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Summary:

John Dvorak is a, make that was a great columnist. In the PC era, no one could hold a candle to the man. He was quick, witty and had a real sense of what was going on in the history. But these days it is a […]

John Dvorak is a, make that was a great columnist. In the PC era, no one could hold a candle to the man. He was quick, witty and had a real sense of what was going on in the history. But these days it is a chore reading his stuff. Take his most recent, muddled, opinion-without-any-knowledge column in PC magazine about VoIP.

If you wonder why DSL services have often deteriorated, it is because good DSL invites VoIP. Bad DSL, on the contrary, keeps it at bay. This, to me, explains the fact that cable modems have continued to hold and even gain in market share.

What? Didn’t I just read the Verizon is boosting DSL speeds to 3 megabits per second on its DSL? Or that Verizon has it own VoIP offering, aka VoiceWing. Here is another masterpiece of a suggestion from him.

If you want to call someone on a PSTN system, then use a cell phone. If computer users all agreed on a set standard for PC/Internet-based phone services, most of us could easily connect for free, especially if quality-of-service protocols were implemented. Just a thought.

Can you hear me laugh right now….. well given that he is writing for PC Mag, I can’t blame him for PC centric view of the world. Regardless, its an idea which means human beings change their ways to adapt to a technology. Isn’t adapting technology to human behavior a more doable task. Think about this …. Oh I have to call Andy, so I must Skype him. And if I have to call mom who doesn’t have a computer, then must use cell phone. I will tape this and listen to this when I am sleeping…. so that I don’t forget who to call using which technology.

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  1. Lots of Dvorak bashing here and elsewhere on the web. He may deserve some, or all of it, I can’t judge. However, re: his DSL comments, I must say he’s onto something. If you’re sitting on top of the C.O. you can get 3 Mbps, but as little as 1 km away, the effective speed goes down dramatically. At 4.5 km you’re lucky if you get 256 Kbps. How many DSL subs actually get 3 Mbps? It’s a dirty little telco secret that the vast majority of 3Mbps DSL subs NEVER get 3 Mbps of effective throughput. Don’t believe the hype. Cable rules.

  2. Potter, I don’t know about sitting on top of CO. I pay extra for a 6 megabit per second connection from Speakeasy and never have that problem. I have been monitoring the speeds and its pretty nice.

  3. Jesse Kopelman Monday, November 15, 2004

    DSL speed is all about distanc from DSLAM. The cheap way is to put the DSLAM in the CO. In urban areas, this is fine as the COs tend to be close to the users. If the telco moves the DSLAM close enough to the user, you get speeds of up to 20Mbps. That costs money, though. This is the point behind FTTC.

    Dvorak does have one good point. It does not appear to be in either the Bells or cable cos best interest to offer speeds above 3Mbps. Once you have that, third party VOD/IPTV applications can come along and start stealing their revenue. To some degree, VoIP is already doing this (you hardly ever hear Comcast mention their phone service anymore). I’m begining to fear that we won’t see a good improvement in broadband speeds unless a third competitor enters the market.

  4. Om, you live close to a C.O., my point is that most people don’t. Plus most people are served by older copper plants that aren’t optimal. As Jesse states, you need to push out the DSLAM ($$$) to get the higher effective throughput to the majority. It’s cheaper per sub for the cablecos to achieve better throughput to all of their subscribers. Besides, it’s all groomed for an average of 300 to 400 Kbps. If you could meter your web page download speed, you’d see it’s never faster than that.

  5. I agree with your points, however, there are extremely low cost dslam extendeder options which companies have been deploying including folks at verizon – who have been boosting speeds in new jersey, maryland and other places. Turbo charging DSL. Anyway I do agree cable guys for now have a slight advantage, but DSL has a lot more juice than bells are letting on anyway.

  6. Some already have gear to rate limit applications. More will soon. So this new gear rates limits traffic (like P2P or VoIP) by time of day. They can also use it to completely block flows for certain applications (like Skype, etc.). They are using it to defend their territory …

  7. VoIP, PSTN and making calls

    Om comments on a recent column by John Dvorak regarding VoIP. I almost share Omís opinions but for one. Indeed, my reaction is well depicted in the accompanying picture, where Dvorak is closing his ears in apparent disgust. Dvorakís points…

  8. VoIP, PSTN and making calls

    Om comments on a recent column by John Dvorak regarding VoIP. I almost share Omís opinions but for one. Indeed, my reaction is well depicted in the accompanying picture, where Dvorak is closing his ears in apparent disgust. Dvorakís points…

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