High speed Internet connection question

sorry to stray from audio

wondering what are advantages/disadvantages to high speed cable internet service.

I do not have AT&T DSL available in my area and do not want to do use Uverse. Verison is not available to me. Direct TV would not work because I have trees in the way.

Someone mentioned wireless internet service (Sprint?) would this be better than cable?


Wireless would not be faster than cable, or as dependable. Hi-speed cable is as good as your provider....in my area, it's Comcast Michigan....very fast (and just got faster!), and very stable.

Yes, a good wired cable or "wired" fiberoptic line is by far the best available high speed internet service. The only downside may be price. Wireless service uses the cellphone networks, and is vastly slower, and is likely to be even more expensive. It is used primarily by business travelers wanting convenient access for their laptop computers. DSL is also much slower than a good cable or fiberoptic connection, and its speed is dependent on your distance from the local phone company station, but it may be significantly less expensive than cable.

In my area (Connecticut, not far from NYC), Cablevision's Optonline "Optimum Boost" service which I use provides 30mbps download speeds for about $55/month. Verizon FIOS fiberoptic service I believe is even slightly faster, for a comparable price. DSL is around 1 or 2 mbps typically, but costs less. Wireless is less than 1 mbps, for around $60/month.

-- Al
thank you both

I have a friend who recomends wireless but I had the concern about the cell phone network.

You have answered my question I will go with cable.
Hey phil, good choice, cable will be fast. I have avoided it because I do not like comcast. I'm forced to use dial up because of it. I use verizon wireless for work. It is slower than I would like, and you are billed by the amount of data transfer. I'm sure it will get better, but right now it is not very good.
Verizon's customer service is questionable at best. I dropped it for cable (comcast) and am quite happy. Don't you have minute limitations with wireless?
Well, I am not sure of your provider and their services, so I will give you my experiences with our providers in the Bay Area. (Both my home and work environments.)

Phone DSL - good, but not great upload and download speeds.
Usually somewhere in the neighbor hood of 500K up and down, although as you get further from the hub, the speeds go down, and once you are half a mile or so from the hub, the upload speed is down to 100K or so. So, if you are near a hub, this is usually your best choice. Speeds can also be affected by the number of people online at one time, as there is only so much bandwidth available. (Hence one reason why being near a hub is so important.)

Cable - Very good download speed (typically around 500K), but only okay upload speed (100K), regardless of distances from the hub. If you are not near a hub, (see above) this is a good choice also. Typically not affected by distances to a great deal, nor by the number of people on-line.

Wireless (Note: NOT satelite, but line of sight wireless) - Great upload and download speeds (typically about 1MB up and down!). However, more expensive, and there are lag issues. (Lag is only a big concern if you like to play online game, particularly FPS (First Person Shooter) games, (which unfortunately for me, I do).

I hope this helps.

Good Luck!
Thought I'd recommend to everyone the following site as the best way to measure download and upload speeds. Click on the location nearest to you:


Kurt -- I suspect your numbers are in kiloBytes (or megaBytes) per second, abbreviated kB/sec or mB/sec. In case it's not clear to anyone, I want to clarify that the numbers in my earlier post are in kilobits or megabits per second (abbreviated kbps or mbps), which is how internet connection speeds are most commonly specified (multiply kB/sec or mB/sec by 8 to approximately convert to kbps or mbps).

Even making that assumption, your cable numbers are slowish compared to what is usually available these days. Try the Speakeasy test and see what it gives you -- you may be pleasantly surprised, especially if your numbers were determined by dividing file download times by file sizes (a methodology which underestimates connection speeds because server response times at the other end, and internet propagation delays in between, come into play). These should not be included when evaluating connection speed to your isp.

-- Al
thanks everyone for the thoughtful replys!

I am getting Charter cable internet for 29.95/mo the first year.

I am lacking in choices but this will be good.
The speakeasy test results, Comcast cable Michigan ($45 a month):

5.5 mb download
1.5 mb upload

I use Astound cable service at www.astound.net. I use their 6 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream service and it is excellent. They offer five Astound Internet plans to find the right internet service level for you:

Low Speed $ 19.95 monthly
256 Kbps downstream/128 Kbps upstream

Mid Speed $ 34.95 monthly $ 25.00 monthly
(with Cable TV)
1.5 Mbps downstream/256 Kbps upstream

High Speed $ 44.95 monthly $ 35.00 monthly
(with Cable TV)
6 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream

Power User $ 54.95 monthly $ 45.00 monthly
(with Cable TV)
10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream

Power User Plus $ 64.95 monthly $ 55.00 monthly (with Cable TV)
10 Mbps downstream/1.5 Mbps upstream

I also use Astound for my TV and phone service. Please see their web site for the details.
does anyone know the best email to use with Charter? Should I just use what they offer or hook up my Outlook Express and use that instead?

I have no knowledge of Charter's software, but I've been very pleased with Outlook Express over the years, and my instinct is to avoid software provided by ISP's.

-- Al
I agree with Al above that you should avoid software provided by ISP's. I use Microsoft Office Outlook and it works okay. I like the contact management feature that is included with Microsoft Office Outlook. My wife uses Microsoft Outlook Express and it also works okay (but the contact list is hard to use). I also have no knowledge of Charter's software.
thanks guys

I do not know how to use Outlook Express without going thru Charter (my ISP) They recommend setting up an email account at their website and then linking Outlook thru it.

I guess I am just trying to avoid using them at all but do not see an option
I thought what you had been asking was what email program would be best to use. That is separate and distinct from the question of who provides the email account.

Obviously the email account, its associated address, and the associated mail server function, must be provided by either an isp or a web-based email service. But the program you use to access your emails, and to send emails you create, could be Outlook Express, Outlook (which is not the same thing as Outlook Express), Thunderbird, Evolution, or any number of other email programs, or alternatively, email software that Charter may provide.

If you were to use Outlook Express, after establishing the email account with Charter you would set up Outlook Express under its Tools/Accounts menu. You would need to enter certain information such as the Charter mail server addresses for incoming and outgoing emails. These should be stated on their website.

-- Al

thank you very much

I tend to post (haste) replys without really stopping and thinking about what I am trying to communicate to others, and take the blame for any wishy washyness...
I'm really glad this thread came along...it got me thinking about where I was with my Comcast service.

I didn't even know that Comcast had a faster hi-speed plan I could switch to?....they do....and I did!

For $7.00 more a month I'm now at over 20mb download speed, and 3mb upload speed.

I downloaded a complete Linux operating system in under 10 min. (it used to take 30-45min).

I'm fast, and grateful :-)

speakeasy results with My Charter high speed internet is 4800 download and 1200 upload.

Also I was walked thru the email procedure and now use Outlook Express thru Charter.

Overall a good experience

thanks guys!