When I moved to a Boston suburb a few months ago, the first thing I did was looking for an Internet provider because I didn’t want to have any interruption in our work. I also used a T-Mobile’s hotspot at that time but it was too costly, especially when I watch movies or upload Youtube videos. I was interested in Verizon Fios because I had great experience with fiber-optic connection earlier, unfortunately, the service is not available in my area.
After some research, I found out that Comcast’s Xfinity is the best option and I decided to give it a try. The plans start from $39 per month with free self-installation kit. I opted for the Performance Pro Internet which costs $49/month for the first year and it comes with the download speed of up to 200Mbps. The cost could come down to $39/month when you opt for Paperless Bill and Automatic Payments. There was not a mention of the upload speed on this page.
After starting the service, I measured the download and upload speeds and the results were quite shocking. While the download speed is good at over 200Mbps, the upload speed is terribly slow at around 5Mbps. At first, I thought that could be some issues with my connection but unfortunately, that’s the upstream bandwidth I was allocated. This might be ok with most average consumers but nowadays, many of us are using cloud storage, we back up our photos and videos to Google Photos or Apple iCloud everyday, and we upload content to social media or Youtube; That means the upload speed is unacceptable because uploading a 500MB videos could take more than 10 minutes. Since moving to Xfinity, I no longer upload 4K videos because it just takes too long.
Update: Starting March 2022, Xfinity has increased the download speed by 50% and doubled upload speed for the Performance Pro plan. So now I get the download speed of 300Mbps and upload speed of 20Mbps.
Even when you switch to more expensive plans like Blast or Gigabit, the upload speeds are just 10Mbps and 35Mbps respectively. However, you will have to pay $59.99/month or $79.99/month. The question is when we will be upgraded to a symmetrical connection with the upload speed on par with the download speed.
At the moment, Xfinity’s network is using the DOCSIS 3.1 standard that supports 10 Gbit/s downstream and 2 Gbit/s upstream. Since early 2017, Comcast had plans to deploy symmetrical broadband speeds by 2019 and it requires upgrading the current DOCSIS 3.1 with full duplex technology so that we achieve equal upstream and downstream throughput. DOCSIS duplex has been their focus for a few years but for some reasons, it still hasn’t rolled out yet. It is expected that the adoption will take at least 3 more years, that means we will have to live with slow upload speed until 2024 or longer.
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