Entering the Information Age

Today I did it. I placed an order for DSL. That’s right, Bill Brown is finally joining the broadband revolution.

I’m sure most of you reading this have your mouth open in shock. How could someone like me still be using dial-up in this day and age? Two things: 1) I’ve got a really fast connection at work and 2) I’ve had a relatively good signal from a neighbor’s open wireless network for at least a year.

Unfortunately, two things also happened recently that have led me to pony up the dough to get a fast connection: 1) Said neighbor moved a few months ago, leaving me to a regular tying up of our one phone line and 2) the new online banking system that me and my co-worker developed really lends itself to remote administration and maintenance. Rather than drive myself down to work to handle outages (or suffer over a dial-up connection), broadband is going to allow me to do lots more working from home.

Why DSL over cable? I’ve got satellite television and the thought of paying a premium because I don’t suffer cable really rankles me. Moreover, everyone I’ve spoken to about broadband—with a few suspect exceptions—bristles at the mention of Cox Communications. Now Qwest is often referred to around here as Qworst but I’ve never had a problem. I’ve got them as my local, cellular, and dial-up provider. As a former Baby Bell, they know something about QOS. I like the idea of having an unpooled connection to the Internet.

What finally cinched it for me was that VDSL was available. This is fiber to the neighborhood and offers much better bandwidth than regular DSL. It’s got great upstream speeds—768 kbps—which makes VoIP through Vonage a very real possibility.

In addition to the VDSL, I’m setting up a wireless network of my own using a Linksys WRT54g access point. I know, I know: why didn’t I go Apple. Two reasons: 1) freaking overpriced and 2) Sveasoft. I have been dying to install their firmware replacement ever since I read about it in an I, Cringely column. It’s a lot of power and a lot of interesting options for me to craft the best network I can get.

So in a matter of a week, I will finally move into the Information Age on my own and I won’t have to rely on an unreliable neighbor’s connection or the faithful but sluggish world of dial-up. You’ll have to pardon my excitement!

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