Cable vs DSL: Pros and Cons YAU-PC
by Alan Zisman (c)
2000. First published
in Toronto Computes, June
Warren Li wondered:
I was wondering what are the differences between
cable modems and
xDSL? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both...also? are
any good cable modem tweaks to speed up my cable modem? I already have
the mtupatch and Quest@Home installed...thanks a bunch!
Alan Zisman replied:
Briefly, cable involves sharing bandwidth... DSL gives
bandwidth, and so can be faster-- but I-net speed depends on so many
speed limits set by your service providers, that I?m not convinced
much of a payoff to tweaking.
There's a good article on cable vs xDSL online from
For experimenting with speed-up tweaks, I?d recommend
getting a copy
of the free iSpeed from www.hms.com.
John Cameron asked:
How can I set up my computer to display a periodic
throughout the year ahead? For example, a week before
my wedding anniversary, a message will automatically pop up on the
to give me a reminder. Ideally, I would like to plug in all my
dates and when the first reminder should appear on screen.
Then, every time I switch on the computer, a reminder message appears
such a reminder has been programmed).
Computer is a very new one, bags of memory, Windows
98 and WordPerfect
(my preferred word processor).
I have looked in the HELP section under diary,
reminder, dates etc,
and found nothing applicable.
Alan Zisman offered:
Most recent versions of Word Perfect, include a
manager (PIM)-- any of them should include calendar and reminder
Because this is not a standard part of Win9x, you won't find anything
the Windows Help system.
Corel Word Perfect Office 2000, for example, includes
which the company's website describes:
Personal Information Management
? Plan your daily schedule, write reminders, organize reference
and manage corporate contacts
? Get to meetings on time?your appointment reminders can be equipped
with sound alarms
Other versions of the product may include other
versions of Corel Central,
or other PIM-type products.
William Easson wrote:
My ACER 56k internal modem makes a disagreeable
noise when it is
connecting, so I tried your suggestion (Oct99, p.96) of typing in ATLO
in the Extra Settings space. Mistake!; the computer would then not
to my ISP, citing 3 possible reasons. I tried in vain to delete ATLO.
several frustrating minutes I finally clicked Remove under Modems
then Add. That cured it; we're back to normal including the noise. Any
other suggestions for reducing it?
Alan Zisman suggested:
Did you type 'ATL0' or 'ATLO' i.e. a zero vs the
it should be a zero?and in your message, you typed the letter ?O?.
And it goes in Control
Settings (though you can get to the same point by other routes as
Finally-- it doesn't always work... that's the
standard if your modem
supports the Hayes control set... but while most do, some do not. In
so-called WinModems can be problematic. If it doesn't work, you may
to check with Acer-- www.acer.com knowing your specific modem
and see if they document settings for that modem.
William Hurn wanted to know:
We are setting up a network in a school environment
to teach the
basics of internet usage. The network will probably involve 15
initially. I?ve heard about proxy server software and running
computers with the output of a single modem using Ethernet cards and a
My question is "how does the user on the wire
network access the
modem?? I suppose this user runs a browser but how about the
of going on the net. Does the user send dialing commands to the
or does the server keep the ISP connection throughout
and the users just access the data stream? If
so, can different
users access different web pages at the same time?
Alan Zisman claimed:
If you're using dial-up-access, the first user to try
to open an I-net
application will trigger Dial-up-networking on the host computer (the
that's physically attached to the modem).
Once the host computer is connected, the single
connection will be shared
amongst any/all users wanting access to the Internet.
This allows them all to be doing different things on
Note that this means sharing the bandwidth of the single connection--
as bad as it sounds if they're accessing relatively simple web pages...
but if one computer starts a heavy download, or tries to access a video
clip, for example, everyone else's connections will suffer.
You will get MUCH better performance in this kind of
situation if you
can set up a dedicated, higher-speed connections such as cable or xDSL.
In my school, we have about 40-45 computers connected
to a single cable
modem connection... there are often 30 computers at a time using the
in my classroom lab, with reasonable access rates-- but I'd hate
to have more than 5 or so doing that via a 56k modem.