Cable internet vs DSL

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by K4KYV, Apr 8, 2007.

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  1. W4MAJ

    W4MAJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Since DSL, cable and fiber is NOT available at my QTH, my choices are dial-up or satellite. We switched to satellite two years ago and it seems to work fine. There are a couple times each day where the system bogs down, but it's still faster than dial-up.

    At my old QTH, a representative at Charter cable told me they "weren't investing in that Internet thingy, because they didn't think it was going to catch on". That was in 1999.
  2. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    To me both are about the same, frankly, because most cable ISP's cap you at a lower speed than what is available anyway.

    However, independence from the telco is why I've always chosen cable over DSL. I use VoIP for my home phone and doing that over DSL would be redundant. I'd have to pay for a home phone line anyway, because very few telcos offer DSL on a dry pair without phone service.

    So here is how you choose. Just choose what is faster for the best price overall at your location.

    In some areas that will be cable. In others that will be DSL.

    Both have their trade offs.

    Cable is shared bandwidth.

    DSL degrades as you get further from the central office and is unavailable after a certain distance, especially if your line has loading coils on it.

    Modern cable systems are mostly fiber and coax is used only for the "last mile." It's called HFC or Hybrid Fiber Coaxial. Therefore there wouldn't really be that many people sharing local bandwidth.

    DSL uses an old copper network. However, their bandwidth isn't shared except higher up the chain.

    Just to note how much variation between cable systems and DSL, here is what I've had:

    2001 - 2002 - Time Warner cable NYC 2Mbps down/256k up
    2002 - 2003 - Verizon DSL 1.5Mbps down/128k up
    2003 - 2004 - RCN cable 8Mbps down/800k up
    2004 - 2006 - Time Warner cable NYC 5Mbps down/512k up
    2006 - 2007 - Cablevision Optimum Online 30Mbps down/5Mbps up
    2007 - present - Service Electric Cable 10MBps down/512kbps up

    Some of my friends on DSL have 7M/1M connections.

    Others have speeds as low as 768k.

    Hope this helps.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I went with cable because DSL is not available in this rural area.  Comcast cable internet is as good, as their cable tv is bad, they are like two different companies.  Folks who I know, in this area, who have had both, seem to prefer cable.
  4. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's another vote for cable. I've had both cable and DSL, and I'm one of those who think it beats the pants off of DSL. I've got RoadRunner on Time Warner, and don't have any complaints at all. I came right up, and hasn't broken. Plus, I didn't load any roadrunner software, I just plugged in and took off. There are certain times when the speed dips...notably on Sun. Eve. when everybody's getting back to the city and going on the 'net. But it's still speedy, just not as speedy as usual. I remember noticing once that when I download big files, the speed appears to be throttled back by the ISP. It starts out speedy, then smoothly throttles back to something slower. It's not like the speed varies because of changing numbers of users. I know I saw this on DSL, can't remember if I've seen it on cable. But cable's fast enough that it wouldn't have been so noticeable.

    I had a bad experience with AT&T DSL. They fixed what wasn't broken, and broke it. They "improved it", but they screwed up the job, to the point where I lost dial tone for a couple of day until they finally got it right.


    At the time I did most of my internet in the wee hours, and everyday they'd take it down for maintenance. I finally got rid of it over that.

    Question about security to 'PYF. That's an important concern, one I hadn't heard about. Can you supply a/some link/s about this? Is cable not as secure as DSL because we're all interconnected on the cable whereas with DSL there's individual wires? But it's kind of moot with me, I don't have a landline, only a cell phone.

    And ''d you get fiber into your home?
  5. W2ILP

    W2ILP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use cable and it now works fairly well. I did the installation myself, which required a long run of 75 ohm coax through my house to a splitter where the cable enters for my TV sets.

    After doing this work I don't want to switch now. I don't want to deal with the phone company's DSL. Direct fiber is not available in my area yet... but when it is I might consider it.

    I don't think that there is any difference in security when you go from any system to any other. It may be possible to tap any system if there is enough incentive to do so. I could be wrong about this...but I don't worry about security when I select an ISP because I'm probably not worth the trouble to be tapped or monitored.

    w2ilp (Internet Lipservice Provider)
  6. KN4DS

    KN4DS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately, in my particular area, we have Bob's Cable and BubbaComm is the phone company.

    We're fortunate to have any Internet availability here, and the only "fiber" these guys know anything about is in their Metamucil.

    So I settle for my satellite dish for TV and I do have DSL at a whopping 3 mb/sec.
  7. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page


    Ten years ago, this might have been true on an experimental cable system where the network was one giant shared ethernet segment. But since cable systems went hybrid fiber-coax, it's a switched ethernet connection and you're not going to monitor your neighbor's connection. Well, unless you call watching "who-has" ARP packets coming in from the system's DHCP server monitoring your neighbor.

    The man-in-the-middle attack you describe can happen at any point along the internet. It's extremely unlikely to happen there though because the security is extremely GOOD at the network layer and because of technical issues that make a MITM attack there impractical. Gaining control of a router is one thing, but being able to reroute its SSL traffic to a destination implies that the destination has enough bandwidth to support the redirection, and the MITM application is fast enough to keep up with the entire SSL/TLS transaction in order to get meaningful data, and then reply back quickly enough in order to be undetected. Is it possible? Absolutely. It's far more likely to happen at a single destination as opposed to some spot on a backbone connection.

    That single point is the client computer sitting somewhere on the internet and not backbone or bank router.

    There's a new MITM attack involving Windows and Internet Explorer where malware monitors the communications between IE and the SSL libraries. Apparently IE doesn't natively speak SSL/TLS and instead relies upon Windows to do the work for it and the malware taps into the unencrypted internal communication. Brilliant piece of work that Internet Explorer is. Your fears there are not, unfortunately unfounded.
  8. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cable internet became available out where I live about six years ago and it was fairly good. But Charter has been having some corporate difficulties and while increasing prices, they've been slow to increase service. 3 megabits downlink and 256 kilobits uplink is anemic in the world of cable. And although they offer a 5 and 10 megabit service, the upload speeds still suck and there's constant complaints on that people have yet to achieve the speeds promised under 5 and 10 megabit.

    Verizon offered 3 megabit DSL with 768 k upload about 18 months ago and it's been as solid as cable for half the price. I'm extremely happy with it, and Verizon doesn't port filter anything. Makes it nice for getting into the IRLP link and fixing problems remotely.
  9. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    That used to be the case, but modern cable systems are pretty secure.

    You used to be able to click network neighborhood and browse your neighbors PC's because everyone was on the same segment.

    That's no longer true, fortunately, and additionally everyone seems to be behind a firewall or NAT device (router) of some sort, adding an additional layer of protection.

    Verizon has a fiber to the home service called FiOS.

    The fiber goes directly to your house, and you can get phone, internet and TV delivered directly over fiber straight to your house. The TV portion uses a converter box with fiber on one end and coax on the other. It's fantastic if you can get it.

    The cable companies are howling of course, because they are no longer a monopoly.

    Cablevision in NJ has been showing propaganda ads talking about "Verizon's cable tax" which basically has to deal with Verizon lobbying the state to change franchise fees.
  10. w3mv

    w3mv Guest

    You guys are lucky. I live close to two large metropolitan centers and I cannot get cable, DSL, or IEEE 802.16 (a.k.a. WiMax). Satellite is also a bust because it does not support IPSEC very well due to the propagation delay.
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