The Difference Between Cable and DSL
Previously, I had written about my experiences getting Cable and DSL up in my new place. Going through all the machinations made me realize a couple of key differences between Cable and DSL.
As deployed in the majority of cases, Cable simply has more available bandwidth to the customer premises than DSL. At my old place, the maximum Qwest could deploy to my house was 7 megabits down. That was before you accounted for protocol overhead and assumed I was right next to the remote terminal (RT). At the new place, I could theoretically get 24mb if I lived at the RT. However, ADSL2+ (as deployed by CenturyTel) has a real throughout of about 10mb/s at any reasonable distance from the RT. My modem is training at ~9mb, but is only giving me 7.6mb/s. In either case, the upstream is limited to 1mb theoretical maximum.
My cable connection burts well above these numbers easily. Current speedtest are well above 10mb over about 2mb. Even if the connection drops down to 8mb/s, which is the speed I’m paying for, that’s still faster. There are reports that Comcast is selling 16/2 (16mb/s download, 2mb/s upload) and I know the specs will allow for much great bandwidth!
The next point, which I think is more important, is all about the actual setup of DSL versus Cable Modem. Generally speaking, the cable modem is a plug and play affair. You might have to call Customer Service to give them your HFC MAC to get your Cable Modem up and running, but that’s it.
With DSL, the device requires a certain amount of configuration. You have to enter crap like your login and password. Possibly, you’ll have to do a lot more, like dig up the right settings like I did. Point is: it’s not plug and play.
If cable is faster and easier to set up than DSL, it’s no wonder that people are jumping on the bandwagon and jumping away from the local exchange carrier. The technology is just not there. What do you think?