DSL And Cable Beginning To Differentiate

from the slowly,-surely dept

For years, people considered DSL and cable to be pretty much interchangeable. However, now, each side is making some adjustments to their offerings to try to differentiate themselves. DSL is positioning themselves as cheap broadband access while cable internet providers are boosting speeds to position themselves as something of a premium, but speedy connection. Of course, these are somewhat artificial definitions, as either one could be speedy (or cheap) under proper circumstances. The real issue is whether or not people really care that much about the speed. Certainly, plenty of early adopter types do, but many folks just want the always-on connection, and if DSL is half the price of cable, they’re going to get the business – that is, until applications become common that really require speed.

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Comments on “DSL And Cable Beginning To Differentiate”

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Doug says:

Another difference

I’m surprised that the DSL providers haven’t started talking up another big difference between DSL and cable: running servers and P2P.

Cable systems have a very limited upstream bandwidth, and that bandwidth is shared by up to a thousand users on each segment. With cable, it’s real easy for a single user to fill up the upstream bandwidth and bog down all of the other users on the segment. Consequently, just about every cable ISP prohibits its users from running any kind of server, which would include P2P clients.

Each DSL user, on the other hand, has a fixed and dedicated amount of upstream bandwidth, and what one user does with the bandwidth won’t affect other users.

Bobby says:

Re: Another difference

Actually, Cable has a thin channel for upstream (2 MHz). There is some infrastructure involved but it is very possible to make certain segments of a network talk on a different upstream channel which then mitigates the “shared upstream last mile”. I used to work for @Home and saw this first hand. Usually they would have about 2500 end points per network and keep slicing it up once growth occured. How many TV channels are there? The cable companies can segment the network. DSL companies usually limit the upstream to 128K or charge for more. We all share WAN links at some point, it’s just where the bottleneck happens to live.

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