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Internet wars

By   /   June 21, 2011  /   Comments

am often asked which Internet service is best in the Albany Metro area, cable or DSL. There is no easy answer because of many variables, but let me shed a little light on your decision process.

First there are a couple of other alternatives and in special cases you may choose a satellite or wireless connection. If you travel a lot and want your laptop to be connected wherever you go, then choose one of the air cards like Verizon offers.

Sometimes your choice will be influenced by the other services you purchase and whether you can get a deal if you purchase them together from one provider. Most of the national and regional communication providers offer some kind of bundled services; TV, phone and Internet for example.

If you look only at raw speed, cable delivers faster service than DSL from the phone company. However, if you live in a neighborhood saturated with cable users, you are sharing access with others and your experience can slow down during peak periods. Phone lines are dedicated and you won’t be sharing with your neighbors on DSL. If speed is important to you, then choose cable, with the caveat that you need to monitor it and request tune-ups if you are not happy. The cable company can adjust your connection to allow more speed if it does not meet their performance standards. In my experience they don’t make adjustments unless requested to do so.

What about customer service? In general the local cable service scores poorly on this aspect and the phone company is mediocre. I make these judgments based on their respective complete service packages, including online tech service, onsite service and follow-up with problems. You need to be knowledgeable about your service problem and somewhat aggressive in your pursuit of good service when dealing with either provider. You may also experience language problems when using tech service.

Next, what about cost? If you just want the cheapest broadband service (remember it’s still a hundred times faster than dial-up), the phone company has three levels of speed and they also offer special introductory pricing good for 12 months. The cable company also offers special introductory rates, especially when you buy their bundled service. At the end of the introductory period, be prepared to renegotiate.

Lastly, there can be local neighborhood issues. Does your location have fiber optic trunk phone lines installed? Is your house older than 25 years? If so, is the wiring inside your house up to today’s standards. What about cable wiring in your house? How many times does it split and where would be the best place to install your modem and router to get the strongest Internet signal? An adequate TV signal does not guarantee a good Internet signal.

Choose or change services based on your preferences.

jimhallWritten by Jim Hall. Email your questions to geekspeak@mchsi.com . You can find Jim online at HallsTrainingSolutions.com

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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