DSL vs Cable. What's your experience?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cberry240, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. cberry240 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Forgive me if this is the wrong location. Not looking to start a huge pissing contest either.

    I've been reading up on cable vs DSL and wanted to get some real feedback. I currently have Comcast cable internet and am looking at moving to ATT DSL. I generally am just surfing the web, checking email, and streaming a little bit.

    Overall I'm just feed up with Comcast as my triple play rates just soared and they can't get me anywhere near where I was. I'll suck it up if it Comcast is dramatically better.

    What are some experiences that have been had? Suggestions?

    Thanks for any and all relevant advice.
  2. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Cable is always much faster than DSL.

    DSL suffers less from congestion though - less people sharing a pipe. So with DSL you get more consistent, though slower, speeds than cable.

    Though as long as you get 3 Mbps down, in my opinion, it's all good - not many websites actually have upload speeds faster than 1.5 Mbps anyway.
  3. tman07 macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2009
    also, its said that dsl has faster upload speeds- I have not seen this to be true, but it was in one of my college books from a few years back.

    So, if you do any remote computing/uploading, you may want to check out dsl. Although cable is significantly faster- and as ^ said, it suffers from congestion which sucks hardcore.

    We have timewarner, the fastest we can possibly get, and we suffer from congestion all the time. Yes, we are in a college town and there are hundreds of students torrenting/facebooking/streaming porn/etc, but ive seen the speeds drop to <1 mb/s down. But now, with everyone gone, we get 22+ down.

    so really, its all about where you live, if you plan to upload a lot, and if you have any congestion problems now.
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    DSL is one solid connection dedicated to you (it's your phone line, so you can't share that...lol) and hence it is very consistant. However, because of noise, physical lanes for data travel, operating frequencies and having to share the available bandwidth with your phone, the speeds are hurt, even more by being farther away from your phone provider since more noise in the line decreases speed.

    Cable is awesome because of it's faster speeds. However cable providers usually bundle many lines into one fiber line (usually 2Gb/s line), but that can get clogged up faster than you think. To be honest I have never been clogged up, even though I live in an apartment complex.

    I think Cable goes all the way to 350Mb/s down and 125Mb/s up (under DOCSIS 3.0) where as DSL goes all the way to 24 Mb/s (using ADSL+). All these are theoreticall and actual speeds are lower due to many factors like noise or what the ISP actually provides (like Cox Cable provides a maximum 14Mb/s down and 1.5Mb/s with Turbo Boost)
  5. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    DSL will also lose speed the farther way from the head end you are. Unless you are right on top of the switch your speeds will start to tail off.
  6. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I thought DSL was fast coming from dial-up, but when I got cable I wondered how I ever lived with the slow speeds of DSL.
  7. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    In the US, my experience has been that cable is much better than DSL. In my area, DSL (and fiber optic :rolleyes: [I doubt it really is]) only offer 1 Mbps up. Now, I emphasize the up because I've found that with streaming - netflix, youtube even - a better upload speed is a better streaming experience. With cable I get around 2/3 Mbps up on speedtest. With DSL I was getting 750 - 950 kbps up...

    At any rate, cable at the moment is the best option I believe.
  8. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    My wife and I have matching iMacs (2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) and network wirelessly via our Airport using DSL.

    We both play Second Life and watch shows on Hulu, VBS and other sites.

    I have no complaints.
  9. cberry240 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Thanks for your comments. I would seem that I am better off with cable. My other hesitation with DSL besides potential speed issues was that I would be locked into a 1-year contract with fees for canceling.
  10. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    I switched from DSL to cable earlier this year. MY DSL was with AT&T supposedly at 3/512kMbs. When I first moved here a couple of years ago, I was actually getting close to that speed. My speed started dropping off, however, and AT&T tried blaming everything but their own equipment. I'm a network admin and tested everything up to their NID, and it was all clean, yet they still tried to insist it was the wiring in my house and all kinds of other BS. Toward the end, I was lucky to get 1-1.5Mbs.

    I finally got fed up with all that and switched to Comcast cable. For about $10 more, I got 12/2Mbs service. If I had my TV through them, the price would have been the same as what I was paying AT&T. I have been consistently averaging around 9-10Mbs on speed tests. I do live in a fairly lightly populated neighborhood with all single family homes, so the demand isn't that great. I figure that even if I lost 50% of that bandwidth, I'd still be doing better than AT&T. I don't think Comcast is any kind of great company, but right now they aren't screwing me over as badly as AT&T did.

    Oh yeah, I have also read that DOCSIS 3 (the new cable standard) is supposed to have dedicated bandwidth, so that may eliminate that argument against cable.
  11. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    ping time is longer with DSL than it is with cable I've noticed. I had DSL last year and the main building was about 1/2 mile up the road from me in the middle of town. My ping was around 72ms. I have cable now and my ping is never above 50ms. Wish my upload was a little quicker, 3m/512k. I can get faster internet but 3meg is fast enough for me right now.
  12. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    I've had both, and Cable (when it worked) was consistently faster. For your average browsing, where images weigh 350kb, you don't really notice it but for pages with lots of images (eBay browsing) and for downloads, you really get used to having the extra speed.

    That said, I had Roadrunner and it was down too much to be useful. I'd have to reboot the modem all the time, and the company's customer service was hell. DSL is slower, and bit more steady - but! - despite what the phone company told me ("Oh, it's all digital it doesn't matter how many people are online you won't see slower speeds") on Friday night the connection can slow down.

    I'd say DSL, also because it's can go through your phone company and there's no extra hookup required.

    I'm thinking someday I'll just upgrade to a T1. :D
  13. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Not really, I have found with some testing using a server with a 100Mbps connection that a lot of sites do have 1-2+ MBps (megabytes, not megabits) download speed.
  14. wywern209 macrumors 65832


    Sep 7, 2008
    do you rly want to know?
    i get decent downloads about .9MB down and about .5mbps up. the upload rly sucks when u want to email someone a bunch of photos.. but not much i can do about it. something really needs to be done about the slow upload speeds. and im on roadrunner cable. but on the bright side, down speed is great. with the turbo boost or whatever it is called, my speed rockets to about 1.5 - 2 MBps and then slows to a constant .9MB.

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