AT&T/BellSouth DSL Ultra is not so Ultra…

May 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

I recently ordered DSL direct from AT&T (formerly BellSouth in my area).  DSL direct is their name for naked DSL.  It costs $5 more than if you had it with a regular phone line.  So, I chose the “Ultra” level of service.  It has a whopping 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256Kbps upstream, according to their marketing materials.  I ordered this because I thought it would be sufficient for our uses, figuring that one VoIP call was about 64K – 96K or so.  Yes, it would be a major step down in speed and a small step down in cost (about $10/month less than Comcast), but I thought it would actually be fine.

Color me wrong.  Using, I’m maxing out at 1.25 Mbps download and 210 Kbps upload.  That’s about 83% of the advertised rate. Sometimes this test has returned rates as low as 800 Kbps download and something like 120 Kbps upload.

To be completely fair, when it was originally installed, I had issues with the DSL sync light dropping out on me at random, dropping me off the Internet with it.  This was annoying, but AT&T does seem to have cleared this up (or perhaps it’s better because the weather has improved).  And I don’t think I’ve had any of the 800/120K speed tests since they’ve fixed the DSL Sync issue.

Now, I’m thinking that I’d need to upgrade to AT LEAST their 3 meg service to have enough bandwidth for our needs.  (Apparently, Hulu thinks you need 2 Mbps to get their videos down in HD with Hulu Desktop.)  So, I’m seriously considering scrapping the whole DSL thing…  I’ve not put the Ooma system on DSL yet, so I can’t say if calls through it are any better, but I’ll try to test that this week.


Entry filed under: General, Networking.

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