Converting To AT&T Uverse

A few weeks back, AT&T notified me that they are converting the entire neighborhood from DSL to Uverse. To make the switch, they are sending out a free modem. They told me the download speed is going to be the same, which is 6MB, which is not fast by any means, but it serves my purpose. I could always a higher speed, but it will cost more. The upload speed is 1MB, which is about 3 times faster than the 300kb than I have now. As part of the promotional, they will only charge me $20 per month for 1 year. After that, it goes back to the usual $43 per month. It think it’s a great deal.

AT&T To Cap DSL and Uverse Services

AT&T plans to impose limits on its DSL and Uverse services. It will cap 150GB on its DSL service and 250GB for Uverse. This is based on this morning’s article by Ars Technica. This affects me and family. We are big Netflix users.

AT&T says the move will affect “less than 2 percent” of customers and that it is necessary to address congestion in the network.

The cap structure is not currently set up to squeeze extra fees out of most users. Subscribers who exceed their monthly allowance will pay an additional $10 for each 50GB over the cap, but AT&T tells Ars that “customers will hear from us directly numerous times before they exceed usage and before they incur any additional fees.”

The company will notify users when they hit 65 percent, 90 percent, and 100 percent of their monthly caps, and will also provide historical usage reports and a monthly usage tracking tool. (AT&T says that an average DSL user on its network currently transfers 18GB each month.)

It gets better.

Claims of congestion are notoriously hard to validate from outside the network, but industry analyst Dave Burstein does extensive writing about and consulting for various ISPs; he fired off a tweet this morning saying that AT&T “lied” to the Wall Street Journal. “Congestion is minimal,” Burstein said.

Capping is now a reality.

It comes at no surprise that AT&T wants more money. It posted $20 billion of net income last year, although more than half came from its wireless service. AT&T will cap use of its DSL, Uverse and wireless services. Comcast already caps its customers at 250GB per month.

Competition squeezed.

What’s even more interesting is, AT&T’s Uverse IPTV and VOIP usage is exempted from the cap. That doesn’t look fair to me. Companies and services like Vonage, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, considered as over-the-top providers are getting squeezed by AT&T and Comcast.

Read the rest of the article.

Smoothwall Firewall

It’s official. I am now using Smoothwall firewall at home. I made the switch yesterday afternoon. Now, I feel fairly secure about my home network. I have several systems at home running different flavors of Linux plus a laptop on a wireless network. Prior to the switch, I had a Netgear wireless router that acted as a router, firewall and a wireless access point.

Continue reading