This page is an overview of experience with various Internet Service Providers. Quite a bit of technical work with AT&T U-Verse is reported, along with preliminary information on Comcast Xfinity cable.
Historically, the connectivity at AA6E has developed along with the industry. Highlights:
- Dialup. Starting at 300 Baud (b/s), progressing to 1,200, 2,400 (about 1989), 9,600, and even up to about 36,000 before DSL came on the scene. At 2,400 b/s and higher, a proper network connection with the Yale University network was possible, using SLIP and later PPP protocols.
- DSL. "Broadband" Internet service began with ADSL service provided by SNET, then SBC and finally AT&T, as the industry consolidated. (Now, our local phone/DSL service provider is Frontier!) Service started at 1.5 Mb/s (download), increasing to 3 and 6 Mb/s. We had relatively little trouble with Amateur Radio transmissions with this "traditional DSL". Our video and phone service, until 2010, were provided by "traditional" CATV (Comcast cable) and POTS (plain old telephone service).
Later Developments - Amateur Radio Compatibility
- 2010-2013: AT&T U-Verse at AA6E (AT&T Site, now provided in CT by Frontier) Using VDSL2 technology to provide up to 35 Mb/s for "triple play" video, Internet, and telephone over legacy copper phone wiring. Internet speeds up to 18 Mb/s were available at AA6E. Moderate to severe problems with Amateur Radio operations were a problem.
- 2013:-- Comcast "Xfinity" Cable at AA6E. (Comcast Site) The Comcast cable service with DOCSIS 3.x data service, also providing triple play service, replaced U-Verse at AA6E. This service is now (2015-) providing excellent 160 Mb/s download speed on IPv6 and IPv4 connections. Preliminary experience shows no particular sensitivity to Amateur Radio operations.
General Remark on Internet Service
Dec., 2016. Comcast/Xfinity continues to improve its service at this location. We now see download speeds of > 230 Mb/s. (Upload remains at ~12 Mb/s.) Pricing creeps up, too. We could easily live with 50 Mb/s service, but the cost saving for selecting a lower bit rate is small. There is talk of gigabit networking in Connecticut, but it's hard to see how a 4X increase in speed would benefit our household. The terms of service, particularly the pricing, are the critical issues.
The next big jump will occur when we "cut the cord" and drop cable video service.
2018. We did cut the cord. Now we rely on over-the-air traditional broadcasts plus streaming via a Roku device, reducing our ISP bill by ~70%. We have capped our Internet bandwidth at a nominal 60 Mb/s, which is fine for our household.