn't bother to ask, added the account to outlook express, even though I use outlook for mail.

    Next, it completely fucked my browser over. It added a ton of bookmarks, it added a ton of links, and it changed my homepage to comcast's website. That was easy enough to reverse, but then it pulled an X10 on me: The little spinny icon that is animated when a page is loading was changed to comcast's logo. And they added "provided by comcast" to the name of the program that goes on the titlebar. I am dreading having to figure out which registry keys I will need to edit to change that back. At least it didn't change the icons for any file types like X10 does.

    But overall I'm pissed. I can handle having my email address change, and having to change service. But did they really think that those email addresses were acceptable? A lot of people are going to want them changed (which is probably why their phone has been busy for 3 solid days). The rest will deal with it, but be pissed nonetheless. And I most certainely did not ask for them to fuck with my programs and settings. There is nothing more enraging than to have a program change your customized settings on things without so much as asking.

    And did I mention the new support tool they isntalled? When I complained about my email address I discovered that it was sending all kinds of info to them about my system. Now this makes sense to help diagnose problems, but it was sending configurations, what programs were running, system info, and about a half dozen other categories of stuff. This is extremely intrusive and it is only vaguely alluded to.

    When I got my cable modem, all they did was get my ethernet card's MAC address, plug in the cable modem, and active that MAC address at their headquarters. Now they think they have free access to my computer. I'm not pleased, but as usual there is no alternative for me to comcast.

  • Why do providers make policies where you can receive a lot faster than you can send? Is there some technical reason I might not be aware of why upload data is more resource-consuming than download data and therefore has to be more restricted? What the hell's wrong with just saying, "We cap you at N bytes before your rate drops, regardless of what direction those bytes were going." I was under the impression that a transfer of a packet of, say, 2Kb will take the same amount of bandwith no matter which direction it's going in.

    Or is this just a sneaky underhanded way to make people buy the more expensive business plans just to run a teeny little bit of server apps?

  • I'm sorry. Maybe I didn't hear that correctly. Are you implying that the rate was so tremendously greater than that.. so much that you're going to actually MISS the reduction in bandwidth?

    Sorry. I might be overreacting here, but the fact of the matter is, you're still getting quite a nice chunk of bandwidth for a small fraction of what it would cost if you were to get the same speed T1 line. 1.5mbps is a CD each hour. Even if you're into somewhat less than legitimate file trasfering, you're still fighting the upstream caps of everyone else, so how critical is this anyways.

    Ok.. I'm going to stop ranting now. Have a nice day.

  • saw it coming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Sunday December 23, 2001 @02:56AM (#2743537)
    When I explain to people who ask that my DSL connection costs me about $200/month, they
    look at me funny. (That's $109 to the ISP,
    80-something to the telco, a voice line is included in that of course, with a pretty good
    voice mail system).

    Now, every time I hear about how cable users
    are being screwed, I look at my 1.5 rate (both
    directions), my static netblock, my own primary
    dns server, and my http box, and I just laugh.

    Of course, I'm typing this on the 49k modem line at my family's farmhouse since I'm on holiday,
    trying to be grateful that we even have a PHONE out here, and that it isn't a PARTY LINE. It wasn't very long ago at all that you couldn't get
    a private line, much less a data line.

    Heck, I'm grateful that I don't have to haul water from a well. That wasn't very long ago either!
  • I've got a few friends that used to NEVER see over 768.... but now they're seeing nearly 1.5 quite often. At least in this area, the "power users" (kids sucking down gigs of porn constantly, gnutella, etc..) are no longer soaking up all of the bandwidth. It's being shared. In a fairly nice way.

    the only people that i know of that are complaining are the same folks that think getting 6mbit down for $40/mo is too expensive.. and they wanted it cheaper.

    Come on, people. Be realistic here...
  • I am an AT&T Broadband, formerly MediaOne RoadRunner customer in Fresno, CA. My upstream and downstream rates were read directly from my DOCSIS cable modem. (a Motorola SurfBoard 4100 - a queryable sex machine with a built in web server)

    I used DocsDiag - a Java DOCSIS SNMP query applet on my iBook, a partial report is below. This is given to my modem from a DOCSIS cable headend. Note, the TFTP path shows the configuration which ATT gives me - indicating 1.5M upstream, 300k downstream with 3 MAC addresses allowed.

    QoS max upstream bandwidth = 300000 bps
    QoS max downstream bandwidth = 1500000 bps
    Configuration filename = /DOCSIS/1500x300st-3

    Performance on ATT/MediaOne/RR's network has been quite acceptable - both peak and non-peak hours., with the exception of last Christmas when they announced cable Internet access and oversold it. They acquired additional capacity in late February and things have been fine since then.

    Reliability, however is another story with ATT, as their customer service is quite brain-dead. I had an outage for almost 6 days and they wouldn't roll a truck to replace my fried USR CMX because of the @Home switchover. Lame asses. Never really had a problem with them until then.

    Happy holidays.


  • When I first got my cable modem about a year ago, I had roughly 4 megabits coming down, and 128k upstream PER IP Address.

    The way this worked was that I'd pay an extra $5 a month per IP address, and the computer that went on it got a seperate download/upload stream. I loved this because I could do file xfers on one computer, and play Quake on the other without the ping times being affected.

    However, since @Home went down things changed a bit. I have 3 computers on my network, 2 of them had IP addresses I was paying for. Now the 3rd one suddenly has an internet connection. (I found this out when Media Player suddenly asked me if I wanted to update.. yah right.)

    So now all the computers on my network have an IP address, but the cost of that is all 3 of them share the 128k upstream. This is a bit of a pain because VNC doesn't work so well across them. Guess I'll have to set up a router if I want that to work, I was hoping to avoid doing that.

    Anyway, I don't know if AT&T is going to continue charging me the $5 a month or not. I realy wish it'd go back to the way it was. The 1.5 megabit cap doesn't bother me for now, but the upstream limit is really bugging me.

    Some might wonder why I don't just switch to DSL. I'll tell you why. I live very close to where I work, so I'd likely have the same DSL provider. My company pays a great deal of money per month to get a dedicated DSL line that is supposed to be up all the time. And why not? They have their web server and mailserver and so on running on it.

    One day the DSL line went down. And you know what happend? The DSL provider pointed to the phone company, the phone company pointed to the ISP, and the ISP pointed to the DSL provider again. We were down for 7 (seven) days. 7 DAYS!!! In the times of dot-bombs, you do NOT want your webserver down for 7 days.

    So I decided to stay with AT&T. If my internet connection goes down, I have one phone number to call. I just hope they get their act together.
  • I'm getting 175Kb/sec while downloading OpenOffice.

    IIRC I got 430Kb/sec while downloading a build last time, but admittedly that was a LONG time ago.

    oh well, compared to dialup......
  • Comcast around here has the quickest speeds I have ever seen. I get 600k/sec downloads, they don't cap it what so ever. My friend in Michigan, used to get 450k/sec downloads. Either way, I hope they don't go capping my line. Not sure if I am affected, or its the other way around. I am tired, and shouldn't be writting this. Oh well, still intresting for me to note the d/l speeds. Oh, and I get 300k/sec upstream, which is pretty amazing :)
  • I have att in Chicago here, and I had been judging my speed based on what I considered a local fast debian mirror (~500 kpbs). Someone recommended bandwidthplace [bandwidthplace.com] to get a better measurement. I've tried this at different times of the day, and the best I ever get is 1.2Mbps

    There are a couple other sites I've found that do a test like this, and they give similar results.

    here's a site that links to a whole bunch:


Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!