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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet
Old 07-16-2004, 08:04 PM   #21
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet

DSL signalling is finicky and dependent on the distance from the "co", or central office...the place where all the wires converge that run from the side of your house and your neighbors homes. Its all about line signal loss...the same problem that happens when you run your cable tv too far and the signal gets weak and you need an amplifier.

There are many different types of DSL such as adsl, radsl, idsl. Think of them as AM, FM, shortwave...they all do the same thing, just with different signalling and different ups and downs. Most phone co's choose one method which provides higher speeds over shorter distances.

5000-15000 feet is about as far as you can go with ADSL, the most common. Your potential download/upload speed decline the further you go from the CO. RADSL is a "rate adaptive" version that automatically adjusts the speed to line conditions and can go up to 22000 feet with decent throughput. IDSL is built on older technology and can manage as much as 38000 feet, but it usually only goes to 144Kb/s each way. Still better than dialup but IDSL equipment is expensive and not commonplace so it costs 4x as much on average.

The phone company can "solve" this problem by building a new central office (which is often just a big huge box with no people in it, its not generally an "office") closer to prospective DSL customers. Clearly they'll do this when theres a big subdivision of middle class or better people they think will buy DSL.

They've held off on this for several years due to politics. Legislation to require the local phoneco to rent their physical wires out to competitive companies has been on the dockets for some time, although I think I saw that it was just shot down. The phoneco's didnt want to invest millions building new CO's so companies like covad could come in and pay them five bucks a line per month and reap the other $25 profitable internet business without spending a dime in local infrastructure. Bad news is lower competition, good news is more DSL availability may result.

Its not uncommon for phone runs to go 40,000 feet and more. My fairly new subdivision has me 28,000 feet from the CO...too far for SBC's ADSL implementation. Cable has no such limitations; if you can get tv signal you can get cable internet as long as all the amplifiers in the intermediate stream are bidirectional...some older cable networks just boosted the signal one way...tv out to the home...with uploads you need the signal to survive back to the cables 'central office', to the primary signal distribution center known as the "head end".

The irony is that as telephone equipment got better, phone companies frequently consolidated central offices and increased the distance to the average home, only to get hit by broadband networking requirements! Up until a few years ago you could bid on and buy decommissioned at&t central offices...some of them were just a small unmanned shack on a few thousand square feet of land, some were multiple large buildings on several acres. The interesting part is that some of them were in fairly high rent districts near the california coastline. Many allegedly sold off in quiet handshake deals for pennies on the dollar for value.

Fun intrigue and bargaining opportunities...like buying the old missile silos and taking over lighthouses from the government...
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet
Old 07-16-2004, 09:42 PM   #22
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet

There are many many reasons why you may not be able to get DSL.

If you are served directly by a CO, you may be too far away, or on loaded line, or on a pair with bridged tap or stubs, or on ageing or poor quality cable (telephone-type of cable, that is).

If you are served by a Remote Switch or DLC Remote Terminal that homes on the CO, the plugs to directly support DSL may not be available. Or your opco may be unwilling to equip it so, more about that later.

If by chance you are served via old analog N carrier or something like that, there's no hope of DSL until a complete system ripout and replacement.

There are work-arounds for some of these problems, but it is expensive. Economics is the driver. If the "take rate" for the proposed area with upgraded equipment is going to be low, there is little incentive to do the capital acquisition, engineering, place and turnup the equipment. You might be far down the list. New high-income housing subdivisions get the latest equipment, either a remote switch with many options, or a DLC system with fiber back to the serving CO. And Fiber to the pedestal or curb is finally springing up for some dense high-dollar areas.
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet
Old 07-17-2004, 05:07 AM   #23
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet

Yep.

At least five cables(in the last ten years) run buried alongside the only hwy thru the swamp - but no local cable service - only the old timey phone line which Bell South probably loses money on trying to keep running. Satellite only around here. Even some cell phones suffer gaps in coverage - periodic loss of signal.
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet
Old 07-17-2004, 08:54 AM   #24
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Re: Suggestions for High-Speed Internet

You're probably better off. I was a directv subscriber from 1994 until 2002 and couldnt have been happier with the quality of service and the picture. Probably had two losses of signal for a few minutes each due to very heavy rain, thats it.

Dish network was the worst customer experience of my life.

Cable (comcast) is a close second. We get outages and signal drops all the time. Whenever one of these occurs, the wife looks at me and says "honey, go out and adjust the dish" in honor of all the comcast FUD commercials about satellite.
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