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In Canada, the DSL-based internet access is open, and any ISP can sub-lease the phone cables from Bell (for example) and provide Internet to customers. My current provider is an independent one, not the major Bell. However, I find it a bit slow. If I switch to Bell, can this improve my network connectivity, or am I still subject to the same limitations of ADSL.

Once I DSL-connect to the service point, do I go through the same network as if I use the service from Bell ?

Bell is charging 10$ more per month, and I don't know whether it is worth it or not. I want to ask before actually trying Bell. I'd rather stay with my current provider.

Thanks :-)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is no way to know without trying it.

Typically, ADSL is more dependent on the line length and quality of the wiring to the premises, but changing the ISP can make a difference, however only marginal.

Forget the marketing spiel (if it is the same in US as UK) where ISP's try and say about being faster than others - The actual connection speed that the modem connects to the ISP at is mainly dependent on the line length and quality of wiring but also technology used (ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+) and the annex of the connection (A, B, M etc.) (Scroll down to the grid of ADSL standards, I could not find direct link)

For example, a few years ago, the maximum speed of ADSL Max was 8Mb, the majority of people received 2-4Mb based on distance. A few ISP's took advantage of this and deployed ADSL2+ equipment capable of 24Mb and capping it to 8Mb meaning that nearly everyone they served could get a full 8Mb.

If the reseller is just a bulk reseller of Bell, it is unlikely that you will see any speed changes as it will be going through the same equipment. On the other hand, if they use different equipment such as their own DSLAMs, it is possible that they use either better equipment or different connection settings that can result in faster speeds.

Again, there is not really any way to know without actually biting the bullet and trying it.

(Also, remember, it is possible it can get worse by changing!)

On the other hand, if you are connecting at high speeds but are only pulling a fraction of the speed from actual websites then it is obviously just a contention / ISP issue and it will either resolve itself (less people on the line) or they will do something (purchase more bandwidth, better peering etc.). Moving ISP's can help in this situation.

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tried to make this a bit better. – William Hilsum Oct 22 '09 at 17:45
Lots of information, Wil. Thanks.(I'm in Canada also). – Xavierjazz Oct 23 '09 at 1:18

I'm in europe, so my answer may be incorrect for you, but what happens here is that although the line that you lease was laid out by one carrier, if you lease the same line from another carrier, then the communication passes through that carrier's central site.

This means that the line starts from your home on the same line, but then branches to the central site of the carrier you're using and continues on from there.

Two carriers may therefore use different hardware solutions for their central sites, with differing performance for you. You only see the same line starting from your home, but you can't know where it ends up.

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When I was in the ISP business, all our DSL customer circuits may have terminated at the Bell, but the traffic was sent back to us over bonded DS1s. Which we then turned around and routed back down our OC3 and DS3 to our upstream providers (over Bell provided circuits). :-)

It's all very complicated and depends very much on the ISP, providers, and even local regulations...

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