2009
08.09

In all fairness to Qwest, the last post about their sly-fox DSL pricing schemes was a bit harsh. The company is in a mountain of debt, and yet they are trying to roll out next-gen internet speeds in “select areas”. But what exactly is this next generation internet, and what makes it different from what’s available right now? Well, here are some answers (twelve, to be exact):

  1. Qwest’s medium of choice from here on out is VDSL2.
  2. AT&T also uses VDSL, albeit a generation older (for now), for their U-Verse network.
  3. Unlike AT&T, Qwest isn’t going to try to run a TV service over their VDSL network, leaving more bandwidth for internet-only service.
  4. VDSL2, unlike VDSL, works over copper “loop” lengths longer than a few thousand feet, albeit at speeds comparable to Qwest’s older “Fiber to the Node” ADSL2+ system.
  5. Due to (4), all Qwest upgrades will be to VDSL2 equipment, with no ADSL2+ intermediate step.
  6. VDSL2 requires a special modem, in contrast to garden-variety ADSL2+. Qwest’s VDSL2 modem is the ActionTec Q1000, which has built-in 802.11n wireless, gigabit Ethernet and backward compatbility with older DSL systems.
  7. In areas where loop lengths are short enough, all tiers above 1.5 Mbps can get 5 Mbps uploads (as opposed to 896 kbps) for just $5 more per month.
  8. Unlike Comcast, Qwest has no stated caps on their residential tiers, and doesn’t appear to throttle their network.
  9. Qwest VDSL2 service will be marginally faster than ADSL2+ service of the same advertised speed, as Qwest’s VDSL2 installation doesn’t used the overhead-heavy ATM protocol to pass internet traffic. ADSL (and ADSL2+) do use the protocol, limiting customers to about 85% of their advertised speed. VDSL2 customers on the other hand should get 90-95% of advertised speeds in real life.
  10. Latency (ping time) may improve on VDSL2 service, compared with ADSL. In any case, a call or online chat with Qwest could reduce pings even more, if they turn off interleave on your line. On the other hand, non-interleaved DSL doesn’t work well over old and/or noisy phone lines.
  11. More information about VDSL2, directly from Qwest, can be found here.
  12. More information about VDSL2, directly from customers, can be found among the posts here.

Got any more questions? Ask in the comments.

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