[Vision2020] Frontier (was Verizon) DSL

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at verizon.net
Wed Sep 15 14:05:54 PDT 2010

On Sep 15, 2010, Saundra Lund <v2020 at ssl.fastmail.fm> wrote: 

Good to know about Time Warner being slower as well.

My understanding is that cable modem users share local bandwidth (or
something like that), so it's possible to see slowness when lots of folks in
your area are utilizing the service at the same time.  I thought DSL was
different in that respect, but perhaps I'm mistaken?


Well, yes and no. Local cable customers share neighborhood circuits between themselves and the local cable outlet's facilities, and so the cable customers are subject to speeds that reflect how many local folks are sharing the local connection. The DSL customer has a unique connection between home and the phone company's central office, so there isn't any slowdown on that part of the connection. However, it's quite possible for slowdowns on the other side of the central office to have effects on the home DSL user. For example, even though there is a big fat optical connection between the Palouse and suburban Spokane that carries local DSL connections between here and what might be loosely referred to as civilization, the fact of the matter is that when on the order of magnitude of 25,000 students and faculty return to roost, plug in their laptops, and begin to haul in the bits through the local central offices, even folks on the residential side of town may notice the difference. Other factors affecting speed include time of day (3:00 a.m versus 3:00 pm), and overall Internet traffic, which does respond to various seasonal or event-driven demands.

Of some interest will be how well Frontier infrastructure, and that to which it connects, performs when connections go away from the shared backbone pathways of the Internet. Connection speeds may remain fine on the Internet freeways, but when the connection drops down to the surface streets, message travel speeds may slow down. New adventures in Frontier routing combined with actual traffic congestion in locations where infrastructure density is not yet what it should be to handle the traffic may lead to Internet travel frustrations in the future. And, unfortunately, horn honking takes up bandwidth, too.


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