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  • Cable, DSL, latency

    I've been a cable modem user for quite a while, but lately DSL offerings have made it to my neighborhood so I am doing some testing in the efforts of lowering my bills.

    With the cable modem I obviously get lots of bandwidth - 3Mbps down and 768k up. Latency is pretty good considering where I am - about 85ms to TG servers. The downside is that it costs me about $40 a month.

    With Verizon DSL, base rate 768k down and 128k up, latency is higher at 100ms to TG servers. In game I can notice a difference in that there's slightly more lag. The upshot is that this is dirt cheap - $15 a month.

    I'm considering having Verizon up the rate to 1.5M. This costs me $10 more, or $25 a month, but I'm wondering if it will help the latency a little. Triple digit latency makes me feel uneasy, but it might not be worth an extra $20 a month just for those ~20ms... or is it?

    Has anyone else been through a similar comparison? Does a higher DSL rate provide better latency in your experience?

    Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    Re: Cable, DSL, latency

    More bandwidth shouldn't typically have an effect on your latency.
    Your latency is primarily affected by the amount of hops your connection takes to get to the server, and where those hops are located. The hops being the routers your data travels through to get to the server. You should see the same 1st couple hops out to any server you go to, that would be your local backbone. They would then hand you off to someone else's backbone to get to the IP that you are connecting too.

    I say typically in the first sentence because I suppose it is feasible (although very doubtful) that with a higher service offering, they may indeed have you on a seperate backbone, or be routing you differently at the handoff. I would think the infrastructure would be too costly either way for that to be true though.

    100ms in BF2 isn't too noticeable for me, and I'm used to 50ms. I think that's pretty dependent on the game you're playing though. I used to drastically (no joke) notice the difference between 50 and 65ms in MOHAA.

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    • #3
      Re: Cable, DSL, latency

      One important thing to consider:

      The relationship between cable and DSL in terms of latency is not equal amongst all providers. In a way, it's kind of like asking if Ford or GM vehicles are faster. A Ford Focus is not faster than a Corvette, and a Cavalier is not faster than a Mustang V8.

      Differnet providers provision their networks differently and use varied equipment. They also have different acceptable saturation rates for their networks.

      Provider A on Cable might resell their bandwidth 20x over.
      Provider B on Cable might resell their bandwidth 50x over.

      Generally speaking, Provider A is more likely to provide you with lower latency and more throughput on demand than Provicer B, even if Provider B offers you 2MB downstream vs. Provider A's 1MB downstream.

      In the end, ping isn't everything. Network stability and packet loss play a larger role in gaming performance than ping alone. If you have a 300ms ping vs a 50ms ping, then ping is an issue. But if you're talking 60ms vs 80ms, you're really not playing with a large enough difference to make it an issue.

      Personally, I go with Cable over DSL. My Cable provider is COX HSI, my DSL provider would be Verizon. COX treats me well, gives me lots of bandwidth, and overall network performance and packet loss is excellent.

      YMMV.
      Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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      • #4
        Re: Cable, DSL, latency

        Originally posted by Apophis


        In the end, ping isn't everything. Network stability and packet loss play a larger role in gaming performance than ping alone. If you have a 300ms ping vs a 50ms ping, then ping is an issue. But if you're talking 60ms vs 80ms, you're really not playing with a large enough difference to make it an issue.
        True that. I have an average cable connection (3mb down/800 up) and my ping on TG servers is rediculously low, usually in the mid teens. But because of the packet loss and dropouts I very rarely can stay connected for more than half a game. I'd checkout dslreports.com and see what other people say about services in your area.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: Cable, DSL, latency

          Originally posted by Apophis
          YMMV.
          Your Mileage May Vary? :)

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          • #6
            Re: Cable, DSL, latency

            Thanks for the comments folks. I'm doing a head-to-head comparison for a couple of weeks. So far I found no evidence of packet loss or any other performance inhibitors. All I'm seeing is the obvious change in bandwidth and +20ms of latency. I'll probably try boosting the bandwidth just to see if that alters my routing at all or effects latency for some reason. I am guessing not.

            It basically comes down to this - is an extra 20ms of latency (totalling 100ms) worth the ~$25 in savings every month? I am thinking yes - that'll pay my TG dues and then some!

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            • #7
              Re: Cable, DSL, latency

              Well I'm using sbcyahoo dsl. suppose to be 1.5mb/384k but actually get 1.2mb, sucks but I do get 11-13 ping stable on TG servers, which of course I'm located closer to the big D than most people are that play. Boy did I get lucky.


              Oh and technically the package I pay for is ripping me off a bit, its suppose to be between 1.5-3.0mb-384-512k but I receive less than the minimum connection, although its only 20$ a month so I never complained.

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