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Cable Beats DSL For Average Speed 494

zymano writes "CNET article here says cable modems are 50 percent faster on average than DSL connections which I think most have suspected . There are some connection rates that i found interesting like Cablevision reportedly having the fastest connections, averaging 800kbps, or 13kbps above the industry average. Mentions other cable company speeds. TimeWarner cable was not tested."
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Cable Beats DSL For Average Speed

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  • Sounds right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Most people I know on DSL are capped at 1.5Mbps, while I routinely can download on my cablemodem at home at 350KB/sec. They're also usually capped at 128kbps upload, while mine (Adelphia Powerlink in Southern California) has been raised to 256kbps. The download speed difference has been around for as long as I've had a cablemodem under Adelphia (and Comcast before that) -- about five years.
    • Re:Sounds right... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hbackert ( 45117 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:53AM (#5797850) Homepage

      Here in Tokyo, the place where you want to be when you want Internet connections for cheap, the standard DSL service is 12Mbit/s down, 1Mbit/s up. For abour Yen 3000 (about US$ 26). And so far no restrictions. And it's fast (within Japan 900kbyte/s if the server is fast enough, to USA usually 200kbyte/s).

      Everything else in Japan and especially in Tokyo is expensive. But Internet is as cheap as you can imagine.

      • Here in Tokyo, the place where you want to be when you want Internet connections for cheap, the standard DSL service is 12Mbit/s down, 1Mbit/s up. For abour Yen 3000 (about US$ 26). And so far no restrictions. And it's fast (within Japan 900kbyte/s if the server is fast enough, to USA usually 200kbyte/s).

        Is there something wrong with me if that gives me wood?
      • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:13AM (#5798819)
        Everything else in Japan and especially in Tokyo is expensive. But Internet is as cheap as you can imagine.

        Two words- population density. Remember, Japan is a fraction of the size of the US; US providers have to deal with the expense of all the areas where population density is much, much less(except in very concentrated areas); the guys in the city may be cheap to wire up, but the guys out in the burbs cost a small fortune(and there's fewer of 'em.) You can't, for the most part, charge drastically different rates- the city people subsidize the suburbs.

        Besides, a large percentage of the US is perfectly happy with dialup...

    • Re:Sounds right... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ivan256 ( 17499 )
      Most people I know on DSL are capped at 1.5Mbps, while I routinely can download on my cablemodem at home at 350KB/sec. They're also usually capped at 128kbps upload, while mine (Adelphia Powerlink in Southern California) has been raised to 256kbps.

      Funny, my uploads are "capped" at 1.5Mbps. I also have 8 static IPs. Try getting that from a cable company.

      The difference between cable internet and DSL from what I've seen is that you have one choice of cable provider, and hundreds of choices of DSL providers.
    • Re:Sounds right... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by b1t r0t ( 216468 )
      And that's mostly because of line quality reasons. In SBC territory, if you're lucky enough to be in an area upgraded with a Remote Terminal (or to live really close to a CO), you have the option of paying a rather steep (but still cheaper than T1) price for 6Mbit/384Kbit DSL. The tricky part is that it's much easier to find out where the COs are than to figure out where the RT neighborhoods are.

      Of course they put a halt to their upgrading project (Project Pronto) when the economy crashed in late 2000.

    • Re:Sounds right... (Score:3, Informative)

      by dead sun ( 104217 )
      I'm on DSL and I am capped at 1.5Mbps downstream, but I'm capped at 385kbps up, which I routinely get.

      If it was raw speed I was strictly concerned about I might switch over to cable. I rarely download huge files, just the occasional CD image that I can wait for overnight. I usually get good speeds when grabbing those, as they tend to come from servers geographically close, and average around 200KB/sec. certainly not your speed, but not bad either. Latency and uptime are also outstanding on my DSL service.


    • In Calgary, my next door neighbours had Shaw cable internet, and it had slightly higher peak rates than my DSL (up to nearly 300 kilbytes per second), however they basically enjoyed that transfer rate at about 2 to 3 am or during non-peak for a few days after Shaw did whatever monthly upgrading they mentioned on their tech support lines (which usually involved losing internet entirely from Friday just after lunch to Saturday morning). Aside from that, the speed hovered between 15 and 150 kB/s.

      On the other
  • Not Always True (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fine09 ( 630812 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:45AM (#5797808)
    I think we can agree that in some cases DSL is faster than cable. I live in a two university town where there are a lot of students in my area. That means there are a lot of heavy bandwidth users in my area.

    Since cable in our area has a shared backbone for neighbourhood segments, that means that cable in my area is a lot slower than DSL. With Kazaa running all the time on almost all of the machines, I end up getting a faster connection for a lower price.
    • Isn't it true that ADSL compresses data better than cable does?
      • Doesn't really matter as most things that are transfered are compressed in the first place... mp3s doesn't compress more ;-)
    • Re:Not Always True (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cyberdyne ( 104305 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:57AM (#5797872) Journal
      Since cable in our area has a shared backbone for neighbourhood segments, that means that cable in my area is a lot slower than DSL. With Kazaa running all the time on almost all of the machines, I end up getting a faster connection for a lower price.

      Yes, cable's more vulnerable to that - although with DSL, you're still sharing the backhaul pipe from the DSLAM to the ISP, and of course all the ISP's customers are sharing the ISP's pipe(s) to the rest of the Net. The tradeoff is that cable has much more bandwidth to share.

      In theory, with some clever traffic shaping, you could give "interactive" users the full bandwidth of the pipe (in short burts) - so when you view a webpage, it arrives at many megabits/sec. Then after, say, the first megabyte (a fraction of a second at full bandwidth for a cable segment), start throttling back to the "bulk download" rate. That could give insanely fast interactive performance (even really bloated webpages would appear in a flash, if the remote server can manage it) without taking the financial hit of Kazaa users eating a couple of Mbps 24x7.

      P2P is, as you say, a huge problem on cable segments (and on DSL: it's still shared once you reach the exchange); one user running Kazaa can easily eat the bandwidth of a few dozen "normal" users. Either the ISP has to buy a load more bandwidth to cope (and a massive price hike to cover it), or do something to stop them: traffic shaping, ban it (and enforce that ban), or impose traffic quotas.

      • Re:Not Always True (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Apreche ( 239272 )
        The real problem is that Kazaa is the p2p sharing program of choice. It uses so much bandwith for its spy/adware stuff that you don't even realize. If you could get kazaa users to use some other p2p program that isn't spyware, then it would be much much faster.

        I've seen cable and I've seen DSL. Depending on who and where one is usually faster than the other. But either one is usually fast enough. They are both fast enough to stream video. And the difference isn't enough to save a significant amount of
      • Re:Not Always True (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @09:08AM (#5798295)

        Though the problems from Kazaa etc. are often because most modern P2P applications are very wasteful of bandwidth. IIRC, Kazaa does a bunch of "tricks" to try to detect and circumvent attempts to throttle its bandwidth, restrict outgoing connections, etc. The end result is a lot of garbage traffic that is not, strictly speaking, necessary for the protocol.

        I believe (though haven't checked personally) that newer open-source P2P software like BitTorrent is more responsible about this.

        Also, note that you're drastically overstating the cost of bandwidth to the ISP. Bandwidth is naturally cheap, the only time its really expensive is when a telco monopoly controls it. (As cheap bandwidth is against their percieved best interest) The real problem is often upstream bandwidth - many broadband ISPs seem to have assumed that usage patterns would be unchanged from dialup. The idea that an always-on, high-speed connection might lead to people uploading/hosting more never seems to have occurred to them. (Nor that this is desirable, as it creates value for their other customers at no real cost to them)

        • Re:Not Always True (Score:3, Insightful)

          by leviramsey ( 248057 )

          The problem with KaZaa, Gnutella and the various decentralized (apart from any authentication) P2P services is that they were designed by people who have no business nor knowledge when it comes to actually designing a network protocol.

          Bittorrent, being much more centralized (and hence less ideal for warezing...) is a much better design, from a raping the net perspective.

          I expect that it will be the bandwidth and QoS issues of those services that drives ISPs to put in more draconian bandwidth caps (as ma

      • Re:Not Always True (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b1t r0t ( 216468 )
        Yes, cable's more vulnerable to that - although with DSL, you're still sharing the backhaul pipe from the DSLAM to the ISP, and of course all the ISP's customers are sharing the ISP's pipe(s) to the rest of the Net. The tradeoff is that cable has much more bandwidth to share.

        I think you've got it backwards. With cable, the bandwidth that is shared is in the neighborhood segment. That's the expensive stuff to upgrade, because it requires truck rolls and trenching, and it only has limited bandwidth becaus

    • by CausticPuppy ( 82139 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @09:16AM (#5798342) Homepage
      The article is talking about averages, so it shouldn't be surprising that there are a few cases where DSL is faster than cable.

      In my area, I think more people get a solid 1.5Mbit ADSL connection than in other areas of the country. That's as fast as cable is around here, but DSL also gives you 256k upstream while the cable companies here (Atlanta) seem to only offer 128k upstream.

      There are 2 reasons for the fast DSL speeds around Atlanta:

      1) Bellsouth has installed many remote terminals, so even if you're 18,000 feet away from a CO, chances are you're much closer to a RT where the DSLAM actually is, so many people get much faster speeds than they expected to get.

      2) Fiber to the Curb. It's all over the place here. The technology for allowing ADSL over a fiber connection is very new (less than 6 months in deployment, via proprietary equipment from Marconi) and essentially means your DSLAM is only as far away as the fiber pedestal in your front yard. In a house with new cat-5 wiring, that is basically as close to ideal lab conditions for ADSL that you can get. In some areas BellSouth had already deployed a different technology that had fiber with integrated data support (IFITL) that was basically ethernet straight into the house, no modem required. Between 3Mb and 4Mb download speeds for the lucky few that have it. That probably was not included in this survey though since it's neither DSL nor cable.

      I'd say the biggest difference between DSL and Cable is that DSL is that DSL is a switched network, even though it is still shared bandwidth at some point. Cable is a broadcast network, your cablemodem just listens for the data intended for it.

      DSL also seems to have lower and more consistent ping times, better for gaming. If you have a ton of cable modems on a node, the ping times should increase (I don't know by how much) because only one cablemodem on a node can transmit at a time. For uploads, the cablemodems are assigned timeslices during which they are allowed to transmit. It's probably on the order of milliseconds but it seems to me that's enough to affect ping times.
  • by Mitchell Mebane ( 594797 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:46AM (#5797812) Homepage Journal
    "There are some connection rates that i found interesting like Cablevision reportedly having the fastest connections, averaging 800kbps, or 13kbps above the industry average. Mentions other cable company speeds. TimeWarner cable was not tested."

    Maybe this is because Cablevision and Time Warner are the same company? Or maybe the poster meant their commercial service vs. RoadRunner, the residential service.
    • I've been a subscriber of RoadRunner ( since August 1999, closing in on four years now. When I signed up, I could download from fast hosts - e.g., etc - at 900KB/sec, yes that's KB, as in almost a megabyte per second. Currently, and for the past year or so, I've been artificially capped at about 250KB/sec down; I can't even pull faster than that from RoadRunner's own sites anymore. The upstream has always been capped at around 40KB/sec, which isn't too horribly bad.

      All in all, I
      • Surely they must mean 800KBps?

        Probably... Every time i do a speed test I am at a minimum of 3Mbps, sometimes over four. OOL is damn fast.
    • by jht ( 5006 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:59AM (#5797881) Homepage Journal
      Cablevision and TimeWarner are two entirely different companies. Cablevision is a New York-centric company that also has extensive sports holdings - it's controlled by the Dolan family.

      TimeWarner, OTOH, is AOL. They do have some common areas in which they co-invest (I believe, for instance, they jointly have stakes in a couple of cable channels), but the companies and their online services are entirely different.

      To be specific, Cablevision's online service is called Optimum Online, while TW offers RoadRunner and AOL Broadband.
    • Maybe this is because Cablevision and Time Warner are the same company? Or maybe the poster meant their commercial service vs. RoadRunner, the residential service.

      Cablevision = Time Warner? Actually, even if this were true, I would suspect that it is no longer true. Time Warner Cable was a joint venture between Time Warner and Advance/Newhouse. Well, Time Warner just pulled out [] (not surprisingly) and the new network is called Bright House Networks [].

      Interestingly enough, Bright House just started offeri
  • by m3djack ( 613125 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:47AM (#5797814) Homepage
    Though they aren't available in most markets, here in Boston, my cable internet is provided by RCN... along with phone and cable TV. My upstream is capped at 1Mbps, and my downstream is capped at 3Mbps. The package I have for all the services is about $98 per month or so. Easily the fastest cable modem service I've seen -- RCN totally rocks.
  • I'll say. (Score:4, Informative)

    by FrenZon ( 65408 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:47AM (#5797816) Homepage
    Is this just an American thing? Here in Australia, you have to pay $$$ for 1.5mbs DSL, or you could get 10mbs cable for around the price of 512k DSL.

    Actual cable speed is more like 8mbs, but it's still substantially faster than DSL. And you generally get reamed on the transfer limits (3G/month, depending on plan).

    Er, and that's all I have to say.

  • by tweakt ( 325224 )
    That's the best example you could find? Dude, I would seriously complain if I was cut in HALF for speed.

    I just downloaded the T3 trailer and it averaged 200kB/s (1500kbps).. basically maxed out.

    We're allocated 1500k as *basic* service.

    The same network (Boston, MA), though it's changed ownership 3 times in 3 years:

    1. MediOne RoadRunner
    2. AT&T @ Home
    3. Comcast
    • Your service's package is measured in kilobits, while your download speeds are measured in kilobytes. 8 bytes makes up 1 bit. So if you've ordered cable and they have offered you 1500k(ilobites)/sec, then you will be downloading at approximately 190K(ilobytes)/sec. So averaging 200K/sec on a 1500k/sec line sounds about right (actually slightly higher than would be expected).
  • That's nice.

    Nonetheless, I think I'll just keep my 1.3Mbps down/800kbps up DSL link which DOESN'T require me to send things like say... POP3 authentication, or say... all the traffic coming in to my SMTP server in clear, sniffable text. The guy next door can have his cable, thank you very much.

    Regardless of how "fast" cable is, it's not a viable option for anything more than casual use.
  • Latency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beders ( 245558 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:50AM (#5797835) Homepage
    No details on how laggy the connections are, the difference in speed is less likely to be noticed than say the difference between a ping of 10ms and 100ms in a FPS
    • Re:Latency (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:30AM (#5798059) Journal
      You bring up a good point in latency. I think latency and throughput are - at least in the current state of residential broadband in the US - mutually exclusive; the DSL providers tend to give you awesome pings but low caps, the cable companies give you less conservative caps but the pings aren't as hot. You choose your connection for one or the other. I chose throughput.

      From RoadRunner (Time Warner) Midsouth, to one of the Ultima Online game servers I play:
      $ ping -c5
      PING ( 56 data bytes
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=52 time=39.161 ms
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=52 time=36.583 ms
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=52 time=35.448 ms
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=52 time=38.382 ms
      64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=52 time=40.056 ms

      --- ping statistics ---
      5 packets transmitted, 5 packets received, 0% packet loss
      round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 35.448/37.926/40.056/1.686 ms
      Having read the UO message boards for a long time, it seems like DSL users tend to get slightly better pings (averaging 15-20ms, I've seen some on speakeasy who claim pings of 5ms). However, I'm perfectly able to compete with my latency. I'd rather have a 40ms ping average to game, and also be able to download at 250KB/sec.

      It really depends on what you use your connection for the most, and how you prioritize those uses. Someone who is generally a casual uploader/downloader but does a ton of gaming might be better off with DSL, for the apparent latency boost. Someone like me, who enjoys gaming but spends a lot of time uploading and downloading as a coder/sysadmin is better off with cable and its apparent throughput boost.

      For me, it boils down to the work side of things. I have (among others) one mysqldump that's over 900 megs, which I download 3 times a week to maintain as an offsite backup[1]. There are a number of other dumps I download for backup purposes as well, probably totalling 500+ megs in their own right. When it comes to downloading 900 megs - or especially a gig and a half - there's a noticeable difference between a 150KB/s download cap and a 250KB/s download cap. I can give up a few lag-deaths in Ultima Online now and then as a tradeoff to getting my "important" file transfers faster.

      At the risk of sounding like a Time Warner apologist (I have a rather botched history with AOL, so believe me I'm no fan) I have to say that cable has always been more appealing to me than DSL. Then again, I've always been more concerned with how fast I can download ;)

      Just my two cents.

      [1] Yeah, I'm probably one of those hated "power users" from the cableco's standpoint. `ipfw show` claims ~32 gigs in 24 days uptime, but until I hear any complaints, I figure I'll use the broadband I pay for.
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:50AM (#5797837) Journal
    My cable company (Charter) = the legal oligopoly - has horrible customer service.

    I often have problems with my cable modem. DSL isn't an option for several reasons:

    A) I haven't had a phone line or paid for a land line in 5 years

    B)Speed is truely a little slower

    C)DSL is MUCH more expensive (at least for providers in my area)

    D)It would be a large transfer investement to go to a different type of service - I have been able to do a lot of eBay selling and transfer of hardware as Charter has transition from @home (which was superior) to PipeLine.

    The other gripe about cable not comparing to DSL is the misleading requirements. I had posted this in my journal before:

    Charter Pipeline requirements []

    1)Workers / installers also make people think that is MEGABYTE AND KILOBYTE it is megabit and kilobit - they advertise the service with a k when it should be with a kbps or kb - but front desk people will often say "You should upgrade to the 1 megabyte service"

    The way I have tested this is by hooking my Aiport BaseStation up to both - I used his (neighbor's) service, he used my service for a week. We both use Peer to Peer and both download a considerable amount of images and software updates. We also both upload to eBay a lot. There is a considerable sized class action action lawsuit in Greenville against Charter, this is one of the many things mentioned as a grievance in the suit.

    2)They advertise on the Pipeline website that a Mac with a 601 PPC or higher is able to have the service. They install free ethernet cards (ISA,PCI, PCMCIA) in most every Wintel but won't install an AAUI adapter (on some Macs) or something like a PCMCIA card on the PowerBook 1400. They also tell my customers that I have sold 7300's (604e/180 processor) to, even if they have G3 upgrades that they won't even ALLOW then to get on Pipeline claiming it doesn't meet spec, when one can can view this message on their site: Pipeline Requirements []

    They also are under investigation for charging the bogus "line maintenance fee" - which they tell you if you don't have they will charge you to fix your cable, when technically (although not by law) they are a municipality/utility and must include line maintenance in costs.

  • by Basje ( 26968 ) <> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:50AM (#5797838) Homepage
    I value the quality of my connection above the speed. I know I can get a cable connection that is faster 'on average'. I still chose ADSL, which was more expensive too:

    With ADSL I got a real IP address, not a dynamic one. The speed is more constant, so it's also fast when I'm surfing at 20:00, not only at times when I do not use it interactively. There's less downtime (less than 2 days over the past 2 years). And most importantly, to me was that the upspeed is much faster (256 vs 64 kbps). It's not all about downspeed.

  • by 87C751 ( 205250 ) <`sdot' `at' `'> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:51AM (#5797841) Homepage
    Service level counts, too. 'Round here, cable means RoadRunner/TWC, and that means Earthlink is your ISP. No servers, not NAT-friendly, blocked ports, etc...

    DSL lets you pick your own ISP, so you can select one that's a bit friendlier to geeklike usage. That can easily be worth a 160 Kbps speed deficit. (Qwest offers 640d/256u)

    • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <{gorkon} {at} {}> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:09AM (#5797947)
      I have Roadrunner and use NAT. Only way they are not "NAT friendly" is if you try and call for support and then I just tell them the bare minimum. I usually say yeah I tried everything your going to tell me and I am still having a problem....NEVER mention the router, although they are ok with them, they generaly will want you to recable direct to the cable modem (as if that will magically give you an IP when their DHCP server is down). Also telling them you changed nothing usually helps a bit too (they usually accuse you of mucking with your settings...). They also "lie" and tell you your speeds will be slower through a router. Yeah they may be a little slower, but nothing you'd notice as usually your conenction to the router already runs faster anyway (100 Mbps between host and router). I wish all of the providers would have "check your list of downed servers and/or areas FIRST" as the first item.....usually they will tell you that they have no problems, but then when you cajole them to look further they say opps...the DHCP server is down....DUH! What good is connectivity if I can't get a IP?
  • Meaningless stats (Score:5, Informative)

    by shoppa ( 464619 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:53AM (#5797851)
    Cablevision reportedly having the fastest connections, averaging 800kbps, or 13kbps above the industry average
    So, the fastest is a whopping One point six percent faster than average.
    DSL providers showed huge swings in performance. AT&T WorldNet averaged 762kbps, 63 percent faster than the industry average of 467kbps. SBC came in second with 584kbps, EarthLink in third with 369kbps and Qwest in fourth with 240kbps.

    Those variations couldn't have anything to do with the fact that all three of those companies are selling different speeds of service? No, it has all to do with quality, not what is advertised!

    Seriously, I think that whoever wrote that article had a serious case of USA-Today-itis, the urge to chart and compare things without any relevance.

  • IP address (Score:2, Informative)

    by mobets ( 101759 )
    Yes cable is faster, and sometimes a littel cheaper, but there is one little problem. If you want a dedicated IP address with most cable companies, you have to get their "business" connection. A dedicated IP is standard with my DSL provider.
  • Generally... (Score:3, Informative)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:54AM (#5797853)
    What I have seen (NEPA, NW Ohio, and Minneapolis) DSL is more expensive and half the speed.

    In NEPA DSL is 640/160k at $49.95/mo. Static IP over DHCP IIRC. In NW Ohio DSL is 768/128. It was around 49.95 the last time I had it (over 2 years ago) and it was Static IP. In Minneapolis (I cannot get it here in Burnsville) it's 640k w/a lot of download limits and it depends on ISP but around $55+/mo.

    Cable OTOH was $49.95/mo in NW Ohio from Roadrunner. It was around 2000/384k. In Minneapolis we have ATTBI/Comcast at 1800/256 for 42.95 (it's going up though).

    My IP on cable has been static, my connection is stable, and my speeds are great.

    I would NEVER want DSL at the same price for 1/3 the speed.
    • It was around 2000/384k. In Minneapolis we have ATTBI/Comcast at 1800/256 for 42.95 (it's going up though).

      Some small inaccuracies:

      Burnsville ne Minneapolis. Minneapolis, and most of the adjacent south and western suburbs have AOL/TW as the cable provider, not ATTBI/Comcast. They're primarily a St. Paul provider.

      In Minneapolis (I cannot get it [DSL] here in Burnsville) it's 640k w/a lot of download limits and it depends on ISP but around $55+/mo.

      Your pricing and download speeds are about a
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:54AM (#5797858) Homepage
    It doesn't say in the article what they compared. Many (most?) cable companies offer one speed plan, whereas many (most?) DSL companies offer several speed plans.
  • I have to agree Cable Modems are generally faster and also setup is usually faster and easier on a Cable Modem. My brother has DSL and had to wait 3 weeks to get his DSL gateway. I told him he could call Comcast up and be up with in 3-4 days. Only way it's longer is if they get a sudden rush, or you call on Friday to do it (if you call Thursday or Friday, you ain't getting it by Sunday! :) ). In addition, I have noticed in Comcast area's you can go buy the modem (if you so choose) and get up even faster
  • Signal Degradation (Score:3, Informative)

    by Organic_Info ( 208739 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:55AM (#5797864)
    I don't know if cable suffer the same signal (hence bandwidth) degradation over distance that effects DSL.

    When BT were rolling out ADSL services in the UK you had to be within 1.5km of the exchange's. The further you are away from the exchange you get less bandwidth. Again I'm unaware of the current limits.

    Does any one know if cable suffers the same?
    • No, mainly because cable terminates (physically) in the distribution boxes in your street, so the cable probably only travels a few hundred yards, whereas ADSL has to go end to end to the exchange, which could be up to 3.5km Anything over that amount, and the actual amount is a bit fuzzy, is RADSL territory - Rate adaptive ADSL. Basically meaning you still get 512k downloads, but your upload suffers to compensate for the lost signalling.
  • Well, I can confirm that my Time Warner/RoadRunner connection gives me about 240KB/Sec (yes, that BYTES, not bits) which according to is much higher than most all broadband providers.
  • Totally misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BShive ( 573771 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @07:58AM (#5797874) Homepage
    It annoys me every time I read an article like this. The actual title is "Cable beats DSL in speed race" where the speeds and reliability are entirely dependent on your area and services provider. For my area there's heavy cable saturation, and Comcast has horrible support, so I'd go DSL if it was even available. Better to ask people in your neighborhood about what highspeed they've got and/or visit to compare for your area, not rely on a empty article with barely any information. We don't even know when, or how they 'tested' - if they did at all!
    • I have to agree about Comcrap, er, I mean Comcast. I would have to say that in my area (as close as you can get to Ypsilanti and still live within an Ann Arbor zip code) Comcast goes out at least once a fortnight. When I had DSL (before DirecTV screwed it's DSL customers like me) THAT connection was out maybe once in two years.

      Comcast's support is, as noted, miserable at worst, and spotty at best. I once called in to them with connection trouble, even though I was pretty sure it was a problem with my rou
  • by rf0 ( 159958 )
    There are some of us who can't get more than 128K ISDN and pay per minute. I would just love to get DSL or Cable or anything faster which is always on. I really only want something to automatically collect email etc rather than having to dialup each time. Remember that most of the world is on 56K

  • by Musashi Miyamoto ( 662091 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:00AM (#5797889)
    It doesnt matter that Cable is incrementally faster than DSL. (DSL already seems "instant" when I surf the web)

    When you use a cable modem, you are stuck with a single provider for your internet access that you cannot leave without losing your internet access. If it wasn't for DSL, there would be no competition for the cable modem market. That means when their service starts to degrade (from the low point it is already at), you can do nothing about it but go without broadband.

    They don't treat your internet access like a critical service, like electricity or telephone. If your electricity went out, the governement requires the electric company to get it back on asap. Its that critical. Now that companies like Vonage are providing phone service across broadband, internet access is going to be just as critical... however, under the Bush administration, I doubt there will be any additional demands on industry...
    • It's definitely critical to me. I've been looking for a job for the last month and the best places to look are on the Net. Of course, dial-up is sufficient for that... but I also run my own little server (mail, web) on my connection. Consequently DSL is the only legal option since Roadrunner's idea of residential "service" is a cold ass ramming.

      I shouldn't have to lie, cheat, and steal to get great service. This is why I use Open Source software. This is why I chose DSL over Cable, despite the bandwidth a
  • Sure, my pr0n, .mp3's, .iso's, .rar's download slendidly over my cable modem. BTW, I get better than 800kbs on my Cox cable modem service.

    But alas, I'm here at work. I've resorted to burning CDRW's and bringing them into work, instead of just ftp'ing my booty over the wire. Thanks to the upstream limitation (not to mention, I'm doing this with a secure ftp client based on OpenSSH) it takes too long to see my latest Jenna J, or Tianna Kai ;->

    I'm just not quite there yet.

    On the brighter side, I'm fi
  • That all the FP Trolls are on cable?
  • Bizarre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:03AM (#5797905) Homepage
    I fail to see the validity of comparing services with different advertised rates. I have a 512kbps DSL line and I get 512kbps basically all the time. How could a 512kbps cable service be any faster? It couldn't.
    • Just as you don't get 56k from AOL - you get on average 14 to 18k - while on Earthlink, most get 18 to 27k

      You get 480k on cable (example) - you may only get 272k on DSL for instance

      It's not the speed you connect at, it is the real world speed you get on the average upload and download.

      • Re:Bizarre (Score:3, Informative)

        by radish ( 98371 )
        Fair enough, that makes sense I guess, it's just I'm used to getting pretty much 100% of the theoretical speed. I must be lucky :)

        For anyone in the UK who doesn't already know about it, this site [] offers rankings and comparisions of all the different DSL providers. I don't know of any similar sites for cable, I guess direct comparisons are less useful as there are only 2 suppliers (AFAIK). But knowing how fast an average NTL 1mbps line actually is could be useful for folks.
    • I think the comparison is based on price. In most areas were both available, the price is around $50 for your basic service. It's comparing what you get for your $50. I often read that DSL is faster because you don't share the bandwidth like cable. I think this tries to debunk the myth that this is always a problem. Most people (read non-geeks) don't care how they get connected, they just want the most bang for the buck...which often is cable if you want the faster download speeds.
    • Agreed, the article is rather sloppy in describing what they are actually comparing. One thing they do mention is swings in actual performance. To me, advertised vs. actual performance would be a key indicator, sadly they don't mention these numbers. This article is worthless for determining which of these options to choose.

      When I sign up for such a service, I would like to know
      - Average speed vs. advertised speed (ie. what you're paying for);
      - Hours/month downtime;
      - Services included (Shell access
  • seems born out by my own experience. in the uk you're lucky to pick up a 1Mb DSL connection. most are 512. only in a few exchanges are you lucky enough to get higher (i'm in one of those areas fortunately - 2Mbps, reliably 240kb/sec sustained)

    however, 1Mb cable connections are pretty common. and as for belgium, wow. my parents have a 10Mbps cable connection - capped at 10Gb d/load, admittedly, which can hit sustained rates of 600-800kb/sec... "which is nice" :)

    as with everything, there'a a lot of "incumbe
  • US situation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NicolaiBSD ( 460297 )
    This article describes the relations between cable and DSL in the US only. Worldwide it is a very different story, because of vast differences in quality of infrastructure.

    I work for a DSL network provider in the Netherlands. We deliver DSL connectivity to ISP's, for them to sell to their customers. The fastest connections we deliver (constant bitrate) are 8192/1536 kbits for ADSL and 2300 kbit/s for SDSL lines. This is way faster than any cable provider can deliver, they usually top at 2048/1024 kbit/s.
  • Cable has a higher theoretical top speed. It's typically capped higher than most DSL services, and is only slower if you're on a really busy circuit. DSL is about having a "guaranteed" fast connection, with Cable you don't get the guarantee -- it's variable because you're sharing the available bandwidth with other subscribers rather than having the line all to yourself -- but most of the time the performance is superior.
  • by kriegsman ( 55737 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:09AM (#5797945) Homepage
    If you're running a server and need a static IP address, or multiple IP addresses, you need DSL (or ISDN, or a T-1, or *gasp* dedicated dialup -- don't ask.)

    On the other hand, if what you want is the highest possible download speed for the lowest price (Kb per sec per dollar per month), cable is the way to go.

    I know a few server-at-home geeks who actually have both DSL and cable: DSL for the static IPs for their servers, and cable for surfing. I'm thinking about going this way myself. The really interesting project will be setting up a dual-homed box to do intelligent routing of traffic across the DSL with the static IP and the (presumably faster) cable modem with the dynamic IP.

  • I recently swtiched to optimum online powered by cablevision. I can attest that it is much faster than my old adsl service. I can d/l most linux iso's in under 30 minutes on a good server. Could't do that with adsl just wasn't fast enough.
  • I had Verizon (baby Bell) DSL and switched to Cablevision cable in the NYC metro area. I had to pay extra to get 1.5mbps for DSL. For cable, which is much cheaper here, there is no specified bandwidth limit. Without tweaking I now max out at about 750kB/s. One major difference is that tweaking network settings (packet sizes, etc) can greatly increase speed. But with DSL there's a much lower bandwidth limit. So now I pay less and get much better speed. That's why when I read the headline I first said,
  • Uh huh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Travoltus ( 110240 )
    Cable modem providers typically
    a) do not allow any kind of service to be running on your PC
    b) are coming up with draconian "bandwidth hog" charges (for people who actually constantly ~use~ the full speed the ISP advertises)
    c) get bogged down during peak hours
    d) caps their upstream to 128kbps or 256kbps (all my friends on Charter, RR, and ATTBI report this cap)
    e) are inherently insecure because someone can always circumvent the cable modem and snoop all the traffic on the subnet (neighborhood)

    As opposed to
    • Re:Uh huh... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:23AM (#5798916) Homepage Journal
      I'm not a big fan of Comcast either, but this is pretty one sided.

      Disclaimer: I'm using Comcast Cable Modem service (because I'm 13km from my CO).

      a. How many DSL providers let you run servers? My friend's DSL connection doesn't allow for servers or VPNs. Granted you can buy DSL from competing companies (which is the #1 reason it is more attractive to me than Cable, where you have to deal with your local monopoly), but the "default" service from most places disallows uploads.
      b. Not yet, but soon.
      c. I don't really see this myself. Maybe my area isn't so bad. I've not really heard of people complaining about this recently, alhough it was a big problem when Cable was first coming out.
      d. Yep, that horrible 128k cap. Compared to DSL, which usually has a 128k/256k upload cap.
      e. There is security built into the cablemodem, but the cable company doesn't really seem to keen on actually turning it on. OTOH, the packets that you can "sniff" off of the cablemodem (not easy) are the packets you were sending out to the internet anyway. If you were expecting your traffic to be secure I have news for you.

      a. Not with the plans I've seen unless you're buying from Speakeasy or some other "premium" DSL provider.
      b. True, but not really an issue
      c. Neither does Cable Modem....yet, at least in the states. I've had a sinking feeling that it's only a matter of time until we get hit with bandwidth caps though.
      d. You know, I don't usually see many DSL connections that advertise 1.5M down. Usually I see 786/128 or 786/256. Maybe you live in an area where they are more generous with the bandwidth?
    • i run SMTP, and while port 80 is blocked, a web server on 81. they have no problem with this. we have no bandwidth hog charges, but if you use a ton of bandwidth over a long period of time, they will put a temporary one-week cap on your downstream. i have no upstream cap (same up speed as down). they permit me to use NAT and a firewall. the service has not gone down in over a month.

      compare this to Verizon DSL i previously had: 5 (FIVE) months waiting to install, constant downtime (at least twice a wee
    • Re:Uh huh... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yunzil ( 181064 )
      SPEED is not everything. Freedom, security, and reliability of service also count.

      Yeah, and there's also being able to get the service at all. Speakeasy's website said I was (finally) eligible for ADSL, rather than the super-expensive SDSL they had previously said was the only option. So I signed up. Eagerly watching the install progress on the website, I was dismayed when it got stalled at step 4 with a message saying, "Order on hold pending investigation". After a week or so I got an email saying th
  • Same story at MSNBC, as well.

    Of course, solid DSL service is more reliable than cable, but it all depends on the provider and your location. For instance, a friend of mine and I live less than a mile apart. However, I am in one city, he is in another county. We both have Comcast Pro service (3.5Mbps/384kbps). My connection is much more consistent, since the infrastructure is different for each jurisdiction, even though we have the same service so close to each other.

    Oh well, I miss the days when I got to
  • Saying that cable modems are 50% higher on average is meaningless if they are using a really bad measurement of average, or if the data is really skewed.

    Does anyone know what average they are using?
  • if Cable was faster and cost less than DSL, or vice versa, the faster, cheaper one would totally own the market.
  • because I'd love to have DSL again instead of cable. Time Warner provides my cable service now, and I have yet to see any of these fabled 3Mb/s downloads, or even anything even close. In fact, 1.5Mb/s is about as good as it ever gets. What I do see a lot of is that brick wall when I'm uploading. I guess I'm a little surprised that Time Warner wasn't included in this study, but I think they might bring those numbers down a little bit.

    Speakeasy had a very comfortable TOS and a whole lot fewer customers t
  • I varies from place to place. I am in Ottawa, Canada. I used to have cable in my old place and Rogers (the cable company) overloaded their cable hubs so bad I was having up to *50%* packet loss and attrocious speeds in the afternoon (and it is capped at 2Mb/384k and the IP shifted every now and then). Then I moved (same town) and I got cable again but this time it was fine - no packet loss at all. In the mean time DSL became available in my neighbourhood and I swithched. My ISP [] sells me a 3Mb/600k DSL with
  • Actually most DSL models nowadays support upto 10-11Mbps on short loops with around 4-5Mbps avg. This seems more to do with the ISP/line quality than the modem.

    Actually most phone line systems are quite old and they have link coils installed to improve voice clarity, which is not good for DSL as the device works by filtering out high frequency which DSL uses for transmission. If your are has newer telephone lines and you are within 9000Kft of your phone company which has a high performace gateway 4-5Mbs is

  • I have the feeling that raw average speed isn't much more meaningful than raw processor CPU speed.

    I'm not quite sure what the right technical name for this is, but although DSL is pretty fast in terms of data streaming speed during a download, it is pretty slow in terms of responding to individual file requests.

    You can see this, for example, in web pages that are cluttered with dozens of small graphics files. The time for DSL to accept the request for a file, transmit it to the server, and start downloadi
  • by Mean_Nishka ( 543399 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:43AM (#5798128) Homepage Journal
    In my neck of the woods (Connecticut) I have both DSL and cable service available. Both services offer 1500/256 for about $45 a month. I have the cable service at home, the DSL service at work. There's no difference in speed. Both ramp up to their full potential 24/7. Competition is great!!

    However one consideration that may be lacking from this analysis is how Comcast (and many DOCSIS providers) handle capping the connections.

    On my Comcast cable modem, the cap is regulated by my local cable modem. So if I'm downloading from an extremely fast host, my connection will momentarily burst into the 3 megabit/second range. The cable modem will then halt all communications for the remainder of that second. So if you have a NAT situation going, and one of the machines is nailing the bandwidth, it will slow down the other machines in the house.

    There's a more indepth discussion Here [].


  • I'm on eastern Long Island (the Hamptons). SpeakEasy's NYC speedtest page just gave me 7280 down/919 up; 6492/919 for Boston. other tests give 3100/(nt) from San Antionio, 2400/(nt) from LA. All on a 10mb down, 1mb up theoretical. In the real world, I find sustained 800kBytes/sec is not uncommon from the Aleron SourceForge mirror.
    "I use Optimum Online because it's STOOPID FAST!"
  • I live in an area with no DSL but with cable. Guess what? I can't get a cable business account without buying a leased line equivalent, "because the capacity is used up" (tr: "We have a monopoly, sucker, and we intend to milk it."). So my cable connection is faster than DSL, because 500kbit/s is faster than 0, but I can't do anything really useful with it for under $13000/year.

    At the next election I intend to vote for any party that has a serious clue about the importance of internet bandwidth. Oh well, ano

  • I'd say the people that have the luxury of shopping around (myself included) are quite lucky, as there are many that would kill to have either option! Being stuck with dial-up for awhile, I don't think I'll be worrying too much if I am getting .5Mbps or 2Mbps, so long as I'm not doing 40kpbs any more!
  • by pitdingo ( 649676 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:54AM (#5798202)
    Here is a horribly written story. It claims the average cable modem user gets higher speed than a DSL user which is laughable. It makes no distinction between the different DSL packages: 640k and 1.5Mb. Cable really only has one package: 1.5Mb or on rare occasions, an unlimited bandwidth(up to 8Mb). So when they say the best average time for cable is 800Kb, that really shows you how poorly cable performs. An average of 468Kb for DSL is really not bad considering the majority of people have 640Kb. To get the 1.5 you have to be within 15,000 wire feet length of your central office. Any speed test i have ever run on my connection gets around 1.3Mb. My neighbor has a Comcast Cable modem, and apparently more of my neighbors do too as his speed goes from around 1.2Mb to 280Kb(LOL) on speed tests. The simple fact is, you can not beat the dedicated access of DSL. Cable lines are saturated with HDTV, Digital Cable, Analog Cable and shared Internet access.
  • by Greg W. ( 15623 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @08:58AM (#5798230) Homepage
    What an utterly appalling waste of time! They talk about the speeds of these services using a single number, as if they offered symmetric capacities. Everyone knows that the common residential Internet services are asymmetric, with upload typically being one-half to one-tenth of the download. But they don't even talk about upload, which is where DSL stomps all over cable's ass.

    Nor do they talk about terms of service, which is where DSL stomps all over what was left of cable's ass. Read a typical cable modem service ToS some time -- go on, I dare you! You can't run anything but Windows, you can't run NAT, you can't run services, you can't leave your computer on when you're not in front of it. Now read a DSL ToS for comparison.

    But this "article" (more like propaganda from the cable companies) doesn't discuss any of that. They pretend that the only thing that matters is how fast you can download pr0n. And if that's what you want -- to sit in front of a mouse-driven boob tube and salivate over pictures all day long -- then sure, cable modem service is for you. Go knock yourself out.
  • by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @09:44AM (#5798568)
    I've got Cox, and to get a hard IP I can run a server on, I have to shell out $69/month for a 128k symetrical link. (It's 3mbps down and 256k up at $40 for a DHCP account.) Not too speedy compared to what Speakeasy's shilling for the same price... but Verizon has not upgraded the local switch to DSL-capable, and probably never will.

    While we're on the topic of Speakeasy, I once had a 780k symmetrical link from them for $80/month. They no longer offer anything anywhere near that speed/price ratio... they've taken a huge step back. Yet, as has been noted elsewhere, DSL in Japan is dirt cheap for a pipe that can saturate a 10b-T link on the downstream.

    This is what deregulation gets you.

    The "game over" is in the next generation wireless. Goodbye, cable! Goodbye, POTS! Sprint already offers 155k symetrical links for $50/month... uncapped and unmetered. All you can eat. The other big wireless vendors will either quickly follow suit, or get eaten alive by Sprint. If they can even get a reliable link at 1.5mbps at $50/month, they'll steal huge share away from DSL and Cable at twice that speed. Everyone with a notebook will want it. Unlike on copper, wireless RF sees no cost benefit from throttling upload, so I can see hard IPs and servers being the deal maker for premium "geek packages." Then the other broadband vendors will either shape up, or get run out of town on a rail.

    SoupIsGood Food
    • The "game over" is in the next generation wireless.

      I have wireless broadband. (CO is too far and the cable company has brain damage) $65 a month, $300 install fee for the antenna on the roof. They claim it's 10megabit, but I haven't seen that speed. It is fast though. It seems as though I'm no longer the bottleneck. IIRC, I was getting around 350K a second with bittorrent. I can get about 80k a second on winmx and that's with a lot of other transmissions going. Ping times from chicago to yahoo are
  • by bloosqr ( 33593 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:09AM (#5798789) Homepage
    It just so happens I was hunting around for broadband here in philadelphia and ended up signing up for DSL service. Our cable service is Comcast (which I believe is based in philadelphia). The main issue I had w/ Comcast was you had to buy their cable service or got the $5 tacked onto your bill + installation fees of $100 + box rental and of course the NAT issue. The standard "safe" DSL here is verizon (also my local phone company) which offers 768 down/128k up for ~50 a month or ~40 w/ a year contract. What I ended up signing up for was a company called digizip based in nyc. For $50 a month (or $45 w/ a year contract + their LD) you get 1.5mbit down/768 up + 5 static IP addresses + no installation fee etc etc. There is a company called "cyberonic" that seems to offer something pretty similar. Having "mad" upstream bandwidth at 768k and 5 static IP addresses pretty much did it for me (No port blocking, any # of machines etc). In any case I just ordered this, can't vouch for the reality of the situation but it seemed to me a better deal than cablemodems w/out any guarantee (but w/ typical download speeds pretty decent) and not having to "hide" my machines..

  • Yep, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug&opengeek,org> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:21AM (#5799459) Homepage Journal
    I have choice of ISP with DSL here in Portland. ( BTW.)

    Comcast has the cable service here. They fuck with you and my Spiretech does not.

    So I trade speed for:

    - Shell access via SSH to my account on their server.

    - Some web space and basic services on their end.

    - Sane user policy

    - Good service

    - Flexible billing. (I run a 6 month plan)

    - Choice of computing platform and modem.

    Unless I am downloading ISOs every day, the connection speed really does not matter. Most wait times are due to server side crap (mainly ad servers and such) not transfer speed.

    Sure the cable is fast, but you have to register each computer, cannot run servers, get port scanned to make sure, vpn not allowed unless you pay commercial rates, poor customer service, drain bramaged techs, phone calls and letters and e-mail for additional cable TV services (Pay Per view) and I suspect content discrimination.

    That is what choice is about.

    Choose wisely, choose a service that lets you choose your provider.

    For me that is clearly DSL regardless of speed.
  • by D'Arque Bishop ( 84624 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:29AM (#5799569) Homepage
    Right now I have DSL through SBC. I used to have service through Time-Warner/Roadrunner, but gave it up last year. Why, you may ask? Simple: reliability.

    Everything was fine with Roadrunner for about a year or so, until we started having line issues. After that, about every six months, we would end up having issues with the physical cable going from our junction box out back to the house. Each time, it would take us more than one call to get someone out, because the quality of techs were rather... well, varied. ("I know you don't support Linux... but the fact that the `Cable' light on my cable modem isn't lit tells me it's not a problem with my cable modem, you know?") The second to last time it happened, the tech lied and said he came out when someone was home at the time and never saw him, and the line had very obviously not been touched. The LAST time it happened, it took them TWO WEEKS to send someone out and fix it. The day after that, we started investigating DSL.

    Frankly, we've been much happier with the DSL. We started off with DirecTV DSL and since moved to SBC... and not only is the service more reliable so far than Roadrunner's (excluding DirecTV getting out of the market... otherwise only slightly slower speeds but steadier connection), we're allowed to run servers and can host our own domains on it. Heck, for $15 a month more I get static IP's, which means no more worrying about the DHCP server switching my home address on me.

    Your mileage may vary, of course, but so far I've found that in my area, at least (north Houston), DSL has shaped up to be more reliable than cable service.

    Just my $.02...
  • by cr@ckwhore ( 165454 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:29AM (#5799579) Homepage
    ... and in other news, "Apples beat Oranges in a taste test, experts insist".

  • by stonewolf ( 234392 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:35PM (#5800346) Homepage
    Download speed isn't the only thing that is important in picking a broadband service.

    I have had both AOLTimeWarner Road Runner cable modem service and SBC DSL service. There is no question that Road Runner gave me faster download speed. But, even though my DSL upload speed is capped at 256Mbps. It is actually faster than the upload speed I got out of Road Runner.

    Upload speed is important to me because I run a website, and several other servers, out of my loft. Which brings us to other important differences. The ability to get a static IP address and the ability to connect mulitple computers to a single broadband connection.

    In my area, SBC sells a static IP service with no limit to the number of computers I can have on my LAN for $78.95/month. While the equivalent service from Road Runner costs $200/month. So, DSL can be a much better deal if you have more than one computer or ever want to run a server. As the number of computers in the home goes up from one per home to more than one per person, the ability to connect mulitple computers become very important.

    Customer service is also important. In all the years I have been a customer of Time Warner, both for cable service and broadband, I have only ever had one serious complaint about their service, and they apologized, fixed the problem, apologized again, sent me a letter of apology, and gave me a couple of months of service for free. In other words, they made me feel like a respected and valued customer.

    OTOH, In the first month I had SBC DSL service, I was been hung up on by 3 customer service representatives, been promised call backs that never happened, and been billed for a service that has never been fully delivered. In fact, I have filed a PUC complaint over the problem. All I can say is that it only took a week to get them to stop blocking inbound port 80 and outbound port 25. But, to this day they refuse to admit that it ever happened.

    I also can not access any of the Yahoo! services they promise because the license for using the Yahoo! service bars you from running servers over your DSL line. Which is exactly what the Deluxe S package is advertised for doing. So, to use the Yahoo! part of the service I have to agree not to use the static IP capabilities of the service. Since I can not access the Yahoo! services I also can not access any of the SBC online help because access to online help is based on your SBC Yahoo! userid/pasword.

    I guess that to save $120/month I can live without the Yahoo! part of the deal, but it the way SBC has treated me has really pissed me off. ASAP the ONLY SBC service I have will be DSL.

  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @02:26PM (#5801459)
    Disclaimer: I work for the local telco
    Now that said, I'm not in marketing, I'm a field tech, and I get this question a lot, I have a fair amount of experience with both systems, (my parents are on cable (no dsl in their area yet) and I have a few good friends working for the local cable company) so I'll try to be relatively unbiased here.

    I'm often asked "how does DSL compare to cable" the real answer is it doesn't, the two are different technologies. and can't be dirrectly compared to come up with an answer of "X is faster than Y", here are a few points to consider...

    The theoretical end of things:
    -the local cable company uses cable modems with a maximum possible speed of 10Mb/s downstream (I can't remember the upstream)
    -the local telco uses equipment (DSLAMs and DSL modems) with a maximum possible speed of 8Mb/s downstream and 1MB/s upstream

    The administrative side of things:
    -the local cable company throttles this to 1.5Mb/s downstream (I can't remember what they set the upstream to)
    -the local telco throttles this to 1.5Mb/s downstream and 640kb/s upstream

    The practical downside of things:
    -Cable is usage dependant, the cable system is based on one line running in to the neighborhood and splitting to all the houses, so the more people online at a time the slower the connection.
    -DSL is distance dependant, you've got just over 3km of cable before you can't get DSL, and if you're over 2-2.5km you won't be getting full speeds, so just because you have a phoneline doesn't mean you can get DSL.

    The practical upside of things:
    -Cable being shielded can run for amazing lengths with verry little loss allowing extended distances, if you have cable tv around here you can probably get cable internet
    -DSL runs on the phoneline, and you have your own line from your house to the phone exchange, so you don't share bandwidth with anyone untill you get back to the phone exchange, (you do from there on out just like you would with any ISP but there's lots to go around (at least around here there is))

    The practical summary:
    -if you live a long way from a phone exchange in a community full of people who use the computer only for their email once a day. Cable is going to be faster.
    -if you live really close to the phone exchange in a community full of slashdotters. DSL is going to be faster.

    Now most of us don't live in either one of those sittuations, so around here at least, the two compare verry closely on the home packages. the main difference is stability (the kind affecting speed, the kind affecting uptime isn't discussed here), on DSL you get what you get, if you got speeds of 1Mb/s when they hooked you up, you'll probably continue to get that speed, whereas on cable you may get 1.5Mb/s at slack times and 500-600kb/s at busy times, it all depends on what type of usage you have and at what times you make use of it.

    Final Disclaimer: I only compared the "home" packages here, and only on the point of speed, there are many other factors to consider when getting a connection, both companies offer many packages catering to different needs at different costs, do your research before going with either, just keep the stuff mentioned here in mind because the marketting departments of neither company will ever mention the downsides to their own system....
  • by CyberBill ( 526285 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @03:23PM (#5802114)
    This is one of the stupidest tests I have ever seen.

    They are comparing DSL to Cable for bandwidth... without giving specs on the DSL. DSL is not the same as cable!! Cable is a community shared network, and DSL is a DIRECT line. If you buy DSL at 768k, your going to get 768k! They completely forgot to mention this little tidbit of information in the article.

    Sure, your basic cable connection dollar for dollar is going to be faster. $35 will get you a cable internet connection, its usually atleast $50 for DSL ( of the 768/256 category).

    I just dont get how 'technical articles' can be written by people who obviously have no technical background.

  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @06:38PM (#5804205) Homepage Journal
    Far from it. Speed, in fact, is about second or third on my priorities list when it comes to looking at broadband.

    What is a priority for me is whether I can be completely self-hosted. Find me a cable provider that will give me six static IP's, let me be completely authoritative on DNS for all the domains I host, and let me handle my own mail, web, and FTP servers, AND do it all for less than I'm currently paying for my DSL line and ISP, and I might consider switching.

    In summary; Don't just look at the line speed. Ask yourself what you want to do with it. Somehow, I doubt any of the cable providers are willing to even consider letting their users do any or all of the above for less than hundreds of $$ per month (if at all).

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.