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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

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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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by Stillatit In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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.

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by techperspective In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by McKayTech In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by techperspective In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by AllanKelly In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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.

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by techperspective In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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.

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by techperspective In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by rrmuller In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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.

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Tech Perspective: Cable modems vs. DSL

by techperspective In reply to Tech Perspective: Cable m ...

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