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Re: Off Topic - ISDN Internet Connection

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Ah, a topic for the computer geek in me!!

Solution:  Get a Mac!!  Those new 17" Powerbooks look ni..

Opps...sorry, wrong question to be answered.  OK, note to self...shameless
Mac plug to today accomplished.

Now to the topic at hand...

First, ISDN _is_ not that fast when compared to DSL, Cable modems, or
satelite service.  ISDN is up to 64 kbps if you also want the able to use
voice on the line or up to 128 kbps if only data.  This is not really much
faster than a standard modem (in theory, with a good connection a regular
modem will do up to 56 kbps on download and about up to 33 kbps on
upload...but in reality you usually get about 30 to 40 kbps).  An ISDN
line is essentially a two line "phone" line that you can have one line for
data (at up to 64k) and one for voice or both lines for date (up to 128k).
Considering the speed that you get, usually it is over priced since it is
not too much cheaper than DSL or cable modem service (if I recall
correctly).  Thus, ISDN is usually considered a LAST resort if you have
not other "broadband" solutions (and I use the term broadband rather
loosely when talking about ISDN).  This is for Basic Rate Interface (BRI)
ISDN, which is what most residential service is.  You could potentially
get Primary Rate Interface (PRI) ISDN which bundles twenty-three channels
together for speeds up to 1544 kbps.  Supposedly, you can get faster than
128 kbps on BRI ISDN with compression, but I don't know how effective that
really is.

As far as your questions go...

ISDN is essentially already obsolete in some regards.  It was the initial
"broadband" solution for residential consumers (before DSL and cable
modem).  As I understand things, ISDN doesn't give the same price/speed
ratio that DSL and cable modems do, but I could be wrong.

I am going to assume that the installation charges for ISDN will not
differ too much from installation charges for DSL or Cable modem.  But,
your best bet is to contact a ISDN provider and ask (local phone companies
usually offer ISDN service...I know SBC does in my area...they did not
list any costs on their site).  Similarly, I believe monthly charges are
similar, but slightly less than DSL or cable modem but slightly more than
a phone line.  I want to say that monthly charges are on the order of
about $35 a month, but again it would be best to ask a local provider.

And yes, you can talk while connected, but you lose half your connection
speed (on a residential BRI ISDN system).  As mentioned before, BRI ISDN
uses two channels on a digital phone line (the "D" in ISDN is for
digital).  One channel can be used for voice or data, while the other is
deticated to data.  So, you can talk on the voice "line" but that means
that while doing so you connection will be limited to 64 kbps.

If you want a little more information on ISDN, then take a look at this

It appears a little outdated (it talks about cable modems and ADSL as
promising " emerge as alternatice access methods into the data
network." when they are now HERE), but might give you some additional

As some other have pointed out, you might want to look into satelite
service.  As I understand it, satelite service is not too much more
expensive than cable modem or DSL service.  Cable modem service is
generall about $40 to 50 a month, while DSL service is about $50 a month
and on up (it depends on what speed DSL service you can
choose the lower end which is ADSL around 384 kbps or so up to higher end
DSL service with speeds exceeding 1.5 Mbps).

A really good site to look at for Broadband issues in general is  Don't let the name fool you...the site is now really
a full broadband site that deals with cable modem, DSL, satelite, and
maybe even ISDN service.  It can also be reached at (it was originally DSL Reports, but expanded).
The site gives some information, provides tools, has reviews and people's
experiences with various broadband services around the country.  You can
do a search on what broadband solutions are available for your area.

Also, you can take a look at this page:

It is an article about StarBand (satelite service).  While it is aimed at
dealing with the hook up of a Mac (alright, two shameless Mac plugs in ONE
DAY...I am on a role), it does talk about finding a faster connection in
the "boonies" (the author's word not mine).


Ypsilanti, MI

On Thu, 30 Jan 2003, M. David Finley, P.E. wrote:

> So far my research is showing that satellite is somewhat more expensive than residentail ISDN, but the connection speed is dramatically faster.
> M. David Finley, P.E.
> 2086 SW Main Boulevard - Suite 111
> Lake City, FL  32025
> 386-752-6400
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Thom Alascio
>   To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>   Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 1:33 PM
>   Subject: Re: Off Topic - ISDN Internet Connection
>   I work in an office were we had ISDN and we now have DSL the speeds are about the same but I know cost is really high for ISDN. Did you look into the satellite company's? They offer high speed internet at a pretty good price , it is more then DSL but a lot cheaper than ISDN
>   Thomas Alascio
>   Sr. Consultant
>   Peterson Consulting Group
>   800.269.7319 ext.1007
>   772.778.2688  fax
>   772.231.1214 cell
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     From: M. David Finley, P.E.
>     To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>     Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 11:18 AM
>     Subject: Off Topic - ISDN Internet Connection
>     I live in a rural area where DSL and cable internet access are not available.  The dial-up connection speed is simply awful.
>     So.., I'm considering ISDN residential service.  I'd appreciate any feedback from those who have tried it.  I'm full of questions like,
>     Is the connection speed very good?
>     Will I need both the ISDN line and a separate regular phone line if I want to talk on the phone while I'm connected?
>     Does the phone company want an arm and a leg for installing the line?  How about for monthly service?
>     Will the ISDN modem be obsolete by the time I get it working?
>     Respond privately if you prefer not to use the list for this topic.
>     M. David Finley, P.E.
>     2086 SW Main Boulevard - Suite 111
>     Lake City, FL  32025
>     386-752-6400
>     pec(--nospam--at)

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