Author Topic: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ??? (Read 4006 times)

Freckles

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Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« on: May 24, 2016, 01:04:50 PM »
I'm sorry if this has been asked before but I didn't find it so...

I find technology has moved past me (once again!) and I'm not sure about some terms. For example, what is Fios? I mean, the Verizon website is telling me it's Fiber-optic Internet, but really, what does that mean? How is it different than Broadband? And broadband is cable, right? Which is different from DSL. It goes through phone jacks and cable is through cable?

These questions are prompted by our upcoming move to a new house (cheaper and smaller) in a new town (good, free school!) and I'm thinking I'd like to dump our current internet provider (Wave Broadband) in hope of getting something cheaper. Their new subscriber rates expired after a year and now I think it costs too much. But that is my only complaint, it works fine otherwise. We have internet and phone. No TV plan, obviously. We're fine with $7.99 a month for Netflix, and I do want to keep a landline because our children use it and I'm not buying them cell phones any time soon. We don't do things like download movies and shows and watch them on devices. I couldn't explain a bit torrent if my life depended on it. So I have no idea what the speed promises actually mean, and if it's worth it to pay more for faster.

Tell me what I want?

Tjat

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2016, 01:14:51 PM »
Others can probably provide more technical answers, but as a somewhat educated FIOS consumer...

1) Fiber-Optic (FIOS) - This is the fastest and most consistent service, with equal upload and download speeds
2) Cable (Comcast) - Fast downloads, but can be slowed if high traffic in the neighborhood. Also slower upload speeds
3) DSL - Old school and not very good. Probably will notice lags with your netflix
4) Other - You can try internet over cell towers or satellite, but these are often slower, similiary priced, and not as well known or reliable.

In my experience, FIOS and Cable are similarly priced. Both try to lure you into spendy packages and don't cut you breaks for internet-only service. In terms of speed, you should be fine with 15 megabit service. Both will try to upsell you into absurdly fast speeds, but don't bite.


Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2016, 01:19:26 PM »
Yes, very helpful. Thank you Tjat!

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2016, 01:22:49 PM »
Most of this stuff is covered in the guide.

Regarding specific questions:

FiOS is Verizon's branded fiber optic to the home (FTTH or FTTP). It's data services (internet, television, phone) through fiber optic cable, which is a fancy way of saying the "wire" for sending and receiving data signals is glass fiber cable and flashing light beams.

DSL is of course traditional copper phone line for broadband, and when you hear Uverse, it's a hybrid fiber optic/DSL service from AT&T, basically fiber optic to the neighborhood node (FTTN) with VDSL to the home. Again, all data service (internet, television, phone) all over the same wire.

Cable internet is just using television coaxial cable for your data services (internet, television, phone).

VoIP is covered in the guide, providing cheaper "home phone" solutions than are commonly bundled with phone/internet plans from your Verizons, AT&Ts, Comcasts, Coxs, etc. Speed is also covered, even for streaming video. The slowest plan from any provider is usually plenty fast for anyone's needs. The guide also provides some various alternate regional carriers who use the big providers cabling for their own services (as a sort of reseller), often for equal or less a month, with shorter or no contracts at all, and no price bickering to get good rates.

Give the guide a read, and any questions from that point, just let me know.
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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 01:25:21 PM »
3) DSL - Old school and not very good. Probably will notice lags with your netflix

Rubbish. DSL is plenty fine and has lower latency and load issues than DOCSIS-based cable internet.

In terms of speed, you should be fine with 15 megabit service.

15Mbps nothing! 3Mbps is plenty fine for SD quality video streaming and most internet fiddling. 6-8Mbps for HD video with bandwidth to spare.
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Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 02:23:47 PM »
Thanks, IP! And here I thought you were "just" the cell phone expert. :)

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2016, 03:27:34 PM »
I.P. Daley is much more the expert than me, but I'm just commenting to add that in your case (at least from what you've described) you can probably get by with any of the internet options listed. If wave broadband has worked fine for your needs chances are the others will be more the sufficient. As you said, you're not trying to download movies to watch on devices or upload large files - your biggest 'need' is streaming netflix, which isn't demanding by today's standards.

technology can be confusing, but thankfully unless you are a power user you don't need to understand it for it to work for you :-)

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jim555

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2016, 04:13:47 PM »
In my area the cable internet price is the price you pay. The FIOS price does not include loads of fees and taxes. I have cable internet, nothing else.

Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2016, 02:36:34 AM »
So I decided to stick with Wave and found a deal for internet and phone that was cheap, only for 12 months, and only for new customers. Since the bill is in my name I convinced my husband to call and order up the service at our new house as a new customer. And then when he called they said they don't provide service to our new house yet. Bah.

There are very few choices at our new place. I think now I'm left with Comcast or Verizon/Fios, or Century Link with their DSL. I don't trust Comcast based on experiences with them in the past and the Fios thing is ridiculously expensive. CenturyLink has a lot of bad reviews, but so does Comcast.

technology can be confusing, but thankfully unless you are a power user you don't need to understand it for it to work for you :-)


Hahaha, that's clearly true. ;)

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2016, 08:11:34 AM »
There are very few choices at our new place. I think now I'm left with Comcast or Verizon/Fios, or Century Link with their DSL. I don't trust Comcast based on experiences with them in the past and the Fios thing is ridiculously expensive. CenturyLink has a lot of bad reviews, but so does Comcast.

There are more choices than you think. If you're in Comcast territory, there's Earthlink. There also may be other regional options that can use the same cable as Verizon or Century Link. At least look into Earthlink ($46/month) and either PhonePower ($8.33/month - $80 hardware purchase w/$80 account credit, so free pre-configured equipment you own) or VOIPo ($7.71/month - they provide a free, pre-configured ATA that you have to ship back if you ever cancel service). Both VoIP providers offer "unlimited" calling and you mostly just plug the device into your network and your home phones into the device.

Do not go under contract with "intro" pricing if you can help it, and do not bundle services. Think long term. Odds are, you'll save more money and waste less time avoiding doing business with companies that don't actually respect you as a paying customer and instead treat you just like another bruised teat on a cash cow they can squeeze for money any time they want.
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boarder42

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2016, 09:21:29 AM »
you def. dont need 15MBps i have the free google fiber service at 4-5MBps and its more than enough to stream on 3+ devices.
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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2016, 10:01:43 AM »
you def. dont need 15MBps i have the free google fiber service at 4-5MBps and its more than enough to stream on 3+ devices.
Simultaneously?
...I'm not doubting, I'm just asking...

FWIW we have 15MBps* and we've never had a slowdown, even when three people are all on their laptops watching Vimeo and Netflix at the same time. I suspect we have way, way more than we need (and spot-checking our download speeds seems to confirm)

* we actually tried to get 5MBps but they said we were so close to the mini-station that the lowest speed they could give was 15MBps up&down. I started to argue and they just gave me the 'base' price for the 5MBps download/1MBps upload. They keep sending me offers that I can go to 50MBps for only $10 more a month!! Um, no thank you :-) Why do I need to pay more for 50MBps when 15 is already overkill for us?
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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2016, 10:17:40 AM »
you def. dont need 15MBps i have the free google fiber service at 4-5MBps and its more than enough to stream on 3+ devices.
Simultaneously?
...I'm not doubting, I'm just asking...

I'm not him, and I can't answer, but I wouldn't be surprised.

240p is roughly VHS video quality, ~150MB/hour or ~340kbps.
360p is roughly NTSC analog broadcast quality, ~250MB/hour or ~570kbps.
480p is roughly DVD video quality, ~400MB/hour or ~910kbps.
720p is roughly HD video quality, ~3GB/hour or ~6.8Mbps.

As you can see by the raw ballpark numbers, even multiple DVD video quality streams on a 4Mbps connection is trivially easy.
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Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2016, 10:56:38 AM »
There are more choices than you think. If you're in Comcast territory, there's Earthlink. There also may be other regional options that can use the same cable as Verizon or Century Link. At least look into Earthlink ($46/month) and either PhonePower ($8.33/month - $80 hardware purchase w/$80 account credit, so free pre-configured equipment you own) or VOIPo ($7.71/month - they provide a free, pre-configured ATA that you have to ship back if you ever cancel service). Both VoIP providers offer "unlimited" calling and you mostly just plug the device into your network and your home phones into the device.

Do not go under contract with "intro" pricing if you can help it, and do not bundle services. Think long term. Odds are, you'll save more money and waste less time avoiding doing business with companies that don't actually respect you as a paying customer and instead treat you just like another bruised teat on a cash cow they can squeeze for money any time they want.

I tired Earthlink, they said no service for our address. I've hit that a lot, actually, which is really weird because *we're* not in cow country, moo. It's a suburb of a major city so I don't get what the problem is. But I used the Broadband Reports site to try to find other internet options (I haven't spent much time on the phone yet because time is limited and we can be without a landline for a while, maybe forever? I can't decide) and I only came up with those choices I listed above. Our new zip code is 97068 if you feel like seeing what comes up for you. I'm sure you're a better searcher than I am, plus, my brain is mostly focused on trying to get everything we own into a box before Saturday morning. I keep making dumb mistakes because all I can think about is "Get it packed!" Moving is so stressful. :(

Now I'm going to look into this free Google fiber thing mentioned by boarder42 because that sounds good. But I have no expectation that it's available at my (apparently) hopelessly lost in the past new neighborhood. Well, at least I'll fit in there. ;)

Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2016, 11:00:54 AM »
Yep.

Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2016, 11:16:29 AM »
CenturyLink says this: Note: This service address supports an Internet speed of 10/1 Mbps

It's the /1 part that confuses me. The lowest speed it will let me choose is 7mbps which is interesting. At least online. If I call it might be a different story. And all the prices are not what they say at first because it's "new customers" and/or "12 months contract" and "with autopay and paperless billing only" and "a self installation kit mailed to you for $14.99" or "expert installation for $89.99" and then there's the "modem lease" and all sorts of other fees and taxes that add up to a lot more than stated originally. Boo.

I can see why you had to write an entire guide, Mr. Daley. There are so many games with this. I just want an internet connection*. Maybe a landline. Why is this so hard?

*For not a lot of money.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 11:19:03 AM by Freckles »

brute

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2016, 11:35:14 AM »
CenturyLink says this: Note: This service address supports an Internet speed of 10/1 Mbps

It's the /1 part that confuses me. The lowest speed it will let me choose is 7mbps which is interesting. At least online. If I call it might be a different story. And all the prices are not what they say at first because it's "new customers" and/or "12 months contract" and "with autopay and paperless billing only" and "a self installation kit mailed to you for $14.99" or "expert installation for $89.99" and then there's the "modem lease" and all sorts of other fees and taxes that add up to a lot more than stated originally. Boo.

I can see why you had to write an entire guide, Mr. Daley. There are so many games with this. I just want an internet connection*. Maybe a landline. Why is this so hard?

*For not a lot of money.

So you'd get 10 Mb download, 1 MB upload.

So, I've got 50Mb service and am thrilled right now, but i'm a software guy and work from home a lot. When I lived out in the country I had 3Mb service and it was ok, but 7 would have been all I ever needed for anything. The self install is pretty easy, you just plug the router/modem in, follow their instructions, and you're set. If you can navigate a web page, read carefully and take things one step at a time, you're probably fine for the self install.

I would call them and ask for a better rate. I've been able to negotiate that a few times. Or cancel and have your spouse set up the service for the new rate.

I also run my own modem/router. Paid for itself in about 7 months.

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2016, 11:41:01 AM »
Our new zip code is 97068 if you feel like seeing what comes up for you.

According to the National Broadband Map, your ZIP is serviced by (at least) Comcast, CenturyLink, Frontier, Earthlink, Integra and Megapath.

I suspect given Earthlink can't do service to a Comcast address yet is still on the map, and given the other major players listed in the area, DSL is probably going to be your better path and you may not have to be restricted to only CenturyLink in that regard. Re-check Earthlink on both their regular and freestanding DSL offerings as well as check with some of the other companies I linked.

I can see why you had to write an entire guide, Mr. Daley. There are so many games with this. I just want an internet connection*. Maybe a landline. Why is this so hard?

It's a racket, and businesses with low ethics and high exclusivity to customer access tend to exploit it. Now you can see why ethics are such a backbone to what I discuss and who I typically recommend on top of it all. You're in a hard spot here, but not impossible. We'll find something.

I keep making dumb mistakes because all I can think about is "Get it packed!" Moving is so stressful. :(

Hang in there, it'll be over soon. Just try not to let the stress be contagious to where you get cornered setting up services. I'm doing what I can to help take some of that stress off of your shoulders. :)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 11:43:19 AM by I.P. Daley »
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2016, 12:02:44 PM »

So you'd get 10 Mb download, 1 MB upload.

Ah. Thank you.

So, I've got 50Mb service and am thrilled right now, but i'm a software guy and work from home a lot. When I lived out in the country I had 3Mb service and it was ok, but 7 would have been all I ever needed for anything. The self install is pretty easy, you just plug the router/modem in, follow their instructions, and you're set. If you can navigate a web page, read carefully and take things one step at a time, you're probably fine for the self install.

Interesting that they admit that the most I can get at that address is 10/1, but they will happily let me choose a package of 40mbps. I think I will ask my husband to do the self-install (when we finally get to that point) because just researching this whole thing has kind of put me at my limit!

I would call them and ask for a better rate. I've been able to negotiate that a few times. Or cancel and have your spouse set up the service for the new rate.

Good tip, thanks. I need more time. Fortunately, I have to go to work every day and not be at home packing so I can figure this stuff out while at work. Thanks, work!

I also run my own modem/router. Paid for itself in about 7 months.

This does seem wise. We own our router, I believe. CenturyLink is offering the $10/month modem lease or you can buy a modem from the for $99. Clearly it's better to buy because you will have paid for it after 10 months. But is their price of $99 good? I have no idea, other than your 7 months thing leads me to believe it could be had for less than $99. More researching instead of working for me, I see. Good thing practically no one pays attention to what I'm doing at work! I love my job, especially this week.

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2016, 12:07:51 PM »

According to the National Broadband Map, your ZIP is serviced by (at least) Comcast, CenturyLink, Frontier, Earthlink, Integra and Megapath.

I suspect given Earthlink can't do service to a Comcast address yet is still on the map, and given the other major players listed in the area, DSL is probably going to be your better path and you may not have to be restricted to only CenturyLink in that regard. Re-check Earthlink on both their regular and freestanding DSL offerings as well as check with some of the other companies I linked.

Now that's a handy site! Thank you. I put in our street address to get more specific and the list is a little different.

Hang in there, it'll be over soon. Just try not to let the stress be contagious to where you get cornered setting up services. I'm doing what I can to help take some of that stress off of your shoulders. :)

Thank you muchly, I.P. You're the best. :)

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2016, 12:35:58 PM »
Freewire and Integra seem to be business service only, although I did send a message to Freewire asking about residential services. I also filled out the "get a quote" form for MegaPath.

ViaStat led to Excede, which offers high speeds for high prices.

Earthlink offers Premium Dial-up or recommends HughsNet satellite service for my address.

AT&T's site is so confusing I've given up on it. I guess I could call. Also on my list to call is Frontier because they don't give many details on the site. Just that they're awesome (according to them, not to the reviews I've found of them). I have a very favorite, much-loved for years and years, I will never tire of it song called Frontier. At this point, my mental state says choose them because that's a great song. I think I need to work on something else for a little while. :-P

I'm wishing I could have just kept Wave. That was so much simpler!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 12:50:11 PM by Freckles »

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2016, 12:57:24 PM »
Interesting that they admit that the most I can get at that address is 10/1

If you go with any DSL provider, keep this number in mind. It's your technical limit on the wire. Even the scummiest of providers won't sell you faster than what the technical limits are, though.

I also run my own modem/router. Paid for itself in about 7 months.

This does seem wise. We own our router, I believe. CenturyLink is offering the $10/month modem lease or you can buy a modem from the for $99. Clearly it's better to buy because you will have paid for it after 10 months. But is their price of $99 good?

If you do wind up going CenturyLink in the end, be aware that there's no shortage of used Centurylink ADSL and VDSL modems on Ebay for as low as $15. Given the 10/1Mbps service cap, I suspect you'll need an ADSL modem, but check first. Paying $100 for an ADSL modem is bonkers (even new), and $100 for a new VDSL modem might be reasonable, but not if there are used available and they let you BYOD.

I wouldn't blame you going CenturyLink over Comcast, by the way. I've got a personal blacklist of major carriers that I personally won't directly deal with anymore, and Comcast is tied for first with AT&T on that list - if it's a choice between them and nothing without at least a third party buffer between us, I'll literally do without. If in your shoes, I'd take my lumps with CenturyLink if no other DSL provider could use the line. Of course, I've never dealt directly with CL, either. What I've heard of them has not been the most glowing, though, and I could theoretically see myself adding them to the list if the experience were bad enough... but without that experience, I'd still at least try them if I'd exhausted all my third party DSL options first.

The thing to remember is that third party ISPs that use/lease other carriers infrastructure by virtue have to provide better service to their end users to keep them happy. And ironically, they frequently wind up offering as good or better deals than "home users" dealing with the primary network carriers directly due to wholesale pricing.

Freewire and Integra seem to be business service only, although I did send a message to Freewire asking about residential services. I also filled out the "get a quote" form for MegaPath.

If the price is right, or reasonable, don't be afraid to go with business class internet service. All that means is that the extra that you might pay versus residential service is that they provide a quality of service guarantee, frequently faster upload speeds, and faster/better technical support.

All this said, click on the "Show Wired" link at the top of that list. That's what I did for the link I gave you, and it helps filter out all the wireless options. I suspect that everything from Verizon down on that screencap you posted is either mobile broadband or MEO VSAT (satellite), and neither are good options if you plan on streaming any video.

I also suspect that given the name of the one provider is Freewire and that they offer business services, it may be either microwave uplink or a business-focused WISP. I probably wouldn't waste much time with them.

I'm wishing I could have just kept Wave. That was so much simpler!

Hang in there. Maybe take a break, though. :)

Just remember, once you sort out who? Setup only needs to happen once at the new address, unless you decide to switch carriers down the road. This research will hopefully leave you happy, with affordable service and good support, and in a position long term where you don't need to keep going through this song and dance. Don't worry, that light down the tunnel isn't a freight train, it is actually daylight. You'll be fine.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 01:13:59 PM by I.P. Daley »
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Freckles

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2016, 05:39:37 PM »
OK, it's done. Thanks for all the help.

I went with CenturyLink because it seemed my only real choice, based on availability and price was CL or Comcast, and I already know Comcast is a pretty awful company and I don't wish to give them any money. CenturyLink may be bad too, but I don't already have that confirmed. I got internet only for $29.95 for 12 months, I don't know what happens after 12 months but I'll figure it out then. And I bought a compatible modem off eBay for $30 thanks to that excellent tip. Because I apparently started this process too late, service doesn't start until Friday, when we will have already been in the house six days. No internet at home for six days?!?! I guess we'll just have to entertain ourselves with unpacking.

Speaking of that, I've got some packing to do...

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2016, 09:14:54 PM »
Honestly, I've worked for Comcast, AT&T and Google Fiber, and I've found that Comcast is the most reliable as long as the installation tech did his job correctly. performance is similar among similar speeds above 12mb/s, as far as the price, I don't know, I pay my neighbor for her wifi password. I work on the stuff, I'm not married to it.

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Re: Fios vs. cable vs. DSL vs. ???
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2016, 09:31:56 PM »
I love that. Maybe when I get to know my new neighbors we can work something out. :)