UPDATE 03/01/2010: New Solution: if U-Verse is available to you, just upgrade to that! Got switched over this weekend and it’s awesome.
Background: over the years, I have had a fluctuating issue with a weak connection from my ADSL modem to AT&T’s CO (central office) in my area. This resulted in continual errors on my modem and at times the service would just drop off and then come back up. My speed would change often and was never consistent.
So recently, my DSL connection totally dropped for four days. Apparently an AT&T tech messed with things a little too much and knocked out my DSL service attempting to “fix” someone else’s phone line that another tech had messed up (a sort of domino effect). Of course this all happened right before the Fourth of July holiday weekend and so another tech finally came out the Monday after. He got me back online, but the connection speed was the most degraded it has ever been. But he made the decision to switch me over to a “digital line” (update – AT&T tech terminology, not mine, that is simply what he told me – A.K.A. an RT line, digital port, whatever) to get me a much more solid connection.
Well today my line was finally switched over to the digital line after getting along with a shoddy, limping connection to the CO for a couple of weeks. The switch took about 1 second. And the results are quite stunning as far as stability is concerned. Whereas before, my average max download speed was around 2500 to 3000 Kbps, now the sustained max download rate is 8128 Kbps. In addition, whereas before I was getting millions of connection-related errors, now I literally have zero. It would have been nice 5-6 years ago if at least one of the dozens of tech’s I talked with could have recommended this switch to make it stable, but oh well. So goes technology.
So if you are on AT&T DSL (a non-uverse customer with regular old DSL) and you have a flaky connection that drops on and off, you might call and see if they can switch you over to a digital line. I didn’t even know that was available until this tech said something. As a result of this switch, you can then upgrade your DSL connection bandwidth to the maximum connection speed offered at present: 6 Mbps down / 768 Kbps up. This is very good to know if you are beating your head against a wall trying to get them to fix the reliability of your connection.