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Author Topic: Question about Internet speeds and connections (AT&T/Comcast related)  (Read 126 times)
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Dante Rising
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« on: May 18, 2015, 02:23:52 AM »

I'm hoping some of the more Internet savvy of you could help answer a question I have. AT&T just rolled out a fiber optic network in my town this week, and the sales force is going door-to-door trying to take away Comcast's monopoly in my area.

I currently have Comcast Blast! which offers speeds of up 50 Mbps. When downloading programs from PSN or Steam, the average download speed is 5-7Mbps, and torrents run at about 1.5Mbps. (wireless connections) Netflix works flawlessly. I online game infrequently. Speedtest does show with Comcast connection at 32Mbps down and 9Mbps up at the moment. (again wireless connections) Current router is an Apple Airport Express 802.11n

AT&T is offering me their "Max" U-Verse package, which runs up to 18Mbps. The salesperson has three other tiers available, but he said that this tier is best suited for me, and I didn't need anything higher when using a fiber optic network. When I mentioned 50Mbps vs 18Mbps, he said the Comcast 50 was "theoretical", on copper wire, and the usage was more dense, so I am sharing the bandwidth at a much higher traffic level. He mentioned this new fiber optic network being wide open, whereas the Comcast copper lines in the area are much older and at peak capacity.

Can anyone shed light on any of this?  Would fiber optic be better than copper? Will 18Mbps be a visible decline in my Internet service?


AT&T would be $25 more expensive per month ($125 vs 100), but they are also offering 50 additional premium channels, 3 DVRs, and 1 additional wireless receiver for any room of my choice.


Thanks!


« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 02:36:13 AM by Dante Rising » Logged
TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 07:30:26 AM »

Fiber COULD be 'better' than your coax cable connection... but if they sell a lot of service in your area, it can and probably will feel congested at some point... upstream of you all those optical cables get concatenated into fewer pipes. Then THOSE fewer pipes get bundled at HQ or substation or whatever, and the signal at some point passes to whomeever is supplying ATT with their internet backbone connection.

This is true whether you use fiber, cooax, or anything else. At some point you WILL share bandwidth.

50 mbps is pretty good. If you're getting real speeds of 5-7 MB/sec for downloads you're getting excellent results for it... I'm assuming that's what you meant even though you actually put Mbps. Correct me if you actually meants Mbps.

No comment on the TV side. In terms of noticing download speed by dropping to 18mbps... yeah, you'll probably notice it when you hit youtube, patch a game, etc. Will it be crushingly slow? Youtube, not so much. You generally only stream one of those at a time, and 18mbps is fast enough. Game patches you'd notice doubling the time to patch.

All speeds are theoretical... fiber, copper, wireless, what have you. In theory you might get more of your 18mbps fiber than you are of your 50mbs copper... but 80% of 18 is... 14.4 mbps... and you're currently getting '32 mbps from Speedtest. And no theory involved, 32 beats 14.4 twice over, with some to spare.

I'd also like to point out, that if a bunch of people in your area ditch Comcast for ATT... you'll have all that coax to yourself, soon, at zero cost biggrin

Have you noticed traffic congestion on your cable?

Remember, salespeople are salespeople. They're programmed to sell. The truth is sometimes an inconvenience to them.

Atomic


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Dante Rising
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 08:00:36 AM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on May 18, 2015, 07:30:26 AM

This is true whether you use fiber, cooax, or anything else. At some point you WILL share bandwidth.

50 mbps is pretty good. If you're getting real speeds of 5-7 MB/sec for downloads you're getting excellent results for it... I'm assuming that's what you meant even though you actually put Mbps. Correct me if you actually meants Mbps.

Have you noticed traffic congestion on your cable?

Remember, salespeople are salespeople. They're programmed to sell. The truth is sometimes an inconvenience to them.

Atomic


I meant MB/s.  Looking at my monthly avergage, it has ranged from 3.2 MB/s to 6.6 MB/s over wireless. In terms of "real world" usage, with Comcast my fiancee and I can both be on separate TVs watching Netflix in HD (which happens with relative frequency),  plus I can be downloading a file from the internet and I'll have no slowdown. I have not noticed much congestion on the line. Perhaps once or twice a month.

Netflix currently recommends 5-6 megabits per second in terms of speed for their HD content. UHD is 25 megabits. (Which I have not used yet.) Using those numbers it looks like I would, in some cases, already be moving toward or peaking the AT&T plan.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 08:09:18 AM by Dante Rising » Logged
TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 04:56:21 AM »

For infomation purposes... the cable modem uses channels on the coax cable. Your tv broadcast also uses (it's own) channels. Theoretically using one will not affect the other... to each it's own, so to speak. The congestion comes when other people are also using it... as with any network connection.

Atomic
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 10:49:50 AM »

So I called AT&T to cancel my installation. The CSR was very polite and asked why. When I mentioned that I would be dropping from Comcast's 50 MB/s service down to 18 MB/s with AT&T, he understood my concerns. Trying to get comparable Internet service, according to their website, is an additional $25 dollars per month.

30 seconds later he increased my Internet service by by 2 tiers (to 45 MB/s) for $1 extra per month.  Competition for the win.

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2015, 06:31:05 AM »

Pretty hard to argue with that. If you're willing to go to the trouble of switching, the best way to keep the prices low, is to swap providers every year or two, which allows you to avail yourself of new customer/returning customer pricing schemes... otherwise they just keep continually raising the prices on you.

Atomic
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