Posts Tagged dialup

Big Spring, TX (aka I Get A Networking Green Belt)

So I’m here in Big Spring, TX on a mission trip at Gateway Baptist Church. I’m helping with sound and various other things. Lots of community events and a Vacation Bible School program are how my home church is ministering to the populace. So far, life’s good; despite hot sleeping quarters for the guys I think we’ve God through us has had a huge impact here this week. So far twelve kids have come to Christ; there will probably be more salvations before the week’s up. That’s really cool. I’ll link to a slideshow once I’m done here on Twitter (I’m leaving Saturday morning for Colorado).

So if you’re a techie and am wondering what the “Networking Green Belt” part of the post is, bear with me. First let me lay out the internet situation in Big Sprint: Alltel EvDO, Basin 2Way as a WISP, Suddenlink for cable, one or two numbers for dialup. Sprint (my typical cellular carrier) is 1xRTT-only here, as is Verizon for the moment (but they’ll be EvDO soon once they integrate Alltel’s network). Not sure yet abut Basin 2Way’s services and pricing, though I’ll bet it’s only economical for folks who can’t get cable. For cable, Suddenlink is the provider; I’ve detailed their pricing plans and traceroutes here, here and here. Please disregard the extraneous discussion about DOCSIS modulations. Dialup is one of two phone numbers to my knowledge, one for AOL and one for everyone else. This is one of the few areas where has no local numbers, depiste their aggregation of dozens of dialup access number providers. The numbers here are owned by SBC/AT&T, but not WorldNet. Fun stuff.

So back to my networking green belt.

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As evinced by my last post, I’ve been mucking about with dialup lately. I’ve resurrected my account and run a few tests on it. Honestly, with the included accelerator, I could bear using the service if it meant the difference between $50 satellite and $8 dialup (pay by year). I’d have to go into town to do any big downloads, but I’d do that with sat internet anyway. You can’t run VoIP over satellite so the $50-to-$8 comparison stands.

Anyhow, after trying I thought “who are the big players in the dialup industry?” Here’s the list I came up with:

1) AOL
2) NetZero/Juno (the former has more access numbers)
3) EarthLink/PeoplePC

There are other dialup ISPs, but they pretty much are just the same as, albeit with different pricing, possibly a shorter list of access numbers and a different domain on the end of your e-mail address. As such, I’m sticking with, which I’ve had good luck with, for my emergency dialup/every-once-in-a-while newsgroup access/branded e-mail needs. Even Earthlink and NetZero share the 729-1999 number, and thus probably that USAWide backbone network and dialup performance.

However I was curious about AOL. From what I’ve gathered, they’re the only company in my area that actually has a different phone number for dialup access than 830-729-1999. As such, their service would be running on different equipment, with possibly different performance characteristics.

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Dialup Traceroutes

So I’m a network nut. however few people would go as far as I just did: borrow my littlest brother’s laptop, dial in to my standby dialup account and run a few traceroutes to see what’s shakin’. Pretty retro-cool, actually. If I turned images down I could definitely live with dialup, cost-proportionally, better than a disgustingly high-latency satellite connection.

Yep, I said satellite. Was at church earlier tonight and had to do some work over their Wildblue connection (cell signals are bad there, and landline internet is, well, dialup). They have WildBlue from the folks at CTESC. 512 kbps down, 128 kbps up, $50 per month, 7 GB down per month, 2.3 GB up per month and a truckload of latency. How much? Try 1500-2500 milliseconds to, my ping target of choice around these parts. If you really want to get geeky, the first eight hops or so are all private IPs (good; I don’t want satellite internet hogging public IP space for tons of router hops) and the connection appears to be Qwest-only from there (Laredo, supposedly) out to the internet. Big bowl of yuck if you ask me…too bad the one-way sat systems aren’t as popular and have even lower download caps.

So back to dialup. After calling my dialup ISP to retrieve my password (I never use the account…okay, almost never…so I had totally forgotten it was a temporary thing for use when other people needed an account to download something), I grabbed their four-megabyte connection wizard/accelerator installer and set it up. Now 4 MB isn’t too bad over cable or DSL, but over a 512k wireless connection it takes a minute or three, especially when another computer is downloading Internet Explorer 8 in the background.

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