All this week, Observer columnist Langston Wertz Jr. will write about popular technology rivalries and try to determine which is best for you. The week continues today today with a look at wired or wireless networking.
Monday: PS3 vs. Xbox 360
Tuesday: Macs vs. PC
High-speed internet has changed our lives. Long gone are the days of the logging into America Online and watching that blue login bar slooooooooowly fill up along the bottom of the screen.
Today, we download high-definition movies and video games and music, sometimes in seconds. But all high-speed Internet is not created equal. If you’re considering satellite-based Internet services, I’d rule them out – they’re spotty and can suffer from slow upload times. That leaves you with DSL or cable.
DSL Advantages: Unlike cable, which sometimes forces a neighborhood to share a “node,” DSL is one wire to one home (though homes far away from the central server may not receive the same quality service as those closer). DSL is generally more readily available to customers in outlying areas than cable Internet. Some of the newer DSL services, like Windstream in Charlotte, are offering increased download speeds.
Cable Internet Advantages: It’s easier to connect. DSL users often need to add filters to their phone lines to prevent interference with regular phone usage. Not a terribly big deal, but a small nuisance (especially when the filter doesn’t work properly). Also, in real-life applications, cable tends to be a lot faster. In Charlotte, Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner service – both the standard and turbo versions – is the fastest high-speed Internet service I’ve ever tested.
Knockout Blow: It’s all about speed. Locally, Road Runner (the standard version) is fast, reliable and you never need to log in, as some DSL services require. Road Runner also comes with free anti-virus software and free parental controls to keep the young ones off sites you don’t want them to see. (Windstream offers a similar security suite, but charges $2.99 a month for it after a free three-month trial.)
Winner: Beep-beep. Go cable.
Thursday: wireless vs. wired network
Friday: satellite vs cable