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Examining AT&T's 45 Mbps U-Verse Tier (And If You Can Get It)
by whamel 04:23PM Tuesday Oct 15 2013
For those looking for faster internet speeds with AT&T's latest U-Verse product offering, I'm afraid that there are a lot of current subscribers unable to get or upgrade to the new speed tier. The new speed tier requires VDSL2 Pair Bonding, a technology used to increase the available bandwidth to a customer’s premise. Thus, A large majority of U-Verse territory is not eligible for the new Power Tier offering 45 Mbps downstream and 6 Mbps upstream.

Do You Qualify For AT&T's Latest Upgrade?

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Persons living in MDUs (apartments, condos, duplexes, townhouses, etc) are typically disqualified from Pair Bonding at present. Typically you are considered an MDU location if your point of demarcation/NID is "shared" with other units in your building. There are instances, typically townhouses, where individual units in a building will have their own NIDs - those are typically considered SFUs and would thus qualify for VDSL2 pair bonding.

Also, at the present the faster option is not available to ADSL2+ or xPON customers since pair bonding must use VDSL2. There are also rather strict loop length limitations from the neighborhood VRAD to get these new speeds. Users who find that they qualify on the website and have a tech come out to install it may find themselves disappointed as well.

Current and new subscribers eligible for the "Max Turbo" (24 Mbps speed tier) have the best chance at possibly getting manually qualified for the new tier. To have this done, any AT&T customer and dslreports.com user may post a topic requesting this manual qualification in the AT&T Direct Forum. The techs moderating the forum will do their best to qualify you for the tier, within a reasonable period of time. Just ask!

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The Power Tier uses pair bonding technology, a solution that combines multiple copper wire pairs to increase available capacity and/or extend the copper network's reach. There are many factors that come into play to be able to get the new service provisioned -- such as whether or not your home is serviced by a VRAD using VDSL2.

Currently if you are a DSLAM or CO serviced address, ADSL2+ is used instead of VDSL2, thus disqualifying such addresses. These same factors also dictate the availability of U-Verse in general as well, but are more sensitive when it comes to provisioning the Power Tier, especially when combined in a "triple play" package including IPTV, VoIP, and the Internet. Some of these provisioning factors include:

• Length of the copper loop serving your home from the VRAD (for a visual representation of how U-Verse is delivered to you from VRAD over copper pairs, see FAQ: How is U-Verse delivered to me over copper?

• Copper cable gauge between the VRAD and the DEMARC pedestal (affects attenuation numbers)

• Quality and age of the copper lines between VRAD to Crossbox and DEMARC pedestal.

• Strength of the noise (in dB) affecting the VDSL2+ signal (SNR margin), noise can include AM and amateur radio signals, as well as crosstalk between adjacent pairs of lines used to provision U-Verse.

AT&T U-Verse VDSL2 customers currently served from a VRAD use the “8d” profile. This includes the pair-bonded connections as well. Sometime in the future, as AT&T has announced, customers could see a 75 Mbps and 100 Mbps speed tier available to them, in accordance with the "Project VIP" program to extend AT&T’s copper network bandwidth and the lifespan of copper networks as we know it.

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Since AT&T wants to ditch their wireline business altogether, the only way for them to compete in the ever expanding bandwidth market is to ditch copper, and focus on wireless and fiber deployments. To the right you'll find a table of VDSL2 profiles available to serve customers based on their bandwidth needs.

What U-Verse is and How It's Deployed


Let's start by understanding what U-Verse is and how it is deployed out in the field. VDSL2 is the newest and most advanced standard of digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband wireline communications. Designed to support the wide deployment of triple play services such as VoIP, data, HD & SDTV, VDSL2 is intended to enable AT&T and other telcos to gradually, flexibly, and cost-effectively upgrade existing xDSL infrastructure.

VDSL2 deteriorates quickly from a theoretical maximum of 250 Mbit/s at source to 100 Mbit/s at 0.5 km (1,600 ft.) and 50 Mbit/s at 1 km (3,300 ft.), but degrades at a much slower rate from there. Starting from 1.6 km (1 mi) its performance is equal to ADSL2+, which will also be discussed because those getting U-Verse internet may be IP-DSLAM (CO based) and use ADSL2+ which cannot support such high bitrates.

ADSL2+ is used where customers can only be served from DSLAMs, almost exclusively located in central offices, however they can be remotely located and connected to a neighborhood crossbox. The remote DSLAM runs on essentially the same concept used where VRAD’s serve VDSL2 to a neighborhood. ADSL2+ extends the capability of basic ADSL by doubling the number of downstream channels.

The data rates can be as high as 24 Mbit/s downstream and up to 1.4 Mbit/s upstream depending on the distance from the DSLAM to the customer's premises.

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VDSL2 can achieve speeds of 100 Mbps both upstream and downstream, but that is over very short loop lengths of 1000–2000 feet. These speeds are faster than any of the other DSL technologies to date. As a result, VDSL2 has become the choice technology to deliver triple play services from the fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) distribution network.

ADSL2+ more than doubles the data rate of ADSL2 by providing a maximum of 25Mbps downstream on loops as long as 5,000 feet. It accomplishes this by increasing the spectrum used from 1.1 MHz to 2.2 MHz. ADSL2+ can also bond channels in the same way ADSL2 does to achieve even higher data rates. The main application for ADSL2+ has been in provisioning voice and data services to customers serviced by a digital loop carrier (DLC) system.

The Install

Since I've had the new faster option installed, I can offer a small glimpse at the process, which is relatively simple if you qualify. The tech first adds a pair at the crossbox, then connects a new pair at the pedestal. From there, the tech adds a pair in NID from line drop connected to the pedestal, connects the pair bonded lines together into one RJ-11 jack, and connects the line to the NVG589 U-Verse gateway.

All of that said, I'll leave you with some photos of my install. Here the U-Verse tech is at the crossbox adding a line into our "card" and the line stats on the single pair at the crossbox:
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Here's the line stats using his handy tool:

My speed test is available here, and here's my final line stats for the technical among you that are interested:
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view:
topics flat nest 

motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4

24Mbps eligible residential address and can't get 45Mbps

I am eligible to get 24Mbps but my address does not show 45Mbps as available and my entire neighborhood is the same.

I think the reasons could be:

- not enough pairs available at VRAD
- Line Card in VRAD is needing to be replaced
- wiring gauge issues (underground wired neighborhood 30+ years old)

VRAD was installed in Q1 2008. 4HD/0SD profile is available in neighborhood. So there is a chance I could get 45Mbps if I tried to get At&t to do it but I have TWC internet and am fine with it.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2

Re: 24Mbps eligible residential address and can't get 45Mbps

Same here. I tried several addresses in Santa Clarita and I have yet to find one that shows power tier availability.

I did see AT&T trucks out near the VRAD a couple weeks ago, installing what appears to be an additional cabinet.
en103

join:2011-05-02

Re: 24Mbps eligible residential address and can't get 45Mbps

it shows me only to 24Mbps, and I live 1,000' from the VRAD.
Similarly, all lines up-to my house were put in new (buried) at the same time as the VRAD was being built, thanks to a short by SCE, melting all the lines back to the cross connect.
tauwyt

join:2013-09-25
Arlington, TX
Do you live in the "Fox" neighborhood?

motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4

Re: 24Mbps eligible residential address and can't get 45Mbps

where is that? I live in the nieghboorhood with all the streets ending in "Hill"

nearest main intersections (Collins st. @ Arbrook Bvld.), (Collins St. @ Mayfield Rd.)

motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4
all I know is that I was told that my neighborhood was built by Fox before Fox merged with Jacobs. Is this what your talking about or is there a neighborhood with fox in the name of the streets?

SlowFITL

join:2012-02-01
Mobile, AL

Fiber to the curb

Nobody is talking about all the fiber to the curb customers that AT&T acquired with Bellsouth. All these upgrades mean absolutely nothing to a large portion of Bellsouth customers that have been left out in the cold.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

1 recommendation

Re: Fiber to the curb

I wouldn't stop there and would say all these upgrades mean absolutely nothing to a large portion of AT&T's entire customer base as they have been left out in the cold.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

I can get it, but

I can actually get the new tier, but it'd be $20/month more than my 18 Mbps tier. I could do significantly better price-wise with Comcast. Of course, the whole reason I left Comcast for AT&T three years ago was because of the abysmal level of support I received from Comcast in terms of getting a reliable drop to my house. I don't know how it is in other areas, but the Comcast "techs" I've encountered here have been, by and large, awful. There have been a few good ones, but they're definitely the minority. AT&T, for all its other faults, seems to have better people in the field.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT

1 recommendation

...

They called up and tried to sell me their new 45 Mbps tier. I told them that I already had 100 Mbps service with Cablevision, with no usage cap.

After trying to convince me that I wasn't getting anywhere that speed and my telling him that my speedtests show I'm ghetting slightly more than that. He told me that if I signed up for U-Verse, I'd likely get even more than that since I'm in such a good area. He also told me that AT&T no longer has any usage cap for U-Verse.
innoman
-
Premium
join:2002-05-07
Dallas, TX
kudos:1

Re: ...

At least he was being partially honest, there are currently no caps for U-Verse (at least, they are not being used).

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by Rekrul:

They called up and tried to sell me their new 45 Mbps tier. I told them that I already had 100 Mbps service with Cablevision, with no usage cap.

After trying to convince me that I wasn't getting anywhere that speed and my telling him that my speedtests show I'm ghetting slightly more than that. He told me that if I signed up for U-Verse, I'd likely get even more than that since I'm in such a good area.

Wow.. So 45mbps is faster than 100mbps? When did that happen?
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.3G,8G RAM,1T+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
MyLaptop[Asus G53SX,32GB RAM,2x1TB HDD,Win7]
WifeWS[C2D@2.4G,4G RAM,250G HDD,Win7]
Router[PE1750,4G RAM,3x36G HDD,2xIntel Pro/1000+GT Quad Port,Gentoo]

Mr Fel
Premium
join:2008-03-17
Louisville, KY

Re: ...

The moment you walk inside the salemen's callcenter, the laws of physics don't apply there.
--
Change the scheme, alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you'd be so kind.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
said by Simba7:

Wow.. So 45mbps is faster than 100mbps? When did that happen?

He was basically trying to convince me that AT&T is offering an uncapped service (as far as speed) so that depending on my location I might get 150 Mbps or more.
videomatic3

join:2003-12-12
Pleasanton, CA
thats not so bad, when i talked to a rep over the phone, they told me the only accurate speed test website in the world was 2wire.com
and websites like speedtest.net are not trusted.

whamel
billhamel .net
Premium
join:2002-05-09
Hinsdale, IL
kudos:10

Re: ...

hahahahahha

Uverse Sucks

@bellsouth.net
Did the sales person tell you that you had fiber coming to your house? That's probably why the 45 meg profile is faster than the 100 meg you get from Cablevision
Matt7

join:2001-01-02
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Insight Communic..

Can't get 45/6... I am 400 ft from VRAD

AT&T refuses to do pair bond for me because I am in a MDU (even though I have multiple pairs because I once had POTS on another pair) ..

I am 400 ft from the VRAD btw ... so there is 'hope' whenever they move to the 17a profile -- but due to the MDU ... it's a no go with a Pair Bond solution -- which also means that I'll likely never see a 100 meg option at my current location since even with 17a that will likely require pair bonding.

I would not be soo frustrated that I can't get 45/6 if they would bump the upstream on the 24/3 plan to at least 24/5...
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Speakeasy

vDSL speed ratings only under ideal conditions..

This link gives one an idea of what's involved..

I.E. All lines in cable much be same length, which doesn't happen in the field.. different length one/two pair wires join 25/50 pair bundle, which later join up in 200 to 500 pair bundle. No way for Vectoring component can really compensate for all the varying levels of crosstalk.

Additionally, vDSL like, aDSL tech is usually only tested to a limited % of cable pairs in a fifty pair bundle. I.E. ~25%. Beyond that % or using larger wire bundles you're in untested/unreliable territory.

Throw in some water in old cable bundles, and/ or other impairments it really becomes a crapshoot.