Segments: Slices From the Macintosh Life
DSL and the Mac Followup
Thanks to everyone who responded to my soapbox moment about DSL. As a followup, I want to share what I’ve learned since last month—both from Sprint and from you.
First of all, my cancellation order from Flashcom is still pending. I’m still deciding whether or not to open a dispute case with my credit card company.
As far as Sprint is concerned, it seems that hooking up a Macintosh to a line with DSL will get you online just fine. The free MacPoET software is required, though some might have trouble finding it. Never fear—one reader helped out a lot in this matter, and his comments will appear below.
A word of notice, though. Neither I nor the ATPM staff are giving our seal of approval that you can simply install MacPoET and run a Sprint DSL connection. It’s up to you to decide if you want to try it. I haven’t finished trying out the connection—I only managed to try out Netscape, no e-mail software or anything else—but I noticed a few quirks when I later tried to dial up with my modem. The modem connected, but Outlook Express wouldn’t function properly. At one point, there was also an error message about SetupAP—an extension used by IPNetMonitor. Simply disabling the two files MacPoET places in the Extensions Folder solved the problem. This could be a clue as to why Sprint says it is still testing Macs using DSL.
Just last week, I noticed on EarthLink’s Web site that it will offer its DSL service in central Florida. It gave the impression that it would be this year. Who knows; perhaps EarthLink has realized Sprint has DSL going in the Orlando area and will be helping it start supporting Macs.
Here are some short takes from your responses:
Brock Gunter-Smith: Having gone through a struggle recently to get ADSL access for my apartment-bound Mac, I put up a real quickie page addressing some of the questions people like you had/have. (Note from Lee: this Web site provided me with the most useful information for my testing. It includes links where you can obtain MacPoET. Even though his page explained things better than EarthLink did, some of Brock’s information is specific to his ISP. You’ll have to do your own research to see what adjustments need to be made to use MacPoET with your ISP, but if you use EarthLink, this page should help — specifically the section on configuring the TCP/IP control panel.)
John Petko: Bell Atlantic offers DSL without the need for PPPoE, they supply a product called MacPoET. You can also use Vicom’s new SurfDoubler, which is the better product.
Marc McCoy: We Mac users are used to an existence in a non-supported world. Right now I’m using my G3 with a non-Mac-supported LinkSys router, non-supported DSL modem, and poorly Mac supported ISP. Funny thing is everything works great.
Greg Alton: Despite the claims, it shouldn’t be at all hard to support Macs. We have Bell Atlantic DSL, and they have some minor ‘issues’ with supporting Macs—they don’t officially support OS 9. In reality though, most users will probably find that while they may have to be authenticated on a windows machine, DSL should work. (We use both at this house.) The funny thing was that when the DSL installation guy was here installing the service on a Windows box (now dead), he said that the majority of problem issues he faces are with Windows machines. And when they choke, they choke bad. He told me a few stories about customers losing ‘everything’—all their data—on Windows. He said he had yet to see a significant problem on Macs, and that 95% of the time he was done in under twenty minutes (compared to close to an hour with PCs). Post Script: Bell Atlantic’s DSL does work with OS 9, but requires an update that they apparently haven’t put on CD yet. Grabbed it off the Web.
Chris Dunleavy: I have (after lots of contortions) a (great!) DSL connection to my Power Mac through Frontier Communications in New York. The problem is not with TCP/IP settings (same as PC), but with how the Mac OS handles subnet addressing...which is different than a PC with Windows. Cisco DSL routers out-of-the-box, for example, need to be patched to deal with this issue (or you can patch at the head end). I can easily imagine how many DSL providers aren’t going to want to deal with this!
E. Hunt Augustus: I had the same experience with Flashcom but they finally installed the service two days ago (after a ten-week wait), and it works beautifully. In fact, I got the multisurfer package and have a Web server running in my home/office in addition to AirPort-enabled surfing throughout my house and backyard. Getting set up was incrediably frustrating, but it was worth the wait!
Robert Herron: DSL service for the Mac has been available in western Canada for two years. I can’t believe the US telcos are so technologically backward. You would have to intentionally set out to only support PCs to end up not supporting Macs (or other platforms). Either that or you use inferior MS “educated” technical people who only learn how to write software for MS products then call themselves computer technicians/software developers. The only thing they have is a crappy piece of paper saying “Microsoft certified.”
Lastly, an EarthLink DSL tech support representative pointed me to www.computerdown.com for information about MacPoET and DSL. On that page is a link to instructions similar to Brock Gunter-Smith’s page, above, only this one is specific to EarthLink’s network.
Also in This Series
- About My Particular Macintoshes · May 2012
- From the Darkest Hour · May 2012
- Shrinking Into an Expanding World · May 2012
- Growing Up With Apple · May 2012
- Recollections of ATPM by the Plucky Comic Relief · May 2012
- Making the Leap · March 2012
- Digital > Analog > Digital · February 2012
- An Achievable Dream · February 2012
- Smart Move? · February 2012
- Complete Archive
Reader Comments (5)
Dave, Columbus OH.
I called Sprint to inform them that unless they were planning to increase the bandwidth on the $50/month service, they were likely to lose me as a customer. Somehow, I had been connected to a pretty down-to-earth phone representative who couldn't do anything to raise the DSL speeds, but was sympathetic to what I was talking about. She didn't blame me and even commented that the Sprint technical execs are well aware that their competition offers vastly better speeds for about the same price. "They don't care," she said. FastConnect isn't an important source of Sprint's revenue.
Needless to say, 2 months later (I had to complete 1 year of service in order to have received the free DSL modem) I did not renew my contract. (Anyone want to buy an Alcatel Speed Touch Home DSL modem REALLY REALLY cheap?)
My first month or two (or three?) of Roadrunner service wasn't without woes, though. Speeds were rarely better than the DSL and often worse. Time Warner tried to fix it by replacing the cable modem, but that only marginally improved it. After MANY phone calls, I finally convinced them to check out what I suspected ... that my area's node was pretty saturated. I don't blame them for not wanting to admit that nodes get saturated, but I expect them to do something about it when there is a problem. Well, 2-3 months after I got on Roadrunner, it suddenly occurred to me one evening that my speeds (during prime time) were pretty nice. It was as if someone had flipped a switch!
So, all's well that ends well, I suppose.
Add A Comment