DSL Downside
Or...Keep Your Dial-up Account Handy

Iíve been on dial up since the early 1990ís, starting with a 14.4 K modem and graduating to 56 K V. 92.

Initially I got on line with the (then) two major services: AOL and CompuServe. At that time the only service you could get was 20 hours at $9.95 each and you were billed $2.50 an hour for each hour thereafter. My first monthís bill was something close to $100, so you can imagine how captivating I found the internet!

Since then Iíve dropped CompuServe and switched to Earth Link twice, along with a few other smaller ďlocalĒ providers. I kept AOL, which has saved my life a multitude of times, for when all else fails you can always connect with AOL, even though you may have to dial up a number 50 miles away and pay toll charges. But, if you really need internet to check your bank account or pay a bill, this can be well worth the price!

Most recently I was on Earth Link again, because they made me an offer I couldnít refuse! Dial-up for $15. Eventually, however, that offer ended and I went up to their normal unlimited price of $21.95, so when Verizon came along and offered me DSL for just $8 more a month I gave it some serious consideration!

The downside with dial-up, of course, is that itís slow, you canít use your telephone while youíre on-line and itís prone to connection interrupts. You also have to dial-up a connection number before you can get on-line.

DSL has none of those problems. You can use your telephone at the same time, itís very fast in both directions (one direction is, however, much faster than the other direction) and itís always on.

The downside of DSL is you canít have instant gratification. It can take up to two weeks from the time you place your order until the DSL carrier is in place and not every phone user can get DSL. You must be less than 3,800 feet from a switching station and be on good copper lines (fiber would be best). The further you are from the station the less DSL speed you would obtain.

If you should move, itís just like starting over! While my new phone was in-place three days after my move (on the 23rd after my 20th move) my DSL wonít be taking effect until the 10th of next month.

That left me with no internet. No connectivity. Fortunately I still had a minimalist AOL account, which gave me 4 hours a month for $5. A very good deal, something Iíd recommend to anyone, especially if you get DSL or cable internet!

Verzion, my carrier for both phone and DSL, eventually broke down and gave me a free 30 day dial-up trial that I could use until my DSL was back in place. But, Iíve been very spoiled by DSL. For example, right now I am downloading two small programs. A total of 14 MB. It will take me close to an hour to get both using dial-up, while they take less than 4 minutes on the DSL service! Iím back to getting disconnects and I had two already while talking with another Issues Editor on-line. A real drag. Re-connect. Re-start the IM. Get back to the other person. Tell them you got knocked off. Then you get knocked off again! Thatís dial-up!

DSL can be very nice when it works, but the wait time is horrid! I can see no reason for such a wait time. It only takes a few punches on a computer keyboard to activate the carrier. Why does one need to wait 14 or more days to get this service started? You can get on any dial-up service in moments if you have a credit card! Iíll wager if I called my cable company Iíd get Road Runner in less time than what it takes to get my DSL signal up and running.

So, if you switch to DSL, donít totally throw away your dial-up service. Keep that icon on the screen. Get a minimalist account like I have with AOL for a mere $5 a month. Itís a good back-up for the downside of DSL...


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