Home > Uncategorized > Upgrading Qwest DSL to 12 megabit ADSL2+

Upgrading Qwest DSL to 12 megabit ADSL2+

Last week I upgraded a Qwest Business DSL (err, High Speed Internet) line in downtown Portland from 7 meg to 12 meg as they are finally offering speeds above 7 meg (though 12 was the max).  It was a nominal additional monthly cost, and the upgrade was free (they even gave a month of free service).

Some interesting notes:

I had previously set my modem to do PPPoA (PPP over ATM) such that it could support full 1500 byte MTU’s (rather than the PPPoE that they have been recommending for quite some time in anticipation of the transition away from ATM).  When you do PPP over Ethernet there is an 8 byte PPP header that cuts your max payload down to 1492.  In order to take advantage of the new service however, I was forced to reconfigure to PPPoE (the 1492 byte max MTU is not a big deal and is pretty common in residential/small biz internet connections these days).  This in combination with the fact that they told me they had to make a wiring change in a “cross box” somewhere tells me that I got moved to a new DSLAM that is not fed by ATM anymore (thank goodness!).

I am particularly happy about this because I am guessing a lot of the ATM based DSLAM’s out there are likely fed by NxT-1 backhaul setups (i.e. a bunch of bonded T-1’s) which seriously limits the amount of aggregate bandwidth available to all the users.  If your providing 100 7 meg DSL lines and you only have 8 T-1’s for backhaul, that’s some serious oversubscription!  I would recommend that anyone out their with Qwest DSL do what you can (i.e. upgrade service tiers) to get hooked to one of the new DSLAM’s, even if you then later switch back to a lower speed service offering as the newer DSLAM’s are likely to be loaded nowhere near as heavily (i.e. they likely have 1 gig ethernet fiber backhaul connections).

Here is a speedtest from Qwest’s speedtest site:

Qwest DSL Speed Test After Upgrade to 12 Megabit

Anecdotally, it would seem that ping times are faster on the new DSL, though I can’t say I actually plugged into the network (wired rather than wireless) and ran the same test before making the change:

erosenbe-mac:~ erosenbe$ ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=56 time=38.520 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=38.820 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=39.110 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=56 time=39.335 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=56 time=39.174 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=56 time=39.575 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=56 time=38.693 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=56 time=38.723 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=56 time=39.066 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=9 ttl=56 time=39.227 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=10 ttl=56 time=39.550 ms
— ping statistics —
11 packets transmitted, 11 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 38.520/39.072/39.575/0.333 ms
erosenbe-mac:~ erosenbe$

It is worth noting that the service is indeed ADSL2+ (even though I think technically ADSL2 can go to 12 megabit under the right conditions).  The upload speed still is extremely pitiful.  I expect more in this day and age.  My FiOS can do 25 megabit down, and at least 10 megabit up (I think some plans include up to 25 megabit upload).

In this case, I am only a couple blocks from the downtown Portland Central office (PTLD69) so I am able to sync at the full line rate of 12 megabit:

Qwest DSL Modem Status Linked at 12 Megabit

So overall, it is cool that Qwest is finally offering over 7 megabit of service, but I am disappointed that 12 megabit is the top end they are offering in downtown.  I have heard they are offering 20 megabit elsewhere (perhaps out in the suburbs where they are competing with cable modems).  I have also heard that they are offering VDSL rather than ADSL2+ in some areas.  I can not think of any reason to not offer speeds in excess of 12 megabits downtown, other than to keep from competing with their metro ethernet over copper/fiber products and other high margin services.

Integra Telecom offers pretty high speed DSL offerings these days, and they are even now offering MPLS over DSL (or at least that is what I have heard).  Qwest needs to catch up.

It still is disappointing that Qwest can’t muster the cash to deploy a real broadband network (i.e. fiber to the home/business).  They are getting their butts kicked by Comcast in residential, and by all the CLEC’s in commercial.  Hopefully when they get taken over by CenturyLink things will change, but at the moment I am not holding my breath.  I am glad to be out in Verizon (err, Frontier) FiOS land.  We shall see how that transition goes as well…


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