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Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO

[Speed] May have to switch to Comcast

Ok, we have a complex situation here. For our TV, we have DirecTV and we have HDTV's in the house, so with 3 DVR's it's expensive. But we think it's the best. We tried Comcast several years ago and weren't happy.

BUT we have CenturyLink for our land line and DSL and recently have wanted to start watching streaming HD movies and shows, so last September we got a couple of Roku boxes and have been frustrated ever since. We only get minimal speed here from CenturyLink, 3 megs. The main phone line on our street is 60 years old and what they call "lead line" - paper wrapped foil. When it gets cold and damp, we even lose phone service, maybe 6 times a year. They cant get us any better than 3 megs DSL speed and have no plans for fiber.

We're fed up. We've been unable to watch streaming movies and can barely watch streaming shows, sometimes, without reloading every few seconds. And CenturyLink's usual response is to blame our outside ISP, but the bottom line is that they say we need 5 megs for streaming HDTV and we cant get it.

So what to do?

It has me thinking of Comcast. But we tried it years ago, and didn't like it. First of all, we have DirecTV and are in contract, I think for another year, and they have the most channels and shows we like.

But could we just get Comcast for HSI?

Ok, maybe, but we have our SOHO website hosted with our ISP and I understand Comcast cant do that, so we'd have to keep paying for our ISP on the outside.

Does Comcast make you use their own email program, or can I just use the cable internet transparently and keep our ISP and continue uploading our website changes by FTP over Comcast instead?

Questions to be answered.

And this article isn't very inspiring:
»www.internetwithoutlimits.com/


airwavz
Always the green wire

join:2011-09-11
Mount Juliet, TN
kudos:1
Comcast will gladly provide internet only, you should be able to pay your existing ISP for it's hosting services only (or move your website to better hosting for as little as $5-$10/mo.) and Comcast Business class DOES offer hosting (but in my opinion it's over-priced). I use biz class for ftp, VoIP, run hosting and web development services for a bunch of clients, and of course have my own domains and email (my servers are based at a colo center in Chicago). They can easily provide what you need WITHOUT requiring you to have TV services through them.


gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

And this article isn't very inspiring:
»www.internetwithoutlimits.com/

thanks for the lolz...i needed that today....
--
I'm better than you!

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Well is the article true, or outdated?

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO

1 edit
By the way, how does one watch streaming with Comcast, if we don't have their TV service?

Right now we get wireless through the DSL modem to Roku boxes ( which isn't fast enough ) but how would it be done with COmcast?

Oh, and now we use the DSL router to send wireless to 2 PC's in different rooms across the house, and of course the two Roku boxes. Can Comcast send wireless around the house from a single source that way for HSI?


NetFixer
Bah Humbug
Premium
join:2004-06-24
The Boro
Reviews:
·Cingular Wireless
·Comcast Business..
·Vonage
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

Well is the article true, or outdated?

Did you notice the 2008 dates in that article?

Here is a speed test result I just did (I have a 12/2 mbps plan with Comcast):




As for caps and throttling for residential customers, see this currently active thread in this forum: »[BW Meter] Comcast to Replace Usage Cap

Also since you mentioned the word SOHO in your original post, you may want to consider getting Comcast Business Class service instead of residential service. A business class plan includes a free web hosting service (it does have a limited usage cap, but it can be upgraded), and if you get a static IP account, you can host your own web server (I host my own servers, and use the free hosted service as a backup). Other benefits of a business class service are no caps, higher PowerBoost, and generally better/faster response if you call support.
--
We can never have enough of nature.
We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
My concern wasn't so much with bandwidth usage caps, but with speed caps. That was what I'd heard previously.

But come to mention it, if we watch streaming HDTV and movies, I guess we gotta start worrying about usage caps too.

As far as SOHO, we barely use any bandwidth for the business. We work about 10 hours a week and the web site gets maybe 30 visits a day.


NetFixer
Bah Humbug
Premium
join:2004-06-24
The Boro
Reviews:
·Cingular Wireless
·Comcast Business..
·Vonage
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

By the way, how does one watch streaming with Comcast, if we don't have their TV service?

Right now we get wireless through the DSL modem to Roku boxes ( which isn't fast enough ) but how would it be done with COmcast?

Oh, and now we use the DSL router to send wireless to 2 PC's in different rooms across the house, and of course the two Roku boxes. Can Comcast send wireless around the house from a single source that way for HSI?

You would just connect the Roku boxes to the Comcast connection instead of your DSL connection.

If you go with a Comcast residential service, you can either use one of their wireless gateway devices, or use a standard cable modem and your own wireless router. If you go with a Comcast Business Class service, you will need to supply your own wireless router or access point. In either case, if you are going to terminate your current DSL service (and if you own the DSL router), you may be able to just use that router as a wireless access point connected to your Comcast connection's LAN.
--
We can never have enough of nature.
We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.


NetFixer
Bah Humbug
Premium
join:2004-06-24
The Boro
Reviews:
·Cingular Wireless
·Comcast Business..
·Vonage
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

My concern wasn't so much with bandwidth usage caps, but with speed caps. That was what I'd heard previously.

But come to mention it, if we watch streaming HDTV and movies, I guess we gotta start worrying about usage caps too.

As far as SOHO, we barely use any bandwidth for the business. We work about 10 hours a week and the web site gets maybe 30 visits a day.

If you decide to go with Comcast residential service, the bandwidth caps are now less a problem than they used to be (read the link that I posted).

If you decide to go with Comcast Business Class service (which is what you really need to do if this service is related to a SOHO business), then there are no caps period. And with 30 visits a day on your web site, you should be able to get by just fine with the free web hosting that is part of the Business Class service.
--
We can never have enough of nature.
We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.


hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

snip........The main phone line on our street is 60 years old and what they call "lead line" - paper wrapped foil. When it gets cold and damp, we even lose phone service, maybe 6 times a year. ...snip....

But could we just get Comcast for HSI?

Ok, maybe, but we have our SOHO website hosted with our ISP and I understand Comcast cant do that, so we'd have to keep paying for our ISP on the outside.

Does Comcast make you use their own email program, or can I just use the cable internet transparently and keep our ISP and continue uploading our website changes by FTP over Comcast instead?

Questions to be answered.

And this article isn't very inspiring:
»www.internetwithoutlimits.com/

I started with @Home at the turn of the Century, that then changed to ATTBI that then changed to Comcast. I have had Comcast at 3 other locations since then, with a brief stint of DSL from a co-op. This is all in the PNW and have never had any problems. The article linked is pretty old and outdated, sorry.

I currently have Residential 12/3 and obtain those speeds. I too have a Roku Device and am connected wirelessly to it and to a couple of laptops. Have not had any problems watching streaming shows. And I come nowhere near the old 250 Gig cap.

I too have a Website and that is hosted by an outside provider other than Comcast or any ISP [is this referring to your webhost, ie like 'godaddy'?]. I use Comcast "pipes" to ftp into my site or for quick changes, use the c-panels file manager to make changes on the fly.

I have one e-mail account with Comcast and that e-mail is setup to forward to my Gmail account automatically. Other e-mail accounts I have are forwarded to Gmail as well. Then I have filters setup to dispense the mail to the appropriate "folders". I have never relied on an ISP's e-mail.

My physical hookup is: Comcast Coax ----> Cable Modem ----> Netgear b/g/n Router/Access Point

Yes, one can get just HSI, though will pay $10-$15/mo more w/o a 'package'. One place I was at, the cost of Limited Basic with taxes and fees was around $15/mo, so I added that for backup.

As you have probably seen there are a lot of knowledgable and helpful people in these forums, so if you have problems they will be of great help.

Hope I answered some of your questions.

ps- Forgot all about the "lead lines" in Denver problem. At the turn of the century, was working for Uswest doing Support on the ISP side. This was a common problem in some neighborhoods and we were told they were going to rewire. Guess they never got around to it.

keason
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Ann Arbor, MI
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..
reply to Melissa2009B
Comcast has a 30 day trial period for business. After that you are stuck on contract and obligated for 75% of the contract value whether you use it or not. You also usually have to pay a hefty install fee for short contracts. Renting a modem is $7/mo. You can buy a Moto SB6120 (the only modem supported for bus & res) if you don't want to rent, but only with dynamic service. You need to rent an SMC modem from Comcast with Static IPs. Business gets no usage caps, much faster powerboost, free exchange accounts + sharepoint. Support is better (Comcast will call you back and dispatch techs eves and sometimes weekends). You can get a slight (1 mo/yr free usually) discount through your chamber, or sometimes through your employer if you work for a large company.

Residental has more promos, usually starting around $20-30 per month for 6 months and cheap or free install. You get a 250Gb soft cap, at least for now, which is adequate for most people, but not for many DSLReports members.

Non discounted pricing starts at $60/mo or so for business and residental 12/2 (Res is a little more in most markets). Faster business tiers cost more than residential ones, but you get more exchange accounts and can down/upload as much as you want. You only get powerboost on the 12/2 and 22/5ish tiers.

If you want to minimize your financial risk I'd try residential under promo and switch to business if you use it a lot, or if Comcast won't significantly extend your promo. It's very easy to go way over the cap with online backup and HD streaming, especially with a 1080p AppleTV and Roku and multiple PC's and iPads etc....

With all of the streaming options you might be able to downgrade your DirectTV package and dump your landline for VoIP or cell. Both will be more reliable than your defective landline.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Interesting info, thanks guys. ( though some of the terms are strange to me )

Come to think of it, we may be out of contract with DirecTV now, so we could compare rates there too, but we're reluctant to get into new contracts now, being a global economic collapse is likely soon.

Not sure how much Comcast will let us do without contract.

The part time home business here sure wouldn't justify a business account, 95% of what we'd do is probably personal anyway.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
Comcast has improved a lot in the last few years all around. You can get residential service and try it for 30 days and it cost nothing. Word of warning get the best deal possible as your probably going to be keeping it. i to use a roku box and subscribe to both Netflix and hula plus and it never buffers during a movies. Do you really need three dvrs with 2 roku boxes? Will get salty tho with 3 dvrs. At least after the promotion.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Yes. We like to record shows, movies and news and watch them later. I like the 90 minute virtual drive that DirecTV makes on the hard drive. If I want some lunch for 10 minutes, and all that's on, real time, is ads, I can rewind and get some news.


PeteC2
Got Mouse?
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-20
Bristol, CT
kudos:6
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

Well is the article true, or outdated?

Everybody hates all content providers...period. If I paid attention to this stuff, I wouldn't even have a broadband connection!

That "article" is a hit piece, dredging up every truth, semi-truth, and downright stupid rumor and making a "case" about the evils of Comcast...yawn...nothing to see here folks...I can find one of these gems on every single business in the country, pretty much.

Bottom line: If you are stuck on 3Mbps dsl...and you want to stream HD content via Roku, Comcast can offer plenty of throughput to do so. As long as you can live with the price for whichever level of service that you choose, no problem there.

What I do not recommend is letting Comcast supply you with a wireless gateway...let Comcast get you your cable connection, but buy a decent, stand-alone router and set up and maintain your own home wireless network.

Wireless gateways are the Devil's tool...well...exagerating a little maybe...but not by that much! A good wireless router will make your home networking efforts so much easier and more effective. Wireless gateways are often dodgy in quality, and even at the best of times are very limited in their flexibility.
--
Deeds, not words

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Well can we continue to use the Actiontec PK5000 we got from Qwest? Can Comcast's line work with that?


PeteC2
Got Mouse?
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-20
Bristol, CT
kudos:6
said by Melissa2009B:

Well can we continue to use the Actiontec PK5000 we got from Qwest? Can Comcast's line work with that?

Melissa, no, because the Actiontec PK500 is a DSL wireless gateway, not a cable modem (or gateway). It only works with dsl.

Now, if you decide to go with Comcast, you can opt to use your own modem, or wireless gateway (but again, don't do that! Get a modem and a stand-alone router!), versus paying Comcast the $7 per month fee to rent.

You have to use a modem or gateway that Comcast has a "build" for, and here is a list of what you can buy: »mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/

Keep in mind: Stay away from ebay/used modems...often they are stolen and blocked from registering on Comcast. However, you can nab a nice Zoom 5341J modem for $79 - $89 most anywhere, and it will quickly pay back for itself versus renting a modem, from Comcast.

PS - Match that up with a nice Linksys EA2700 router (or the EA3500 - EA4500 routers), and you will have a very nice (and easy to set up and maintain) front end for your home network! Heads and shoulders better than a wireless gatewy, be it dsl or cable.
--
Deeds, not words

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Thanks Pete. I printed that out and will have a look. I like Amazon.com because they usually match ebay prices and you can count on the stuff being new and not black or gray market.


NetFixer
Bah Humbug
Premium
join:2004-06-24
The Boro
Reviews:
·Cingular Wireless
·Comcast Business..
·Vonage
said by Melissa2009B:

Thanks Pete. I printed that out and will have a look. I like Amazon.com because they usually match ebay prices and you can count on the stuff being new and not black or gray market.

Well, Amazon will do no questions asked returns/refunds for a defective or otherwise unusable item (and they will force their affiliates to do the same). However, you do still need to read the fine print because not everything sold from the Amazon web site is new, and even if it says it is new on the web page, look at the item very carefully as soon as you get it because it still may not be new (this is the voice of experience here, I have gotten "new" DSL routers from Amazon that came loaded with the previous owner's ISP login credentials).

It is certainly a lower risk source than eBay (I frequently use Amazon myself), but they are not a full service factory authorized distributor for everything they sell, so caveat emptor is still somewhat applicable.
--
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Oh wow, I wasn't aware of that. I always look for "sold by amazon.com", which of course comes with free shipping.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO

4 edits
By the way, some of you mentioned getting the best possible deals at the start.

Say they need to run the cable to the house. ( this place was put on the lot in 2005 and has never had Comcast yet )

Say we want to start out with JUST the HSI goint wirelessly to the two PC's for data and two Roku boxes for watching streaming TV and movies from Netflix.

1.) Can we do it without a contract? ( especially if we buy our own 5341J )

2.) What would be considered a "good deal" like you suggested, for starters?

Oh, as far as monthly GB usage, how many GB of HDTV is usually in an hour? I'm guessing we'd probably use the web browsing plus maybe 10 hours a week or less of streaming HDTV.

Update 8:20 PM: I just tried finding a number for Comcast ( not easy ) and calling them about new service and got some guy outside the U.S. with such broken English that I could barely understand him, and finally hung up. Is there a U.S. call center I could talk to about new service?

... OK, I looked up Comcast Denver and called and talked with a native.

They say $50 install fee for just the modem, $100 if they install wireless for everything ( wireless router? ) No contracts at all anymore on this. $45 a mo for 6 months, then $80 a mo if we rent the modem, $73 if we buy our own. Sound right?

By the way, we definitely want wireless for all this, so we don't have to run ethernet all over the house. Is there a combo modem and wireless router? Is that what they'd call it?

Ok, this

»customer.comcast.com/help-and-su ··· y-setup/

seems to indicate that what we need is a wireless gateway. Correct?

keason
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Ann Arbor, MI
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..

1 edit
1 &2 . Since you have a phone line, you might want to look into "double play" internet+ phone $70-$80 for 12 mo.

Otherwise $30 for 12/2 is the best deal for 6 mo. Sometimes there are better deals, especially in college areas. I'd start with 12/2 and see if you need higher speed based on your 10hrs/week streaming comment.

HD streams use 4-10Mb typically, depending on resolution and compression. Apple TV uses less than Roku.

If you want the option to go to business, get a Motorola SB6120, not a Zoom as it is not supported under business service.

Business has uncapped powerboost , so speed tests will look crazy fast (80/40 or 70/10 depending on upstream bonding) instead of 15/5 or so on residential despite having the same 12/2 continuous capacity. The net result is that streaming an HD movie will have zero effect on browsing, short videos, email, and everyday use. With residential, you may experience some delays.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
So internet phone - VOIP right? I tried playing with that years ago and it broke up all the time, what a mess.

It WOULD be tempting to dump CenturyLink 100% though. (BEG)

Wonder if we can keep our home phone number?

We'd have to get some other kind of cordless phones though, for around the house, right? Or could our present cordless base just jack into that thing?

Like I said, we have a 10 hour a week part time home business, so we avoid like the plague, anyone wanting to use the word "business" for an account with them, as it always means "bend over" and the prices will double, if they do!


telcodad
Premium
join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:15
said by Melissa2009B:

So internet phone - VOIP right? I tried playing with that years ago and it broke up all the time, what a mess.

Comcast Digital Voice service is not just plain VOIP. CDV service runs on Comcast's own private digital network until it hits the PSTN switches.

See: »Comcast High Speed Internet FAQ »Is Comcast Digital Voice the same as other VoIP services?
and
»Comcast High Speed Internet FAQ »What is Comcast Digital Voice service?

keason
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Ann Arbor, MI
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..
reply to Melissa2009B

Business vs Residential

Personally, I think Comcast abuses their residential customers far more with usage caps and shortly overages, bi-annual price hikes, and so-so service.

Their business customers get no caps, faster and more responsive service (different techs too!), and business friendly services (exchange, sharepoint (1 domain included), Corporate AV), and no price changes for the contract duration. For 12/2 business pricing is lower by 5%, for faster tiers 25-50% more, but you get more extras (e.g 8 exchange mailboxes with 22/5).

As far as phone service, Comcast's offering is a little cheaper than the telcos, adding $30-$40 per line with flat rate domestic/canada calling. They use separate frequencies so it doesn't share bandwidth.

You'll have to call them to see if your number will port.

I've found zero problems with Comcast HSI (using business, as mentioned above) and VoIP. Just get a reliable provider. You can look at the ratings for VoIP on dslreports. There are lots of good ones, and I never hear break up with powerboost. With modest usage, I pay $10/mo for 2 lines. With an ATA (Linksys, Grandstream etc) sold by most of the providers you just plug in your phones , just like a phone line. Voice quality is better than a typical landline.

You can also port your number to google voice, or make outgoing calls on Skype for free. GV quality isn't the best (but it's free) but skype is super cheap ($30/yr) and sounds fantastic.

The third option is to port to a cell phone. Some of the cell companies use wifi (e.g. Tmobile) or have adaptors to improve your cell signal and/or add unlimited calling. Sound quality improves too
Expand your moderator at work


NetFixer
Bah Humbug
Premium
join:2004-06-24
The Boro
Reviews:
·Cingular Wireless
·Comcast Business..
·Vonage

1 edit
reply to Melissa2009B

Re: [Speed] May have to switch to Comcast

said by Melissa2009B:

So internet phone - VOIP right? I tried playing with that years ago and it broke up all the time, what a mess.

It WOULD be tempting to dump CenturyLink 100% though. (BEG)

Wonder if we can keep our home phone number?

We'd have to get some other kind of cordless phones though, for around the house, right? Or could our present cordless base just jack into that thing?

Like I said, we have a 10 hour a week part time home business, so we avoid like the plague, anyone wanting to use the word "business" for an account with them, as it always means "bend over" and the prices will double, if they do!

Comcast runs its CDV* on a different cable channel than it uses for HSI and it stays on Comcast's network until it is passed to a CLEC** for connecting to the PSTN***, so it is not subject to the same kind of drop out that sometimes occurs with VoIP over a less than optimum connection.

You should be able to use whatever telephones (including cordless phones) that you currently use, and if you chose to port your existing phone number to Comcast, you can also use your existing in-house telephone wiring to distribute the VoIP (you just need to make sure that the current telco connection is physically disconnected).

There is no way of course, that anyone can offer you an iron clad guarantee that CDV* will be more reliable than your existing POTS****, but it sounds as if your existing POTS is already terrible, and it would not take much to be better.

* Comcast Digital Voice
** Competitive Local Exchange Carrier
*** Public Switched Telephone Network
**** Plain Old Telephone Service
--
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
Sounds interesting, thanks guys. Well we use a cordless system with 4 phones here, all jacked into the wall from a single base, so it would simplify all that.

Let's see how happy we are first, with HSI.

Melissa2009B

join:2009-12-27
Denver, CO
reply to NetFixer
Thinking some more about this. I pulled the bills and we now pay $90 a mo for the home phone line and DSL from CenturyLink. So it sounds like we can replace all that with Comcast and come out ( after the 6 month into savings ) with about the same cost, BUT get the speed we need for streaming HDTV and movies. That would be WONDERFUL!

But being the greedy capitalist pig that I am, can the Comcast phone system also take the place of RingCentral? That could save us even more money. We currently shell out about $57 a month while working about 10 hours a week at our tiny home business, for Ring Central.

Why? Because we need simultaneous ring for the home and cell phones, that's the big one. If a customer calls and we don't pick up within 2-3 rings, they're gone, to someone else. We tried rolling over after 4 rings, from the home to the cell number and were losing customers, so we had to get Ring Central for simultaneous ring, and I can even go online and program the numbers it rings to. We also have an 800 number with them ( makes us look like a big company ), which we MUST keep if we leave them.

And we get fax to email, a separate 800 number for faxing that sends faxes to us in email as PDF's. But if Comcast could do all that, keep our 800 number, and bundle it for less money, maybe we could save some.

Anyone know?

Gosh, Comcast is sounding better and better as I converse with you guys here, I just hope it's real.


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Melissa2009B
said by Melissa2009B:

Well is the article true, or outdated?

VERY outdated and highly biased. MOST people find ComCast services to be pretty good, with HSI currently leading the pack.