Our home Internet has been out since Friday, which is, as you might imagine, somewhat vexing. The most likely cause is that our DSL modem is dying (it’s nine years old), which raises a technical problem.
A few years ago, when we last had a problem requiring a service call, the tech who came out told us that the only reason our service has worked as well as it has is that we had an older modem. The nominal speed for the service is 1.5 Mbps (I believe), and we’re actually getting something like 1.1 Mbps. This was attributed to our distance from the central office.
He said that the older modem can handle it because it’s “built like a tank,” but that a newer one would burn out very quickly at that speed. He recommended that we switch to the next cheaper plan at that point, which is slower service (0.75 Mbps, I think). Of course, the speed we have now is sub-optimal, and cutting it by a third would be completely unacceptable, so if that’s the only option, we’ll switch to cable.
The question is, is this plausible? I know that the speed/distance thing is right, but I’m not entirely sure why the modem would burn out as a result. If that’s for real, though, and we’d really be limited to slower speeds, then we might as well just switch now, and not spend a week trying to get Verizon out here to fix the DSL.
So, anybody reading this have relevant knowledge? Are they likely to have improved the DSL service in the last three years, or would we be stuck with slow connection speeds? If you know anything useful, please leave a comment.
(We have DSL for two reasons: first, when we bought the house, Kate’s parents were using cable Internet, and having an utterly miserable experience with it– it was essentially impossible to use at peak times (right after dinner, say), because there were enough people in their neighborhood sharing the connection that it choked when everybody tried to check their email. The idea of a dedicated line to the house sounded a whole lot better than that.
(The second reason is that we kind of like having two different companies be responsible for different aspects of our electronic entertainment. That way, if Time Warner flakes out for some reason and we don’t have tv, we’ve still got Internet via Verizon, and vice versa. For similar reasons, we’ll still be maintaining a landline phone– when the cable goes down, we want to be able to call somebody to complain about it…)