The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 15, 2008

Carlisle’s Internet options expand with DSL

Verizon has begun offering high-speed DSL internet connection in Carlisle. This technology uses existing phone lines, but can be limited by the wiring going to a particular home, or by the distance from a “central office.” For these reasons, the service may not be available to all homes, and the transmission speeds may vary for those who can use DSL. Speeds also depend on the type of plan purchased. At the web site, one can input a land-line phone number and learn whether DSL is available at that address and at what speeds.

For one location in town, upload speeds between 128 kbps and 768 kbps were available, and download speeds ranged between 768 kbps and 3 Mbps. According to a Verizon spokesperson, speeds up to 7 Mbps may be possible in some areas, but this could not be verified for lines in Carlisle.

Phone calls can be made simultaneously with DSL Internet use, unlike older dial-up Internet connection technology. Dial-up Internet connection is limited to speeds of about 56 kbps.

Comcast broadband cable Internet service is available to most homes in town and offers speeds competitive with DSL. According to the web site, depending on the plan purchased, upload speeds range between 384 kbps and 768 kbps, while download speeds reach between 6 Mbps to 8 Mpbs. Cable broadband speeds are generally faster than DSL; however, results can vary with the amount of other Internet traffic sharing the lines. DSL is not affected by the number of other users, because each phone line has a direct connection to the central office.

Satellite service provides another option for Internet connection. A main advantage of this technology is that access is independent of phone or cable lines. However, there are higher installation costs, and other drawbacks of satellite service include a latency delay and weather. A delay can be noticeable during online gaming, caused by the time it takes for a signal to be sent from the computer up to the satellite, then to the Internet site on earth and then back up to the satellite and down to the home computer. Reception can also be affected during stormy weather.

FIOS is a faster Verizon technology that is unavailable in Carlisle, though it is currently offered in roughly half the towns in the state, including Acton, Bedford, Littleton and Lincoln. Using fiber optic cable, FIOS download speeds of 10 to 50 Mbps are possible and upload speeds range between 5 and 20 Mbps. As with Comcast’s broadband service, the speeds depend on network congestion. Verizon has offered no timetable for when FIOS will be available in Carlisle. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito