Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: cable vs dsl (is this still true? whats new?)

  1. #1

    Question cable vs dsl (is this still true? whats new?)

    I am copy/pasting an answer to the question 'Cable vs DSL' that I got from broadbandreports.com FAQ about 3 years ago. This same answer is still all I could find there. I am in the market for broadband again since I recently moved and want to revisit this question. Is this all still true? whats different? what is a good up to date answer to the 'Cable vs. DSL' question? I know as far as your actual performance goes your particular provider and area are key so the question of 'Cable vs DSL' here is intended to be general based just on the technologies.

    heres the copy/paste:
    Q: DSL vs CABLE? (#129)

    A: This is a question that is asked everywhere you look. Which do I want ... DSL or Cable?

    DSL service shares bandwidth amongst ALL users connected to the same DSLAM. Cable shares bandwidth amongst ALL users connected to the same CMTS.

    DSL's advantage?
    The dedicated circuit prevents other users from affecting your connection to any significant degree. (In most cases.)

    Cable's advantage?
    Generally cable can support higher bandwidth rates, and can usually provide service to a larger area than 18,000 wire-feet, DSL's limit.

    Cable modems are typically faster for downloads than most if not all DSL lines, when the cable infrastructure is new or well maintained. One of the most common complaints seen in our cable forums is that of increased latency and other problems as more subscribers in a given area come on line. Additionally, cable has a few other disadvantages when compared to DSL.

    The first disadvantage is that cable is an RF network -- this means that it is vulnerable to transient problems "within the network" from RF interference. Since cable is a shared media, there is a possibility that performance may degrade over time as additional households plug in, connect additional devices (videos, game machines etc.) to the TV lines.

    A cable company may react slowly to decreases in performance if it reacts at all, as they never sell access by speed, or promise consistent speed or latency.

    Another of the disadvantages of cable over DSL is the upstream (return path). Cable companies are using a very narrow band for return signalling, and this is positioned below all the space allocated for TV channels. This band is prone to RF interference and is very limited in capacity. Upstream transmissions may therefore compete with others in the area, get delayed (suffer high latency) due to noise fighting techniques, and cable TOS (Terms Of Service) typically prohibit any kind of constant upstream use. Internet use is shifting away from central servers broadcasting to many individuals and some interesting peer to peer applications are appearing (games, voice and video applications, communal libraries). These applications need a strong upstream channel.

    In summary, cable modems are currently good value and strong competition for residential casual use, often available more cheaply and far faster than their ADSL competition. However, DSL is probably the more future-proof system, offering digital direct from the internet infrastructure. If your DSL ISP is on the ball, your performance in either direction will not be different from peak hour to early morning, and DSL lines are available for a wide variety of purposes, both business and residential.

    end copy/paste

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England
    Posts
    50,877
    I can't find any of my lengthy answers to this question in the past threads...guess it's been a while.

    Anyways...it's a timeless debate, I see many people making the mistake of insisting one or the other (usually the one they have) is best for all.

    After I'm done laughing at them for 30 minutes, ...anyways...

    DSL, regarding the sharing...yes eventually EVERYONE shares bandwidth, but it's a matter of "how far up the stream" are you sharing? DSL you're generally not sharing until you're on a big fat highway. Cable you're sharing much sooner, more like..instead of sharing a big fat highway, you're sharing a country road with other traffic.

    Regardless, cable ISPs have grown a lot since the early days, where people shared far too much on a node in some high density areas. Years ago you'd hear about densely populated areas..cable users, reporting glacially slow online speeds at peak hours (after dinner) because everyone in the neighborhood was online. Still though in many areas, depending upon who your ISP is...some cable users still find slowdowns during peak hours.

    DSL is usually more consistant, "what you see is what you get" 24/7. Also "latency" is generally better when using DSL, it's generally more consistant for gamers.

    When you compare "basic entry level packages"...yes cable generally offers higher speeds than DSL. Depending upon your ISP of choice though, usually cable has one and only one speed package, whereas DSL you can often sign up for faster packages, like 6 meg pipes. Sure there are a few cable ISPs out there like OOL with their 10 meg connections....but I'm talking overall here. Is that 6 meg DSL package more expensive? Sure, but as always, you get what you pay for.

    One of the biggest factors though is "What ISPs are available to you?" Because that's a huge determining factor. With cable ISPs..you usually only have the choice of whatever cable co is providing in your area. But with DSL...many people make the mistake of judging DSL by their experience with the ISP they use....which unfortunately in most cases...is the local phone company. Big big BIIIIG difference in performance between local phone company DSL, versus a good quality ISP that provides DSL.

    Lets put it this way. I'll stick with my DSL through a good ISP, which I happily pay 4x what SNET/SBC Yahoo charges for their DSL. If I could not have my current DSL, I'd take the local cable...which is pretty good because I live in a relatively sparse area. Lastly, local phone company SNET/SBC DSL I'd take last.

    As an added note, a lot depends on the line quality of either. Ask one person who has "broadband A" what they think of it, they might have a new house, new lines, everything is in good shape, and it runs well, so they like it. Ask someone else a few streets down who has the same "broadband A" ISP...they have an old house, a tree rubbing on the lines coming in from the street, they often have issues with it. 2x different people, same neighborhood, yet 2x different experiences, one loves it, one hates it! //shrug
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  3. #3
    thanks for the reply YeOldeStonecat.

    So its basically the same deal as 3 or so years ago (aside from speed increases from both sides). No 'major' technology/system/network changes... As an example, since I now have 'digital' cable for TV I was wondering if this 'digital' network somehow changed the internet service.

    From what I know/read etc.. and based on the technology in general, DSL is what I want. Mainly for the following reasons:

    - dedicated line until farther up the stream where the pipes are/should be big enough to share.

    - I want good up speed for hosting personal servers. I would probably opt for the business class SDSL.

    - security. Not sharing a broadcast domain with my neighborhood is good. (see question 1 below about this)

    - no data transfer caps (I don't want to start a whole thing on caps here - I know some do and some don't)

    Obviously I need to check existing user feedback from my exact area before committing to anything.

    questions:
    1) since all users using the same head end on cable systems share the wire:

    A) is the data encrypted?

    B) what type of traffic, exactly, is actually shared/viewable? all downstream traffic? only broadcasts? all up and downstream traffic?

  4. #4
    fem the retarded rabbit mccoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    13,365
    - I want good up speed for hosting personal servers. I would probably opt for the business class SDSL.

    You should check out vdsl 2 lower latency since it's fiber to curb

    Cable is a broadcast traffic i'm 100 percent what's viewable traffic what isn't
    Comptia a+ n+

  5. #5
    by the way, when you say 'local phone company' would that include verizon?

    I just called verizon to see what they offer in my area and was unhappy that they did not gaurentee their speed. They offer 3/768 NOT GARAUNTEED in adsl for i think like $30/month or for the exact same thing with 1 static IP for like $70/month. what? thats crazy. Or for SHDSL of only 768/768 is was $200/month! that came with a gaurenteed speed, 15 static ips, several email boxes, etc...

    one of the advantages of DSL, in general, was a more gaurenteed speed, I guess not in my area. I'll call comcast and see what they offer. I'll also see who else may give me DSL as that is still my current preference.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    15
    The recent FCC ruling might have a serious impact on ISPs (especially area providers, nationwides like Earthlink are in better shape) providing DSL service. At best, their cost will go up and they will pass this on. At worst, we could all be stuck using the phone company as our ISP. I know of no one that is happy with Verizon as an ISP.

  7. #7
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England
    Posts
    50,877
    Quote Originally Posted by s1llym0nk3y
    by the way, when you say 'local phone company' would that include verizon?

    I just called verizon to see what they offer in my area and was unhappy that they did not gaurentee their speed. They offer 3/768 NOT GARAUNTEED in adsl for i think like $30/month or for the exact same thing with 1 static IP for like $70/month. what? thats crazy. Or for SHDSL of only 768/768 is was $200/month! that came with a gaurenteed speed, 15 static ips, several email boxes, etc...

    one of the advantages of DSL, in general, was a more gaurenteed speed, I guess not in my area. I'll call comcast and see what they offer. I'll also see who else may give me DSL as that is still my current preference.
    Local Phone Company...whatever the return address is on your phone bill, whoever is providing your phone service.

    They don't guarantee DSL speeds because DSL is distance dependent...hence "you can get up to" such and such speeds. However, it is more steady....whatever you get..you usually get all the time, consistant.

    sDSL is always way more expensive, because it's true bandwidth, up and down. Uses a heck of a lot more resources of the ISP.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mccoffee
    - I want good up speed for hosting personal servers. I would probably opt for the business class SDSL.

    You should check out vdsl 2 lower latency since it's fiber to curb

    Cable is a broadcast traffic i'm 100 percent what's viewable traffic what isn't
    thanks for the link mccoffe.

    However I'm not sure what you meant by "Cable is a broadcast traffic i'm 100 percent what's viewable traffic what isn't" ... I think you typoed : )

    are you saying that the cable networks are 100% broadcast both up and downstream? is so, then that answers one of my questions. Everything would be sniffable.

    I appreciate all the good info I'm getting from this site and those replying to this post. However I still would love specific answers to these questions about current cable networks:

    1) since all users using the same head end on cable systems share the wire:

    A) is the data encrypted?

    B) what type of traffic, exactly, is actually shared/viewable? all downstream traffic? only broadcasts? all up and downstream traffic?

    thanks all!

  9. #9
    fem the retarded rabbit mccoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    13,365
    http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cable-modem3.htm this may help with the cablemodems

    also i know cisco has an ariticle about how to setup cmts on a router might explain things more
    Comptia a+ n+

  10. #10
    Junior Member Lonaka6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    The Berkshires, Ma.
    Posts
    7

    A very happy verizon customer..

    hi Digitech, i've had my DSL (verizon) for close to 3 yrs now, and i've only lost my dedicated connection 4 times due to electrical line problems, all at the street level. for me its flawless(to a degree) anyhow.. Speed has never been a factor, is about the same day & night( depending on who i'm downloading from) and how many others are on that server as well. I personally have had to help more people fix there pc's & connections with cable over DSL. Besides that cable can & does shut down often, as opposed to a phone company, doesnt shut down, they cant, most us govermnment, fir, police, ambulance, etc... offices rely on them phone lines and our world would fail if they shut down because of a rain storm.. ..lol or any other problem for that matter.
    A very happy verizon DSL customer here
    If i had to choose over either, i would go back to DIAL-UP at least they wont be at my house 5x a month, like most cable users in my area have had to have done

  11. #11
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    69,983
    Quote Originally Posted by digitech
    The recent FCC ruling might have a serious impact on ISPs (especially area providers, nationwides like Earthlink are in better shape) providing DSL service. At best, their cost will go up and they will pass this on. At worst, we could all be stuck using the phone company as our ISP. I know of no one that is happy with Verizon as an ISP.

    I've heard good things about verizon

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4
    If it is anything to go by A cable provider was voted best broadband supplier in the UK

  13. #13
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Somewhere along the shoreline in New England
    Posts
    50,877
    Well....I switched a month ago from my business DSL, to Comcast cable.

    Went from a 1500/384 DSL account which I actually benchmarked at about 700/360....to a 6000/384 cable account which I actually benchmark at 6200/340.

    Yeah my downloads fly 'n stuff...but my online gaming.....almost daily I'll have several lag periods while playing. Like 15 second ping spikes 'n such...

    Probably going back to DSL.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    23

    My 2 cents!

    First of all, consider yourself lucky you have a choice. Our Verizon dsl stops at the house next to mine. In Titusville PA, Cebridge Cable first offered broadband 08/04. I had speeds between 400/500kbps to 1.5mb depending on traffic and I thought I was in heaven even at 400kbps after seven or eight years of dialup. Then 02/05 Armstrong Cable took over the franchise. They spent the summer rebuilding the architecture and I now average about 4.5mbps, rarely dropping below 4mb, for $27.95/month including modem. How long will this good service last? I have no idea! The thing is, if the most obvious fault with cable is the drop off in speeds during heavy traffic, but the speeds are still faster than dsl, and there are no other performance or quality issues, then it would seem cable might be a good choice.

  15. #15
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    69,983
    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat
    Well....I switched a month ago from my business DSL, to Comcast cable.

    Went from a 1500/384 DSL account which I actually benchmarked at about 700/360....to a 6000/384 cable account which I actually benchmark at 6200/340.

    Yeah my downloads fly 'n stuff...but my online gaming.....almost daily I'll have several lag periods while playing. Like 15 second ping spikes 'n such...

    Probably going back to DSL.

    DSL with who, your business account again?

Similar Threads

  1. How to Speed up Cable Modem downloads
    By make7upyoursman in forum Broadband Tweaks Help
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-28-02, 12:12 AM
  2. Is it possible to share a Cable modem, using only a hub?
    By gtcrispy in forum Networking Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-23-01, 12:16 AM
  3. Ultraband update
    By dannjr in forum General Broadband Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-10-01, 11:30 PM
  4. Charter Pipeline Blows
    By lizard_boy in forum General Broadband Forum
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 10-04-00, 01:06 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •