Pros: incredible speed, easy installation
Cons: unable to change IP address, awkward consumer type yahoo email interface
DSL SLOWED DOWN
We were early adopters of DSL with AT&T -- I had it installed in March 1999 when the company was still called Pacbell. What a marvelous thing it was at the time, compared to dial-up. For the last 11 years I have stayed with the company with the same Alcatel modem, but I changed my router and added a switcher to get more computers on the LAN network.
Within the last couple years especially, I felt that DSL speeds had deteriorated, especially around 4-8pm. Since AT&T was offering U-verse fttn fiber for less than I was paying for DSL and phone service, plus throwing in cable, I decided to give it a go, and I'm sure glad I did. The changeover has not been entirely without a downside, but for internet speed and performance, Uverse is unbeatable -- again, with some minor caveats.
The primary purpose of getting U-verse for us was to get much faster internet speeds. We have little interest in cable TV, but we had to take the service because without that there would be no free installation and $200 rebate.
I used www.speedtest.net to measure download and upload speeds before with DSL and after with U-verse FTTN fiber.
Before with DSL, download speeds were typically in the .35 to .5 mbs range, sometimes even as low as .15 to .18 download (that's 3 times faster than an old 56K modem, which is terrible.) Only once did I read the speed it's supposed to be at, 1 mbs. Upload speeds were typically about .15 to .22 tops. We are located about 3/4 mile from the nearest AT&T switching terminal center.
In the AT&T sales office we had a choice of going for 6mbs 12mbs or 18mbs speeds (that's megabytes per second.) We chose 12 mbs.
After the install download speeds consistently read 10-11 mbs, and upload is always in excess of 1.5mbs. That's 20-25 times faster than my old DSL service. Needless to say, we are extremely pleased. The download and upload speeds of this new service are nothing short of phenomenal. There is very little waiting even for large video and audio files. You can play full rez video in real time.
VERY HELPFUL TECHNICAL PEOPLE
The AT&T tech was super helpful and completed the install plus one cable TV hookup within 4 hours. He disconnected our old modem and linksys router and replaced them with one device, but kept our switcher. The adjustments to keep my existing 3 desktops online plus all our laptops in the house were minimal, but the AT&T tech made sure they were all working. That part was surprisingly easy.
I had read that the AT&T fiber optic cable comes up to a node (a box in the neighborhood) and then goes by standard copper wire phone lines to our house from the node. I have learned location of the node box, and I can see it in someone's front yard near an intersection, which is about 3-400 feet from our house. The maximum range from fiber node to residence can be up to 3000 feet, the tech said.
The standard definition cable TV service is also excellent, with hundreds of channels. I had originally planned on cancelling it but I think we'll keep it, not for myself but to help my kids get lower grades in school.
GLITCHES AND ISSUES
One of the glitches was that once the new service was put in, I got automatic voicemail on my line which I had not had before. I had to go online and disable the voicemail, since I take messages with an answering machine.
The only other downside -- and it is a big one, if you are, for example, a craigslist entrepreneur with the least bit of ambition -- is that you cannot easily change your IP address. While uverse internet is officially a "dynamic IP" address, in practice it is not, as I have learned that the Uverse "lease" from the gateway (the new name for at&t's "modem" in your house) expires once every 8 weeks. It would be only at that time that one would have any hope of changing one's IP address. Thus far I have found it impossible to change my IP address -- something that was easy with the old DSL.
The only alternative is to change one's classified site to backpage.com, which does have classified sites all over the country and has a strong presence in many cities.
Another problem I have had with uverse and AT&T is the email service. The Yahoo interface tries very hard to shove a consumer mentality down your throat, and logging into email, setting up the 10 available sub accounts, and trying to forward emails may take you a couple hours -- or maybe many more -- to figure out. The Yahoo interface is way more complicated and laden with advertising than it needs to be. The log in procedure for email is incredibly annoying.
Despite these caveats, the speed and performance of Uverse has been very reliable and continues to be blazing fast, with multiple internet video streams available in our house simultaneously. Amazing.