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DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS

[Embarq] Anything the customer can do to speed up DSL?

My family has a rural vacation home a few miles outside DeFuniak Springs, FL. Several years ago the local telco, CenturyLink/Embarq, extended their DSL service to the area, with the understanding that it wasn't going to be super-fast. (The local cable TV does not make it this far out of town.) What they offer is 1.5 Mbps service but what we really get is somewhat below 1 Mbps. Some of my family are interested in using a SlingBox so we can drop the expensive satellite TV service. My tests streaming TV over that ~1 Mbps DSL are mixed. It works but some shows have frequent pauses to catch up loading.

In general, is there anything the customer can do to speed up a DSL slow connection? I understand that the major factor limiting speed is the length and quality of the phone lines between the DSLAM and the modem. I was just wondering if some modems might be better than others?


ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

When someone moves way out in the sticks they can't expect to still have the same advantages as city dwellers such as fast internet. There's really nothing a customer can do to improve the 50 year old voice grade phone lines to make the DSL faster except move closer to town. You might be able to speed it up slightly if the house wiring is a problem slowing it down though. Check the modem's status page and see if it's connected at the full speed rate of 1500kbps or slightly faster. If it's slower than that you could have a problem that can be fixed. Take your modem outside and connect it directly to the box where the phone line comes down into your yard and check the speed there. If it's faster out there you should install a new wire from the box directly into the house to where the modem is. In general newer modems work better than old ones. If they have one so old that it doesn't have 802.11N and WPA2 security I would get a new one or maybe just update the firmware in the old one to bring it up to date.


DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS

Thanks Steve. The house is about 20-25 years old and I do understand the issue of being out in the sticks and the number of feet of copper between the modem and DSLAM. The modem is only a few years old. I'll try some of the things you suggest to see if they help.

I did ask the cable company if they'd look at extending their service a couple miles farther down the road where we could get it. They did an analysis that showed it was not cost-effective for them. So, at this point our choices are limited.


ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·CenturyLink
·T-Mobile US

Start a new housing development around you made up of expensive homes for the rich and maybe call it New Scottsdale or something like that. When upscale home owners with lots of disposable income start moving in you'll have cable, phone and internet companies pounding on your door wanting to get access!



toby
Troy Mcclure

join:2001-11-13
Seattle, WA
reply to DRNewcomb

How far away from the DSLAM are you?
What are the signal readings within your DSL modem?

It could be that your DSLAM is fed by T1s and that your speed is a result of the limitation of the data lines being fed to the DSLAM, and not your distance to the DSLAM.


DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS

Toby, I don't know. The vacation house is about 5 miles out of town. I'll have to check the modem readings next time I go there and report back. There's nothing running at that end that would allow me to tunnel in and look at the modem from home.


brad152

join:2006-07-27
Phoenix, AZ

Honestly, from my experiences with SlingBox (i have one on my satellite box so i can use DVR when i'm away), the picture quality is not that great and will pause unless you have at least 2Mbps or so bandwidth available.


DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS

Brad, thanks for the info. SlingBox says you need something like 800 Kbps for standard def and 1.5 Mbps for high def. I appreciate your real-world experience. The issue here is that my family really only uses the vacation house about 100 days per year, mostly in the winter. As I understand it, DirectTV will only suspend service for 6 months per year. Over the air, we get only one station, with two channels. I don't watch a lot of TV and would be happy with a selection from my DVD collection and what I can stream but other family members are keen on watching their programs. I'd like to find an option that would allow us to drop the expensive satellite service. SlingBox looks like maybe it's worth a try. The WD TV streaming box with the SlingPlayer app is only about $60.


brad152

join:2006-07-27
Phoenix, AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

If they have DirecTV or Dish Network (much cheaper than Direc) at home, then just take the box to the vacation house when you go, and bring it back home when you come back.

I do that all of the time, neither Dish Network nor DirecTV has ever cared about it. I even have a tripod satellite mount for when we go camping and someone wants to watch a game, it works out quite well.


DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS

1 edit

That would be a good solution. One family member has satellite, which they are thinking of dropping or putting on vacation for long periods, another has cable and I have none of it, preferring to either stream programs online or get DVDs from Netflix.

In fact, this question about upping the DSL speed grew out of finding a way that #2 could place-shift their cable service to the vacation house via a SlingBox.


jsetopani

join:2013-09-03
Hillsborough, NC
reply to DRNewcomb

I have the exact same problem (Centurylink/Embarq Hillsborough, NC). Cable wants $8K to run a line (private contractor will do for $1k but not allowed), satellite and cell services charge by the bit and add up fast. I am a computer engineer and have exhausted all ideas because the real problem is political. There is no incentive or forward thinking for better internet infrastructure in this country. Just because we are rural dwellers doesn't mean we shouldn't have access to modern services at a reasonable price. My city dweller friends would certainly cry foul if pulled the same thing in reverse with my food delivery . . . doubt they would want to drive to the country each day.


brad152

join:2006-07-27
Phoenix, AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

It all comes down to if they're going to be able to make money on the install. They are after all a business, and in order for them to keep providing service and actually pay their employees they do have to turn somewhat of a profit on what they sell.

I've lived in both the country and city, and i can say it's more expensive for food in a bigger city because it all has to be trucked in, whereas in the country it's cheaper and a lot fresher since it's readily available. There are two sides to every coin.

If you're willing to pay more for the infrastructure to be installed, then that would be fair since they do not have those 800 units to make the money back to install the $50,000 piece of equipment to give you VDSL2 grade services.

Trust me, there are plenty of rural areas with cable that cannot get internet. I used to live in one in Ohio, it was just not profitable enough for Time Warner Cable to install a node out that far. Although we were able to get overpriced Digital Cable since it would work fine being repeated/amp'd up that far out.


DRNewcomb

join:2012-07-25
Long Beach, MS
reply to jsetopani

said by jsetopani:

I have the exact same problem (Centurylink/Embarq Hillsborough, NC). Cable wants $8K to run a line (private contractor will do for $1k but not allowed), satellite and cell services charge by the bit and add up fast.

Any chance of pair bonding or even combining DSL with a wireless ISP?