Cable, DSL or Fiber?

We recently moved from a rented house to our newly constructed St. Joseph the Worker Monastery in Englewood, Florida. As I mentioned in a previous article, we had a hardwired network installed instead of going with a wireless one. And I had a cable connection put in expecting to be hooked up to broadband cable access. As can be expected with new construction, not everything was finished and bugs had to be worked out in the networking before it was finished. One Ethernet wall connection was no good and had to be replaced. The technician who came to test everything out mentioned how at times those from the other construction trades can damage Ethernet cabling by putting nails through it, cutting wires, etc. Finally, everything checked out. Now it was time to get the Internet broadband hooked up.

Now when I was still at our rented house, I called the cable company and they told me I could transfer the account to the new place. So I waited until we were living in our new place before calling to transfer the account. Now our new monastery is a couple of hundred feet set back from a six lane state road. Tall concrete electrical poles with high voltage lines are across the street. And a low voltage electrical pole sits about twenty feet from the building. So I thought we were all set for cable hookup. The cable company gave the go ahead after a field agent checked out the situation. However, when the technician showed up took hook up the Internet cable, he could find no place to hook the building cable up to. So he left telling me to call the cable company. I called to find to my surprise that cable was not available at our location. Apparently we were too far away from the nearest access point. Out of curiosity, I tried to locate the cable on the electrical poles around us. I found it a block away. It then turned down the street behind us. The nearest cable access point was about a football field away. Not far by my standards but apparently far enough for the cable company.

Now I have for some time been receiving DSL advertising from our local telephone company. I could get DSL for $19.95 for the first 3 months and then $29.95 thereafter. Now after all the taxes one can always tack on another $10 a month. It still was cheaper then the $56 I was paying for cable access. I hesitated to switch to DSL as the speed you receive is dependent on the condition of your telephone lines and distance from the telephone switching office. However, now I had very little choice but to try it. So I signed up for DSL. They sent me a DSL modem, DSL filters and a setup CD. The installation was up to me. The video on the CD walked me through the setup process and configured my computer. DSL filters had to be plugged in to every telephone jack that was being used, including those on additional telephone lines. They provided five filters. The telephone company said using more than five filters could degrade the DSL service. Fortunately, I had exactly five jacks being used. However, I ran into a little problem where our fire alarm panel connected to our telephone line – the jacks where bigger than standard telephone jacks. I didn’t bother with a filter. I still went ahead with the installation and everything went well. The modem told me I was connected at approximately 3MBps download speed and 800KBps upload speed. That sounded very fast to me. Almost too good to be true – and it was with uploading. I used the Speakeasy connection speed test at speakeasy.net/speedtest. I came up with a real world speed of 2.8MBps downloading and 512KBps uploading. Comparable to cable downloading and faster than it on the upload. I was happy to see such good results, even with the slower uploading speed, as the advertising always says "up to" such and such a speed meaning "don’t count on it."

A real problem started when I tried to get my network router to work with the DSL modem. I just couldn’t get on the Internet. This didn’t happen when I hooked up to the cable modem. I called the DSL tech support line. The tech support guy tried but failed. He said I needed to order a "stupider" DSL modem. Apparently the newer ones had much more features than being a simple gateway to the Internet. I was transferred to billing where I asked to exchange my smart modem for a "stupider one." They said the old ones where no longer available. Now I really felt stuck. So I tried tech support once again. Another dead end. Now I was concerned. No network! Fortunately, the DSL tech told me to try the router tech support line. I did and he knocked off the problem in no time – to my great relief.

Many people I talk to are not happy about cable prices. Usually the cable company in the area has a monopoly on your service. For now DSL seems to be a cheaper and comparable alternative, although this depends on your location and telephone wiring. An upcoming Internet connection possibility may put an end to cable and DSL as well – fiber optics. The telephone company Verizon already offers this with the Fios Internet Service for home or business at verizon.com. For $39.95 you can get up to 5MBps downloading and 2MBps uploading. Add another ten dollars and get up to 15MBps downloading. Fios can deliver up to 30MBps downloading and 5MBps uploading but you’ll pay for that higher speed – $199.95 per month. All packages include a 4-port wired home networking router.

With 60% of Americans now using Broadband companies see a lot is at stake with it – perhaps total control of the media coming into your home! A Verizon customer Trish Landers of Keller, Texas says that fiber optics is obviously the future of fast Internet speed. She says even further, "I see everything in the future (television, radio, movies, telecommunications) going through fiber optics." I tend to agree with her.

For this month’s web picks lets concentrate one day of the week Americans have a problem with – Sundays.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church at vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm we have the following paragraph reference numbers to Sunday:

As a day to cultivate family, cultural, social, and religious life, 2184, 2194

Celebration as the heart of the Church's life, 2177

Defense of Sunday as a holiday, 2187-88

As the fulfillment of the Sabbath, 2175-76

The Lord's Day as the first day of the week, 1166-67, 2174

Obligation to take part in the Sunday liturgy, 1389, 2042, 2180-83

As the principal day for the celebration of the Eucharist, 1193

Rest, 2185-86, 2193

Significance of the Lord's Day, 1163, 2190

Certainly you will want to read Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy) at vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/index.htm

Trouble with your seven through fourteen year old kids at Mass? Look into the Catholic Mass Worksheets, Gospel Coloring Activities, Word Search Puzzles and Crossword Puzzles by Catholic Moms at catholicmom.com/mass_worksheets.htm

The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology has put together Biblical Reflections on the Sunday Mass Readings at salvationhistory.com/library/scripture/churchandbible/homilyhelps/homilyhelps.cfm

"Sunday Mass and Holy Day of Obligation" by Colin B. Donovan, STL at ewtn.com/expert/answers/sunday_mass.htm looks at the Church’s Canon Law regarding Sunday.

Have a holy and restful Sunday!

 Brother John Raymond welcomes
e-mail at john@aplusconsultingnow.com.

He is author of Catholics on the Internet: 2000-2001,
Webmaster of www.monkofadoration.org