Cable vs. DSL...which is better?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael*K, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Time to go broadband and I need opinions on whether DSL or cable is the way to go. I especially want to hear from anyone that's had both. Advantages, disadvantages of each? Thanks.
     
  2. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    Michael,

    I have had both cable modem and DSL. There are advantages with both.

    With DSL, you usually have a dedicated speed...say 640K or you can pay for higher speeds like 1.5MBit, etc....The speed you can receive though is dependant on your location to the phone companies router. The closer you are, the faster your connection can be. Since it is a phone line based service, you have to install DSL filters on every phone line in your house (even TiVo, Sat and fax devices that use the phone lines with a modem) otherwise the DSL "static" noise will interfere with their operation. These filters are usually provided my the phone company, but they usually only give you 4 or 5. You can buy more it you need them depending on how monay phones, etc.. you have in your house. DSL lines can be more secure than cable modem, but that would require more technical explaination and unless you are running a business server, I would not worry about it.

    With cable modem, you also have a dedicated line on 24/7. The speed can be very fasst or slow depending on the network traffic. You basically share a cable connnection with other people in your area, so at some point, you and your cable modem neighbors' signals are combined down the line and the more people on at once, the slower the connection. Some cable companies are good about this and have upgraded their ability to handle traffic, some are not. I get about 1.5MBit on my current cable connection, but it slows down a little in the evenings.

    It is really up to you which one you get. I would have gone with DSL out here if PACBELL was better with their DSL support. I know people who have waited months just to get them to install the DSL line. To me that was unacceptable. With cable modem, I was up and running in one day. Your area may be different. But....like cable TV that use to go out a lot....when the cable is down...so is your cable modem. This has happened to me a few times at BAD times and I was pissed. One time it was out for three days because the cable company was installing some new device. Your DSL will probably not go out like that. With cable you don't have to worry about filtering the DSL signal on your phone lines. Cable companies usually charge you about $10/month more to have a cable modem IF you do not have TV service with them so depending on the deal in your area, DSL might be cheaper at this point unless you already have cable TV service.

    Both are easy to network on in your house. Just get a network router from Lynksys or Netgear. Plug the output of the cable modem or DSL router into the network hub via ethernet cable. Plug your computers (via ethernet) into the network router box and all of your computers are sharing the same internet connection. I have two PCs and one MAC sharing this same connection with no problems.
     
  3. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    Brian,

    I am one of the early adopters of PacBell DSL (3 years now, I was early in the second coming of ISDN too) and am lucky that things work well. I am right at the edge of distance limit (from CO) but am still getting about 1.5Mb most of the time (my official plan is residential, 384d/128u).

    Most of my family and friends are on Cable (@Home), primarily due to DSL service unavailable, but they all are happy with the service.

    If one lives in @Home territory, and they are the biggest cable internet vendor with 3M+ customers, the big downside is they are in bankrupcy, stock at 6cents and lawsuit galore. It seemed inconceivable that @Home will be shutdown, but then again, that's what I thought with Metricom too (not to mention the Northpoints, Rythms...).

    The best resource to research broadband issues (IMHO) is at dslreport.com (they cover cable, satelitte,... too).
     
  4. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Brian, we're neighbors! I had pacbell dialup for awhile, but recently switched to Earthlink DSL. I've been very impressed with the speed and reliability so far. What DSL provider do you have? Are you happy with them? Thanks.
     
  5. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor
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    I'd say for the most part that I prefer DSL. And as for the filters, this wasn't a problem for me. The installer put one filter on the line in the outside telephone junction box and just routed the DSL through another pair of wires. I won't need a single filter anywhere in the house.

    If this works for you, then it's the way to go.
     
  6. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    I've been a happy ADSL customer for over two years now. I also had the filter installed in the wall socket where my computer is so no need for external filters at each phone. I average 1.5Mbits/s on the download and 365kbps on the upload.

    Cable is good too if your in a good area. Depending on what location you're at you can have varying speeds from astronomically fast to dial up slow during the peak hours of usage.

    Patrick
     
  7. Matt Heebner

    Matt Heebner Stunt Coordinator

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    I have had DSL through Earthlink(Covad) for about a year now, and I have had no problems at all and am very happy with it. I am about 6500 feet from the Central Office, and get speeds of 1300 down/330 up. Friends of mine have said that cable is vey good also in this area, but I am very anti Time Warner (Roadrunner).

    Earthlink also offers cable service as well as DSL in certain areas.

    Matt
     
  8. Shayne Judge

    Shayne Judge Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I have had dsl with two companies, and I have cable modem now. There were aspects of each that I liked and disliked, so I will give you a rundown on my experience. Keep in mind that the service you receive can vary greatly, and if possible, contact someone in your area that has used whatever company/service you are considering.
    I first got Adsl in December of 99 through a company called Flashcom. Flashcom contracted its dsl through Covad, and I lived in Mountain View, CA.
    Pros: With Adsl, fastest upload rate, 384/384. The installers did the most professional job of my three experiences, as I had 0 troubleshooting issues later on.
    Cons: Highest price, at $50 a month. It took forever to get installed, well over two months. They verbally offerred me a nice rate with free installation, and later lied and said I had a 1 year contract. I had specifically asked for a rate with no 1 year contract, as I knew I was moving in six months. It took forever to clear that issue up.
    When I moved in April of 2000, I signed up with PacBell DSL. The service was also in Mountain View.
    Pros: Once the line was properly set up, I had decent download speed, with a decent price, $40 a month.
    Cons: They took even longer to install, a total of three months. I was really annoyed, because I scheduled a hook-up, and they lost my account information and I had to wait even longer. I later had problems with the connection, as the line would disconnect with regularity. They came out to troubleshoot, to find that the installer failed to isolate the dsl line and interference was the issue. Avoid pacbell if possible, they give lousy customer service in general. Also, there was a one year contract, which I honored this time[​IMG]
    I moved in June 2001 to Tampa, FL, and got Time Warner Road Runner Cable.
    Pros: No one year contract. Incredibly fast download speeds 99% of the time, much faster than standard dsl for me. $40 a month. They were out to install the unit 2 days after calling them.
    Cons: The installation was botched. The installer left the main box outside my apartment with a flimsy connection that caused my cable modem to be down for a week before they came out and fixed it. On rare occasions, the cable modem gets bogged down with multiple users.
    If I had to do it again, I would go with cable modem again, assuming that the line isnt overcrowded. The lack of a 1 year contract, decent price, and incredible d/l speeds are important to me.
     
  9. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Well ive got Cable, and my buddy had DSL.
    His DSL is way better than 56k, but still slower than my cable.
    I average about 2.5-3mb's DL and about 600+ upload.
     
  10. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I have cable, and have no major complaints about it. Time Warner has built out the network adequetly, so there really isn't anything to complain about.

    DSL does have several technical advantages, but under utilized cable networks will often beat it for download speeds.

    Assuming neither your DSL provider or your cable provider aren't total screwups, you can't go wrong in either case.
     
  11. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Depends on your market. I have always heard that having cable modem is like being on a huge LAN with everyone else on your network node. This means that you supposedly share bandwith, so in larger markets, people complain about slower speeds (I havent had any problems with my cable connection) the second issue would be security, but I think the cable modem companies are doing a better job at controlling this. I heard about security issues back when cable modems where new. The other thing that will depend on your market is what companies you have available. My fiance and I did a cost analysis on cable vs DSL for us here in Omaha, and while the cost per month would be about $40 for both services, the first month cost for cable was about $80, and the first month for DLS was almost $400!!! In Omaha, the only DSL game in town makes you BUY the modem, which is over $300. Not only that, but the DSL modem is encoded to only work on their (Qwest's) network [​IMG] needless to say, I dig my cable modem.
     
  12. John Besse

    John Besse Supporting Actor

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    Ohhh, I hate them both. I'm stuck with cable that runs so slow durring the day. But at night it is awesome. DSL, not too much better. Depends on how far you are away from the switch. If only I had the money to drop a residential T1 line into my house!!!

    I would probably perfer cable over DSL though. But, it all depends on your neighborhood and how many people are sharing the network. If everyone and their mother is on cable, get DSL. You dont share your bandwidth with their entire neighborhood. If no one is on cable, then it should be pretty damn fast.

    If you are using dial-up and are not planning on downloading a ton of stuff, buy whatever is cheaper. You'll see a difference and be happy that you're off your dial-up internet service provider.
     
  13. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I have DSL (Cincinnati Bell Zoomtown) and have had only minor ISP related problems with it. Cable is the other option here but since I have a Dish 500, I would have to pay an extra $10 a month just to get the cable in for my cable modem and I would have to switch ISP's to roadrunner and go through all the hassle of trying to tell everyone on the planet that I had a new email address
     
  14. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    OK, I've decided to give cable (@Home) a try...$19.95/month for the first six months. Installation is supposed to be on Dec. 12th. I'll post my impressions then. Thanks for all the comments.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Does anyone have satellite service? I've heard that it is the fastest choice, but extremely expensive.
     
  16. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    Brian,
    If you have the option of cable modem or DSL service I would go with them right now other than satellite. The ping times for Satellite internet connections are very long. So....the bandwidth is good but things take a long time to start moving. Afterall.....it has to travel up to the satellite, then back down to earth, then the page requested has to go back to the sattelite, then back down to your dish.
    With cable or DSl, you are only 1000s of feet or so from the switch which gets you on the internet. Response time is much faster.
    In my opinion, satellite is only a consideration if:
    1. you live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm or something and DSl and cable modem are not available.
    2. The only DSl or cable modem options available are from inept companies where service is poor.[/list=1]
     
  17. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I was going to look into the satellite service Brian, but Sprint has suspended the service here. Current customers can still use the service, but no new accounts are being opened due to the high cost of the infrastructure and the technical limitations. A former co-worker had it, thought the price was reasonable (about the same as DSL) but ultimately got rid of it because he needed faster upload speeds.
     
  18. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Don't buy into the whole excuse for cable modems being slow because of a shared line. DSL is shared also, just further down the pipe. You are only going to go as fast as the slowest connection on the point from you to where you are connecting. The only problem I've ever had with my roadrunner cable modem is when time warner screws up and the system goes down, but most of time this happens late at night. It has actually gotten better than it used to be. I've heard nightmare stories from friends and coworkers with them trying to get DSL setup through Southwestern Bell. They finally gave up and went with Roadrunner/Time Warner with cable instead.
     
  19. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I use Comcast @Home cable access...and I love it!
    Never used DSL, so I can't compare.
     
  20. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    I just made the switch from DSL to Cable due to the price difference.

    When I moved into my apartment I already had a mindspring account and upgraded to the DSL. It took about 2 weeks to get the Ameritech to do step one, 1 week more for Covad, and an additional week to get Ameritech to fix the line to my apartment. So it took 1 month for the inital install. The price was $50 and has remained so for over a year, but it may be going up soon.

    This summer I decided to get cable and noticed the discount of $10 for RoadRunner. I put off the switch for awhile, but today I made the switch. It took 30 minutes at the mall and 5 minutes for hookup/unpacking and I'm online again at about the same speeds. The first two months are free so I'm getting a free month of digital cable and my Internet access will be $10 less per month.

    I say go with the cheapest you can get. Some plans like Earthlink bill you for the month so try to switch as that billing cycle is coming to a close. That will prevent double paying for access. (Setup email forwarding too)
     

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