dsl or cable?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by goodtimes5, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2004
    Bay Area
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of dsl vs. cable? The two companies I remember off the top of my head are SBC and Comcast, respectively. I currently use AOL 56k, and AOL has basically stopped upgrading for Macs. I don't believe the service is worth $23 a month since I use a separate screen name to chat, separate email since AOL is all spam now, and Safari to surf. My family has 4 computers to connect.
  2. iLikeMyiMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    St. Louis
    I have SBC dsl and its kinda slow (1224 / 209 kbps)
    The good thing is that its pretty cheap at around $27 per month. The only major things wrong with it is slow upload and crappy customer support.
  3. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    i'd go with comcast, my ex has it, and she has over twice the bandwidth i have with (SBC/Covad) DSL for about the same cost.
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    DSL is more private because cable allows your neighbors, in theory, to snoop your packets. Also, DSL speeds are more uniform, since the shared nature of cable means that, if everyone's on at once, speeds slow down. A bit.

    However, in practice, cable is usually faster but more expensive. IMHO, I'd get the cheapest service that provides you with what you consider to be sufficient speed. Cable might give you a break in price if you already have cable service, but, generally, DSL is cheaper.

    One brother and I have cable. The other brother has DSL. We're all equally happy about it. The brother with DSL has significantly slower download speeds but much faster uploads - nice for video chatting.
  5. micsaund macrumors 6502


    May 31, 2004
    Colorado, USA
    The answer to your question will vary *widely* depending on the local deals, how congested the network in your region is, etc.

    In general, cable modems will usually be cheaper for more bandwidth. However (and I believe that SF/Silicon Valley suffer from this problem), the aggregate network bandwidth of the entire cable-modem segment is shared between all users. That means that if you have 1000 people on the "segment" you are on and everyone is downloading simultaneously, you're all going to split the available bandwidth and thus be pretty slow. However, in areas where the cable companies were able to plan the rollout better (and keep the number of homes on each segment under control), this is generally not a problem. For example, I routinely peg my 3.0mbps (about 380KB/sec) cable connection.

    DSL, on the other hand, is delivered via your telephone line and is generally more available to more people. However, the price you pay for DSL, while somewhat cheaper, usually buys you *much* less bandwidth. For example, in my area, my 3.0mbps cable modem is $46/month whereas DSL (IF I could get it) is only 768kbps for around that same price. However, if you live in a poorly designed cable-modem area as described above, DSL will probably get you more reliable speeds.

    Both DSL and cable providers frequently run agressive pricing deals. My buddy in Texas got SBC (IIRC) DSL with a 3.0mbps downstream/768kbps upstream on a "special deal" for a year at around $50/month (normally closer to $100). He's obviously going to have to figure-out what to do at the end of the year when deal runs-out, but I would not be surprised if they renewed him just to keep the money coming-in. Here in my area, ComCrap is offering a special (for new customers only :mad: ) where the first 6 months are half price (so around what you're paying for AOL now). Thus, you'll just have to talk with people in your area and find-out how pleased they are with whatever service and make your decision based upon the specials, performance, etc.

    BTW, an excellent forum to go read what people think of various ISPs is: http://www.dslreports.com/

    Hope that helps,
  6. rstroud macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2004
    I have Insight Broadband (Cable) and I couldn't be happier. It's very fast and I get about 2.0-2.7 mbs download or so. Plus, if you're a subscriber, you get it for 29.00 a month. If you're not, 39, which is okay (especially if you split it between people). Some people in my area have SBC/Yahoo! DSL and have had an okay experience. I'd say, go with what you want: Cable usually has the higher bandwidth and is more expensive. DSL is faster than dialup and offers what you want at a cheaper rate. I would also look at installation costs as well...Mine was only 29.99 to set up and sometimes they do a free installation deal. Check around.
  7. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I have Adelphia High Speed cable internet @ $26 a month. I have that rate guaranteed through April. It is very fast. Try and get a promo deal.
  8. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I've had both and I prefer cable. It's faster and I've never lost a connection. With DSL I'd lose connections from time to time.

    I don't know what DSL costs these days, but from 1999-2001 I paid $50 a month. That was with Pacific Bell, which is now SBC. Since late 2001 when I got cable I've paid $35 a month.

    Another benefit of cable is VoIP. You can run VoIP through a DSL connection too, but then you're still paying the phone company for the DSL line so it doesn't make as much sense. I now have nothing to do with the phone company.

    Results will vary depending on your area and the local providers. Have a look at broadbandreports.com to check out your area and see what people have to say.
  9. craigdawg macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    I had cable for about 14 months and switched to DSL. In my experience there were wild fluctuations with bandwidth due to the reasons mentioned above. At least where I live (Sactown) DSL has been much more stable and available. I would have stuck with cable were it not for the dropped connections in hot weather (like today 95 degrees).

    That being said, my advice would be to go for the cheapest possible service.
  10. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Apr 10, 2003
    The "Garden" state
    cable has been very good to me. especially comcast, as they keep rolling out faster connections and such.
    i would find out whether any of the cable providers in your area are significantly faster (like supercharged comcast here) and compare from there.
  11. tliptak macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2002
    I have DSL and my friend has Cable.

    Both are nice.



    Fast Download
    Cheap if you get cable TV


    Shared with your area


    Little Cheaper
    Speed Stays consistent
    Faster upload

    Slower then Cable for download

    I need the faster upload so I went with DSL and he just wanted to download so he got cable.

    If you don't upload much. Think of uploading as videos and pictures to websites sending big e-mails ect. Go for Cable

    Need to upload go for DSL

    Next month I will be getting 2mb each way dsl which is very fast but check the speed and prices. Some cable has the same upload and much faster download for the same price.

    Remember whatever you get it will seem insanely fast compaired to your dialup.
  12. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    I've had both, and am much happier with cable.

    I have Covad DSL at work, and had Verizon at my last house.

    I get home after a day of work and find the cable speeds to be markedly faster than both my previous and current DSL suppliers.

    Good Luck!
  13. Nspace macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    My first high speed internet connection was DSL. I had to install phone filters, and there were numerous problems with the service and their tech support. The upload speeds are slow and so were the downloads.

    I then switched to cable and have been really happy. Recently they upgraded the service and I get a little over 600 kb/s down and 100 kb/s up.

    I never notice slowdowns though, it is very consistant for me. Mind you I do live around a fair amount of old people haha.
  14. zakee00 macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2004
    Anchorage, Alaska
    its really weird how different the experences are here. i get dsl from my local phone provider, and its great. 512/512 Kbps is fast, but there is faster. i might upgrade to 8Mbps DSL with digital tv. what they do is bring digital tv in over the phone lines, and they package it with hyperfast dsl. 8Mbps!!!!! :D if you have the choice, i'd go with dsl....i get outages about once a month for routine maintenance, but thats it. consistant download and upload speeds of 40-50KBps.
  15. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    I think you jinxed me.. when i got home (4pm), my DSL was out, and it didn't come back online til just now. :p

    edit: i've had cable (Charter) before, but I got an offer for DSL ($35 for 1 year, then $45 thereafter) for twice the speed, and $20 less. That's why I switched. If cable was the same cost/speed i would have kept it.
  16. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
    sbc yahoo!

    i have sbc yahoo! dsl and it's a lot faster than i would have expected. it's hard for me to tell the difference between it and the lan at my school, then again i cant tell the difference between aac 128 and lossless or hd and sdtv lol. ive heard from my friends w/ cable that it's usually slow but fast late at night (because of lesser load) plus i get dsl for 27 a month and roadrunner (cable in my area) is like 40-50. i get like 200KBps, what ever that is in Kbps...well, im sure what ever you get will be better than dial-up, especially aol!
  17. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Happy Comcast customer here

    Consumer Reports did a national survey about 18 months ago. 80% of the cable customers were happy with their service, versus 20% of the DSL ones.

    I have been a happy cable customer for almost 4 years now. Mediaone got bought out by AT&T and they in turn were bought out by Comcast.

    ALL of them have given me excellent service, and on the rare occasion when I do make a service call, I have never been kept on hold for more than a few minutes. Unlike MSN who NEVER gave me good tech support - gee I wonder why???
  18. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    SBC Yahoo! DSL

    I have SBC Yahoo! DSL. I get great speeds at both download and upload. If a lot of people in your area have cable you might want to consider DSL since you are sharing the line with cable. Course if your not close enough to the centeral office for the DSL, your speed won't be as fast. Either way you look at it, both are better than dial up. :)
  19. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    i use dsl and cable

    it really depends on your area so ask people who live in your area

    both have their pros and cons which have already been listed in this thread, but the best advice is to find a good pricing scheme and check out what other people are using and get their feedback (in your area)
  20. Shaun.P macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8

    I have nothing fancy as you guys! I simply have '150kbps - Up to 3 times faster than a standard 56k modem - Its the best value introduction to broadband in the UK for only £14.50 per month' but my ISP was doing a deal so I get double the speed for 3 months when you first sign up so right now I have: '256kbps- Up to 5 times faster than a standard 56k modem for only £17.00 per month'.

    My ISP offers speeds up to 2048kbps @ £64.95.

    Other features:

    20:1 contention ratio

    4 email addresses.
    There is no monthly download limit!

    Thank goodness about the download limit! Some days I can download up to a GB.

  21. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    LOL :D

    My DSL's gone out once in the 2 1/2 years I've had it. I've never had cable (not available where I live).
  22. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    dsl technology is more reliable and can give more throughput than cable, which is actually yesterday's technology and will fade out sooner than dsl. both are however "decent" broadband connections for consumers, so take whichever you can get cheaper. it doesn't matter for normal people if the connection is 512/512 or 2048/512 but if you can get a good price, you will see that in your wallet ;)
  23. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
  24. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    unless it is limited, as usually.
  25. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    I say go with what ever one is cheaper.

    DSL speed is effect by how far you are from one of there statoin. I am running on a SBC dsl line but I also close to one of there stations. I get over a meg down and I thik 200K up. Yeah the cable may say they are faster at downloading because of more bandwith but you never notic any diffence in speed bettween the 2. I have friends on cable and some on DSL we all run at about the same speed.

    The reason you never notic the diffence your DSL line can out pass the uploads of almost any site (I have yet to find one that can even get near pushing my dsl limits). I have had running at one time 700Kps downloading huge files while still surfing the net and not noticing any thing.

    The only time our DSL went out was when our phone line went out. From time to time on DSL you need to turn the modem off then back on to clean out it buffers to keep you speed up (hell it a good idea to do that with cable)

    DSL one big advatage of cable is the fact that you line speed never really goes up or down depending on the time of day like cable will some times (even then it not really noticble).

    Oh one last thing with SBC I think you get 10 email address. 1 of them the primary account that gets a 2 gig inbox the rest have 100meg inbox and all of them have pop3 access

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