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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Portal de Servicios Autogestionados [ Tuesday, 11 Mar 08 | 18:37 ]
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[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |geekygeeky]

Self-management Services Portal

Every month my bill from my ISP and fixed-line telephone provider, Jazztel, comes with a one-page informational/marketing flyer. This month they touted “a new service to personalize even more your ADSL.” To be precise, I actually have ITU G.992.5 or ADSL2+. For me the relevant factors are that it is web-based and free.

Not only can you modify the profile for the ADSL connection, you can also obtain statistical information about the connection. Plus you can change various characteristics of the phone line such as the restrictions on outgoing calls, call forwarding, call blocking, speed dialing, and hiding your phone number. In the “old days” you had to call up and have some of this changed or you could enter a string of key taps on the hand-set to accomplish some of these. Being able to do this from a remote location using a web page is more convenient.

Rather than bore you with all the details, you can currently pick between two ADSL profiles:

Perfil de máxima velocidad en navegación y descargas.
Profile for maximum speed in navigation and downloads.
Perfil Actual
Current Profile
Perfil principalmente orientado a juegos online.
Profile principally oriented for online games.
Perfil Disponible
Profile Available

I checked my ADSL connection characteristics and this is what I found:

Cálculo de estadísticas
Calculation of Statistics
Velocidad de bajada
Downstream Rate
14412 Kbps
Velocidad de subida
Upstream Rate
853 Kbps
33.5 dB
Margen de ruido
Noise Margin
9.3 dB

I know all about downstream and upstream rates, I am not sure what the attenuation and noise margin values indicate. My ADSL modem provides transmission statistics as well:

Sent Received
Bytes Packets Errors Drops Bytes Packets Errors Drops
137,439,171 1,486,032 0 0 2,141,895,292 1,738,395 52 0

This looks like a low error-rate so probably the attenuation and noise margin are OK.


[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 11 Mar 08 | 17:55 (UTC)
You must be the only person in Spain who is satisfied with his ISP, honestly...
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 11 Mar 08 | 18:07 (UTC)

You must be the only person in Spain who is satisfied with his ISP

Well, I didn't say that I was satisfied. We all want more value for less money. To be truthful, I rarely get transmissions as high as the modem says that I can. The exceptions are software updates from Apple that regularly download at 1.4 MBps.

There apparently has been some recent infrastructure changes in Barcelona because my speed tests have improved slightly and response seems a bit snappier.

I would be paying $60 a month for a slower internet connection in California.


Edited at 2008-03-11 06:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 00:00 (UTC)

Re: You must be the only person in Spain who is satisfied with his ISP

I saw what Ron had in PA for half of my price, included european calls and was 30 "megas"
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 06:20 (UTC)

Looks like prices are now lower in the US

Now AT&T says that for $35 a month I can get High Speed Internet Elite:
Downstream Speed: Up to 6.0 Mbps
Upstream Speed: Up to 768 Kbps

Just a few months ago this was 4 MBps at a higher price.

You have to have a calling plan for international calls. It's still $2.06 a minute to Spain with the AT&T Worldwide Occasional Calling Plan. "An international long distance calling plan that gives you a discount on basic rates for direct-dial calls to over 200 countries, any time, any day, once you've chosen a domestic long distance plan." You have to pay more per month for lower rates than these.

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 10:19 (UTC)

Re: Looks like prices are now lower in the US

They didn't have that phone company but a cable-based one... It was something like 45 bucks a month
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 11:02 (UTC)

Cable prices

Comcast is the cable provider. They now offer faster service. It used to be 4 Mbps. Now:

6 Mbps is $42.95/month

PowerBoost® (12 Mbps) is $42.95 per month, but you have to also subscribe to Comcast Cable.

BLAST™ (16 Mbps) is $66.95 per month, and you have to subscribe to Comcast Cable.

$39.95 for Digital Voice Service for customer with Cable and High Speed Internet Service. Includes unlimited calling to US and possessions and Canada, but not to Europe.

You add it up! Minimum cable subscription is $24.99. All prices without applicable taxes.

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 13:35 (UTC)

Re: Cable prices

But that changes in areas...
Neither you nor me can get cable...
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[User Picture]From: bviz2
Tuesday, 11 Mar 08 | 18:53 (UTC)

It is all relative...

It looks like ComCast has upgraded their net in the Bay Area.

Being a cable modem, there is also a lot of variability:

And I have to pay about $50 for the privilege... :-/ Far from "free."
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 11 Mar 08 | 22:07 (UTC)

Far from "free."

To be clear, my Internet connection isn't free, just the ability to change the phone line and ADSL characteristics.

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[User Picture]From: bviz2
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 04:56 (UTC)

Re: Far from "free."

One of the SBC service guys that worked on my DSL showed me how to tweak the modem settings and pointed me at some sites that would help determine the proper settings for your load. They were not supported by SBC. They definitely are not as simple as your current service.

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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 12 Mar 08 | 06:39 (UTC)

Modem settings

There's a user's guide (PDF) for the modem, in English, that describes the various parameters. Of course it gives no clue on which ones have the most affect or what might be good values depending on line characteristics or activity profile.

I read that Mac OS 10.5 is supposed to do some dynamic tweaking of a few IP parameters to improve performance.

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