Some DSL modems have a router built in. Routers are beneficial because they act as a firewall, too. So if Andrew's modem has a router built in, he's good. If not, then a router is important because it stops a lot of internet malware hacking attempts. Andrew is wondering if he could go without a router, and rely on Nod32 for his security. Leo says that he shouldn't, but he should also turn on his Windows firewall because that would also protect him from any computer that are corrupted and on his network.
Jay has been having difficulty with his telephone provider and wants to switch to something else for internet. He also had a bad experience with Comcast years ago, and is wondering if he should go with satellite internet.
Leo says the best option really is cable. The experience Jay had years ago isn't necessarily indicative of what it would be today because cable internet has gotten a lot better over the years. The only satellite provider that would have decent speeds is Wild Blue, and it's very expensive.
Esther is having trouble getting online. She called her ISP and they said they don't have a signal from her modem, so they sent her a new one. That didn't fix it either. She says this happened when Verizon put new fiber optic lines in. Leo says that he suspects that when Verizon put FIOS in her neighborhood, they cut the copper lines that Esther's DSL Extreme service needs.
Leo says it's depends. Cable is technically faster, but he would share bandwidth with others which can slow down if the office doesn't have enough bandwidth or if all the neighbors are streaming Netflix. DSL provides a dedicated line, but if he's too far away from the hub it's either slower or not available at all.
What about AT&T UVerse? Leo says that they send the same video information over the same pipe they send data. So he can kill his access if he overwhelms it.
Generally speaking, cable internet is faster than DSL, but it isn't as consistently fast. Cable internet is shared bandwidth, so as more people in one neighborhood use the internet, the slower the speeds will be. DSL is not shared in the neighborhood, it's shared back at the telephone company's central office. So generally speaking, DSL may not reach the peak speeds that cable can, but it is more consistent. It really depends on how the internet service is implemented.
Free Nets are great -- they're non-profit, inexpensive and run by volunteers. But they aren't quite as affordable as DSL Extreme. The introductory price is $12.95 a month for the first year, and it's much better and faster than dial-up. After that Leo thinks it goes up to $20, but he'll want to inquire about that. Clyde wants to know if it would still make sense for someone who doesn't watch streaming video, and really just emails and browses the web.
Darryl is trying to get his parents off of their bundled services, and is wondering if DSL is adequate enough for services like Skype or Vonage for phone service. DSL Extreme can certainly handle this, but Darryl would want to look into something faster than the basic $12.95/month service. One issue with all DSL is that you have to be within a couple of kilometers of the central office. In more rural, distant areas it may not even be possible to get DSL at all, but DSL Extreme would be able to tell him. (Disclaimer: DSL Extreme is a sponsor of the radio show).
First she should make sure the filters they gave her are put on the phone line and not the DSL line. Leo thinks it's an issue with AT&T because the DSL tech tried connecting directly to the AT&T line outside of the house. The problem is that AT&T doesn't have much incentive to help her make this work because she's using DSL Extreme instead of them for internet.
What she wants is "bare DSL" or "naked DSL", but it's not up to the internet provider (in her case DSL Extreme), it's up to the phone company. Her phone company has its own internet service that DSL Extreme is competing with, and the phone company owns the lines that DSL Extreme uses. The only reason the phone company allow this is because the FCC requires them to. The phone companies really aren't going to like the idea of not making any money off of Julie at all, and most likely will fight it.
John keeps getting errors when trying to dial up to Net Zero's service. It could easily be that the computer he's using doesn't have a modem. He says that he does have a modem because he has what appears to be a phone plug on the back of the computer. Leo says that can easily be confused with an ethernet port, though. The next place to look is Device Manager in Windows to see if there's a modem listed there. If not, then he most likely doesn't have one. He could buy a modem if he can find a place that still sells them, but Leo doesn't think this is the best way to get on the net anyway.