by Mike Masnick

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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  • identicon
    Doug, 6 Oct 2003 @ 8:24am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobby, 6 Oct 2003 @ 10:11am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobby, 6 Oct 2003 @ 10:01am

    AUP is a big factor

    Cable companies usually don't allow customers to run web servers/mail servers ect. So I want to run www.myname.com where the family posts pictures and maybe a calendar to annouce the bbq and grandma's house, big deal! DSL providers don't seem to care and let you do what you want as long as you don't cause network issues.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 6 Oct 2003 @ 10:20pm

    security and privacy

    There's also the question of security and privacy. With cable, your immediate neighbors can snoop on your traffic, or so I've read. With DSL you have your own wire straight to the telco.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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