Comcast Extreme 105 - 105mbps

Mar 03, 2011

If you haven’t heard, Comcast is offering 105Mbps download speeds in select areas of the US. Lucky for me, Washington, D.C. is one of those areas! Right when I heard about it through Engadget I called and unfortunately I had to wait two weeks before it was actually available to me. This is such an unreal speed that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out. It’s expensive, but not THAT expensive. I got different price quotes each time I called, but the last person ended up telling me that it would be an extra $20 a month. More than happy to pay that for this unheard of speed.

I called on a Sunday, they upgraded my service over the phone and said it should be working. I couldn’t get the internet speed test any higher than 60mbps even after a one hour tech support call. Comcast sent somebody out on Tuesday and it turned out that my Arris DOCSIS 3.0 modem was the problem. The tech replaced it with a ubee modem which he said are brand new to Comcast (pictured below).

Once we got the modem hooked up we hard wired directly to the modem with a cat5e chord and saw the following:

Speed test screenshot

108.13 Mbps down and 10.23 Mbps up. I’d say that’s pretty extreme! For once a company has correctly marketed the product they are selling! So how does that compare to other results from the speed test website? Look below:

As you can see, there is just no comparison. Next I wanted to see if I my wireless router would work at this speed. I have the Netgear N600 (wndr3700) which says it can transfer up to 300 mbps. I’m not going to pretend to understand all the technical issues with wireless internet, because frankly, I don’t know that I can. All of my tests maxed out at 60mbps or below over the 5gHz band. That’s a bid disappointing do I called the Netgear tech support. Netgear logged into my router settings remotely and changed a few settings. Still can’t get it over 60mbps. I understand that 60 is really fast, but I would be thrilled if I could get the full 100 or even 90 transfer rate with the router. When I hard wire into the router, the speed test download speed drops about 10mbps to about 90mbps consistently. I’ve looked into the wndr4000, but it seems like I need certain Intel hardware that my MacBook Pro just doesn’t have and I’m not interested in upgrading to achieve full speeds.

So what was I able to do with this new fast internet that I wasn’t able to do before? Nothing. Well, I take that back. I was able to get the internet speed test to go over 5.5mb/s down. That’s it. I did a number of downloads from different sites to see if I could get the download speed to peak, but, it turns out, none of the download servers could give me the files fast enough. The fastest I know of is Adobe’s CDN (which I think is Akamai). I downloaded Creative Suite Web Premium trial and the peak speed of the download (which was consistent the whole time I will say) was about 5.5mb/s. That’s super fast, but just under half what my connection can handle according to Google’s calculation.

Adobe CS download window screenshot

Then I thought, maybe a torrent will be faster (educational purposes only–I didn’t not actually use any of these torrents). I found a Harry Potter torrent that had 6,000 seeds, but that unfortunately only downloaded at a max of about 2.5mb/s. I asked a friend of mine and he pointed me to the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection. That downloaded at about 4.2mb/s. See below:

My last ditch effort was to try a Linux Ubuntu download. That only went up to 1.2mb/s:

Ubunto download window screenshot

Anyone know anything that I can test this speed demon internet on?