Monday, June 10, 2013

A transition to high speed service

Over the weekend, I managed to negotiate a faster internet connection for our home. I had been on Centurylink for the last month and it just wasn't working out.

My Centurylink connection was DSL at 5mbs per second. Centurylink would only guarantee 4mbs per second. Unfortunately, the modem provisioned to me could not hold a steady connection. Some days it was 2.4mbs. Others, 5.120mbs. And still others, somewhere in between. Seems that unless I was looking, the speed would not hold steady.

I had gotten to a point where I was keeping a log of the speeds and rebooting the modem several times a day. I tried negotiating a better connection with Centurylink but they were unwilling to provide a better connection. Apparently, Centurylink prefers to cede this neighborhood to Comcast. I have no proof of this, but it wouldn't surprise me if they agreed to a territory split.

That was my experiment away from Comcast.

I spent most of my day Sunday, working on our network connection. I had a modem and a power supply. I called Comcast and set up new service with a used modem, only to find that the modem would reset every few minutes. I spent several hours in the morning trying to get it to work to no avail. I think that the power supply may not have been adequate, I don't know for sure.

I sourced a Motorola SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 modem from Staples for a really good price of $70. That certainly beat Best Buy's price of $89. Oddly, Staples did a price match of their store price to their website.

Back home I went and set up the new modem and made the call. This time, I found that the modem worked great, bonding 2 channels for more speed than a DOCSIS 2.0 modem will support. With promotions, I now have a 50mbs connection for $40 a month plus taxes.

With news of gigabit connections from Google, this may not seem like a big deal. But in my neighborhood, there is only one provider offering better than 5mbs. At 50mbs, I can download an Ubuntu CD in about 3 minutes. Google Docs runs smooth and fast. The experience is rather seamless.

Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule in this country. The UTOPIA network through their resellers is offering 100mbs for $45 a month. In South Korea, Japan, and several countries in Northern Europe, 50mbs is pretty ho-hum. In Provo, Utah, they will have Google Fiber probably within a year.

For today, I'm just happy to have a fast and steady connection.
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