You may remember that I changed my modem last week, swapping my 28.8k PC card modem for a similar 56k one. I'm also connected to my ISP's 56k line.
This software from Global Village has a 'technical' status bar at the top of my screen in the menu, and among other things it shows the various speeds - both sending and receiving - in real time.
To my surprise, there's not been a great improvment in access speed. Occasionally the status bas indicated up to around 30k, sometimes blips to 50k - but rarely, and most of the time it hovers round the 5-20k mark.
This is a real surprise, although not totally unexpected - I partially predicted that in my "Weak Link' post. But I wasn't prepared for such low access speeds for much of the time...and I'm online at all hours of the day and night, so I'm accessing through peak times as well as offpeak.
I also managed to make a speed improvement by putting my browser onto an internal RAM disk. This is a virtual disk for the Macintosh that runs entirely off segmented RAM. The slower hard disk is not accessed, and the speed difference is quite noticeable.
The lesson here is that the 'weak link' theory is certainly valid...don't expect too much improvement going up from a 33k modem until all the servers connecting you with your source are running hot, above 56k at least.
Speed is rapidly becoming one of the more crucial parts of our lives..but don't expect lightning response for a while yet.
I upgraded from 33k to 56K last summer but never could connect past 33k. My ISP told me it was my modem but I didn't believe them. I had always used a "cheap" generic modem without problem. Finally the modem when out all together so I broke down and pay $110 for a US Robotic modem. Guess what? Now I get consistant connections at 50K.
I just found out that dsl is available in my area, so here I go again. I FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED! :-)
We just dumped our 33.6 connection and have moved into the Speed Zone as of yeasterday... We had fiber-optic cable in front of our office... WOW... You can surf as fast as a TV remote and best of all no Dial UP Networking. I downloaded 15 meg in a matter of min.
If you want speed that's the way to go.
Right now the speed with a cable modem is great. Better than ADSL in most cases.
However, one thing to keep in mind about cable modems is that they are pretty much a novelty right now so not a lot of people have them. Because of this you are not sharing bandwidth. As more and more people in your area sign up you'll be sharing bandwidth with your neighbors and speed may decrease.
With ADSL you have a direct connection so you don't share your bandwidth.
And keep in mind, with either your connection is no faster than the speed of the server you are connecting to. This is definately an issue with my ADSL. I can really tell which hosts have the fastest connections and servers. Some of the major ones that you think would be fast are quiet slow.
How do you check up on your ADSL connection speed?
May 12 1999, 4:12 PM
Hi James -
I've been testing out a DSL service for the past couple of months. I understand and agree with you that your own (DSL service) connection speed is highly dependent on the speed of the servers you're accessing.
I still have my regular dial-up ISP service - running both of them concurrently. With the regular dial-up, as soon as I connect, there's the standard pop-up window that shows the connect speed. With the DSL, the service (connection speed) has been spotty. Sometimes, it's clearly faster, sometimes it seems the same, and sometimes it's even slower!
DSL is still fairly new enough that it seems to me that the providers are all struggling with all sorts of issues - quality control, technical & customer support - and yes, even maintaining their cash-flow properly! At times, I've been frustrated enough with what seems to be lackluster connections that I've been tempted to cancel this service. One thing that's kept me with it is that it seems they haven't even billed my credit card for the first 2 months yet!!!
Here's the question - do you have or are you using any software programs that show you what your DSL connection speed is at? My DSL provider service doesn't show what the connection speed is. They have different connection speed plans for different $$$ amounts. I'm supposed to be getting both 192k upload & downloads, with a guarantee of at least 80% of that (the 192K), but I can't tell.
When I checked with tech support, they just said that I could download some freeware/shareware that will show my connection speeds, but they didn't give a specific program that works well. As I said, so far, customer service is lacking - if I hadn't gotten service free so far, I would've canceled already. Any recommendations?
My DSL provider is Flashcom. They are the ISP.
I'm not sure of all the details, but they are not in control of the whole DSL setup. They actually use another firm (COVAD Communications) to provide the actual DSL line hookups, etc.
For the past month, it seems at least one day a week, I have an "outage" where I can't get on at all. I know that with DSL, you can just leave it on 24 hrs/day. I don't feel completely comfortable with that due to security reasons - I've heard some bad stories about that. So, I usually sign off when I go to sleep at night.
Yesterday was one of those days when it was "dark". I couldn't get signed on, and Flashcom's tech support was no help. They said that they would have to have COVAD call me - and of course - as usual, in "pass the buck" situations, no one from COVAD ever called me.
I was so upset I was just going to cancel the service. Then, I came upon another thought. I know that for alot of these companies (new company,new technology, new people, etc.), they will be experiencing growing pains for a while.
When the DSL service works, it's pretty cool. The bad part is that I can't totally depend on it yet.
So, my thought was - I'm just going to deduct the
$19.95 cost of my monthly service with my regular dial-up ISP (Earthlink, which by the way - does offer great service & tech support) vs. what Flashcom charges me ($89). If they don't/won't accept that, I'll just cancel outright.
Unfortunately, Earthlink doesn't offer DSL or ADSL yet. They're supposed to by the end of this year and I hear they project that by then, they will be offering plans with prices down around the $49 to
$59/month range. When they do get their service going, I'll switch to them.
I'm glad to hear Bellsouth is doing a good job for you. In any event, thanks again for your help.