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Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome

By Anonymous Zero in News
Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:49:44 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

An amusing story about Pacific Bell running some TV ads that Excite@Home is not too happy about. Pacific Bell says some people find its new "Web Hog'' television ads so funny that they're asking for copies on videotape. The ad which features once friendly surburbanite neighbors turning ugly on each other as the local shared cable internet service slows to a crawl. "Web hog!'' a group of kids yell at a middle-aged neighbor working on his lawn. "No. You're the Web hog!'' he shouts back. One neighbor pours water into a neighbor's car. Others paint garages and trucks with words like "Log off'' and "Web hog.'' The ads end with the tag line: "Get Pacific Bell DSL. Always fast. Never shared.'' Hehehe... according to this article Excite@Home is not amused and demand the ads be yanked.


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Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome | 36 comments (36 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Yeah, I hate cable too. Doesn't he... (1.00 / 1) (#1)
by bmetzler on Tue May 02, 2000 at 02:06:44 PM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Yeah, I hate cable too. Doesn't help that I can't get DSL *or* cable.
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

Hehe, normally I hate FUDish ads li... (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by fluffy grue on Tue May 02, 2000 at 02:11:45 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Hehe, normally I hate FUDish ads like that (with properly-administered cable setups, the difference between bandwidth-sharing on a segment vs. bandwidth-sharing at the (DSL) colocated router is negligible at best), but that one just sounds too funny. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Funny, but there really isn't a who... (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by heinzkeinz on Tue May 02, 2000 at 02:56:19 PM EST

heinzkeinz voted -1 on this story.

Funny, but there really isn't a whole lot to say about it, is there?

Ha, it is funny. Here's a link to i... (4.70 / 3) (#13)
by nicktamm on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:12:41 PM EST

nicktamm voted 1 on this story.

Ha, it is funny. Here's a link to it if you live somewhere not serviced by Pacific Bell. I suppose this is going to spawn a cable vs. DSL war, but I have a question (probably a rather simple one, but I'm too lazy to research it seeing as how the liklyhood of a DSL or cable internet provider coming within 20 miles of me within the next 5 years is next to zero): In the article linked to by this story, Excite@Home says that they are able to split a node into smaller pieces if there are a lot of users. How often does this happen? How expensive is it for Excite@Home to do this, and isn't the end result just eventually spliting up everyone into their own node, making it exactly like DSL? Also, the article says that DSL is eventually all trunked into one cable at the switching office. How much larger (bandwidth-wise) is this main trunk than the nodes of a cable network?

Also, I've always thought of a cable network sort of like a thinwire ethernet. How accurate is that comparison? Are there any differences? I remember reading that it isn't possible to sniff other computers on a cable network, so that suggests that it isn't as simple as I think it is, but that may just be a false claim.
Nick Tamm nick-k5@echorequest.net http://www.nicktamm.org

Re: Ha, it is funny. Here's a link to i... (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:43:12 PM EST

When I first got cable it seemed pretty fast (compared to dial-up anyway). Over time, it started to get slower. I found out our node was completely overloaded. They were supposed to have 25 people max., there were about 70 (according to the tech support person). Several months later it became fast again, so I'm guessing they split the node. IIRC, a node as 27 Mbps of bandwidth, and you won't be getting that all to yourself :). And if the head-end doesn't have enough bandwidth, the sharing will make no difference. The head-end/central office probably has at least T3 or OC3 connections to the internet.

Also, I've always thought of a cable network sort of like a thinwire ethernet. How accurate is that comparison? Are there any differences? I remember reading that it isn't possible to sniff other computers on a cable network, so that suggests that it isn't as simple as I think it is, but that may just be a false claim.

Actually, I think it is that simple. But traffic is (or is supposed to be) DES-encrypted. Not extremely strong, but your neighbour isn't going to be sniffing you in real-time. If you load up a sniffer, you'll only be able to see broadcast traffic (and your own traffic of course), i.e. ARP and DHCP requests.

[ Parent ]

Just another example of a telco com... (2.33 / 3) (#10)
by Neolith on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:19:56 PM EST

Neolith voted -1 on this story.

Just another example of a telco company spreading FUD about a competing technology.

Always good to see how these once '... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by tidepool on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:22:37 PM EST

tidepool voted 1 on this story.

Always good to see how these once 'internet startups' turn into vicious corporate savages as soon as they might lose money. I say screw 'excite@home'. It's an advertisement - similar to the anti-smoking commercials that we witness everyday - that are put out by the government. I dunno - I think Bell is in the clear here. -Benjamin M. Brewer brewer@unixninja.com

Re: Always good to see how these once '... (1.00 / 1) (#34)
by adamsc on Wed May 03, 2000 at 01:56:27 PM EST

. I say screw 'excite@home'. It's an advertisement - similar to the anti-smoking commercials that we witness everyday - that are put out by the government. I dunno - I think Bell is in the clear here.
I'd agree that advertising has rather low standards, but fraud is still fraud. Every time a DSL provider creates an ad claiming DSL is faster and/or more reliable, they're hoping it will be repeated enough for people to believe the lie.

[ Parent ]
FUnny. :) HOpe they run them here. ... (1.00 / 1) (#18)
by Saint Zero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:34:14 PM EST

Saint Zero voted 1 on this story.

FUnny. :) HOpe they run them here. Time Warner sucks.
---------- Patron Saint of Nothing, really.

Re: FUnny. :) HOpe they run them here. ... (none / 0) (#19)
by Didel on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:17:12 PM EST

Time warner does suck, but bellsouth sucks even worse.

[ Parent ]
Re: FUnny. :) HOpe they run them here. ... (none / 0) (#31)
by Saint Zero on Wed May 03, 2000 at 02:47:14 AM EST

now, I have had good luck with bellsouth. I'm going to move soon, so we will be putting that to the test soon.
---------- Patron Saint of Nothing, really.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, TW sucks ass, and here's specifics (none / 0) (#32)
by Skippy on Wed May 03, 2000 at 10:12:54 AM EST

Time Warner sucks, but I'll go into detail. They provide Road Runner (their cable modem service) in many areas but I can only speak of the one I live in. They SERIOUSLY overload their nodes, don't upgrade bandwidth (the big pipe) till it has nearly 100% saturation, have horrible idiots working their national tech support line, and use NT for everything. Their setup is one big network neighborhood, literally. When they first came to town you could just open up Network Neighborhood (or Samba client) and browse your neighbors checking to see who had File and Print sharing on. This has been somewhat alleviated by their use of SMS which simple keeps the other folks from showing up in the Network Neighborhood browser but you can still get to them if you know their current IP. They seem to think its not a problem if your service goes completely down for 3 hours or so three to four hours a week. They put on and change their bandwidth caps without telling anyone. I'm sure there are more reasons they suck, but I need to get back to work.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]
This just seems like non-news. A c... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by evro on Tue May 02, 2000 at 03:41:45 PM EST

evro voted 0 on this story.

This just seems like non-news. A company bashing its competitor... wow! The only interesting thing is that @Home is reacting so stupidly. Just do what everybody else does: return fire!
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Almost all adds are misleading. Go ... (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by your_desired_username on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:10:20 PM EST

your_desired_username voted 1 on this story.

Almost all adds are misleading. Go find me an excite@home add that is not misleading.

Amusing.... (1.00 / 1) (#5)
by raph on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:25:04 PM EST

raph voted 1 on this story.

Amusing.

I don't really like lots of cut and... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by emjay on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:35:48 PM EST

emjay voted 0 on this story.

I don't really like lots of cut and pasted stuff from the article unless it is quoted.
-------------------------
We can't stop here, this is bat country!

Now if this was a discussion about ... (1.00 / 1) (#15)
by Rasputin on Tue May 02, 2000 at 04:46:49 PM EST

Rasputin voted -1 on this story.

Now if this was a discussion about the differences between dsl and cable...
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

For those of us who live outside Pa... (2.00 / 1) (#11)
by RobotSlave on Tue May 02, 2000 at 05:09:15 PM EST

RobotSlave voted 1 on this story.

For those of us who live outside Pac Bell's slice of the former Ma Bell, the Pacific Bell ads can be seen here.

Is this just a means to blast anoth... (1.00 / 1) (#17)
by bozak911 on Tue May 02, 2000 at 05:39:44 PM EST

bozak911 voted -1 on this story.

Is this just a means to blast another company? Poke fun at the disadvantages of Cable modems? Maybe when this becomes a real issue, with a real report about it, I would vote in the positive.
"Show me a man with 'No Fear' and I will show you a fool." --Anonymous

Humor value (+1) weighs out the obn... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by adric on Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:00:02 PM EST

adric voted 0 on this story.

Humor value (+1) weighs out the obnoxious nature of our ADSL service. The cable ran DHCP (well supported on everything) but the ADSL uses PPPoE which is poorly supported on a few OSen and barely supported at all otherwise. But, yes, ADSL is faster and more reliable than cable ... when it works... grrrrr

Funny as hell.. ... (3.50 / 2) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:10:11 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 1 on this story.

Funny as hell..

Of course, DSL services usually limit themselves in their own special ways (like the local provider/phone monopoly, Sasktel). 6k/s up max and NAT vs. @home, which is up to 70k/s up and no NAT..



--
[ イノシロ ]
Interesting article (+1). Cut and p... (1.00 / 1) (#7)
by alisdair on Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:45:48 PM EST

alisdair voted -1 on this story.

Interesting article (+1). Cut and pasted from the link (-1). Not much room for discussion (-1). Rounding from -2 to -1.

Re: Interesting article (+1). Cut and p... (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by fvw on Tue May 02, 2000 at 08:50:32 PM EST

+1 + -1 + -1 = -2??? Are you hiding something from us? :-)


[ Parent ]
Sure, it's link propagation, but th... (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by pretzelgod on Tue May 02, 2000 at 06:45:55 PM EST

pretzelgod voted 1 on this story.

Sure, it's link propagation, but this is interesting to me, since i am considering signing up for cable internet service. Here, there is no DSL, and the cable internet is provided by ISP Channel. Is the sharing that bad?

-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


Re: Sure, it's link propagation, but th... (none / 0) (#20)
by Didel on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:19:20 PM EST

no. At least in my neck of the woods. Find someone near your house who has it and ask them.

[ Parent ]
Re: Sure, it's link propagation, but th... (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:55:56 PM EST

The sharing is not a problem at all, unless they overload their service. That does happen in some areas, especially while cable modem service is new and DSL is not yet available. You'll pay about twice the price of dial-up (or less) for cable access, and have more than twice the bandwidth even when the service is ridiculously overloaded. As soon as DSL was announced here, the cable company realized they were getting some REAL competition and started upgrading their service. It's been extremely fast in the past month.

Remember, no matter what type of connection you have, you're still sharing a T3/OC45/whatever link to the internet. The sharing just happens in different locations.

[ Parent ]

Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:26:30 PM EST

I have cable now. Recently I've been reaching speeds of 70 kB/s, up to 1300 kbps for short periods of time. Cable has shared bandwidth, but remember that you have about 27 Mbps to share (between 25 users, if they don't overload their service). I have a static IP (I just stopped running the DHCP client because my IP never changed anyway), no PPPoE or anything. It hasn't been too reliable though - it went down for about 60-90 minutes, at least 4 times last weekend. And the upload speed is capped at 120kbps, which is a problem if you want to send files to your friends, telecommute, etc. And they don't allow you to run "servers", although I've been running several low-bandwidth servers for about a year. They have a bot which scans port 119 (NNTP) at least once a day (ever since @Home was threatened with the Usenet Death Penalty), but they don't scan other ports. I think it's just so when you phone them up and complain about slow service (after waiting 45-90 minutes on hold), they can blame it on people running servers (there are several people I know running VERY HIGH bandwidth FTP servers, they've never been contacted). Of course that's a lame excuse, as the upload cap prevents them from hogging the bandwidth.

I recently saw some @Home ads saying how cable is so much better than DSL. "DSL doesn't use a regular phone line. You need to have a 'special' phone line run to your computer. Cable uses existing wires..." But when I had cable installed, I had to have about a hundred feet of wire ran directly to my computer, which was located about 3 feet from a cable-connected TV. In fact, every cable modem user I know needed to have a new cable ran. And the cable co. still advertises as "100 times faster than dial-up". As far as I can tell, they're comparing this to a 14.4 modem at most. But DSL and cable are both pretty cheap around here. $39.95 a month, in CANADIAN dollars (about $24 US), including modem rental if you subscribe to basic cable / long distance (add $10 otherwise). It's actually cheaper than buying dial-up service and a second phone line.

The cable company is also running ads about how cable is better than satellite TV. Their main reason: "You can connect as many TV's as you want to cable, without buying special equipment. With satellite, you have to buy a decoder for EACH TV in your house." And what did they just introduce? DIGITAL TV. Requiring a decoder hooked up to EACH TV. And some channels are only available on digital TV, forcing people to "upgrade".

Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (none / 0) (#29)
by Commienst on Tue May 02, 2000 at 10:47:41 PM EST

Some kid who lives in Connecticut that I have a shell account on downloads at 280 kb/s sometimes even faster on his @Home connection! So that is 100 times faster than a 28.8, that ad is not misleading in some peoples case(note it says up to). I guess he does not have to many neighbors using @Home.

[ Parent ]
Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by jetpack on Wed May 03, 2000 at 01:18:20 AM EST

<>But when I had cable installed, I had to have about a hundred feet of wire ran directly to my computer, which was located about 3 feet from a cable-connected TV. <> Sounds like your cable company is smoking enormous amounts of crack. When I had my cable modem "installed", they just spit the cable and plugged one of the splits into the modem. Same goes for friends of mine with DSL; No extra wiring involved.
--
/* The beatings will continue until morale improves */
[ Parent ]
Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (none / 0) (#36)
by julian on Wed May 03, 2000 at 09:33:37 PM EST

My neighborhood got cable TV only five years ago. But the cables are so cheap/crappy and are basically repeater after repeater before they get to us, that we would need entirely new cables before we could even consider cable modems. I've never heard of having to upgrade phone lines for DSL... has anyone had to do that?
-- Julian (x-virge)
[ Parent ]
Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (1.00 / 1) (#22)
by davidu on Tue May 02, 2000 at 07:32:39 PM EST

I have seen the commercials and they are sooo funny. Everyone I know likes them also. -davidu

From the inside... (3.30 / 3) (#25)
by mahlen on Tue May 02, 2000 at 08:30:59 PM EST

I actually work at Excite@Home (note: what I'm saying is only my opinion, not my employer's, don't quote me), and while I do find the ads themselves funny, the irritating part is that DSL providers have themselves admitted that they are having these kinds of problems. Just last week i went to talk by the CTO, Milo Medin, who explained briefly how all that jazz works, and it is pretty amazing. We can actually ramp up downstream bandwidth fairly easily, and do.

I suppose it'd be nice to run counter-ads, but when you're talking about major media buys, there's a several month lead time to get it going, and we already have other campaigns in the works. But if we did, they could talk about the three solid days of no DSL service that Northern California experienced last year, or about how amazingly slow the Pac Bell mail server is. Or about how DSL technology started getting put in only in the face of cable modems (DSL's been around for 30+ years) because Pac Bell didn't want to step on their own highly profitable T1 sales. Mind you, i have DSL (cause I live in San Francisco, who's cable lines are not quite yet upgraded yet, but soon), and i love broadband whatever flavor you make it. Mmmm, mmm, good!

mahlen

Beware the software rot, my son!
The faults that bite, the jobs that thrash!
Beware the broken pipe, and shun
The frumious system crash!


Re: From the inside... (none / 0) (#35)
by Ozymandias on Wed May 03, 2000 at 07:45:27 PM EST

This is all true. I have cable now, from Excite through Cox Communications.

I want DSL.

My cable connection goes down at LEAST once a week. A friend with PacBell DSL has an average of one minor problem per two months. Yes, they had one major outage a year ago; they handled it pretty well (for a telco) and they haven't repeated the problem.

True, their email server sucks. So does @Home's. The difference is that I have to point an MX at my friend's DSL box, because Cable doesn't allow servers. Anyone with the knowledge to set up a simple mail server and register a domain can get around PacBell's problems, but just try it with a cable modem.

Let's talk tech support. PacBell's isn't great; they often don't know what they're talking about, and it can take some serious effort if you really need information; the first-level techs know enough to tell you to reboot your computer, and if that doesn't work, pass it on to a technician. Most of them have also heard the word "linux" before. Most importantly, they are at least polite, seeming to recognize that there is in fact a problem.

Tech support for @Home, on the other hand, is ludicrous. You'll never get the front-line techs to admit there IS a second level help, even though they couldn't find the letter "a" on their keyboard without assistance. And worst of all, they maintain a snotty attitude throughout, convinced of their superiority, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

So, ancillary support. PacBell will sell you additional IP addresses for $10 per month; less, if you talk to the right people. Cable? $25 per IP per month, after upgrading the the much more expensive @Work plan.

Start thinking customer service, provide the same level of service, and work on the uptime and we'll talk. Until then, I'm switching to DSL as soon as possible.
- Ozymandias
[ Parent ]

Re: Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by mattc on Tue May 02, 2000 at 09:09:51 PM EST

As a cable user, I've never had any bandwidth problems. Maybe I just have a well-behaved block :-) One problem I have had is reliability. Cable goes down WAY too often. I don't know if this is incompetent employees or poor hardware or what. Of course, compared to the phone company, cable has had wonderful reliability. This is why I'm afraid to move to DSL.. phone companies are well known for their poor reliability and awful service. My phone line is a static tunnel. To those with DSL.. how reliable has it been? Is it worth upgrading to?

Cable vs DSL (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by slycer on Wed May 03, 2000 at 01:14:18 PM EST

I use ADSL and I don't think I'd consider flipping to cable (OK maybe I'm a little biased as I work for a Telco). I have never had a problem with it, it's always up, let me repeat that, no problems ever (I've had it for a year). My download speed is 2.5 mbps - which is pretty darned quick, and my upload speed is ~600kbps. Note that this is limited by the Telco, they offer different packages, I think the highest one offers a 7.5mbps download. Cost factor is what comes into play - I pay $35CDN per month, no second line, it is actually cheaper than my dial-up connection was (phone-line + monthly cost). The only issue we have run into is demand. Some communities have waiting lists of 150 people, we can't get the hardware quick enough...

[ Parent ]
Oh to be given the chance to choose... (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by Dacta on Tue May 02, 2000 at 09:58:29 PM EST

Here (Australia), it's 56K dialup, or ISDN for something stupid like $400 a month plus download charges.

I'm seriously considering Satellite, and I live in a major city. Even that's going to be a few thousand a year, and you have to pay for a normal connection as well, anyway.

Of course, Satellite is no good for a webserver, either.

Americans think people want to move to the 'States for the freedom or something. Don't be silly... it's the bandwidth!

Cable Modem Ads Irritate ExciteAtHome | 36 comments (36 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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