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Teck Quest: Slow lines??


johnnysneakers
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I have not yet broken down to buy a high speed line, rather I am using my regular phone line, thanks to MaBell. However, in the past few months I have noticed it has become real fucking slow (waiting for connections or pages to open). Much worse than ever, even on days or times when the internet should not loaded by business traffic. Friends and colleagues have had the same complaints, and mostly have decided to buy the high speed lines. I do not recall it ever being as bad as until around January this year. This is too much of a coincidence.

 

Is there a plot by the phone companies to force us all to upgrade to high speed? Are you experiencing the same problems? Is there anything that can be done, short of shelling out more $$$ to the phone or cable companies?? I do not mind making major purchases, but I hate having to pay another regular monthly fee, month after month to these companies.

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I did the phone modem thing for a few years and upgraded to Cable nearly a year ago. Since changing "zillions" more people have also changed which makes the Cable run slower. Cable and phone lines are slowed down by traffic. The best bet is DSL, which is offered thru the phone companies that have fiber optic service. Unfortunately its not in my area yet. If you have a choice I wouldn't hesitate to go with the DSL, if you don't then the cable is a lot better than the phone line (the difference is like night and day). No way around the monthly payments forever and ever as far as I know.

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I'm not a hardcore tech, but here's my read on your query. The problems you're experiencing are not a conspiracy but an Internet that has grown too fast and has tons more traffic than it was ever designed to accommodate.

 

These days it is not atypical for there to be 15+ server connections between you and the site you're connecting to on the Web, and with each "middleman" you run into issues that have nothing to do with the speed of your connection. Picture a highway toll plaza where otherwise fast-moving traffic gets bottlenecked as people slow down, stand in line, wait their turn, etc.

 

I've had DSL for over a year. It is both ridiculously wonderful AND a huge pain in the butt. Quality of service varies. Technical support is non-existent. I myself wouldn't be caught dead giving my DSL business to the local phone monopoly. That said, though, they're $10 a month cheaper.

 

Check out the provider ratings at:

 

http://www.dslreports.com

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Before changing your networking I'd investigate your ISP... they just may be woefully inadequate with their servers causing the bottleneck independent of your 'lines'. A few years back I had to change providers twice before I got satisifactory service -- one provider who took forever to upgrade to V.90 modems (must have thought it a passing fad, as they became ultimately) and the other Earthlink was just too slow even with 56K access. Finally, AT&T Worldnet provided acceptable service and has continued to do so, for me anway. I'd kill for cable but my cable company is computer lame too.

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Thanks guys. I just read the DSL reports as best as I could understand them, but it is pretty heavy tech-no talk for me. Simple question, is DSL the same thing as a high speed phone line? I can get this from my local Telco. And are you saying you both prefer this over cable's computer connection? Thanks very much. I might be experienced with guys, but not lines.

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Guest EvilSwine

I switched over to cable service via @home about two weeks ago and even set up a WIRELESS network in my house..wheeee! Took a while to work out all the screwiness with the settings I had to do on my router/wireless base station, but it works great and I can use my cable modem on more than one computer anywhere in my house without having to pay for extra IPs or modems. That said, for the last week, I've had a lot of lockups and slowdowns. But...downloading something in just 5 or 6 minutes that would take 2 1/2 hours with my old modem or watching video on the web or listening to music without it being all herky-jerky is worth it. And I'm only paying $20 more/month than I did with my old dialup, but for me my internet connections and computer equipment are deductible. It's one of the benefits of putting dirty pictures on the internet and making money from all the horny, sweaty men who sign up for sponsors' sites.I still keep AOL as a backup dialup because cable can still fail, but I almost never use it otherwise.

 

If anyone wants to check out the wireless networking thing, then check out http://www.buffalotech.com/ . It's the site of the company that makes the equipment I bought and if you don't have some freaky stuff to deal with from your ISP, it's very easy to set up. Actually, it's really easy to set up otherwise, too. Just that I didn't know it at the time..heh...

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I keep my AOL dial-up, too. Have had to use it more than once. Their rate is a reasonable $9.95.

 

With always-on DSL, cable too, security becomes an issue. I use ZoneAlarm firewall, which is good and free too boot. If you're not sure how secure your system is, check out Steve Gibson's site. His Shields UP! server will probe your ports (yeow) and tell you if you're vulnerable.

 

http://www.grc.com

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Guest Kenny

I've been thinking of getting DSL service thru Verizon BUT many friends have it and it has been nothing but a headache for them. They are DOWN alot of times and their e-mail service breaks down every week or so. I understand there is a class action lawsuit going against them. I'm not technically inclined but from what I can gather, DSL service with Verizon (and I understand most other providers such as Earthlink, Telocity, etc) have to use Verizon lines and they also have problems. Until all of this improves, I will not pay $40 monthly for bad service.

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I have Telocity DSL service and would no sooner give it up than I'd give up afternoons with Joshua (in Chicago).

 

Yes, Telocity is hamstrung by any problems the local telcos may suffer in the markets they serve. But it's actually pretty rare and I've been very happy with them for the last year.

 

In my area, Ameritech now has a cheaper DSL offering but it's slower than Telocity's. (You save about $10/month and get roughly half the speed.)

 

DSL is definitely preferable to cable modem service, but either is so much faster than dial-up it's worth the switch. Even lowly ISDN lines are better than traditional POTS lines and that's all you can get in some locales.

 

If you have multiple computers to plug into the DSL or cable connection, consider a Linksys router. For about $150 it will share your fast connection with up to four computers (more if you plug it into a hub) with NO CONFIGURATION and it comes with adequate firewall protection.

 

My $.02.

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Guest EvilSwine

I got the router/wireless base station because I didn't want to run a bunch of wires. Plus now I can take my laptop outside the house if I feel like getting the sun and playing with the internet. I dont' really need to worry about firewalling because the base station uses IP masquerading for the PCs connected to it.

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Security still worries me a bit with wireless networking.

 

Just recently, I saw a news report from a Computer Security conference. For some reason, everyone seemed surprised that attendees were monitoring wireless transmissions and successfully hacking into the hotel's computer sytem! LOL

 

Still I'll probably go wireless before long. Having two cats, getting rid of dangling wires is a GOOD thing. ;-)

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Guest EvilSwine

Yeah...it can cost a lot to run new wiring in a house. I always laugh at the commercials our cable company runs about how ugly a satellite dish looks once it's installed because of the installation job they did on this house. I'm not sure which is worse, having a dish dangling from your exterior walls or having some sub-genius installer run wires along the wall and drilling holes.

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The problem is more likely in your ISP than in Internet

routers and backbones.

 

ISPs oversell their services, roughly analogous to airlines

overbooking (except that the ratio of service available to

what is sold is much greater with ISPs than with airlines).

This is how dialup service, DSL, and cable modem can be sold

at affordable prices; there is no guarantee that you'll

always get the full performance.

 

I have partial T1 frame relay service to my home, and I almost

never have problems with network congestion. When service is

slow, it is almost always the server at the other end that is

overloaded, not the routes in between. (You can tell the

difference if you understand how to use tools like ping and

traceroute.)

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Guest miketx

I recently made the plunge into broadband at home using a cable modem. To defray the cost I got rid of my home phone line (I have a cell phone and never used the phone line except to connect to the net anyway).

 

For my company I spent most of last year trying to get something other then a dial-up account that was affordable & reliable. Because of the location of my office, the only available choice I had was an IDSL. I'm now on my third provider; the first one was never able to get it to work (Hi Southwestern Bell!), the second went bankrupt shortly after installation, the third is Covad.

 

The install at home was less then 24 hours after calling & I could not be happier. Since I had always used a dial-up, the differance in speed was amazing even if the download speed was half of what I get now it would still be worth the extra $. I downloaded a 133meg file in 12 minutes a couple of days ago. I wouldn't had even attempted it before. I also use ZoneAlarm. I currently am able to watch 2 live shows, listen to a radio station & play marble drop all at the same time! (I'm just giddy over my speed)

 

Before making the plunge, definately check out the reviews on dslreports & also the forum sections. Because of the consolidations/bankrupcies in the dsl market, you have some other options for broadband connectivity.

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Guest EvilSwine

I've been having problems with my connection locking up for the past week or so. I'm pretty sure it's on @home's end. Began noticing the last few days that it doesn't always affect my logging into their mail server, though. Not so bad I can't live with it. When I had it installed this nice Swedish guy came out to check to see what the problem was with my service because even after getting all my connections set up there were still some problems.

 

He actually went ahead and ran a heavier cable line for me and all without charging like he was supposed to because they'd screwed things up at the head office and he felt that they should have run a new line when they installed my digital cable, anyway. Turns out the if you have an older, thinner cable line and have your modem at the very end of the line someplace in your house, the resistance on the older line may cause problems with your signal. The frequency is lower on the cable internet signal than it is on the digital cable signal. He was cute, too..heh...

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Guest jizzdepapi

so what happened with the Swedish guy anyway...

 

the original poster didnt say exactly what he was looking for but that he was unhappy with his current surfing speed.

 

Right now, I can't really justify the expense of maintaining a faster connection to the internet--don't need one--though that may change in the future. Here's two low-tech things I do regularly that have proven to help me: I clear my disk and memory caches in AOL and Netscape (maybe I only need to do one or the other) and uninstall both programs and re-install them (finally have a use for all of those AOL 6.0 CDs besides making them into coasters). I download Netscape from the web. I empty my cache daily and remove/re-install the programs monthly or if I have problems. Seems to help.

 

jizz

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