I recently signed up for DSL internet service. I chose not to rent/purchase any of the modems they had available via the phone company so am now trying to decide on a modem to purchase. Can anyone offer suggestions on what I should/shouldn’t buy based on your personal experience? Also, if you had high speed internet via cable at one time and then switched to DSL, how would you compare the two? Am I making a poor choice to switch to DSL from high speed internet?
It’s up to you, but I’d consider renting whatever DSL Residential Gateway the company offers until you are sure you are going to stick with DSL. The Gateway should give you the functions of DSL modem, router, and wireless access point all wrapped up into one.
The advantage of renting here is that any device issues belong to the DSL provider. It’s usually only a few extra bucks a month and you aren’t stuck with a device you are not going to use if you switch back to cable.
You are still getting high speed internet with DSL; how high depends on your contractural arrangement and to some extent how far the physical line has to travel to get to the DSLAM (the thing that hooks up your physical phone line to the big internet trunk).
Cable v DSL:
Every experience is going to be different because both can be dependent upon physical conditions specific to your home. These include the number of simultaneous users and the distance the copper line (your telephone service line) travels to get back to the central DSL hookup (called the DSLAM; often but not always located in what the telephone company calls a Central Office). DSL signal deteriorates with distance; both can deteriorate with multiple simultaneous users.
Normally the service provider will guarantee a minimum download and upload speed. Sometimes you might get much faster service, esp if you have DSL and happen to be very near your DSLAM. Other times you might get slower service and find out the “guarantee” is sort of hard to enforce.
With DSL you have to put a little filter on phone-based devices.
I’ve had good luck with both. I am lazy and prefer a single bill, which in my case is Comcast.
You might also look at deals as well as grouped services (Internet-based phone, Digital TV/HDTV) but it sorta sounds like you already picked DSL for internet. I suspect you will be happy with it.
When it’s all hooked up, check your download and upload speeds periodically to see what you are actually getting. Call and bother them if they don’t step up to the speed you contracted for, or better.
If you buy your DSL modem or a Residential DSL Gateway, use a place (Best Buy, e.g) with an easy return policy in case you can’t get 'er working, or if you are cheap and sneaky, one you can return after you buy its cheaper equivalent on the net. I did not suggest that.
If you are going to buy one go for a router rather than a modem.
You can very often pick them up for next to nothing from people upgrading to wireless from wired.
Not from me though 'cause I hoard everything,‘just in case’
What the OP needs is informed opinions. So, lets move this to IMHO.
samclem GQ moderator
Maybe too late to give you this advice, but DSL has reached the end of the road for speed and capacity. Cable has a much brighter future.
My cable company just boosted the top speed offered to consumers to 10Mb/sec (down). That’s waaay below what could be offered if they really wanted to, without any changes in wiring or cables. DSL is fixed at the top end.
It may not seem like much difference now, but I predict 2-5 years from now, DSL users will be in the same boat as dialup users are now, relatively speaking, of course, as applications become more demanding.
Since I am in the process of doing exactly this, I will give my reasons. Cost, here DSL is about 1/2 the cost of cable. Of course the cable is faster, but not twice as fast (I know I can buy twice as fast cable, but the cost goes up as well). Second, at least for me there is a strong diurnal cycle in my bandwidth. When everyone else in the subdivision is surfing during the evening, my cable speed really drops. I expect DSL to be partially immune from that. OTOH, I am not canceling my cable connection until I try out the DSL at my house. So we shall see.
You are correct in your expectations.
It’s probably not the solution you want, but you should know that some cable companies offer a dedicated version of their service, which is really a guaranteed bandwidth, for a higher cost. In my neighborhood, they call that “business class”. I haven’t had that problem, as my service never seems to suffer a slowdown that I san detect or measure, but that’s probably because most of my neighbors don’t know what a computer is useful for, so they don’t use it at all.
I recently bought a Linksys WAG200g wireless modem/router for my home and I’m sufficiently impressed with it that I bought another for a friend whose modem died, and another to replace the modem/router at the office, which has been acting up a bit lately.
It was just really simple to set up, has good wireless signal strength, is compact and hassle-free. But that could probably be said of many different devices on the market too - I’ve had quite positive experiences with Netgear router/modems as well.
Thanks to all of you for your information and suggestions. It’s greatly appreciated.