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April 18, 2004

DSL at doublespeed for $5? Yes, please ..

I sat down to breakfast last Wednesday, and one story in the AJC caught my eye: "Bellsouth Adds Faster DSL Service." An extra $5 per month for double the download speed (3 mbits) and 50% greater upload speed (384 kbits). Oh, and a static IP. Within 20 minutes, I put my order in to upgrade my service.

My existing service wasn't bad: one of the DSL speed test sites put my download speeds at about 1170 kbs, upload at 211kbs. That jibed with my experience - my fasted downloads were about 150 kbytes/sec.

Since I work for Earthlink, it's a fair question why I'm not using ELNK's DSL service. The simple answer is the switching costs: to get new DSL service, your old service has to be completely disconnected, and then you have put in your order with your new provider. My personal email, this weblog, my wife's business email and website are all hosted behind my DSL service; they'd all be off the air for probably a week or more at minimum. (And then the service wouldn't be free to me - Earthlink would reimburse me up to the cost of their dialup service - $21.95/month.) So nothing against ELNK's service, but the cost of switching makes it worth staying put with a DSL service unless it sucks. I've had Bellsouth DSL for something approaching 4 years, and I've been happy with the service. (I did have a three day complete outage of my DSL and my phone services that started on Christmas eve 2000. To be fair, DSL was new back then, and the normal phone repair guys wouldn't touch my phone line because they didn't understand DSL, and the one guy who new about the service was on vacation. That guy took time out from his vacation to call one of the normal techs and walked him through the fix.)

Just after midnight Thursday night my service went out, which I assumed was Bellsouth switching my service over. Friday morning I woke up, ran the speed tests, and saw that I was indeed faster. The upload speed was not quite as much as I wanted - something around 1800 kbps, but the upload speed was about 303kps. I suspected that was a function of the fact that the test sites where out in LA, many hops away from Georgia. And when I tried a download from Georgia Tech, I got 340 kbytes/second - something over 2700 kbps. That's more than twice what I was getting before, so I'm happy.) It's worth $5 a month.

The end of the story - after I confirmed that everything was up and fast, and right before I went to work, my service went down. I didn't have time to mess with it, so I asked my wife to check it later. It remained down all day, but when I got home, I power cycled my DSL modem and Linksys DSL router, and all was well again. It probably would have worked again hours earlier if I'd had time to play with it ...