Review by insomniac
Good "Fantastic speeds, excellent reliability, relatively loose TOS/AUP"
- Location: Naperville,Du Page,IL
- Cost: $38 per month
- Install: about 5 days
Bad "Uses PPPoE, Yahoo content mostly worthless"
Overall "Get it if you're close enough to the CO to get the fastest package"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
Last week, I cancelled my AT&T DSL. Nightly slowdowns and occasional sync problems got to be too much of a hassle. When I ordered DSL nearly 7 years ago, it was a better option than Comcast. SBC was offering 6Mbps when Comcast only had 1.5Mbps in my area. Now, it's the other way around; Comcast gives me a reliable 16Mbps down, 2Mbps up. All AT&T can offer me is the more costly U-Verse, which is next to impossible to order without the accompanying TV service.
So long, DSL. It's been fun.
My sync rate continues to be reduced occasionally - sometimes because of noise on the line, sometimes not. This situation and the recent price increase have caused me to take a serious look at Comcast for the first time in six years. (I can get U-Verse, but I'm only interested in the Internet service - and it appears that if I only want U-Verse Internet, I'd have to waste money on TV service first, then cancel it.)
In the last couple of months, I've had a few more problems with noise on the line reducing the DSL sync rate. The noise disappeared after the first two service calls, only to come back again later. Whatever they did last time - changed the pairs again? - has held for now.
I'm still happy with the service, and my $35/month rate is $10 less than when I first signed up six years ago. DSLR recently posted some news stories about rates going up soon, and mine may increase to $42.95 - which, oddly enough, is the same price as Comcast's 15/3 tier. Once I get official confirmation from AT&T, I may find myself defecting to Comcast.
I had 6Mbps service from AT&T for years before moving in September. The wire database indicated the loop at the new place would only support 3Mbps, so I just sucked it up and dealt with it. After watching the line stats for a few months, I requested a prequal for 6.0/768 through the AT&T Direct forum here in late January. David thought the stats looked good, so I placed an upgrade order through the Web site. It went off without a hitch; service is as stable as always, with virtually no change in the line stats.
The static on the voice portion of the line (reported in the September review) reared its ugly head again just before Thanksgiving. A crew came out on Thanksgiving Day and replaced the drop wire and the NID. No problems since then.
I recently moved from an apartment to a house two miles away, basically from one side of the CO to the other. The CO is almost right in the middle of the two places, but my loop length increased by about 4kft, which may be enough to put me out of the running for the 6Mbps speeds I've had for 4-1/2 years.
I called the CCC (800-288-2020) on 9/5 to put in a move order for POTS/DSL, due 9/19. Much to my dismay, I was told that DSL was unavailable even though I had confirmed availability at the new address using the AT&T Web site just days before. Since the location is pretty close to the CO, I figured no RT was involved, so it was probably not a facilities exhaust issue. Posting in the AT&T Direct forum here at DSLR got me a manual prequal for 3.0/512 at 10kft. I figured, okay, not the 6.0/768 I'd been getting, but it still beats going back to Comcast...
Due date came and went. POTS worked, but there was a nasty hum on the line both inside and at the NID. DSL modem was able to sync, but it dropped periodically and the line stats were all over the place. I called repair (888-611-4466) on the afternoon of 9/20 to enter a trouble ticket. The initial same-day estimate for repair was missed. Ticket was closed on 9/21 with no resolution. I reopened it on 9/22 and heard from a tech who told me the noise was being caused by faulty DSL equipment at the CO, and that it should be resolved that night. No resolution. Received a call from another tech on 9/23 telling me they'd traced the problem to a main box on Chicago Ave. Came home that night, noise is gone. DSL modem would sync but could not open a PPPoE session. A check of the modem showed an ATM OAM ping test failure. I figured the ATM PVC was being rebuilt, and a check of the forums here confirmed that, but I was not sure why that was necessary when it worked before the line noise was fixed. After two hours and one call to Tier 1 support, it was up.
My modem syncs at 3008/512 with stable SNR of 15.5 and attenuation of 41.0. I am hoping that these stats will allow for an upgrade to 6016/768 later, and I will watch the line carefully for the next couple of weeks.
Connection remains reliable as ever. I recommend not using the ISP-provided email, though, in light of the recent snafus.
Contrary to my original post, I have been using the Speedstream 5100b modem to maintain the PPPoE connection, with my Linksys WRT54Gv4 (w/DD-WRT firmware) getting the address from the modem via DHCP. This combination has worked quite well for the past few years.
Still rock-solid as always. My upgrade to the Elite package a year ago (same downstream, slightly higher upstream, lower price) went off without a hitch. My $29.99 price went up to $39.99 a couple months ago, but I re-rated at $34.99 (with no contract) using the AT&T Web site.
I called the EPC yesterday to upgrade to the new Elite 6016/768 package at the lower price. Right now I'm still on the grandfathered Expert Plus 6016/608 at $44.99 and am anxious to get a slightly higher upload speed for $15 less. Time to see if this goes smoothly.
No problems to report--my DSL remains speedy and reliable. Still waiting on that upload speed increase, though...
Still flying along with speeds of roughly 5.2Mbps/512Kbps, and looking forward to the recently announced upload speed increases.
ORIGINAL 2/2004 REVIEW:
I was a Comcast customer for over a year before my service started to go south (due to my node near downtown Naperville being overloaded). When SBC announced its revamped packages at the beginning of February, it was clear that I should make the switch. I decided to get the Expert Plus package, advertised as 1.5-3.0Mbps/384Kbps but which syncs at 6.0/608.
On February 3, I attempted to order Expert Plus, but was told by a rep that my line did not qualify for that package -- at 6000 feet from the CO. Knowing that this was incorrect (thanks to the fine folks in the Ameritech forum here), I called back the next day and successfully placed an order. She even mentioned that I'd get speeds up to 6.0, despite SBC not officially advertising that. My order completion date was set for Wednesday, February 11.
The modem shipped quickly and I got it the following Monday. As anticipated, my line was already connected and my modem (an Efficient Speedstream 5100B) synched right up. I had no plans to use the installation CD to activate my service, so I used the info from the BBR SBC DSL FAQ (ah, acronyms) to set up my modem and register. Less than five minutes later, I was up and running.
After some testing and playing around, I set the modem to bridge mode and started using my Linksys BEFW11S4 wireless router to maintain the PPPoE connection. I was used to DHCP with Comcast and having the same IP for 6+ months at a time, so I was a little nervous about PPPoE, but I've had very little trouble thus far. My connection died a few times during the early morning hours last week, resulting in an IP change, but it's been rock solid for about five days now and I anticipate it will stay that way.
Speed tests are a consistent 5.2Mbps/512Kbps, latency is always around 30ms, and BBR line quality testing/monitoring shows a fantastic connection. I'm a happy camper, to say the least.
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updated 3.9 years ago