Road Runner (includes MediaOne)

622 ratings (608 Epinions reviews)
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Cable Modems - The Epitome of Lag

Feb 6, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:read article

Cons:read article

Well it would appear 94% of the people writing recommendations on epinions about a cable modem do support it, unfortunately... they’re just writing about the now and not thinking of the future.

I live in Jacksonville, Florida, approximately 1 minute from a community college and 2 minutes from the University of North Florida. I had Mediaone's Roadrunner service for about 3 months until I was fed up with it and had it canceled.

The problem was bandwidth sharing. What is bandwidth you ask? Bandwidth is simply how much data a system can allow to pass through it. Unlike any other Internet services, cable modems have to share bandwidth with everyone within the area. Most people give cable modems such a high rating because they don't have the problem of severe lag due to a high number of users. It's simple, the larger the number of people using the bandwidth, the more the individual will lag.

I concede that this is not a problem in most places right now because the demand for cable modems has not spiraled. In time this will be the trend, most people will switch to cable because it’s affordable and much faster than a phone line and this will have a snowball effect on the lag. During the afternoon, the lag would be so bad I could literally surf the web 10 times faster just on dial-up. If I wanted a good connection I’d have to get up at 3 in the morning when everyone else was asleep so the bandwidth was not being used as much.

What’s the solution for high-speed access? The solution is DSL, a Digital Subscriber Line. DSL brings with it several advantages that are also very affordable.

DSL does not share bandwidth like cable modems. This ensures that as long as you’re connected you will never have to worry about lag. DSL stays connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just like a cable modem. Since a DSL runs off a special phone connection, this also allows you to make phone calls while you’re connected to the Internet.

Bellsouth offers DSL for around $50 a month, which is only 5 dollars more expensive than a cable modem. The only draw back to a DSL line is that your home has to be within 3 miles of a switching station, but call up your local phone company and see if they offer the service for your area.

It’s the best way to solve the problems of the future now, and if DSL is still a long way in the future for your community, then at the minimum cable might be your last option. For any of you running a high end business, investing in a t line might be best.



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