MetroCast, To Its Credit, Was Able To Maintain 75Mbps Internet In Alton, N.H., On Saturday Night.
by Anura Guruge
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The one major inescapable problem (other than outages, of course) of getting Internet from a cable provider is that you are always getting shared bandwidth. That is a fact of life. You are on the cable — albeit with today’s cable carrying 8 or more high speed channels. But given that you are on a shared medium you always run the risk of losing bandwidth when there is lots of other traffic on the cable.
This is why I was happy to have a dedicated, fiber to the house, service from TDS. With that I had dedicated bandwidth until I hit TDS’ servers. But TDS Telecom, alas, despite its promise of gigabit Internet in the future, can only offer me 15Mbps download. I wanted more. That is why we ended getting two fibers to the house for a total of 30Mbps — though I split that into two networks, keeping 15Mbps dedicated for my main PC.
Well on Wednesday, as I documented, I got the MetroCast 75Mbps/5Mbps Ultra service. It works. Definitely more bandwidth.
But, I was NOT going to ditch my TDS connections UNTIL I saw how MetroCast performed over a Saturday night — the night when, typically, there is most traffic on the cable. Last time I had MetroCast, 4 or 5 years ago, bandwidth used to plummet between 8 – 11pm on Saturdays. Now to be fair I don’t use my PC, much, during that time. So it is not a great hardship.
The MetroCast folks assured me that my bandwidth will not drop. I knew that that would NOT be the case. I knew that there will be SOME degradation — the question was how much.
But, I had to see it myself. So I made a point of testing the bandwidth, Saturday night, using “speedtest.net”.
I was impressed.
I had set an acceptable threshold of 70Mbps/3.5Mbps.
As you can see from the image above, the bandwidth did fluctuate, more than normal on Saturday night. But it stayed well upwards of my threshold.
Yes, I appreciate that this could change in the Summer when we have more people on the road! Risk you take.
I do use my own SurfBoard SB6141 as opposed to the SB6121 that MetroCast provides. This might be a FACTOR as to why the bandwidth did NOT degrade that much.
The SB6141, in the case of download, can bond together 8 cable channels. The SB6121 can only bond a maximum of 4. That is why I coughed up the extra $25 and got the ’41’ rather than the ’21’. When the service was installed we checked the modem for signal strength. You could see 8 channels.
I just took a screenshot of it. 8 channels.
I also noticed that ONLY 2 channels are being bonded for Upstream. Upstream bonding is the same on the ’41’ and ’21’ — i.e., up to 4. Hhhhmmm. Interesting that MetroCast only permits 2 channels to be bonded, BUT given that they are giving ‘us’ 8Mbps, as opposed to the 5Mbps, they promise, I can’t complain.
But, for now, per the claim I made to ‘all’, I will cut over to MetroCast and ditch the TDS connections — until they have gigabit. I have no contract with MetroCast. So I can cut over whenever.
I will keep you posted.
I do realize that it will not be all smooth sailing. 90 days after I ditch my TDS connections I will again be treated as a new customer. I would then be able to get a 2Mbps connection for $15/month. I might do that, to serve as a backup, and get a $65 TP-Link WAN port aggregator.
But for now it seems I have sticking with 75Mbps Metrocast.
I will do a post shortly on what my new network will look like.