Movin' on up
Several weeks ago my wife an I had discussion about the speed of our DSL connection. For the last five years our connection has been humming along and working just fine. Originally we chose an internet provider called DSLExtreme due to their fairly low cost for a circuit with dedicated IPs (at the time it was $30 USD cheaper than AT&T/SBC's monthly "business" DSL). When I went to our provider's website I was blown away to find out that by upgrading to 6Mbps/768kbps and keeping static IPs, that we'd actually save about $12 USD a month.
Clicking on the upgrade button on the provider's online service center was easy enough, but it ended up being a bit more trouble than I expected. When the DSL provider turned on the juice yesterday morning our service started becoming very unstable. The traffic that the DSL modem was providing to my firewall was actually causing it to freeze up. After seven or eight full power cycles, my wife was pretty done with being civil. I came home from work with a mission. The first thing that I did was replace the DSL modem with something newer. The Westel Speedstream DSL modem that I was using had been a workhorse for over 8 years, with this being the third location that it was used at. The beige plastic case had changed color over the years to an unsightly urine hue. With the modem replaced with a newer spare Netopia model, things were running much better. The connection would still drop when traffic was heavy, so I bit the bullet and ran new CAT6 to the network box on the side of the house. I know this sounds like overkill, but it was my silver bullet. The existing cabling must have been sufficient for a 1.5Mbps connection, but not good enough for the 6.0Mbps link.
Our service before:
Our Service after:
I've really liked my DSL provider DSLExtreme over the years. They keep you up to date on system issues (upgrades/outages/etc) and they generally just work. The only time I had to contact them directly was back in 2006 when they had some BGP routing issues with one of their peers that was screwing up my wife's VPN traffic, but other than that they just work. The icing on the cake with them, is that they don't use any annoying PPPoE, just regular bridged ethernet (RFC 1483) connectivity to make access a snap.
This is a direct quote from my wife: "You put off other home repairs forever, but god forbid we lose our internet connection and you fix it right away." Hey, one has to have priorities. Hopefully I won't have to go through all this trouble again when I get 24Mbps ADSL2+ rolled out in our area.