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2 General Questions

ISDN is capable of speeds up to 64kbps, or up to 128kbps with both B channels bonded. Just like most connections, it is subject to line overhead. You will generally see in the neighborhood of 80 - 95% of 128kbps. ISDN is a symmetrical line meaning both the download and the upload speed are the same.

by redxii See Profile edited by brawney See Profile
last modified: 2002-09-08 19:36:30

ISDN is available just about anywhere, because it has no distance limitations. It can be obtained through your local telephone company, or search for an ISP at findanisp.com.

by redxii See Profile

There are two costs associated with an ISDN line:

    • The cost of the ISDN line itself from your local phone company, and,•The cost of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to allow you to access the internet.

The cost of the line varies widely. You must call your local phone company to find out the cost. But it generally costs between $60 and $80 a month for the phone line itself for most people but it can vary as widely as $40 to $120 a month. The cost of an ISP will generally be between $19 and $50 a month.

by brawney See Profile edited by redxii See Profile
last modified: 2002-09-07 18:44:51

Good question. The answer is simple. If ISDN is all you can get then you may be very happy to pay a premium price for a high quality digital phone line with speeds as much as 4 times faster than an analog modem line. If you can get DSL or a cable modem then by all means go for it. But if you cannot get DSL because your town doesn't have it or you are too far away from the CO then you may want to consider ISDN.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • I had ISDN BRI Internet backhauled some 60+ miles to my house. $200/mo & I loved it until DSL was extened to my area last year.

    2012-07-24 13:30:00

by brawney See Profile edited by redxii See Profile
last modified: 2002-09-07 20:05:39

You may have priced both satellite and ISDN and noticed that they are close to the same monthly cost. But you heard that satellite download speeds can be 1.5Mbps (that's Megabits per second) and ISDN is only 128kbps. So why wouldn't I want to get satellite internet?

Satellite has a very large delay when sending data back and forth between you and the internet. That delay can cause problems with certain programs, most notably online gaming. The delay for a satellite connection can be a half a second to a second (500ms to 1,000ms) because the signal travels thousands of miles above the Earth and back to you. The delay on an ISDN line is typically only 50ms to 150ms. That is a big difference. This delay can also affect how "snappy" your browsing experience is. When you click a link in your browser using ISDN it almost instantly begins to load. On satellite this can take a full second to begin loading.

Satellite performance is also subject to weather conditions. And as of the time of this writing, the Hughes Direcway satellite system is far from perfect. Some users have experienced only 40kbps download speeds during peak times of the day and evening. That is slower than a dialup modem.

ISDN is a more stable and predictable connection. It may be slower much of the time but it is usually a rock solid connection.

There is no clear answer to this question. Satellite vs. ISDN is a decision that needs to be made after you have learned all the pros and cons of both technologies.

by brawney See Profile
last modified: 2002-09-08 20:21:52

Good, cheap, fully-supported ISDN access? Nothing could be sweeter, but it's not always easy to find. An ISP that works for some may not work for others due to location (not every ISP has a local number in every area) or equipment (the same ISP may support ISDN on one phone number but not another).

To the uninitiated, it may come as a surprise to learn that an ISDN modem can connect each of its two 64K data channels (B-channels) to an ISP's 56K V.90 modem and get something that acts like a single 128K connection.

The tricky part is that the router that you connect to must somehow know that both of these incoming connections are really supposed to be grouped into one combined connection. In order to do this the ISP's router must support a protocol called "Multilink PPP" (dialing in with your second line is sometimes referred to as "joining the MP bundle" in router logs). Of course, your TA or router must be configured properly to use both channels as well.

Some ISPs explicitly support ISDN and Multilink PPP while others only claim to offer normal 56K dialup but some of their phone numbers actually do work with ISDN. Be aware that using ISDN with an ISP that doesn't officially support it may be in technical violation of the TOS (Terms of Service) agreement and your clever hookup could stop working at any time. That being said, many people have had good success with these ISPs.

Caveat: The information in the following table is subjective and may become out of date. ISPs without explicit ISDN support may or may not work for you even if they have worked for others.

Cost Per MonthComments
MonsterUSA nationwideyes$19.95 (USD)No frills, includes email and web space
SBC Yahoo!USA nationwideno$21.95 (USD)Bundled with Yahoo! tie-ins, additional features available
MSN DialupUSA nationwideno$21.95 (USD)Bundled with "MSN 8" tie-ins, additional features available

by iceleftd See Profile edited by redxii See Profile
last modified: 2003-04-23 21:34:56