TFBnet DSL and T1 vs. Cable Internet
Effective 10/20/03

 

At first look, Cable Internet service seems to be a pretty good deal. Fast speeds at a reasonable price. Look a little closer at the details, however, and you may find that the deal is not as good as it first appeared to be. The following is a feature-by-feature comparison of Cable Internet (based on a composite of the larger Cable Internet providers) and TFBnet’s DSL and T1 Internet services.
 

Features

Cable Internet

TFBnet DSL and T1 Internet

IP Addresses
  • Dynamic, always changing.
  • Cannot host services.
  • Problems with remote telecommuting software like PCAnywhere and VPN.
  • Static IP address available at considerable extra cost.
  • Static IP addresses not available in all areas.
  • Static, never changes.
  • 1 static IP address included for residential service.
  • 2 - 5 static IP addresses included for business service.
  • Additional static IP addresses available at nominal cost.
Business Service
  • Not available in most areas.
  • Available everywhere.
Connection
  • Shared connection with all your Cable TV and Cable Internet neighbors.
  • Dedicated connection between you and the local phone company central office.
Security
  • Shared connection = possible access to your computer by your Cable Internet neighbors.
  • Does not apply because connection is dedicated, not shared.
Speed
  • Shared connection = splitting overall speed potiential with your Cable Internet neighbors.
  • One speed fits all.
  • Does not apply because connection is dedicated, not shared.
  • Choose the speed and service that's right for you.
Installation
  • Runs on existing Cable TV lines. Usually requires unsightly runs of cable to reach computer.
  • Runs on existing phone lines or professionally installed data lines.
Pricing
  • Best pricing requires purchase of entire Cable TV and local / long distance telephone packages.
  • DSL and T1 services stand alone. No requirement to purchase any other services or features you do not want.

 

Feature: IP Addresses
Cable Internet service comes “stock” with one dynamic (always changing) IP address. This means that your IP address changes whenever your computer connects to the Internet. Additional dynamic IP addresses are available for $6 to $10 per address, per month. This is not a real problem for residential customers, but can be very important to business customers. A constant (static) IP address is necessary for hosting services on your Cable Internet circuit. Remote telecommuting applications like PCAnywhere or Virtual Private Networking require a static IP address. If you are thinking of getting Cable Internet for your business, think twice and check the pricing schedule. Cable Internet providers can provide static IP addresses (in some areas), but typically charge $50 to $70 extra per month for just one static IP address.

TFBnet DSL and T1 services include one static IP address for all residential customers and two to five static IP addresses for all business customers. These static IP addresses are included as part of our normal service. Additional static IP addresses are available for the paltry monthly fee of $5 to $7.50 with a $5 to $7.50 installation charge.

Feature: Business Service
Speaking of using Cable Internet in the business place, Cable Internet is available to very few commercial addresses. Think about it … Cable TV has been deployed for years to bring hundreds of TV channels into homes … not businesses.

Unlike Cable, which is available primarily to residential customers, TFBnet’s DSL services are available virtually anywhere there is a telephone line. If you have a phone line, we can provide DSL or T1 services to your home or business. Period.

Feature: Connection / Security / Speed
Now we are opening up a huge can of worms that affect many aspects of Cable Internet service. The first thing to realize about a Cable Internet connection is that it is shared with all of your neighbors (and their neighbors and their neighbors ….. ). Cable Internet is carried over the same wire that brings you (and those pesky neighbors …. ) your Cable TV service. The Cable Company does not run a dedicated cable between their site and your house. It’s one long circuit with many, many stops along the way (there’s those neighbors again). Everybody connected to that circuit shares that circuit, not only with other Cable Internet customers, but the thousands of Cable TV customers as well. So what, you may ask. Security and speed problems, that’s what.

There are still thousands and thousands of legacy Windows 95 and Windows 98-based computers still in use today. There is a huge security hole in those operating systems that if left uncorrected, will allow other Cable Internet customers (neighbors once again) to access your computer system. At issue is a Windows feature called File Sharing. On a stand-alone computer, file sharing is not a problem. You are not networked to any other computers so there is no need to have file sharing enabled.

However, if you have two or more computers networked together, file sharing must be enabled to allow each computer on the network to exchange files with the other computers. Otherwise, what is the point of having a network in the first place? Connecting any one of those networked computers to a Cable Internet service also opens up your network to all of your neighbors. They will be as free to do anything on your computer system as if they were sitting right in front of it themselves.

Keep in mind that this problem exists only with Windows 95 and Windows 98-based computers. If your computer is running one of these operating systems, you could resolve the issue of file sharing by upgrading to a later version of Windows. Also plan to upgrade to a larger hard drive, adding more RAM and updating all of your software programs and drivers for the new operating system. Starting to sound like a lot of hassle and expensive? It is.

The second issue with shared Cable Internet connections is speed. Cable Internet companies proudly advertise download speeds from 3MB to 4MB and upload speeds from 256K to 512K. If you read the small print, though, you will see that these speeds are only attainable under optimal conditions (as in all of your neighbors are on vacation). The very nature of a shared Cable Internet connection means that as each neighbor logs onto the Internet, your maximum speed potential is cut in half. As the next neighbor logs on, your “half” is cut in half again. And so on, and so on, and ….. Compounding the shared usage issue is the fact that most people use Cable Internet at home after work. Peak usage periods for Cable Internet generally run from 5:00pm to midnight.

TFBnet’s DSL and T1 services suffer none of those problems. To start with, DSL and T1 connections are dedicated. They run from your house or place of business directly to the local phone company’s central office. No one but you uses that   circuit. Since it is a dedicated connection, there are no issues of file sharing problems like there are with a shared Cable Internet connection. As for the speed of your Internet service, you are free to select the speed that best suits your needs. Our DSL and T1 service speeds range from 144K to 7.1MB (download) and 128K to 2.3MB (upload).

Feature: Installation
Chances are you have one or two Cable TV jacks in your house and none in your business. Cable TV jacks are typically located in the living room and perhaps the master bedroom (home) or the employee break room (business). These locations are usually not where most people set up their computer systems, opting instead for a spare bedroom or the kid’s bedrooms (home) or where ever the employee’s  desks are located (business).

The mismatch of Cable TV jacks to ideal computer locations can make the process of installing Cable Internet a hassle. You must either be proficient at Cable TV wiring installation or have a cable company installer do the job (at extra cost, of course). The end result is a big fat Cable TV cable stretching from your Cable TV jack to where ever your computer is located. Complicated and messy.

TFBnet’s DSL and T1 services are carried over telephone lines. Chances are that your computer is already sitting near a telephone jack (how else are you getting on the Internet now?).  Our ADSL Internet service shares an existing phone line in your home or office, allowing you to use the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time. Installation is as simple as unplugging the phone from the wall, plugging in a line-splitter (which we provide), plugging the phone and the DSL modem into the splitter and finally connected the DSL modem to your computer. Very simple, very neat.

All of our other DSL and T1 services are carried over dedicated data lines (special 2 or 4-pair phone cables) that are installed in the exact spot you request. Plug in the DSL modem or router, plug that into your computer and you are ready to go. Again, very simple and very neat.

Feature: Pricing
Cable Internet providers are offering seemingly great deals on Cable Internet service. Reading the fine print on their offers, though, reveals the true details. Stand-alone Cable Internet service is expensive. The “deal” for less-expensive Cable Internet typically applies when you sign up for the Cable Internet service plus  Basic Cable TV service plus Digital Cable TV service plus a large premium TV channel package plus local and long distance telephone service.

If you already have all of those services from the local Cable TV company, then adding their Cable Internet service makes for a pretty good deal. If, however, you are quite happy with your current local / long distance telephone service from XYZ company, are not really interested in having 1000+ TV stations on tap, or have a Satellite TV system instead of Cable TV, then you will pay a premium to receive Cable Internet service.

TFBnet’s DSL and T1 services stand on their own. One service, one price, no jumping through hoops or the need to purchase services that you may not want. We do offer an incredible local and long distance telephone service, but that is independent of our Internet services. Want DSL or T1 service? You have it. Want fantastic local and long distance telephone service? You can have that too. One thing we cannot provide is 1000+ TV channels, but then again we are an Internet Service Provider, not a Cable TV company.

Service and Support
As much as we would like to say that the typical Cable Internet provider’s service and support is horrible, we have not found that to be true. Of course, if you have a horror story to share with us, that might change :>

TFBnet may be a small company when compared to the typical Cable Internet company, but our smaller size allows us to react quickly and maintain high standards of service and support. Our customer service department is well versed in the types of Internet services we provide and how those services can be best utilized by our customers.

Our technical support department is staffed by knowledgeable and helpful technicians. Job #1 for our tech support staff is solving our customer’s problems, no matter how large or small they may be. They provide solutions not only for Internet problems, but also go to great lengths to suggest overall computer solutions and ways for customers to get the most out of the Internet and their computer systems. We even offer a carry-in computer service that offers troubleshooting, repairs, upgrades, overhauls and tune-ups (for TFBnet  and non-TFBnet customers alike).

Our tech support department is backed-up by two other assets that you will not always find with the typical Cable Internet company – our Information Technology department and our sister company Data Management Systems. Our IT department monitors our operations around the clock to ensure that everything is working at its peak performance. The IT department is also responsible for implementing the latest in Internet and connectivity technologies.

Data Management Systems (760-728-0984) is our ace in the hole. Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, DMS provides computer, network and software sales, on-site service and repairs, installation, on-going support and (ta-da) works hand-in-glove with TFBnet to design and implement Internet solutions for the business environment.

Conclusion
Although the preceding may have been a wee bit tongue-in-check, do not think for a minute that TFBnet isn’t serious about providing the best Internet services, backed up by top-notch customer and technical support. We offer a level of features, service and support that our competitors have chosen not to.

If you are currently a TFBnet customer, please keep us in mind when considering enhancing your Internet capabilities. If you are considering becoming a TFBnet customer, please contact our customer service department (888-211-1674) to learn more about our full array of Internet services, including the features that set us apart from the rest.