Home Internet Use! I need advice for what to choose.
April 22, 2010 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Background Info: I'm going to move into a house with 5 adults = 5 computers. No gaming or downloading large video files. But we would all use the computer for browsing the web, email, chatting and a couple of us may be streaming video to watch Lost or some other TV show.

Here is my dilemma. I get an employee discount for downstream speeds of 6Mbps. While certainly not ideal, is this good ENOUGH for all five people without feeling like I'm still on dial up speeds? Monthly cost: $10/month with employee discount. It's the fastest DSL speed available.
Or is it better to go with Time Warner Cable and pay $40/month at 10Mbps OR $50/month at 15Mbps.

Is the cost difference worth the extra $30-40/month? Please feel free to share your thoughts/personal experiences. Any insight would be helpful.

Second Question:
Just want to confirm if THIS wireless router will work for both DSL and Time warner cable.

Can it handle 5 computers with ease? If not, what should I get? I own the above already for DSL and don't want to purchase another one if I switch to Time Warner Cable.

posted by Wanderer7 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had 5 people on a connection around 5-6mbps with no problem. Browsing the internet and checking email takes far less bandwidth than most people realize. And it won't be terribly often that everyone will be watching video at once.

The one thing to be careful of is torrenting. If any of the 5 decide to torrent something, it's basically going to lock everyone out of the internet. I've had to set up torrenting schedules with roommates in the past - "Okay, I'll run it from 8AM to 4PM until you get home from work, and then you can run yours from midnight to 6AM when I wake up."

Bittorrent is an awesome protocol, don't get me wrong, but it's not the most bandwidth-efficient.

My advice would be to buy the cheaper connection. If you start getting complaints or noticing problems, then pony up the extra $40/month.
posted by ErikaB at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2010

And if you do spring for the more expensive connection, splitting $40 5 ways wouldn't be bad.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:50 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

6 Mpbs should be plenty fast for several people to share.

Bittorrent IS bandwidth-efficient. It's purposely designed so that you can saturate your connection if there are enough peers.
posted by kenliu at 6:09 PM on April 22, 2010

Not for nothing, but most torrent clients will let you cap up/down speeds, and even schedule high-capped and low-capped times of day.
posted by adamrice at 6:38 PM on April 22, 2010

Yeah, if someone discovers bittorrent (ugh, inefficient) or someone discoveres Usenet... everyone else will suffer unless your ISP has really great compartmentalisation.

I have super cable (and paying for it) - but unless I throttle my usenet, http can suck (just the initial connecting to a site - advertising sites are a huge problem, manifested in sites that load up the ad sites first - although existing/new streaming works well). Torrents screw my usenet AND my http AND my streaming.

Talk to your housemates and ask them what they ask out of the house's internet connection. If everyone is a casual user, it shouldn't be a problem.

Do you have a bandwidth cap (miserable language - rather, does your ISP have a download limit per month), and do they charge ridiculous fees for over-cap useage? If so, this might be a bigger point than shared speeds.
posted by porpoise at 7:30 PM on April 22, 2010

Make sure your ISP allows five devices on one connection. Mine only allows four, so when we get two desktops, two laptops and an iPhone something stops working.
posted by shopefowler at 7:55 PM on April 22, 2010

Get a router that has QOS (or get a router that can run DD-WRT and put that on it).
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:37 PM on April 22, 2010

Why not get an aggregating modem, and use both at the same time? Your $10 deal is almost free, so take advantage of it. You'd also be more protected from outages, which can be a real pain if you rely on VOIP.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:55 PM on April 22, 2010

I'd go with the DSL. Time Warner might have monthly caps in your area. Check into that. And I wouldn't buy something with a built in DSL modem. Your ISP should provide that. Just get a wireless router. Netgear makes several.
posted by drstein at 1:05 PM on April 26, 2010

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