We currently have Rogers Hi-Speed (Cable), and when I download applications, (big ones - hundreds of megs in size), it'll usually start at around 380k/sec, and before it finishes, it'll be almost around 100k/sec or less. Depending on the server or how busy our Cable line is, I'll be downloading applications at dial-up speed, and it really annoys the crap out of me - I got High-Speed for a reason - so 100 MB files don't take more than an hour to download.
One of biggest factors, so I think, is that Cable is shared with other users, so more activity, the slower downloads I get. DSL, on the other hand, Dedicated Service Line, is just that - dedicated. No sharing, no crap.
How much faster is DSL over Cable? Obviously, it varies, but has anyone had Cable going faster than DSL? (and contrary to apparent popular belief, Cable is not DSL.)
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Cable internet, at least here in Vancouver, is higher speed than ADSL (Shaw is max 3Mbps vs. Telus 1.5 Mbps for the home connections).
The main advantage is that ADSL is consistent, whereas Shaw is variable depending on how many people in your neighbourhood are online. At 7:30, even if only a few people in the office are online, there is no telling how many people on your block are online.
Remember, though, that ADSL is limited by the distance from you to the switching station. The further away from it you are the slower your connection is. So depending on that distance, you may be better off with Cable.
Or, if it's available in your area, you could upgrade to the XTREME HIGH SPEEED OMG1!!1!! that Shaw and Rogers are offering now. 5Mbps download, and it's only around 10$ more per month.
The best thing to do is talk to your neighbors. See exactly what they get on what service. Cable is definately faster in theory but not always in reality.
For instance, when we lived in Calgary, DSL was the better way. Here in my neighborhood in Bolton, Rogers is consistent and very, very fast.
Find out when Rogers plans an upgrade in your area. Once the upgrade is done, (thet're doing it everywhere, I understand) your cable will scream and won't be subscriber base usage slowed.
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I hit 280 k/sec on DSL once (Bell sympatico), but most of the time it is only as fast as the other end. I would say, that on average, 50 to 125 k/sec is the norm. Once is a while you connect to a very fast line on the other end. If I do a test on a local server, I can get 1.7MB/sec, about 500 K upload. So cable is probably just the same.
I've got the same situation.
At work we use Rogers cable and it gets painfully slow , even at 7:30am when there's only 2-5 employees. Also, at lunch time, it's real slow. If I try to upload multi web pages and graphics to our web site (using Dreamweaver) I constantly get kicked off. (I would say my folks 56 k modem is faster.) Also, for some unknown reason, I can't get online at certain times. Very frustrating, if sending a large ad (42 megs) to a printer and you can't connect FTP.
At home we have Telus ADSL. It's great and super fast all-the-time. Sometimes it goes down, maybe twice a year. The 24/7 support is OK, but the service people know little to nothing about Mac OS. If you mention you're using a Mac, you'll hear a "sign" and then "contact an Apple representative, blah, blah"
My co-worker has the Rogers Cable Lite Plan at home. She likes it says it's faster than at work. I wonder what DSL would be like sharing with 30 - 60 people.
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I was on Shaw Cable for about 3 years, it's OK, but exactly what you said Lars, during the peak periods you can expect to have a slooow connection. I'm on Telus DSL now and it's been a continuous 1200k down and 600k up. I'm happy with it, a lot of people complain that they can't get the 2 or 3 megabit down like they can with Cable [sometimes] but then your not always downloading large files all the time, are we!