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Surviving the Internet On Low Speed DSL 277

Posted by timothy
from the why-when-I-was-a-boy dept.
toygeek writes "Earlier this year my family and I moved out into the woods, where high speed is simply not available. We traded in high speed for high latency, clean air and peace and quiet. We've made it work, and can even watch Netflix and Hulu while I'm off in another room working from home full time. Read along as I share some tips about how we've made it work, and the compromises we've had to make." It can be done; low-end DSL from AT&T is also what I somehow muddled through with for most of the last 18 months; though the connection often failed and the followup support was terrible, it worked well enough most of the time, and sure beat a 56K modem.
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Surviving the Internet On Low Speed DSL

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  • How is this news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:37PM (#45716899)

    How is this news?

  • Re:You poor baby (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:46PM (#45717035)
    The fact he works from home certainly raises the stakes.

    Secondly, what may have been OK 5 years ago is not necessarily OK today. When tech is available, it tends to become implicitly mandatory. There are now many jobs where it would be frowned upon to not carry a cell phone, for example. Expectations rise - not just our own expectations but those placed upon us. I don't think this is recognized enough among people who always feel we should be "thankful" for everything.

  • Re:You poor baby (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:47PM (#45717037)

    The article is pretty lame, and appears to merely be ad click-bait.

    Up until 3 years ago I was limited to 768kbps down, and I made do without all the weird crap that is mentioned in the article (other than AdBlock). Even now -- I just checked -- I only get 3mbps down. I never really thought about this as being slow. I guess I don't stream enough videos simultaneously in resolutions higher than my monitor supports?

  • Even slower (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <> on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:47PM (#45717039) Homepage

    Until recently i had to make do with 0.5mbps dsl, and there are people who are still forced to use much slower links than this...
    This is one of the reasons i immensely dislike streaming services, i would much rather schedule a download to occur at night when i'm sleeping, streaming over 0.5mbit would be very poor quality but i can download a 720p movie or tv episode while i sleep.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <> on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:48PM (#45717053) Homepage

    Because of all those horrendous sites that force you to use the browser...
    I pine for the days when download links were direct links to files which you could cut+paste to wget.

  • by Nemosoft Unv. (16776) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:50PM (#45717071)
    I bet you are being more productive too. Having a low speed forces you consider what to do/watch/download, and simply not click on every thing that comes into your mind or pops up in your mailbox/twitter/facebook/whateversocialmediayouaresubscribedto. So less distraction. I also like your batch-download; rather than drumming your fingers for 15 minutes until that file is finally downloaded, you queue it up and continue with whatever you were doing.
  • Re:You poor baby (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:51PM (#45717079)

    Unless he's working from home in a media-intensive industry such as photography or video editing or something, I can't really fathom the need for a high speed connection. I work from home with a 3mbps link in a pretty media-heavy industry: video game development. I never really thought about download times as being excessive for all the content that I end up downloading.

    Granted I'm not moving content continually, and I do initiate large syncs at night so that I'll have them when I need them. The majority of my network needs are pretty minimal text-only transactions. (Chat, VCS transfers, web browsing for API docs.) But there's still plenty of bandwidth for voip calls too.

  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @04:01PM (#45717857) Homepage

    It's an interesting article, but I have trouble sympathizing with anyone "suffering" with low speed DSL. I lived and worked in Benin, West Africa for four years, with a DSL connection that was barely any faster than dial-up. I even got myself a dial up connection as well, to compare, and found them nearly equivalent during most of the day.

    Here's what I learned about it: []

    I can tell you one thing, the idea of downloading an ISO and burning it just disappears. Youtube is not an option (I don't even bother clicking on the links). And most crappy webpages stuffed to the gills with scripts, javascript, counters, ad displayers, and the like, are useless. I did a lot of websurfing with Lynx, which I'm surprised to say was a better experience for many sites, including sometimes this one.

    Good luck with your DSL, buddy. I hope you don't suffer too much during the drone wars.

  • Re:You poor baby (Score:2, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @05:38PM (#45719033) Homepage

    KVM switches need lots of bandwidth in our old office with a few T1's every time i would fire up the KVM switch app on my PC the networking guys would call right away

    That. Does. Not. Compute.

    Seriously, this suggests a totally messed up network setup (and/or the networking guys didn't what the hell they were doing.)

  • Re:You poor baby (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bengie (1121981) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @05:55PM (#45719235)
    Except in the case of bulk file downloads, the biggest difference past 10mb/s is the quality of the bandwidth, like latency. My work's 10gb fiber connection feels slower than my at home 50mb fiber connection because my residential line has lower latency to Chicago, where all the popular regional CDNs and datacenters are located.
  • AC first poster says,

    How is this news?

    Of course it's modded +5 Insightful....but I'll bite....

    This is news because at the extremes of any system's performance you can more easily see the faults of the system.

    Anyone who does internet work of any kind should try to do their daily browsing or w/e you do on a 56K modem at least once.

    When you see, even just browsing the mainstream 'internet-y' sites like,, and compare to slashdot or others...sometimes system design solutions **just click** because you see it in a different context

    TFA is like a pro football player doing cross training. It's relevant to us professionally and personally too if you have nostalgia for the early days of the internet.

  • Re:You poor baby (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <> on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:10AM (#45723155) Homepage

    When you buy food in your city store, you are accessing a myriad government incentive programs designed to ensure that every time you go to the store, it is stocked with food rather than empty because farmers went broke, or bridges washed out, or whatnot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @04:38AM (#45723759)

    Beleaguered warehouse slaves.

It is not every question that deserves an answer. -- Publilius Syrus