Tag: broadband

Qwest DSL Review

I originally signed up for Qwest DSL when it became available in my area many years ago. The first available package I had included 256k download speeds, and I gradually upgraded over the years to 512k, 1500k, and eventually my max which is now 3072k. I use my DSL connection primarily for web browsing and connecting to my home server. The other option in my area is MediaCom Cable, which offer high-speed cable modem access. At this time Qwest DSL is cheaper than MediaCom service, but not by much. It essentially comes down to what you prefer, either cable or DSL.

DSL Versus Cable

The general differences between DSL and Cable have really diminished over the years and now that both technologies are matured, the choice becomes one of personal preference and requirements. Qwest offers ADSL, which is in fact a more complicated technology than high speed cable. However once you figure out DSL, this difference no longer matters. With a DSL connection your TCP/IP packets are put into PPP packets which are then transmitted over an ATM connection. You then have three protocols of transmission: TCP/IP in PPP, PPP in ATM. The ATM layer adds about 10% overhead to the transmission size, so a 1024k connection is degraded into about 922k connection. This is probably the first thing to understand about actual DSL speed.

The other issue which concerns online gamers is delay. All networks have some sort of lag, and while the debate goes on as to which has less delay, Cable or DSL, the truth is that you have to try both services in your area to see which one in fact has less delay. One thing to consider about DSL is that you do not have to have Qwest as your ISP. You can choose between MSN and a variety of other ISPs, most of them being local internet service providers. I personally have always had a local ISP and have even switched ISPs. The process usually takes about four days to get done. Depending on your ISP with DSL, your network delay will vary. As of last week when I tested my lacency, the delay is equal to about 79 miliseconds for my 3072k connection.

DSL Modems & Routers

At this time, Qwest offers an excellent 2Wire router which includes wireless connections. As for going with a basic modem, I actually am using a Netopia 2240N modem in combination with a Linksys wireless router. This allows me more options and makes it easier to upgrade my wireless options in the future. If you are looking for the simple solution, then the 2Wire router from Qwest is your best option.

Changing your hardware or first installing it usually requires calling your third party ISP. They usually need to rebuild (or setup) your circuit (connection) to recognize your modem or router. Once they do that DSL is up and running. If you do not do this, the result is usually that your modem/router will connect to the ATM network (Qwest), but not be able to connect to the Internet (ISP’s network).

DSL Stability

On average DSL outages are rare. I have only had problems where my ISP has had network issues and at most the Qwest ATM connection has failed about three times. The vast majority of DSL issues will be on your end. DSL routers can get stuck and need an occasional reboot, but if configured correctly and adequately cooled, they usually can run for months without a restart.

DSL In The Future

Eventually ADSL2 will become the standard in the future. If you are replacing your DSL equipment make sure you keep ADSL2 compatibility in mind just in case Qwest rolls out ADSL2 in your area. ADSL2 can provide speeds up to 24 megabytes. The current ADSL Qwest uses now offers only up to 7 megabytes, with most customers qualifying for 3 to 5 megabyte connections. However many people would be happy with even a basic 1.5 megabyte connection, depending on your internet usage.

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DSL Router & Forwarding Ports Problem

If you read my previous post on Troubleshooting Ports on DSL, then perhaps you will get the whole idea on how to forward ports, but as I discovered, powering off your routers may cause packet loss afterwards.

In a typical DSL setup your main DSL modem provide DHCP services, and although there is only one physical ethernet port that it connects to, unless you specifically setup the DSL modem to forward all traffic to your LAN router, chances are a reset could send packets to another ip address and all of a sudden your packets get lost going to a different ip.

To work around this, you either have to be careful about how you reset your routers or force the DSL modem to route everything to one IP address, therefore losing some of the firewall protection that the DSL modem is providing.

Here is a proper way to reset your home network and routers.

1. Turn off everything. This includes computers, routers, DSL modem.

2. Power on the DSL Modem first. Wait a few minutes until the LAN and WAN lights turn solid, usually green.

3. Power on your home router, the Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, or whatever brand you have.

4. After a couple of minutes, turn on the computers and other devices on your network.

5. Verify the NAT on the DSL modem is still setup properly and that the home router is connecting to the DSL modem with the correct IP address.

For the Cisco 678 ADSL modem, telnet into it and type:

show nat

The last lines that come up will show the last packets that were sent and what local ip they were sent to. It should be for the 678, unless you changed it.

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