Review by iansltx
Good "Rock-solid connection compared to the competition, cheap, awesome backbone"
- Location: Fredericksburg,Gillespie,TX
- Cost: $37 per month (12 month contract)
- Install: about 30 days
Bad "Speed tops out at ~1.8/620, low SNR means the connection is fragile if not treated correctly"
Overall "A great upgrade from what we were using, but would get TWC over DSL if it wasn't $9k to install"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)
The service has jumped from $30 per month to $32, and now $37, as Verizon tries to either monetize or get rid of its non-fiber, non-wireless base. But we're hanging on, since there's still nothing better (note that the $5 per month pricing prior to this update was a mistake).
On the plus side, Verizon has now uncapped our line speed-wise. The line will sync up as fast as it can, provided upstream SNR is 9 dB or higher, and downstream SNR is 6 dB or higher. On the minus side, that only nets us a few hundred kbps of breathing room on the download side (so we're talking about 1.75 Mbps on speed tests instead of 1.5). Going back to pluses, upload speeds are significantly increased...to a little north of 600 kbps. Far from ideal (Sprint LTE at the same location can hit 5+ Mbps, and Time Warner Cable in town can hit 50/5 Mbps down/up) but for an uncapped connection with dcent latency and reliability we'll take what we can get.
NOTE: Ignore latency readings on both of these. Latency to Softlayer-Dallas is 40-41ms. Latency to 188.8.131.52 (anycasted from Dallas) is 38ms.
The speedtest is rock-solid (takes a second or two to hit top speed, then stays there for the remainder of the test). I could test any time of day and get the same result, as long as the modem is sync'ing at full speed (which it does most of the time).
The service has chugged along with pretty much no change for the last two years. Sometimes the modem needs to be rebooted to lock in 1.5 Mbps speeds, but they'll always come back, despite the low SNR they bring (on the downstream side anyway; I'd have no issues with dropouts if VZ pushed my upload sync speed up to where I was getting 512 kbps on speed tests instead of 384 kbps).
About a year ago I got a second DSL line installed, opting for the lower package since I thought that, since line quality was fine, Verizon would provide me with a 1 Mbps down, 384 kbps up line that I could bond (via Sharedband or the like) for a whopping 2.5 Mbps down, 768 kbps up of throughput (smokin', I know). Installation was successful, but VZ stubbornly refused to provision the line above rates that, after overhead, gave me 768 kbps down, 128 kbps up. A few months later, I discontinued service on that line, having used it practically none in the interim.
It's sad that, due to my parents' location, their 'net access is for all intents and purposes frozen in time, or at least it seems that way. Time Warner Cable now offers DOCSIS 3 where their lines extend, with 50/5 (Mbps of course) speeds available. Verizon appears to offer 7 Mbps DSL in town; I think that two years ago speeds topped out at 3 Mbps. But this far out, 1.5 Mbps is the best they can do (on a single line anyway, and they don't do bonded DSL). The local WISP hasn't upgraded their package speeds in this area in at least three years, and 3G is getting slower, not faster, as companies focus on 4G buildouts elsewhere (Sprint will probably be the first one with 4G here). Sure, ViaSat exede is available, but my guess is that my parents' Internet usage would place them at least at the 15GB tier ($75 here), if not higher. Plus, latency on satellite is bad for the gaming that my brothers and I occasionally use the connection for.
But hey, things could be a lot worse. Latency to websites in Dallas sits around 38ms (24ms of which is interleave delay, possibly combined with latency to San Antonio), and those pings are actually more consistent (albeit usually higher) than what I get at my apartment in Colorado. One thing's for sure: I'm glad I'm not limited to 3G or satellite, both of which have higher-latency, jitterier service than what's available through Verizon.
ORIGINAL REVIEW (early 2010)
It all started around Thanksgiving; Verizon FINALLY installed a DSLAM in my area and started serving customers off of it. Which is great because until then most lines in town were unsuitable for DSL (bridged taps etc.) so the CLEC (now Windstream) had pretty much abandoned DSL due to low uptake. Once Verizon put in their own DSLAM (probably to pump the town's system value up for a sale) lines started getting groomed...
After pestering a local tech off and on, my line, at 20,610 feet from the CO, started getting groomed. In early January the call came: your line is ready to go for DSL. My parents have VZ landline service (just the basic $20-including-tax local service with nothing added, not even caller ID) so we got a really nice deal on DSL: 6 months free, then $30 (plus taxes and fees) per month. It looks like the taxes and fees will be a little less than $5, so even after the free period (where taxes are still apparently assessed...weird but not big enough to gripe about) we'll be paying less for access than we were to our previous ISP.
The equipment mailed to us was a Westell 6100 series modem, which includes built-in routing capability. This is proving to be a bit troublesome since I'm used to using bridged modems (like my Comcast cable modem in Colorado) but the modem UI is easy enough on port forwarding that I haven't taken the time to put the modem into pure bridge mode, which is a bit more of a chore. The only other equipment Verizon gave were some filters and a splitter, which is fine because that's all that was needed to get the internet up and running. No tech had to come to our house for the install, though we're working on running a Cat5 home run to the modem...we need all the SNR we can get.
Speaking of SNR, as long as the phone line isn't running right near the DC cord for the Westell modem we're in the 6.5-8.5 range, with 57.5 db (!) of attenuation. Yes, we're a ways from the CO. Yet the connection is running at a solid 1758/447 sync rate, giving us the 1.5 Mbps down and 384 kbps up that we were promised after overhead, something that Qwest in Colorado doesn't do to my great chagrin.
It would be nice if the upload was provisioned another few hundred kbps higher, but we'll take what we can get. A solid, uncapped, jitter-free 1.5/384 connection is preferable to 2 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up AT&T 3G with a 5GB cap, 2 Mbps down, 650 kbps up Verizon 3G with a 10GB cap, 1.2 Mbps down, 600 kbps up Sprint for $70 per month, satellite or the overloaded local WISP, which are our alternatives in the area. CricKet is also available, but signal sucks indoors. Verizon apparently doesn't offer more than 3/768 in the area and from what I hear doesn't have internet-lit fiber to the CO (so they're running their DSL system off of a T3 or two) but I'm happy to report that speeds are consistent (and Verizon's backbone routing is awesome) no matter what time it is.
Verizon beats everyone except the WISP on latency, and the WISP only beats Verizon on the first hop when the system isn't overloaded (too much of the time). Latency on the first hop is in the 24-27ms range (I need to measure the connection at some point directly connected to the DSL modem, without a powerline networking kit and a wireless router spreading the signal around) which is perfectly fine considering the rock-solid nature of the connection and the fact that we're working on a low-SNR interleaved DSL connection, which incidentally is using the ADSL2+ profile to pump the bits to us.
Is a 1.5/384 connection that great? Nope. However the only way to get more highly reliable bandwidth would be to shell out $35 or $45 for a 1/384 or 1.5/384 dry-line connection on our other copper pair, wait for Verizon to make sure that pair is conditioned, then figure out a way to bond two DSL modems to create a single connection. The upload speed is what's lacking anyway, and the places I upload to are single-stream, so the additional line wouldn't work well anyway without a service like SharedBand, which costs even more money. The bottom line: the connection is my parents' and they're willing to pay $45-$55 per month for an internet connection, no more. Right now they're paying a LOT less than that, which is fine too. The biggest draw though is that they now have a rock-solid internet connection that can pull down data at nearly 200 KB per second, streams YouTube without hiccups and has a public IP address so I can remotely fix computer issues without a problem. Verizon may be giving up on their DSL footprint across the US, but this is one success story that should be known to all.
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updated 276 days ago