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Selecting DSL Plan


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#1
mintchip

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I'm fed up with dial-up and cannot stand another second of it. I'm looking into DSL, which in the remote area I live, is one of my few options. I don't understand what downstream and upstream means, but I'm assuming it means the overall speed of the connection. My needs are voice conversation and streaming content. I have never been able to do either with dial-up, and streaming content is a nightmare of constant pauses. I need a connection fast enough to do these things with ease. Can someone please explain to me which of following plans would best suit my needs? Please keep in mind that cost is a very important factor for me, so if the slower plan will suit my needs, then it is preferable. Here are the downstream/upstream choices:
Up to 768 Kbps/Up to 128 Kbps
Up to 1.5 Mbps/Up to 384 Kbps
Up to 3.0 Mbps/Up to 512 Kbps

Is DSL ever subject to long-distance phone charges? And what are the advantages of wireless gateway as opposed to DSL modem? Is it that the gateway allows me to set up a wireless connection within in my home? Which would be most suitable for a one-computer home that has only one phone jack located in an undesirable location? I apologize for the stupid questions, but I know nothing about this stuff. Thanks in advance.

P.S. I'm asking here because I cannot stand to talk to sales people and never get a straight answer from them anyway.
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#2
dcj2000

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Downstream - Information sent from the internet to your computer. Examples being:

Downloading Files and surfing the web (going from site to site/searching sites).


Upstream is information sent from your computer to the internet.An Example being:

Sending an email attachment.


Up to 768 Kbps/Up to 128 Kbps --> would be the cheapest to fit a modest budget. However, it would also be the slowest. Though it will be a lot better than Dial Up. Normally 14.99 to 24.99 a Month + tax and any applicable fees or Hardware purchases (The Modem,Router,etc.)

On average, Dial up was allowing me to download a 10 Megabyte (MBs) file in 2 Hours >_< , DSL 768/128 is more like 10 Megabytes in roughly 2-3 Minutes. though it varies based on your area and the companies Network.


Up to 1.5 Mbps/Up to 384 Kbps - It's mid range, but it's going to cost fairly more. Probably 24.99 to 39.99 a month + and any applicable fees or Hardware purchases (The Modem,Router,etc.)

Up to 3.0 Mbps/Up to 512 Kbps - It's higher end, might cost you a lot per month.


Every company is different, But i haven't ever been charged long distance DSL fee. It's using your local phone line.


THe Difference between DSL Modem and a Wireless Gateway is:

1) A Wireless Gateway "allows you to set up a wireless connection within in your home" , it's a Router for Home Networking for more than 1 Desktop computer/Laptop.

It would most likely be about a $30-50 1-time fee for the Wireless Gateway, many companies give the Modem free with 1 years commitment to DSL on 768/128 or higher, but they don't tend to give the Router free unless you get a higher speed DSL.

If you only plan on using 1 computer (and no additional computers, like laptops) , i suggest the Modem.

However if you have kids/friends who want to bring over their laptops/PDAs,etc... you may want to consider the Wireless Gateway.

By the way, where is the Phone Jack ? Most companies give a 2-headed Jack to plug into the Phone Jack (or you can buy them from places like Radioshack)... so you'll need atleast 1 Phone Jack for the DSL line and atleast 1 more for the Phone line (if you have a Phone).

Edited by dcj2000, 09 August 2007 - 05:25 PM.

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#3
mintchip

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Wow, thank you so much dcj2000. That was really helpful. I had thought that upstream/downstream was what you said, but didn't quite understand what the numbers meant, so I'm assuming by what you said that it's the speed, of a download for example.

My phone jack is in the living room behind the couch. Not an ideal location for the computer, which means that I have to string a phone line through the house to get to it. It's workable, but sloppy. I would prefer the modem, but I'll either have the sloppy setup or I'd have to install another phone jack.
.
The only question that remains is whether the slowest DSL is fast enough for streaming content and voice chat.

Thanks again!!

Edited by mintchip, 10 August 2007 - 12:36 AM.

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#4
dcj2000

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That's correct.

My phone jack is in the living room behind the couch. Not an ideal location for the computer, which means that I have to string a phone line through the house to get to it. It's workable, but sloppy


There are 2 Cords you need to connect (1x DSL, and 1x Phone line) And you also have to connect an Ethernet cable (which connects the Modem/Wireless device to the back of your computer. It looks like an extra wide Phone cable) . The Ethernet cable that is sent with the Modem is only about 5 feet long , so you'd probably have to figure out away to connect them all together. The modem will have to be near the computer and the DSL line.

The point i'm trying to make is about the Phone line and the Ethernet Cable. The phone line/Dsl line is long, but the Ethernet cable is relatively short. They may have to be in close proximity.

The only question that remains is whether the slowest DSL is fast enough for streaming content and voice chat.


It depends site to site and how much bandwidth the Site's server has (how many users are looking at the contents,etc.) . Certain sites are slow at streaming content (movie sites,etc.) Other sites are fast. If your using it for news sites, they are generally fine. I don't do Voice chat that often, but i haven't had a problem when i used it (skype).

If you are concerned with that I'd go with the 1.5 MBPS , most companies only offer year to year plans or really expensive month to month, once you make the decision... you are generally locked in (so if you think you need more speed/faster viewing, think it over before making a rash decision to just get the cheapest service). Early termination fees tend to go into effect after the 1st. month.



Remember though: Your area location and the companies network is the deciding factor on the speed of your internet, or if you can use DSL at all.

Most companies offering DSL or other such Internet services have a disclaimer "Although your telephone # or location prequalified you for DSL in the Initial Stages of the order process, further testing may reveal that your line does not qualify for DSL"

Edited by dcj2000, 10 August 2007 - 01:20 AM.

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#5
mintchip

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That gives me a lot to think about. I really appreciate all of your help. I can't thank you enough! The company informed me that my phone number definitely qualifies for the DSL, but now I wonder. Are some people stuck with dial-up forever? What a nightmare. Also, I am very concerned about the wording they use for the speeds -- "up to". That suggests to me that those numbers are the fastest "possible", but that they cannot guarantee that speed, and depending on my location, I may never get that speed.
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#6
dcj2000

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That's right, they can't guarentee it, not much in life is Guarenteed ^_^ ... I was pleasantly suprised by the speed of 768/128 and i had been a Dial up user my whole life. At 6-7$ a month more than dial up, iIt's not pinching so much from most peoples pockets. It's worth it. I did the Verizon $14.99 a month plan for my sister and she has liked it a lot.

If you do intend to sign up for DSL, i suggest signing up online. Often the companies give online ONLY deals, that are much better than over the phone. The best part is you don't have to spend 20 minutes talking on the phone :whistling:

For example, when i signed my sister up, she got $14.99 a month plan, + a free $25 gift card to Target.
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#7
mintchip

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That's right, they can't guarentee it, not much in life is Guarenteed ^_^ ... I was pleasantly suprised by the speed of 768/128 and i had been a Dial up user my whole life. At 6-7$ a month more than dial up, iIt's not pinching so much from most peoples pockets. It's worth it. I did the Verizon $14.99 a month plan for my sister and she has liked it a lot.

I was looking at Verizon and saw that, but unfortunately I'm pretty sure that service is not available in my area.

If you do intend to sign up for DSL, i suggest signing up online. Often the companies give online ONLY deals, that are much better than over the phone. The best part is you don't have to spend 20 minutes talking on the phone :whistling:

AT&T Yahoo is the only one I have talked to so far, and all they wanted to do is sell me additional things that I neither wanted nor called about. And I couldn't get any straight answers to all the above questions. The rep also advised me "against" online ordering, obviously so that she could get her commision. Online I don't have to argue with anyone about "great package deals" that include things I don't want and will cost more, regardless of the "deal" I'm getting. These tactics do nothing but make people run the other direction. And as you said, I found a deal online that she had not informed me about on the phone.

For example, when i signed my sister up, she got $14.99 a month plan, + a free $25 gift card to Target.

I saw that offer. Glad to know they came through.

Any idea how the slowest speed would work with something like Pandora radio?
dcj2000, your information has been invaluable. Thanks a million!!

Edited by mintchip, 10 August 2007 - 04:23 AM.

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