Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Blog

No More Dialup: Grandpa Gets DSL

View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
Robert.Groh
User Rank
Freelancer
Internet access speed - DSL is fine for me
Robert.Groh   7/31/2014 12:12:18 AM
NO RATINGS
Oh, yeah, I remember dial up - not that long ago!  We went DSL about (??) 10 years ago - my daughter set it up and it worked great .... for a week or so. Then I had to re-initialize.  Turned out she had set up the access for a fixed address (i.e. for a cable modem) but DSL needs a dynamic address.  Fixed that and we were off and running.  Have a small network going - DSL modem, router with two wired ethernet connections to our 2 desktop PCs and a wireless port (which connects to the smart TV (works great, by the way), the XBOX, our Kindle Fire, the Kindle eReader and whoever else wants to use when visiting).  Our DSL rate is one notch above the minium at 6 Mbps and it is quite adequate for streaming movies, etc through the smart TV (via Netflix or Amazon Prime).  Fast enough.

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: Internet access speed - DSL is fine for me
Measurement.Blues   7/31/2014 12:53:45 PM
NO RATINGS
@Robert I agree with you about the DSL speed. I have one grade up from Grandpa, 3Mbps and we can have a PC and an iPad streaming video and another stream on a third PC or phone streaming audio.

I live close enough to a Verizon central office that my line can support 7Mbps for another $20 a month. I don't need it but it's nice to know I can upgrade without having to switch to the evil Comcast.

Bill_Jaffa
User Rank
Blogger
DSL shouldn't work
Bill_Jaffa   7/31/2014 9:00:23 AM
Given the limited bandwidth of a standard telco local loop and its noise and time-varying properties--it's amazing that DSL works at all, let alone at the speeds it can achieve. My kudos to those enigneers who had the insught to say "this sounds crazy, but it might work" and to those who have made it work so well, given the situation. Totally unappreciated by folks out there, of course, the way most of these enigneering achievements are unappreciated.

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: DSL shouldn't work
Measurement.Blues   7/31/2014 12:57:24 PM
Weren't we all stunned and amazed when dialup speeds went from 300 to 1200 to 2400 to 4800 to 9600 to 14.4k to 28k to 56k? DSL is a marvel of signal processing using multiple frequency bins to get mutli-megabit speeds from a 3kHz POTS line.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
Re: DSL shouldn't work
krisi   8/1/2014 3:32:53 PM
NO RATINGS
I don't think it was such a surprise that DSL worked Bill...communication theory was developed years earlier and it was "only" the question of implementing the right coding schemes in silicon

will_8051
User Rank
Rookie
Re: DSL shouldn't work
will_8051   8/4/2014 7:34:04 PM
NO RATINGS
You could say the exact same thing about wifi, "I have an idea, let's send standard ethernet packets over 2.4 ghz garbage band, we don't need carrier protection or division access schemes, we'll just use sense and retry!". When you first start working on it, you're amazed it works at all, and looking back I feel like a caveman trying to launch the space shuttle by building it a large bonfire as an offering.

mikekirschner
User Rank
Rookie
"Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
mikekirschner   7/31/2014 12:03:16 PM
NO RATINGS
That's quite an assumption and shows your age :) . I had a 300 baud modem in 1979 or 1980 and used that to access the DEC VAX 11/780 at work. I continued to use it to access the Well in the mid-1980s and eventually upgraded to a 1200, then 2400 baud modem.


Supporting parents/grandparents in their use of technology can be a struggle! I gave my father a Mac II in the early 1990s; one time he sent me a letter (through snail-mail) with a hand-drawn image of the screen: a dialog box with a bomb and some text in it. "Mike, what does this mean?" It means I don't want to be in the tech support business, dad! <sigh> well over 20 years later I still am, but now my teenage kids are tasked with it!

SteveP67
User Rank
Rookie
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
SteveP67   7/31/2014 12:38:04 PM
NO RATINGS
I give up.  What does a box with a "bomb" in it and some text mean?  I've never seen a Mac screen...

mikekirschner
User Rank
Rookie
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
mikekirschner   7/31/2014 12:40:42 PM
NO RATINGS
Wow SteveP67, you just haven't lived if you haven't ever seen a Mac screen! :) It means the computer crashed...

SteveP67
User Rank
Rookie
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
SteveP67   7/31/2014 12:50:57 PM
NO RATINGS
@Mike  Thanks!  I've always been a PC guy, at least since my RadioShack TRS-80 Model I left service after many years of fun and modifications.

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
Measurement.Blues   7/31/2014 12:50:20 PM
NO RATINGS
@Mike, unfortunately, I'm older than you think. By "1990s" I was referring to usig an ISP. I too used a dialup 300 baud modem to connect to a VAX.

mikekirschner
User Rank
Rookie
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
mikekirschner   7/31/2014 12:54:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Sorry Martin! I should've known. Well, just the same I was accessing internet resources in the '80s (FTP sites, etc.) via modem through some crazy connections. ISPs sure made it easier!

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
zeeglen   7/31/2014 8:19:33 PM
NO RATINGS
@mikekirshner I had a 300 baud modem in 1979

And at the low end of the spectrum our college ham club had a 45.45 baud modem (built by yours truly) for Baudot radio-teletype on shortwave using a mechanical teleprinter.  Was fun to tune into those Associated Press news broadcasts.  Kerchunk...kerchunk...kerchunk...DING!

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: "Chances are, we all started with dialup Internet access in the 1990s."
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 9:29:55 AM
NO RATINGS
When I started with The World, their gateway to the internet was a Unix prompt, text only. I still miss the Pine text editor.

SteveP67
User Rank
Rookie
Wall phone DSL filter
SteveP67   7/31/2014 12:44:33 PM
NO RATINGS
A wall phone is no problem.  I had DSL for years (gave it up only because AT&T wouldn't give me a new modem to replace my old, flakey one).  I had 2 wall phones.  Went to RadioShack and bought 2 wall phone DSL filters.  It hangs on the wall plate and has it'sd own posts for hanging the wall phone. Neat, clean, not unattractive.

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: Wall phone DSL filter
Measurement.Blues   7/31/2014 12:48:44 PM
NO RATINGS
@SteveP67 thanks for the tip on the wall phone filter. I may need it for the next task, getting Grandpa's friend to give up her AOL dailup and go DSL. She will never put up with a hanging filter in her kitchen.

SteveP67
User Rank
Rookie
"Old guys"
SteveP67   7/31/2014 12:59:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I started online in December 1978 with The Source, a dial-up service that charged $2.75/hour for connection.  It was quite good with connection to the UPI raw news feed, stock market quotes and even cross-compilers for compiling your assembly code if you were into writing software (which I was).

I was online with a 300 baud acoustic coupled modem.  I used to love that sound!  Eventually went with Compuserve then Prodigy and AOL.  Anybody remember them?

Measurement.Blues
User Rank
CEO
Re: "Old guys"
Measurement.Blues   7/31/2014 1:07:42 PM
NO RATINGS
I remember all of them. I started with AOL then switched to The World (www.theworld.com), which claims to ne the first public access internet provider. They are still in business but I don't know how the do it.

When DSL came around, I switched to Galaxy Internet a competitor of The World. They were a DSL reseller. About a year ago, Galaxy stoped DSL and switched me to DSL Extreme, based in Calif. DSLx tech support is excellent, which is why I keep them. I had some trouble at first when using the modem/router that Galaxy provided. I switched to a modem from DSLx and things have worked well ever since. They were great helping me set up my wireless router. I learned a lot from them.

D J Liu
User Rank
Rookie
High Speed is Relative
D J Liu   7/31/2014 4:51:03 PM
NO RATINGS
Speaking of "high speed is relative", when 9600 modems came out, in its review PC Magazine wondered whether anyone actually needed such high speed AND find someone to connect to at this speed.


As for the $15 monthly with DSL Extreme, it will become $25 or more after the introductory offer expires in a year. Look forward to another article by then.

 

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: High Speed is Relative
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 9:27:20 AM
NO RATINGS
D J Liu,

Where did you get this into from? At current pricing, his cost will still be $15/month if he agress to a one-year contract. It's $30/month only if you go month-to-month. My DSL is $30 on contract for higher speed.

As for the $15 monthly with DSL Extreme, it will become $25 or more after the introductory offer expires in a year. Look forward to another article by then.

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Re: High Speed is Relative
TonyTib   8/1/2014 11:39:05 AM
NO RATINGS
Are you adding in the cost of the POTS?  Since voice is cheap if you go VoIP (or only use your cell phone), the analog telephone line required by the cheap services is really part of the cost.  Typically, dry loop DSL isn't much cheaper, although you can negotiate.

However, one plus of true dry loop DSL: no added taxes.  For example, the $40 Fusion service (availabe from ISPs around here like Sonic.net and LMI.net) actually costs >$50 because of the extra taxes (since an analog phone line is included, even if you don't want it).


I go tired of paying ~$24/month for pretty useless local phone service, and we don't do cable (no time), or even much Internet at home, so I'm on wireless at home (about 12M down/ 2M up - faster than a lot of DSL, but capped) for about the same price as just the phone service.

 

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: High Speed is Relative
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 1:21:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Many people can't imagine life without a landline. Plus, the junk calls all go there. I know because I'm home all day and don;t answer the phone. But sometimes, you don't want people to have your cell number. Let them leave a message and I'll hear it later.

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Get more numbers
TonyTib   8/1/2014 1:30:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Get more numbers; for example, you can use Google Voice or Ring.to to forward to a desired number.  GV reputedly has good telemarketing filters.

Plus, there are some good points to the good old home telephone: they have nice charger stands, better range than WiFi, work well for call screening, and I prefer the answering machine over voice mail.

We have an Obi 202 with two phones attached.  We screen all our calls using the answering machine, which has really cut down on annoyances.  I have a GV number pointing to the main incoming number, and both outgoing services are set to spoof the GV number.  There are plenty of other ways to set things up, but this works well for us.

Duane Benson
User Rank
Blogger
Re: High Speed is Relative
Duane Benson   8/1/2014 6:04:53 PM
NO RATINGS
MeasurementBlues - I'm still hanging on to a land line as sort of a backup for the house, and to send all of the junk calls too. I suspect it would be cheaper, though, for me to cancel the land line and add one of my older cell phones to my account, and use it for the home.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
Re: High Speed is Relative
krisi   8/1/2014 6:11:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I am the same...still keep the landline, 90% of calls are marketers now...need to get my act together and cancel it one day

mosspp
User Rank
Freelancer
Re: High Speed is Relative
mosspp   8/1/2014 8:07:58 PM
NO RATINGS
Landlines were designed for five nines reliablity, i.e. up 99.999% of the time. Cell phones can't even come close to that, at least not yet. For that reason, I'll keep my land line thank you. If I need to dial '911' I want the call to go through.

Another advantage to a land line is higher availability during a power failure. Just make sure that you have at least one hard-wired phone in the house to supplement your cordless phones.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
Re: High Speed is Relative
krisi   8/2/2014 10:15:05 AM
NO RATINGS
Good point @mosspp...how about radiation induced damage to your phone? home line should be safer than cell phone for possible contri ution to brain cancer

Roger46
User Rank
Freelancer
Keeping the landline...
Roger46   8/3/2014 9:50:33 AM
NO RATINGS
I'm still a believer in a pair of twisted copper wires back to a for-real central office in spite of having cell service as well.  We had a tornado in our neighborhood a few years ago, fortunately, our house was spared major damage, but the infrastructure did not fare well......except for the phone service.  It never hiccuped even though our electricity was out for a full week and cable/Internet was out for 10 days. Cell service was very unreliable as the nearby towers were damaged.  I'll keep my POTS line.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Keeping the landline...
MeasurementBlues   8/3/2014 4:24:40 PM
NO RATINGS
@Roger46,

There is something to be said for the reliability of POTS.

I've had DSL services problems twice where in the evenings, my data rate dropped to zero--unusable.

Apparentyly, DSLAMS can get old and when the do, they slow down during peak service times (evenings). The solution both times was to move li copper pair to another DSLAM port. The first time was before DSLExtreme and the old ISP ws clueless. I spent weeks dealing with them and finally called a press contact I had a Verizon. It then took a few days to get fixed. On the seond time (with DSLx), I knew the priblem. They had it fixed the next day. That's why I stay with them.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
Re: Keeping the landline...
krisi   8/4/2014 11:09:28 AM
NO RATINGS
That is pretty scary that you have to tell the telcom what to fix and how to fix it

elizabethsimon
User Rank
CEO
Re: Keeping the landline...
elizabethsimon   8/4/2014 2:40:26 PM
NO RATINGS
I had similar problems but couldn't get the telco to fix it. I was having slowdowns and disconnects on DSL. I could fix the problem temporarily by going outside to the telco box on the outside of the house where I'd unplug the line then plug it back in. I suspect it was a bad connection in the box but since a phone plugged into the outlet on the box worked, they wanted to charge me to come out and fix the "inside wiring".

I'm wondering now if this was another manafestation of a problem with the DSLAMS although I could hear the noise on the phone line when the problem occured.

I switched to cable which has been more reliable although the price keeps going up...

 

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Keeping the landline...
MeasurementBlues   8/4/2014 8:30:58 PM
NO RATINGS
Krisi,

When the speed drops, Verizon sends a technican to check tim line and it shows full speed but that's during the day. I tell them to come back at 9PM and try again.

Last time, the tech told me that my lne can supprt 7mbit DSL if I want it. I then told him to call his central office and have them move me to another DSL port. that was around 6 PM so speed was still up. They switched me to a new port in about 15 minutes and since then, I've fall full speed 24 hours. Measured speed is about 2.75 mbit/s.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Keeping the landline...
MeasurementBlues   11/25/2014 10:36:04 PM
NO RATINGS
A couple of weeks ago, my DSL service went down. I caled DSLx. The tested my line and my modem was talking to the DSLAM but no packets were getting throught verizon's servers to DSLx. They called verizon and had it fixed in a few hours. The problem was somewhere upstream of the DSLAM.

As a backup, I used me personal iPhone as a hotspot. T-mobile gives unlimited data though they slow things down once you use your allotments of 4G.  But even 2G is faster than my DSL.

Had it been anyother day, I would have walked to Starbucks or the public library for Wifi, but I was doing a radio sow tha day. That meant I needed a quiet room so I used the phone as a hotspo and the landline phone for audio.

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Re: High Speed is Relative
TonyTib   8/1/2014 6:27:03 PM
NO RATINGS
Don't forget options such as Google Voice (if you trust Google; there are similar non-Google services).  For example, you could give out your GV number to everyone, set up call screening, and then have it ring your cell phone.  The call screening (and GV's filters) should keep spam calls very low.

D J Liu
User Rank
Rookie
Re: High Speed is Relative
D J Liu   8/1/2014 12:28:55 PM
NO RATINGS
MeasurementBlues

When I subscribed last year for my parents, DSL Extreme was $15 a month. A few months ago they indicated that the renewal rate would be $25 because the introductory rate expired after one year. This is not unusual.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: High Speed is Relative
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 1:25:51 PM
NO RATINGS
@D J

I was paying $35/month (3Mbps) using month-to-month and switched to a contract at $30/month. If Grandpa has to pay more tahn his expected $15/month next year, he'll go back to Juno at $5. I'm confident of that. If you look at DSLextreme.com, there's nothing about introductory rate, just contract or month-to month.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: High Speed is Relative
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 1:27:21 PM
NO RATINGS
When I switched from month-to-month to contract, DSLx pro-rated it back three months so I only paid $15 last month.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
DSL
David Ashton   8/1/2014 3:35:23 AM
NO RATINGS
Martin...how is your Grandpa's modem connecting to the PC?  Via Ethernet or via USB?  I never had problems with losing the connection on switch-off, but I did have to mess around with the DHCP ranges in the modem and make my printer a static address so my wife and I could both print to it...if the DSL Modem went off (occasionally needed a reset) then it would sometimes give the printer a different address on DHCP.  DSL is a magic technology though.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: DSL
MeasurementBlues   8/1/2014 9:17:11 AM
NO RATINGS
David, The modem is connected to the PC over Ethernet. His printer is connected to the PC over USB. No router. Wireless? Maybe next year.

BobsView
User Rank
CEO
DSL for $15 - HOW?
BobsView   8/4/2014 2:15:03 PM
NO RATINGS
How do you get 1.0 MBits/Sec for $15? 

I'm paying $51 for 12 MB/S DSL, but am only getting 1.5 MB/S when I watch Netflix which makes it almost unwatchable.

The $15 is enticing.  Where do I get it?

 

jstabler
User Rank
Rookie
Re: DSL for $15 - HOW?
jstabler   8/4/2014 4:02:17 PM
NO RATINGS
@BobsView Netflix transmits at 1.5 MB/s. Contact Netflix to see if you can get a higher data rate. Also, if you are using WIFI, you may want to find a channel that is not used a lot in your immediate area.

BobsView
User Rank
CEO
Re: DSL for $15 - HOW?
BobsView   8/4/2014 4:09:32 PM
NO RATINGS
I always get the same results.  Netflix locks on in HD, then about 45 seconds later, it slows to 1.5 MB/S.

It acts like the DSL line detects it's NetFlix, and then slows it down on purpose.

Interestingly, it only does this to Netflix.

Thinking about going to Comcast so I can watch Netflix again.

 

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Re: DSL for $15 - HOW?
MeasurementBlues   8/4/2014 8:26:49 PM
NO RATINGS
@Bobsview

dslextreme.com is my ISP. You have to sign up for a year to get the $15/month rate. Otherwise it's $25 or $30/month. I pay $30/month for 3Mbit/s. I could to the 5mb or 7mb for another $20/mo but don;t need the extra speed. We run Netflix all the time.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
Re: DSL for $15 - HOW?
krisi   8/5/2014 10:44:18 AM
NO RATINGS
$15 a month is very inexpensive

HankWalker
User Rank
CEO
Long Before 1990s
HankWalker   8/6/2014 2:13:54 PM
NO RATINGS
It was 1979, with a Vadic acoustocoupler 300 baud modem connecting to a DECSYSTEM-20, that was connected to the ARPANET. It wasn't the "Internet" yet, but it also connected to UUNET et al.

MeasurementBlues
User Rank
Blogger
Victory or not?
MeasurementBlues   9/19/2014 10:25:11 AM
NO RATINGS
A week or so ago, Grandpa told me how he loves DSL. "DSL is great," he said.

But there's a downside. He saw an increase of $10 a month in his electric bill, which he attributes to the DSL modem being powered all the time. I told him that he canunplug it, but he should power it up before booting his computer. that willgive the modem time to sync to the network before the computer is ready.

Flash Poll
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week