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JV

@rr.com

Need Info and Advice - Considering Switching to AT&T U-verse

I currently have Time Warner Cable internet, and the internet speed and stability has never been great, but a few weeks ago it went really bad.

My connection speed swings from normal to 1/3 or less of normal throughout the day.

I've had 5 visits from different techs they've sent out, and nothing they've done has fixed the issue. During this time, over about the past 2 weeks I've seen several TWC service trucks around my neighborhood every day at various locations, but no one has been either willing or able to tell me exactly what's going on around here. It looks like the problem is not with any lines or equipment on my property, so it's elsewhere, and I suppose that's why they've been all over my neighborhood working on it, but why won't they just tell me what's going on and when it may be fixed?

Anyway, at this point I've about had it, and I've started looking for what other ISPs there are that provide service to my area. So far the only one I see is AT&T with their U-verse service, which is supposed to deliver high-speed internet and other services here, of which I am only interested in the internet service.

I haven’t seen much information on their website on exactly what technologies they are deploying to provide this service to my area. From what I can tell searching around online it looks like some form of fiber optic service, although I don’t see this mentioned on their site for this service.

I’ve had friends and family that have used AT&T internet service in the past, and they have all told me horror stories about the very poor and unprofessional installation and service they’ve received from AT&T, and have advised me to not even go there, but at this point I’m pretty much stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and may need to give AT&T at least a try.

I’m interested in the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees, although I see no indication of what the up speed is for it.

So is this “real” fiber optic service or some bastardized hybrid that sucks, is it any good, and should I give it a try?



DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

said by JV :

So is this “real” fiber optic service or some bastardized hybrid that sucks, is it any good, and should I give it a try?

Uverse is xDSL 99% of the time. If you qualify for Uverse service, you will probably be within 3000 ft of a fiber box.

In which case you should have no problem getting 18 mbit/s


mackey

join:2007-08-20
kudos:6
reply to JV

said by JV :

but why won't they just tell me what's going on and when it may be fixed?

Who's "they?" The phone reps on the 800 number are not in the same state, and probably not even in the country, and will have absolutely no clue as to what they're doing in your neighborhood. The only way you're going to find out is to stop a guy and ask him.

said by JV :

I haven’t seen much information on their website on exactly what technologies they are deploying to provide this service to my area. From what I can tell searching around online it looks like some form of fiber optic service, although I don’t see this mentioned on their site for this service.

I’m interested in the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees, although I see no indication of what the up speed is for it.

So is this “real” fiber optic service or some bastardized hybrid that sucks, is it any good, and should I give it a try?

It's not fiber optic service. If you're lucky they ran fiber to the cabinet in your neighborhood right next to TWC's cable node, but if the max you can get is "Max Plus 18" and they don't offer TV service then you'll be getting ADSL2+ for which they ran the fiber all of 3' to the next rack over in the central office.

AT&T currently only uses 2 technologies to provide internet service. Technically they have a 3rd, true FTTP, but it's so limited in the number of areas deployed that it's not worth talking about. Both of the ones they have widely deployed are different versions of DSL and speeds are limited by distance - the further away you are the slower the connection is. This is why they cannot give an exact speed before you order - they don't know what your exact distance is or in what condition your line is in.

The main one they use is ADSL2+. ADSL2+ is just a slightly faster version of the ADSL they've been using since the late 90's and currently has a top speed of 18 mbps down and 1 mbps up. They currently cannot provide TV service over it. In addition to being faster then ADSL, they also ditched the PPP encapsulation which gets you a little more usable speed for the same line sync speed.

The other widely deployed tech is VDSL. Currently the max speed they're offering over this dsl service is 24/3 (IIRC), and they can also provide TV service over it. To get that speed they actually ran fiber to a cabinet somewhere in your neighborhood. Just like with ADSL, the further you are away from that cabinet the slower the max speed they can get to you is.

With the 18 plan, the upload is 1 mbps if you're on ADSL2+ or 1.5 mbps if you're on VDSL.

/M

JV

join:2012-12-07

OK, thanks for the great info there.

I just went back and looked, and there is no TV offered at my address, and the highest internet speed is the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees.

So according the information you gave me my area is only on ADSL2+. With TWC I'm getting about 15 Mbps down and 1.5 up. Now if I switch over to this AT&T ADSL2+ 18 Mbps, would I get at least around the 15 Mbps down that I'm getting from TWC now, and will the AT&T service be stable and reliable?



mackey

join:2007-08-20
kudos:6

It's impossible for me to tell. If you have a good, clean phone line then yes, it'll be stable and reliable. If your phone line is crap or you're really far from the central office then not so much... We have a clean line and it's been rock solid for the year we've had it.

I'm also on the Max+ 18 plan, and even though I have some stuff going on in the background I just tested at:


I can't say I've ever noticed any slowdowns or anything with it.

/M


JV

join:2012-12-07

OK, that DL speed looks fine, but that UL speed, not so much.

Well, I'll give TWC one more chance, but I wonder if AT&T offers a 30 day money back guarantee, just in case it sucks here.



NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to JV

said by JV:

So is this “real” fiber optic service or some bastardized hybrid that sucks, is it any good, and should I give it a try?

The majority of U-verse is hybrid; probably no more "bastardized" than HFC.

I just went back and looked, and there is no TV offered at my address, and the highest internet speed is the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees.

This would indicate service is likely from an RT, or VRAD. I believe the up speed depends upon the technology; 1 Mbps for ADSL2+, 1.5 Mbps for VDSL.

Their legacy ADSL service uses an ATM circuit between the DSLAM and the aggregation router (first IP hop to the Internet) and PPPoE authentication. The ATM link incurs a 15% speed penalty for encapsulation, and the PPPoE adds another layer of encapsulation requiring an MTU setting of 1492 to avoid packet fragmentation.

Their U-verse HSI, either ADSL2+ or VDSL, uses a PTM circuit between the DSLAM and the aggregation router. This does away with the 15% speed penalty (no ATM encapsulation), and brings the IP traffic to the DSLAM (hence "IPDSLAM", or "IPDSL" service). Authentication is accomplished via 802.1x, instead of PPPoE. No PPPoE means MTU can be 1500; appropriate for TCP/IP traffic.

The main issue with any form of DSL, as with DOCSIS, is the condition of the plant. When it works, it is very stable and reliable. But when it doesn't work, it can lead to the same support circus you are enduring now.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to mackey

said by mackey:

It's not fiber optic service. If you're lucky they ran fiber to the cabinet in your neighborhood right next to TWC's cable node, but if the max you can get is "Max Plus 18" and they don't offer TV service then you'll be getting ADSL2+ for which they ran the fiber all of 3' to the next rack over in the central office.

They also serve VDSL HSI out of VRADS; neighborhood nodes.

The main one they use is ADSL2+. ADSL2+ is just a slightly faster version of the ADSL they've been using since the late 90's ...

For some values of, "slightly". At the shortest distance between DSLAM and modem, "slightly" is three times faster for ADSL2+, and twelve times faster for VDSL.

... and currently has a top speed of 18 mbps down and 1 mbps up.

The top speed for ADSL2+ is 24 Mbps.

In addition to being faster then ADSL, they also ditched the PPP encapsulation which gets you a little more usable speed for the same line sync speed.

The bulk of the speed differential is due to ATM encapsulation on the backhaul (DSLAM to aggregation). I currently have ADSL2+ from a CLEC. Despite not requiring PPPoE, I still show a 15% difference between sync and throughput. The CLEC uses an ATM backhaul.

AT&T loses the 15% speed "penalty" by using PTM on the backhaul for U-verse Internet.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


mackey

join:2007-08-20
kudos:6

said by NormanS:

said by JV:

I just went back and looked, and there is no TV offered at my address, and the highest internet speed is the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees.

This would indicate service is likely from an RT, or VRAD.

That's just wrong. If is was from a VRAD it would be VDSL and he would have the option of TV. No TV means it's coming from the central office or, much more recently, possibly a RT. It was only a few months ago that they decided to start deploying ADSL2+ to people fed from RTs.

said by NormanS:

said by mackey:

It's not fiber optic service. If you're lucky they ran fiber to the cabinet in your neighborhood right next to TWC's cable node, but if the max you can get is "Max Plus 18" and they don't offer TV service then you'll be getting ADSL2+ for which they ran the fiber all of 3' to the next rack over in the central office.

They also serve VDSL HSI out of VRADS; neighborhood nodes.

Correction, they ONLY serve VDSL out of VRADs, which is what I said. The OP clearly wasn't familiar with Uverse lingo which is why I called it "fiber to the cabinet in your neighborhood" and didn't name it as a VRAD. And if he cannot get TV service or a speed above "Max+ 18" then he clearly is not going to be on VDSL or a VRAD.

said by NormanS:

said by mackey:

The main one they use is ADSL2+. ADSL2+ is just a slightly faster version of the ADSL they've been using since the late 90's ...

For some values of, "slightly". At the shortest distance between DSLAM and modem, "slightly" is three times faster for ADSL2+, and twelve times faster for VDSL.

As I was only talking about ADSL2+ in that statement, the speed of VDSL is irrelevant. Also, ADSL has been around what, 14 years? In that time they managed to triple the download (and ONLY the download) speed. Yay. And the upload went from 768 kbps to 1 mbps. 14 years and it's now 1.3 times faster! Better watch out cable! So yes, ADSL2+ is only slightly faster then ADSL.

said by NormanS:

said by mackey:

... and currently has a top speed of 18 mbps down and 1 mbps up.

The top speed for ADSL2+ is 24 Mbps.

No, AT&T does NOT offer 24 mbps over ADSL2+ and therefore the top speed is 18 mbps for the purposes of this discussion. What a technology is technically capable of is irrelevant if it's not actually used.

/M


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

Actually the max upload on ADSL2+ is 3 mbit/s not 1 mbit/s.

The spec tops out at 24/3 ( I'm not taking about what ATT offers of course )



mackey

join:2007-08-20
kudos:6

That's Annex M or ADSL2+M. "Plain" ADSL2+ (what AT&T uses) is 1.1 mbps.

/M



ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to mackey

said by mackey:

That's just wrong. If is was from a VRAD it would be VDSL and he would have the option of TV. No TV means it's coming from the central office or, much more recently, possibly a RT. It was only a few months ago that they decided to start deploying ADSL2+ to people fed from RTs.

Correction, they ONLY serve VDSL out of VRADs, which is what I said. The OP clearly wasn't familiar with Uverse lingo which is why I called it "fiber to the cabinet in your neighborhood" and didn't name it as a VRAD. And if he cannot get TV service or a speed above "Max+ 18" then he clearly is not going to be on VDSL or a VRAD.

That information is almost always right, but not always

There is at least one VRAD in the area I work that has ADSL2+ IPDSLAM cards in it, not VDSL2 cards in it, so therefore it only offers IPDSLAM Internet & VoIP, no IPTV (at least not yet -- I expect some day there will be IPDSLAM IPTV, but that is a discussion for another day, and has been a rumor for a while)

There are some more "traditional" RTs/CEVs now that have IPDSLAM ADSL2+ equipment in them. For that matter, there are some CEVs that have the VDSL2 equipment as well


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
reply to mackey

ADSL2+ includes many revisions, and I was not talking about ATT ( included in my post)

ADSL2+ tops out at 24/3



ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to JV

said by JV:

I’m interested in the “Max Plus” 18 Mbps plan for $53/month + equipment fees, although I see no indication of what the up speed is for it.

So is this “real” fiber optic service or some bastardized hybrid that sucks, is it any good, and should I give it a try?

Check the terms on the money-back guarantee, aka the fine print. Do not rely on any verbal promises on the phone at any point in the process. Make sure they have your e-mail address and that you promptly receive any promised order summaries and so on. If any info is missing, call them to follow up.

I had Uverse for a year with no major problems. I did the 12 Mbps self-install and that went fine. You are required to buy the modem on that plan, and that's why I said to check the terms carefully and know what it's going to take to get it all taken out if the installers or the service itself doesn't meet your expectations.

My common-sense advice would be to get the AT&T service running smoothly for a month before saying au revoir to cable.

Cable's problem usually seems to be in the signal level and interference with/from other services on the cable. They are constantly tweaking stuff, but the actual cable plant seems to be fairly reliable.

AT&T, on the other hand, has equipment that adjusts itself for the most part, but their cable plant is often in poor shape, meaning water-logged, squirrel-damaged, possibly paper-insulated and only marginally within specification. Also they may have to remove undocumented bridge taps to get things working properly. If a short run of cable near your house is bad, installers may attempt to bypass it with drop line, but permanent repairs to their multipair cables are rare, around here at least. It's all band-aids and baling wire.
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