Under peak traffic DSL is as fast as their pipe to the net allows. Cable should be broken out such that the customers on a line together at peak still run efficiently; at some point the cable traffic is put back together and needs a good pipe to the net also.
The chokepoint is ALWAYS in the last mile in the US. Cable has a chokepoint that DSL does not, in that you have to share a physical cable with everyone else in your neighborhood, and that chokepoint limits the total throughput that your neighborhood can acheive. Cable cannot be broken out so that neighbors on a line together at peak still run at maximum throughput. It's not physically possible, unless the cable company rolls out a better physical infrastructure (which some are doing).
There is no such chokepoint in DSL, since everyone has dedicated copper to the DSLAM or CO.
You might be getting confused with the inadequacies of service providers, but DSL is an inherently better system for dedicated bandwidth applications.
DSL can be configured to do that, I guess, but I have no idea why you would want to. The VAST majority of DSL modems are always-on.
Cable has much the same negotiation system as DSL, so that's not really accurate either.
Satellite is SLOW. Very very slow. And very unreliable, relatively speaking. Satellite might be able to touch cable speeds, but it will cost you around 5-10k an hour to get those sorts of speeds. Realistically, satellite internet will get you about 256-512k, and it's going to be latent as hell, since, in a two way system, every one of your requests has to travel to space and back to earth, and then every reply has to travel the same path. Round trip latency can be in the seconds, as opposed to milliseconds. It's a completely last-ditch method of connecting to the internet.
There is also a mathematical limit to how fast you can transfer data over a satellite owing to it's very high latency, at least over TCP/IP connections.
The cable companies can break out a neighborhood if they want. If they want me on one connection and my neighbor on another they most certainly can. They have to do it with physical connections so it costs money.
In the same way DSL providers aren't going to make their net pipe handle every single DSL customer running at the promised speed.
I'm not getting confused other than why I'm having a dumb argument with you. Unless my undergrad and graduate networking classes were all made up; in that case ISU owes me some money and I am confused.
My best advice would be order both and see which works best in your house. Just don't do what I did and keep both.
that's why cable has a bottleneck that DSL does not. DSL has a dedicated connection between the CPE and the DSLAM or CO. There is no sharing of that last mile connectivity.
If both the cable company and the phone company have 100mbit pipes to the internet, with the same number of customers using the same amount of bandwidth, you'll have similar performance, unless those cable customers all live in the same neighborhood, and then they will all be limited to 43mbit/s aggregate down.
I have had Qwest DSL in 4 diff locations for the last 5 yrs. Been down a total of 4 days in 5 years. Fast enough for most people. I can't complain and my rates are low and never go up.
Super geeks care about super-fast speeds and latency. All I care about is internet browsing/the occasional download/ email...
I can even VPN/Citrix/VNC/Remote desktop into work and it is just like I am at my desk downtown.
I am happy with qwest.. Mostly the cost. I pay about half as much as I used to for Mediacom.
I do notice a speed difference every once in a while... but it isn't worth 25-35 dollars a month.