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  • #2109222

    Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

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    by techperspective ·

    Cable modems and DSL are competing for domination in the high-speed Internet access market. If you’re working from home or a small satellite office where T-1 or frame relay isn’t available, you know that quality of service (QOS) is just as importantas price. According to Gartner, xDSL architecture is clearly superior to cable in terms of QOS. But if cable service is your only option, you shouldn’t necessarily write it off.

    Do you use cable modems or DSL for business remote access? What havebeen your experiences with it? Are you happy with your service? What complaints do you have? How important is QOS to you? Do you have a service-level agreement with your provider? If so, what does it entail?

    You can read the related Gartner article, which will be posted 3 A.M. Monday, at
    http://www.techrepublic.com/article.jhtml?id=r00220010212ggp01.htm

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    • #3844136

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by stillatit ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      We use ADSL, SDSL and Cable modem to link our remote offices and salespeople (about 25 sites). Our experience is that Cable is actually superior to xDSL in a number of installations:
      a) For the money, cable is much faster, at least in the geographical areas where we have cable users. A $39/month cable connection often gives you 512K or better, while a 384K SDSL from a large carrier runs about $300.
      b) Installation time on cable (again where we have used it) is typically two weeks. Installation on xDSL is 4 to 6 weeks, and often takes multiple tries.
      c) Cable service installation usually involves 1 company. DSL if not from a phone company may involve up to 4 (ISP, DSL provider such as Covad, Phone company, and contract installer)
      d) If you have cable modem, it is effectively distance insensitive. If you are out at the hairy edge of the DSL range you may just barely have enough signal, which results in the signal dropping frequently. This is an issue when you use vpn, Terminal Server or something else which notices when its heartbeat stops.
      e) DSL companies are having problems and some are going out of business. We have had two of our DSL vendors go Chapter 11 so far. Cable companies have not had this problem so far (dependingon how you consider mergers).
      f) On the other hand, DSL is more available in business locations (office buildings), you can get static IP’s (sometimes), and you can theoretically get a very fast connection (if you are not too far from the office).
      As always, your mileage may vary.

    • #3850082

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by mckaytech ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      With all due respect to the Gartner Report, the theoretical capabilities of the architecture mean little compared to the practical matters of availability and vendor reliability. In only the rarest of circumstances has there been a practical choicebetween cable and DSL at a particular location. You work with what is available.

      That having been said, my personal experience with cable has been better on the technical side and worse on the legal/administrative side. Cable has been less costly, quicker to get up and running and has generally had excellent reliability and useability.

      On the downside, the cable companies are regulated monopolies and their Terms of Use are frighteningly one-sided and dysfunctional. Specifically, they reserve the right to terminate service without notice (even on a commercial account), prohibit self-hosting of DNS, provide an absolute right of assignment for their obligations but require written approval for the customer to do so, and so on. And, of course, they laugh maniacally if one should be so bold as to even ask about an SLA.

      On the DSL side, there has been a concerted vendor effort to treat the connection like the business asset that it is and I appreciate that. Terms of Use are generally realistic and SLAs are easily negotiated.

      On the down side, at least in our market, the availability of DSL is severely contrained and since most arrangements will involve three or more vendors, coordination and provisioning have very longlead times and it very rarely works the first time the circuit is turned up. And, of course, the cornerstone is the local loop and our ILEC here in Arizona has been nearly legendary in its ability to avoid getting the job done on time.

      On balance, I’m agnostic between the two.

      paul

    • #3843356

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by allankelly ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      Before moving to Austin, I had cable modem service in Atlanta. I decided to sign up for DSL here, thinking it would be faster (and believing the salespeople’s pitch). Monthly charge for XDSL was $80 and download speeds averaged between 143 Kbps and 320 Kbps. Telco connection is in brand new aparment complex with all-new wiring. I use for personal surfing as well as working from home into corporate network through VPN. After one month I switched providers and went back to cable modem. Monthly charge is $40 and download speeds range from 700 Kpbs to 1.4 Mbps. Don’t believe the hype. DSL still has a long way to go. Plus, the DSL provider absolutely refused to let me use my firewall/router, claiming it would interfere with their service. The cable company didn’t have any problem with my using it. I cannot recommend DSL at all, although it probably depends on the ISP you select. Be careful.

    • #3840805

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by shanghai sam ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      After using both Cable and DSL I would have to say that DSL has (at least in this area) the best QOS and price. In the first building we had Cable service. We had a 740kbs down and 256kbs up sharded among about 25 workstations, speed was always available, service wasn’t. On many occasions, the signal would be dropped, forcing a reboot. When that wouldn’t work it could take up to 3 days for the Cable company to get a tech to our site and get the problem fixed. We are in an area that has fewbusiness and none of them have Cable running so our line is not congested at all. When the division that I work in moved to the building next door, I looked into DSL. The up/down speed is 256/640kbs, its only $20 more per month than Cable (which includes a needed additional phone line), and I’ve only had to reboot the modem (which was free and includes a router and firewall) twice, with one of the times being after the phone company changed the connection to the building. The only problem I had was with the setup of the modem, and thier phone tech support was outstanding. He got me up and running within 15 minutes (we had to reconfig the modem). Far and away I would pick DSL over Cable any day.

    • #3840803

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by rrmuller ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      After using both Cable and DSL I would have to say that DSL has (at least in this area) the best QOS and price. In the first building we had Cable service. We had a 740kbs down and 256kbs up sharded among about 25 workstations, speed was always available, service wasn’t. On many occasions, the signal would be dropped, forcing a reboot. When that wouldn’t work it could take up to 3 days for the Cable company to get a tech to our site and get the problem fixed. We are in an area that has fewbusiness and none of them have Cable running so our line is not congested at all. When the division that I work in moved to the building next door, I looked into DSL. The up/down speed is 256/640kbs, its only $20 more per month than Cable (which includes a needed additional phone line), and I’ve only had to reboot the modem (which was free and includes a router and firewall) twice, with one of the times being after the phone company changed the connection to the building. The only problem I had was with the setup of the modem, and thier phone tech support was outstanding. He got me up and running within 15 minutes (we had to reconfig the modem). Far and away I would pick DSL over Cable any day.

    • #3840760

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by debunker ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      DSL is great when it works. When it doesn’t work, mean time to repair is measured in days instead of minutes. It usually results in the Telco, the DSL provider, and the ISP all blaming each other. Many times, the problem is intermittent and difficult to isolate. There’s a good reason why most ISPs won’t write QoS terms into your agreement – – even mentioning the term “QoS” around some DSL reps will result in peals of laughter. The moral of the story: If you install DSL, plan on installing a backup access method (like ISDN) at the same time.

      The observation that cable modem service is sporadic because of shared bandwitdth is not a big issue for most businesses at the moment, since this problem is usually seen evenings/weekends during peak residential usage. During the day, there is usually a surplus of bandwidth. But as with DSL, getting fast response during outages is not a realistic expectation (although mean time to repair is better than DSL).

    • #3840738

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by brianclark44 ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      DSL QoS is a myth. Sure, you get guaranteed QoS between you and your ISP, but what happens then? It is a bandwidth game these ISP’s play. If your ISP doesn’t have the back-end bandwidth to support their client base, then your QoS to them is meaningless.

      These big cable providers have deep pockets, and can spend money on the necessary infrastructure. We choose cable over DSL when we can. But, even in the Chicago marketplace (where we are) we often don’t have the choice.

    • #3840736

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by jone1 ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      I generally agree with the assesment.

      It is possible to design a bad network with either technology.

      One important thing, is that you are limited by your proximity to the central office with DSL, but with cable, the limit is where they choose to build out. It would be interesting to see a map overlay of the difference between the two. (Of course this is probably considered proprietary information) If the cable companies are smart they will concentrate their buildout in the suburban (read higher income) areas that DSL can’t currently reach.

    • #3840710

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by wirehead ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      As cable becomes a media that can support a business over a broad interstate area, it will beat DSL. Most of the DSL manufacturers are losing money. Some units are poorly designed; if the unit powers down, it loses its IP address. Other units have thermal problems. Others can’t be manageed by a NMS.

      Installing DSL is tricky. Voice coils have to be removed and DSL is subject to AM interference. Bridge taps can also cause problems. Trying to run a DSL network on 30 year old copper wiring isn’t a good idea.

      Soem of the RBOCs like SBC are replacing copper wire with fiber. The CLECs won’t be able to offer DSL service on these lines becuase DSL requires copper. In the long haul, DSL will lose out as copper is replaced with fiber.

    • #3840682

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by cgiglio13 ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      I do not have extensive experience with cable modems, but as far as DSL is concerned, I think it stinks. Our company purchased 2 DSL lines from Verizon and we have (at best) a 50% chance of them being up and usable.

    • #3840629

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by stevenzwillick ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      Originally I attempted DSL from AOL. This gave me better Internet Access speed than my 56k dial up, but this was a VPN that was not on all the time and I had to get access which took for ever.

      Next I attempted to get DSL from Verizon. 8 weeks to order the line? NO way!

      Now I have Road Runner Cable from Time Warner. This has been anywhere from 4x to 12x my previous dial up connection. Is this stable? NO! IT is better than dial up!

    • #3840590

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by eric_p ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      We use SDSL at work through UUnet and Rhythms Communications. We have had several outages at the onset of the service, all but one fixed by UUnet in minutes. Eventually UUnet switched us to a different PVC and we have been trouble-free since. However, our first outage lasted nothing less than 2 weeks. “Someone” at Rhythms mistakenly sent our LEC a work order to close our circuit and UUnet had to initiate a ‘new customer’ work order for our circuit to be restored. UUnet credited us for a month of service even though it does not offer SLAs for its DSL lines.

      On a general basis, I think the article fails to mention the disparate levels of service between DSL providers. Through talking with colleagues, I have reached the unscientific conclusion that one has better DSL service by going through an ISP rather than contracting solely with the LEC. It seems LECs treat their DSL customers as just one among thousands whereas ISPs are one of the LEC’s largest customers and can get things moving much faster. Case in point, our roll-out was achieved in two weeks (from order to live), while the *average* roll-out for LEC-only DSL customers in our area is 4 weeks !

    • #3840566

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by thegreatone ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      First I would like to reply to the old wive tales and mis-information being spewed out about Cable modems being shared, and compromising bandwith.

      1. Cable and DSL and availabilty is geographically specific.

      2. The cable provider in our area use’s programmable modems, and there would have to be a million user logged on, simultaneously for the network to bog down.

      3. We are locate in So. Cal., and use both Charter Pipline Cable Modem service and Pacbell DSL. The pricing and performance are nearly identical. However when it comes to reliablilty, the cable modem is without question superior to DSL.

    • #3840515

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by merl ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      I have had ADSL in my home office since Oct, 2000. I consistently get 1.1meg to 1.2 meg down and 250K to 350K up (using DSLReports.com speedcheck). I am 13,000′ from the central switch. I have Earthlink/Sprint service. I have had Earthlink as my ISPfor several years and have been pleased with their service.

      USWest (now Qwest) is my local phone service provider. Although they offer DSL in my local calliing area they do not offer it in my local area. I ariginally tried to get DSL through another provider at $40 per month and no set up fee and free modem with a 1 year contract. They were unable to negotiate a line from Qwest and after about 2 months gave up. Earthlink offered $50/mo, free set-up, free modem with a 6 month contract. I was up and running in three weeks (one week was Qwest bringing up the line from the central switch to the box in front of my house). I have experienced very little QOS problems. I had one partial day when most of Colorado apparently lost service. The Earthlink Spring Merger caused some logging on issues when the format/content of the username changed a couple of times and the mailserver address has switched back and forth a couple of times between Earthlink and Mindspring (Sprint). The only other problem was a pleasant one when it took two months and a call from me before they realized they weren’t billng me…They gave me those two months free.

    • #3843183

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by gmatt087 ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      At our company, we use whatever we can get a hold of. We have remote business users in the East Coast as well as the West Coast. Preferrably, we prefer DSL because it’s much more reliable than cable.

      Case in point, we had a business user in theEast Coast connecting to our network using Cable modem. His connection got so congested that our RAS had to drop him because he was not showing any sign of activity. However, after logging out and logging back into his cable ISP, he was able to re-connect at a higher speed. We definitely were not happy with Cable.

      The one thing I like about Cable is the pricing for static IP Addresses. It usually is packaged with the service so we don’t have to pay extra. With DSL, you have to specify astatic IP package, which costs you a little more per month.

      As for DSL, we found it has been much more reliable. True, the distance from the CO determines your connection speed, but we rather have a consistent slower speed than one that can be radically fast and slow. For all employees with DSL, the average connection speed is about 500 Kbps, which we found very reasonable. DSL is definitely our direction for its QOS.

    • #3843148

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by fajarpri ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      I live in Indonesia (it’s South of Singapore). We have this company that offers cable for internet access. So, when our boss wants to get connected, I recommended cable to him. The installation only took 2 days and the access speed was very impressive. But, stability? No. On the second day, the access down every few minutes. And it went that way ever since. The cable company did send their technicians to examine the problem, but it stayed.

      So, finally we canceled the subscription and applied for traditional leased line using phone line. They offers 98.5% availability. And so far the QOS is excellent.

      So much for the technology. Hehe…

    • #3842983

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by dennisjh ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      We are a 3rd party provider of IT consulting and support services in the New England area. Recently, the prime provider for most of our customers went belly-up. With a 30 day window we, like their 3500 other DSl customers, went scrambling to get nother provider. We sign up with two carriers and figured, that whoever got there first would be the winner. Much to our surprise, one of the carriers went under three days later. The other waited for another two weeks to close its doors. Our company, tired of all of the runaround, decided to deal with a wholesaler of DSL instead of a retailer. Enter the phone company. Since most of our customers requested SDSL service to replace the ADSL service, distance restrictions become the key word.Service? Right now, our customers and our company wish we had any service. At this point, we would be happy with poor service as opposed to no service.

    • #3833113

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by abernawr ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      The technical perspective is all well and good, but tech support killed my dsl and moved me to cable. I had dsl for 2 months. I hate the PPPoE client. Every call to tech support was a deinstall and reinstall all software first before anything else would happen.
      Before I would depend on dsl for my business, get a Service Level Agreement in writing. Then, hold the provider to that Agreement.

    • #3884343

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by glenne ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      What is the QOS rating when you sign up for DSL and months later it’s still not installed?

    • #3884286

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by dabutler ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      In South Jersey, I have had Verizon DSL for about 18 months, and It worked fine. When I wanted to network, however, I opted for cable, and am just as happy with it. I do not have a standard bandwith with cable, as I did with DSL, but at times my download speeds are 5 times what they were with dsl (which was a split 512 down/ 90 up). I am still evaluating the two, have both connected, but am leaning toward dropping the dsl. Both work fine – both have interruptions from time to time. Both arethe same price. Both are easy to use.

    • #3884256

      Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      by techperspective ·

      In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

      This question was closed by the author

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