Disclaimer: I’m not an IT expert. With that said, I noticed while managing my downloads over Usenet that my speeds were exceeding the cap on my Verizon DSL line. My cap is 3.0 megabits per second, butI usually get 2.8 mbps steadily. However, when I speed limited my downloads using NewsBin Pro, and concurrently lifting the limit after five seconds or so, the speed would skyrocket. At its peak, I spiked up to 5.0 mbps and maintained that speed for a period of roughly three seconds.

This lead me to believe that I had discovered that I had a soft cap: that Verizon was merely speed limiting me, whereas my DSL line could actually handle higher speeds. This prompted me to check on Verizon’s website. Apparently, in the many years that I have been using a 3.0 mbps ADSL line, they had come up with an even higher speed: 7.0 mbps. That was more than double my speed.

So naturally I was very excited. It was only $10 more a month to double my downstream. I tried to use the “Check Availability” online tool, but apparently it didn’t work and I had to call. About a week later, I finally got around to calling and tried to order the higher speed. Unfortunately, my line didn’t qualify for such an upgrade.I was kind of sore about it, considering that I had sudden hopes that I would be able to download an entire 720p film in about two hours as opposed to the 4.5 hours it would normally take. The prospect of viewing YouTube in HD without worrying about the buffer having to be filled halfway through was taken away from me. And then I started wondering how it was possible that my speeds could reach 5.0 mbps if my line wasn’t capable of being upgraded to 7.0 mbps. Theoretically, I could click speed limit in NewsBin Pro, let it limit down to around 1.3 mbps for three seconds, release the limit, and see my download speed skyrocket steadily up to 5.0 mbps, with speeds breaking my usual steady 2.8 mbps limit and rising for about ten to fifteen seconds.Anyway, that’s clearly not a realistic approach to “overclock” my DSL connection. I don’t know if Verizon is dissuading customers from using the faster DSL because it might cannibalize their FiOS sales. In other news, Verizon DSL has been giving me intermittent problems. About two weeks ago, I had issues with PPPoe not being able to obtain an IP address, leaving me without Internet access for up to 6 hours on the worst day. I called the support line and there was no pre-recorded message about any outages in New York City. I don’t know what causes those little outages, but it sure was annoying.

In the meantime, I’m just waiting for FiOS. According to the lady who told me I couldn’t upgrade to 7.0 mbps, FiOS was due to roll out by the end of the summer. I’m pretty sure it’s more expensive than that DSL upgrade, but hey, I’ll pay for the speed nonetheless.