• 4000007: What is high speed internet?

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    AKB4000007: What is high speed internet?

    By @CanadianTech

    Published 5 Feb 2017 rev 1.0

    The sellers make lots of claims for “HIGH SPEED.”  For the most part, it would be a mistake to believe any of them.  Note the very small printed up to.

    With very minor exceptions, there are really only two choices.  One uses the twisted pair wires of the telephone infrastructure — this is referred to commonly as DSL or  ADSL.  There are many resellers, particularly of ADSL. The second uses the coaxial cable of the cable TV infrastructure.

    Both infrastructures are gradually being upgraded by replacing parts of their systems with fiber optic cables.  Fiber optic transmission is dramatically faster and more reliable.  The extent to which these fiber optic cables reach your computer modem will have a huge effect on what kind of performance you can get.  The closer the fiber to your modem, the better.  If you are considering DSL, ideally, the fiber should be no more than 300 meters wire length away.  That effectively means on the pole outside your home/office.

    The modem is the device you rent or buy from your Interent provider that connects your computers to their network.

    Upgrading these infrastructures to fiber optic cable is taking place but at a slow pace and it has not reached most homes and very few businesses.  So most have to choose which of these systems to use.  Interestingly, pricing is about equal, regardless of performance.  Most people do not seem to be aware of the difference, although in many cases, the difference is quite substantial.  Effectively, you can get much more for the same money if you choose correctly.

    Coaxial cable is capable of much greater bandwidth (speed) than twisted pair.  ADSL (twisted pair) is much more vulnerable to less than perfect connections. The fact that coaxial is faster than twisted pair is physics, not quality of management.  In an older building, twisted pair connections are frequently not perfect and there can be 10 to 100 in a typical home.  Many of these connections are buried in inaccessible places behind walls.   If any one of them is not perfect, ADSL performance will downgrade quite significantly.  Most of these telephone wires were installed for telephones, not computers, when quality of these connections was not nearly as critical.

    [For what it’s worth… in my neighborhood, outside Nashville, AT&T pulled fiber optic to all the houses and the difference is astounding. It’s easily ten times as fast as Comcast’s ADSL, and costs less. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary, but you might want to drop by nextdoor.com and see what your neighbors say. -WL]

    The bottom line is that unless the telephone network has fiber optic cable outside your window, it will not perform nearly as well as cable.  In my neighbourhood, coaxial cable delivers at least twice the performance at the same cost as the telephone-based system, AND is equivalent in price.

    If you would like to test your current connection: http://www.speedtest.net will give you real world actual performance to compare to the claim from your provider.  You may be surprised to see the difference.

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    • #91105

      In relation to bufferbloat, until this is widely resolved, in Windows 7 try this configuration:

      Open a command prompt and run as Administrator:

      set heuristics default
      set heuristics disabled
      set global autotuninglevel=highlyrestricted
      set global congestionprovider=ctcp

      You can fiddle with the other settings, but those above are related to buffers and internet speed and latency.


    • #91290

      On a per user/device basis;

      (i) to read a news website, u need a minimum Internet speed of about 200Kbps.
      (ii) to watch/stream a pre-recorded Youtube video in 360p, u need about 400Kbps.
      (iii) to watch/stream ……………………… in 720p/HD, u need about 800Kbps.
      (iv) to ………………………………….. in 1080p/UHD, u need about 1Mbps.
      (v) to …………………………………… in 4000p/4k, u need about 4Mbps.

      (vi) to stream similar videos Live, double the above speed requirement, eg live sports in 1080p/UHB requires about 2Mbps.

      (vii) to download the 3GB Win 7 Pro 64bit iso to yr cptr, the length of time required will depend on yr Internet speed Plan. A 10Mbps Plan will take about 50 minutes, ie
      3GB = 3,000MB = 30,000Mb,
      30,000Mb/10Mbps = 3,000 seconds = 3,000/60 minutes = 50 minutes.

      For most single home user, an Internet Plan of 2Mbps should be sufficient, except for the minor occasional inconvenience of needing about 4 hours to download the 3GB Win 7 Pro 64bit iso.
      A family home with 5 users/members should be needing an Internet Plan of 10Mbps, ie, 5 X 2Mbps.

      • #91473

        For home users with Data Caps,

        (i) reading news website or social media website or making comments for 1 hour will consume about 60MB of data.
        (ii) listening or downloading a 1 hr song list will consume about 100MB of data.

        (iii) streaming or downloading a 1 hr movie or TV show in 360p(p = pixel) will consume about 400MB of data.
        (iv) streaming or downloading a 1 hour movie or TV show in 1080p/UHD will consume about 1GB of data.

        (v) double the above data consumption for live-streaming of videos, eg watching live sports in 1080p/UHD at streamhunterdotcom or wiziwigdottv for 1 hour will consume about 2GB of data.
        So, if a home user watches pre-recorded TV shows at Netflix in 1080p/UHD for about 2 hours daily(= 2GB of data consumed), he/she will be consuming about 60GB of data monthly just at Netflix.

        Excerpt from AT&T website;
        “What are the new data allowances?
        AT&T increased Internet Data allowances on August 21, 2016. The Internet allowances include the following:

        150 Gigabytes (GB) per month for customers on our DSL network(= old twisted copper wire network).
        1 Terabyte (TB) per month for speeds up to and including 768 Kilobits per second (Kbps) through 300 Megabits per second (Mbps).
        Unlimited home Internet data for the Internet 1000 speed tier(=
        1000Mbps or 1Gbps).”

    • #91668

      If you have a home phone, there is one key advantage to DSL over fiber, and that is, if your power goes out, you will still have phone service. That is because copper wires carry electricity from the central office to your house, and your old-fashioned phone is powered by the copper wires.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #91934

        There was a tweak on old fashioned dial up if you could get the Tel Co to tweak the gain on your line then the speed was faster but the voice quality on normal calls was degenerated slightly. Not surprisingly most Tel Co’s I have dealt with were unreceptive (if they even understood the request) However a relative of mine did so working for a phone company in the area where I was living and the benefit was negligible to say the least. As you said if the Box at your end has a power loss your lost because the Box at your end needs mains power to work but should you “Hook it up” to an UPS (uninterruptable power supply) say the same as your machine in many cases it would still work as signals sent down the wire or Fibre Optic just need to interpret the incoming signal as both effectively use TDM (time division Multiplex) to share signals coming down the same medium. Hopefully the Phone company doesnt have a power cut as well. With a bit of luck, POTs (plain old telephone system) yeah really not kidding its a Tech. term LOL, we wont go back “en masse” to the “bad ole dial up days” That was absolute torture. Not sure if using a UPS for any length of time and a machine would be much of a long term solution because of the power draw but something to while away those long dark nights in the interim 😉

    • #91855

      Bc of the cost-ineffectiveness of cabling to rural and remote regions, there are only “wireless or cableless” ISP’s from mobile Telco’s and/or Satellite companies providing Internet service to such non-urban/suburban residents. Such Internet Plans are comparably more expensive, hv lower Data Caps n lower speeds. Eg,


    • #91866

      to ch100 from ?
      Doesn’t SpeedGuide TCP Optimizer set the appropriate win7 networking parameters?
      I use CL vdsl2 at 26Mbps download and it works well however the upload is slow at 896kbps…
      I remember all to well the dial up interweb days with blazing transfer speed of 56 kbit/s (using the V.90 or V.92 protocol). talk about waiting for the paint to dry, oh brother!

      • #91915

        I tried in the past TCP Optimizer and it messed up everything. 🙁
        It was many years ago.
        I know that the current version is more evolved and may be more suitable, but I cannot recommend it, as I haven’t look much into it or tested.
        I don’t normally use third-party tools to manage Windows, unless there is a script which I can read before applying.
        I take ideas for that sort of tools and from the articles published on SpeedGuide.net which is a great site and from other sites too, but in the end I create my own tweaks which I tend to keep minimal and use only if strictly required.
        I prefer to keep as much as possible from the default settings, to have a system as much supported as possible and as easy as possible to roll-back if needed. Rolling back is not always easy and reliable with third-party tools.

        And only because you are familiar with speedguide.net , I also disable rss, chimney and netdma.
        The opinions about rss are split, but this functionality is useful only on servers with a huge amount of traffic, while on desktop can only create problems.
        And I also disable TaskOffload which is under netsh interface ip (and ipv6) but this is useful only if you are in a LAN or even more useful if you are on a virtualised platform.

    • #91925

      Many ISP’s in the UK pass ‘High Speed Internet’ as anything over 2mbps on ADSL, some have even passed old ISDN as high speed internet over the years.

      UK Fibre connections are only to the cabinet (FTTC) with Cu cable from the cabinet to your home/business.
      Luck of the draw here! it’s either in close proximity or miles away from your home/business and the longer the Cu cable, the worse the signal to noise ratio, attenuation and d/l and u/l speeds.
      I generally have a rule of thumb with modem/routers supplied by ISP’s, replace them with your own choice of modem/router, it saves hunting down ISP snooping settings buried in the device via telnet.

      No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #91962

        That’s interesting to know that BT routers etc still use Telnet hmm was that ports 23 or 24? If I ever go back to the UK its probably worth a gander its been about 20 years since I was there and the dial up was dreadful (same as the rest of the world) If memory serves me right you folks still pay for local calls? 10p seems to ring a bell. (no pun intended) and I am guessing/remember the phone “Jacks” are the 6-7 pin variety whereas here they are only 3 and the mains plugs are the same as HKG but the voltage is the same 220Vac. Got to be the Hotels have free WiFi. Down for a visit there soon/this or next year so it could be a walk on the wild side for sure lol 🙂

      • #92025

        UK Fibre connections are only to the cabinet (FTTC) with Cu cable from the cabinet to your home/business.

        FTTP (fibre to the premises (usually to the pole outside)) has been rolling out for a while in some areas of the UK, commonly to new build/business parks but also some established residential areas.

        Some xDSL users are unlucky in that they’re stuck with a mix of Cu/Al line back to the fibre cabinet or telephone exchange as a result of BT trying to save money during the ’80/90’s when CU prices were very high. I have ~500M of Al in my FTTC connection, so what would ordinarily have been a 24-30 Mbps connection is downgraded to ~12Mbps as a result.

        BT Home routers used to have a backdoor for BT to access the router for firmware updates, etc., which wasn’t the case for their Business products. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, I’ve been out of that loop for some years now.

        Generally for UK broadband issues/speedtests/etc., I use ThinkBroadband as my first stop: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/

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        • #92642

          Yeah satrow, forgot about FTTP, it isn’t widely available for home-users & business round our neck of the woods.

          Your memory serves you well BobbyB 😉

          Wish they would adopt fibre in overhead/ cabled power-lines instead of c**p BT lines, I know the technology is there already for renewable power..at a large cost.

          No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT- AE
          • #92653

            @ Rob

            From Wiki,

            ” In 2007, NATO Research and Technology Organisation released a report which concluded that widespread deployment of BPL may have a “possible detrimental effect upon military HF radio communications.”

            (BPL = Broadband Power Line)

            • #96846

              I recently read a study showing power line-based internet comms also negatively affect HF air traffic control communications.


    • #96847

      We have Fiber To The Home in my neighborhood, via Hotwire Communications “fision” service. Their ZTE optical network terminator (ONT) is in my garage, with separate gigabit Ethernet links to my router and their IPTV box.


      I have to say, whenever I’ve tested it I’ve always gotten better than advertised speeds, which at the moment are 100 megabits downlink, 20 megabits uplink.



      I often spend hours on continuous VOIP connections doing business and technical collaboration without interruption.

      For all the bad out there, there are some good ISPs as well.

      Just a data point.


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    Reply To: 4000007: What is high speed internet?

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