ISP Research

By | January 16, 2011

My son, Michael, and I generally get along pretty well. We share the household and keep out of each other’s way for the most part. Conflict does arise, though, when we’re both on the internet at the same time. He’ll be on YouTube and I’ll be trying to download some files. Or he’ll be gaming and get big lags when I start doing something. We’re both trying to get too much out of too skinny a connection.

I started looking for a higher bandwidth solution.

Right now, we have Verizon DSL high speed internet. I have a few frustrations with it. Mostly that the fastest bandwidth I can get locally is about 750 kb/s. I’d love to try FIOS, but it just isn’t available in my part of Laguna Beach. I had also had some frustrations as I’ve written about previously regarding obtaining DHCP addresses when the MAC address changes, but I think I’ve figured out how to work with that. And there’s the tech support issue.

One carrier I looked into was Cox Cable. They had reasonably attractive pricing with fast speeds. I was getting kind of excited about maybe switching to them. Fortunately, I did a quick google search to see what, if any, ports were blocked by Cox. You can see their officially stated policy on their web site. Most of what they block probably does no harm – a bunch of Microsoft Windows stuff that probably shouldn’t be seen outside of a LAN anyway. They block port 25 outgoing (except through their own SMTP server) to prevent spammers from using their network to spew that vile garbage out. Of great concern to me, though, were two ports they block that would directly impact me:

  • Port 25 inbound. That’s the port that mail services use to deliver email to you if you’re running a mail server. (It doesn’t affect you if you’re getting your email via a POP3 or IMAP server or something like Hotmail or Gmail.) Just if you want to get mail to your own domain name, like n0dy.com, and run a mail server yourself, which I do.
  • Port 80 inbound go now. That’s the port that is used for web servers. It basically means that you can’t run a web server on the Cox network. If I were on Cox, you couldn’t read this. I can get that they need to control people running high bandwidth business web servers from their network (and probably want to charge a business rate), but this is a hobby for me and I’m just having fun playing around, learning about the internet and all the cool stuff you can do with it.

So maybe Verizon isn’t so bad after all. I saw a couple of postings from my google search that indicated that they’re blocking port 80 inbound in some regions, but (knock on wood) not here. Or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What I need to find is reasonably priced upload/download bandwidth with minimal port blocking. I’d love to stay with Verizon if I could just get some more bandwidth. Until then, Michael and I will just have to be cautious about being bandwidth hogs in the house.

I gotta go.

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