Highstream Internet Access

Ron Eggers

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 6, 2001
I like to have 2 low-priced ISPs so that I can be on-line at work while my family is on-line at home.

I am currently trying out a dial-up internet sevice provider called Highstream. Month-to-month access is $8.95/month plus an one-time $5.95 set-up fee. Rates are lower for 6,12 or 24 months of service prepaid. They have a two-week free trial for the $8.95 service and a 30-day trial for the prepaid plans.

What most impresses me (besides the low cost) is the number of local access numbers. They claim to have the largest network in the country. I sometimes travel with my notebook and Highstream has local access numbers, which can easily be found and changed at the time of log-in, for an amazing number of large and small U.S. communities (including Clayton, NC.) One of my current providers makes you call their customer service line to change the access numbers while you're traveling.

There are no ad banners, you get 4 email addresses (but no web-hosting space) and sign-up was very quick and easy.

Has anyone out there had experience with Highstream, positive or negative? I'll let you know what I think after I've used it a while.
BTW, the other cheap ISP I use is Netzero Platinum at $9.95/month. It also travels well, but doesn't have access numbers in many of the small towns I travel to.
Thanks for the tip, Ron! I'd like to un-ass MSN myself.
So far, log-on has been very quick. The real test will be connecting at work during peak times. You are limited to single connection sessions of up to 5 hours and total daily connect times of 10 hours.

If you typically exceed those limits, you really need broadband access and professional help.

This would probably be worth considering for someone who uses broadband at home and wants a back-up dial-up service at work, or vice-versa.

[ 02-20-2003, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: Ron_Eggers ]

I don't see the benefit in any "high speed" dial-up service for internet use. Please explain how this service is better than any other using a 56K modem and dial-up on phone lines.

Here in Salem, we are still on analog lines, (fiber optic WHAT???), and there is where the bottleneck happens. The speed of any dial-up modem can only perform as fast as the phone lines can carry the signal to and from. On the old copper lines that is about as fast as smoke signals in fog!

(Actually, I once owned a computer that uploaded via smoke signal, but that is another story.)

Framerguy, I never called it a high-speed dialup. That's an oxymoron. I'm connecting at about 52000 bps, which is about as good as you're going to get from a modem. The main advantage of this service appears to be that it is CHEAP - like me - and has local access numbers in a lot of places normally not serviced by national plans.

I don't think they have local access numbers in Salem. I checked.

(Maybe you got confused 'cause the name of the service is Highstream. That's the brand name, like Earthlink or AOL.)

[ 02-20-2003, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: Ron_Eggers ]
Actually, Ron_, it wasn't so much confusion as it was a particularly slow internet day. The relay guy took a coffee break half way through the download of your post and I didn't get the rest of it for about 20 or so minutes. (He's got a "hold" button that he pushes when he wants to take a nap or watch the snow melt).

I didn't expect that they would have any local access here in Salem, Heck, WE don't have local access here in Salem! I have to talk nice to Maude, our local operator, just to speak to Mark once in a while. She gets so upset when she has to use that plug in the "over 2 miles" socket!!

(I guess it doesn't help much that I crank the phone crank right in the middle of her greeting either!)

So far, I'm dazzled by the ease and speed of connection. My second phone line at the shop is very marginal. Other providers I've tried and used would scroll through 3 or 4 local access numbers and take about 5 minutes to come back with a meesage like, "Unable to connect with any of the available access numbers. Please try again later - like 2 a.m."
I did a Google search for Highstream. To say that reviews are mixed would be an understatement. It seems people either love it or hate it. Maybe it depends on where you're dialing from.

I have two weeks to decide, but I don't think I'd commit to long-term service just to save another buck-a-month.
Ron, et al. I'm currently paying $39.95 a month for High speed cable. I know that it is $30.00 more a month than your bargain. But if it saves me a couple of minutes a day in sign-on time PLUS alot of time in the speed that it accesses information (100 times faster than dial up). **** , they're practically paying me to use the service.

Regarding the 100x faster speed. I know It is immeasurable in most instances but if your dial up takes 10 seconds, mine has been open for 9.9 seconds. For me, there's no other way. Try it, you'll like it.
Curly, if I ever decide to spring for Roadrunner at home - and I expect I will - I'll still need dial-up for the shop. No way I'm installing Road Runner Business service there.
Watch some of the high speed services. What Tom said about the phone lines is so very true. My Mother is in an area where the phone calls are handled by smoke signals. When she bought her new Dell computer, she couldn't log onto the internet. Dell finally convinced her that the problem was that her dial-up service was not fast enough to keep up with her computer, which sort of made since. I think. So, on their recommendation, she got DSL service. Now, they didn't change her phone lines. They just changed her to DSL service. I'm sitting here with 56k dial-up, and slightly newer phone lines. (Ours uses two cans and a string.) My computer has about 2/3 of the speed of hers. I have much faster, better internet service than she does, and it has to be because of the difference in the phone lines. With her ISP, DSL, and computer, she should have lightening fast internet speed. Not in this lifetime. You'd better pack a lunch if you want to get on the internet on her computer. All she ever does, is to read her email, and surf ebay. She can't really do anything else, because it just takes too long. And for this she pays $50/month!

[ 02-20-2003, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: fttom ]
Data transmission was all I did for 30 yrs at BellSouth, so I know a lot more about that than I do about framing.
There IS such a thing as fiber run directly to your house. It's called Fiber In The Loop, or we just called it FITL, like fiddle.
But....it's unavailable most places, so you get good old copper pairs, or, cable pairs. Fact is, your service comes FITL, wireless or on pairs. That's it. So for fone service, if you ain't got one of the first two, you got copper pairs... Some homes are served directly from a central office, and some have various equipment in the C.O and the field, but you still end up with copper, like me.
Now, DSL will work on copper pairs, BUT, you have to be a mile from the nearest office or fiber 'hut', like you see by the road, with telephone men all on break.... Depending on the company, though, they may have crappy DSL equipment in the office/field, the router could be bad, the modem could be bad, OR, you could be on, listen carefully, an un-loaded cable pair!!! :eek:
Neither analog nor digital data will run without errors, butr mostly won't run at all on a loaded pair. Report it to the repair service, Susan, and mention unloaded pairs. Just tell them an ol' Fone Man told you. That used to be a very prevalent(sp?) problem. (Ol' Fone man and unloaded pairs.
If you can't get FITL, get Roadrunner if your cable TV company offers it. It's 75 ohm coax all the way, and it's about 10,000 times better'n copper. I'd get it in an instant if I could afford it. Installation, including one jack on the inside, if free, and Time Warner is 'round 44 bucks/mo here.
And, last but not least: Telephone men are like doctors. 1/2 of them graduated in the bottom half of their class!! Which is no excuse, but, instead, is just life. When I was an ET, if I had a good man in the field, I could make your data haul @ss! Mostly, though we worked with fiber.

(I've edited this 5 times!! Whatever happened to spell check? And, why can't I type? After this time, you're on your own....))

[ 02-20-2003, 10:11 PM: Message edited by: CharlesLowry. ]
Ron, sorry I Frankenthreaded your thread. There are so many misconceptions about fone service. Thought I could help some souls...

Originally posted by Ron_Eggers:
So far, log-on has been very quick. The real test will be connecting at work during peak times. You are limited to single connection sessions of up to 5 hours and total daily connect times of 10 hours.
Still sounds like a good deal for the money.
off topic - Is that really what you look like, Charles Lowrey? I can never, ever remember what people look like, except Ron of course. We have his picture at work.
Thanks, Charles. I'll tell Mother. Her connection absolutely drives her nuts, and all she's getting is a run around. The fone co. tells her that it's a computer problem, and the computer people tell her that it's a phone problem. I'll tell her that an "ol' fone man" told me that it is definately a fone problem, and they should get their butts out there and fix it! Thanks!
Good luck, fttom! Bet that's the trouble!

Purp, here's what I really look like:

And you had no idea I was so good-lookin'.....
Thank you. I always picture you older, and chubbier.

Now we will have your picture and Ron's at work. We got Ron out of a magazine. Sorry I have such a bad memory for pictures. If I get a phone number, I can remember that forever.

I'll gather up pictures one by one. I should have printed everybody when we did the Grumble picture thing.
Originally posted by PurplePerson:
Thank you. I always picture you older, and chubbier.

Purp, he IS older and chubbier!! That photo was taken in front of a trick mirror at an amusement park in '97 when T and I were on a stakeout looking for terrorists dressed as clowns who were trying to take control of the funhouse.

It was a terrible skirmish. I'll let T tell you about it. I still can't talk about it without choking up. (That poor amusement park clown got caught in the cross fire and ............ and ......... Oh, I can't go on!!)

Omar, overcome with flashbacks
Highstream update:

This dial-up is blazingly fast to get on line compared to any other dial-up I've used. (AOL, Earthlink/Mindspring, Netzeo, Surfbest and a couple of others I've forgotten about.) That's really fortunate, because today it's also pretty quick about dumping you off line for no apparent reason.

That's not a huge problem on TG because you can get back on so quickly (though the disclaimer says you have to wait one minute before logging back on.) It's a bigger problem if you're in the middle of downloading a file or if you're talking on one of the messenger services.

I had no trouble yesterday, so I'll give it the full two weeks. I also want to check my settings to make sure they're not set to go off-line if transmission rates go below 80% or something like that.
Greetings Ron & other fellow Grumblers-
I have to second Curly's comment regarding cable
modem - We pay 29.95 month - which is slightly more than the 22.90 we were paying for dial-up (9.95 for ISP & 12.95 for 2nd line) But the best benefit is that it is on 24/7 - If I get interupted while on-line, I can come back later & still be where I left it, I don't get "kicked off"
With networking being so simple to install, we are considering a second desktop unit in the store just to connect to print suppliers for customer's to look-up any print they might be looking for.
Looks like the Highstream honeymoon is over. It's not going to last two weeks.

The first couple of days were great. Then we hit the weekend. I don't know if Highstream takes weekends off or what, but we've been getting kicked off every 2-3 minutes yesterday and today. I'm going to cancel it and check further.

I'm not going to debate the merits of cable internet service. I've never met anyone who's had it and regretted it or would ever consider going back to dial-up. None-the-less, I would still want an inexpensive, portable dial-up service for traveling and for access in the shop (where I really could not justify broadband.)
where I really could not justify broadband
Just who is the boss at your shop that you would have to justify it to. If you want something bad enough then do it.

Just add 50 cents to every frame (unless you do as many frames as I do, then you would have to add more.) and that should cover the cost.

Think of all the time and agrivation that it will save you!
Mark, if I had broadband internet at the shop, I wouldn't be making any frames to add 50 cents to.

I know you mean well, but that's like suggesting to someone who has a problem with beer that they switch to rum instead. :D
I'll bet the only reason that you take breaks from the internet is because you get kicked off-line.

Your visits to the grumle would be much quicker. Giving you more time for framing.

And when it's quiting time you can concentrate on that rum. ;) (I'll stick to beer)
Originally posted by Ron_Eggers:
Mark, if I had broadband internet at the shop, I wouldn't be making any frames to add 50 cents to.

I know you mean well, but that's like suggesting to someone who has a problem with beer that they switch to rum instead. :D
Broadband is the way to go. No ifs, ands or buts.
Surely you can exercise some discipline. You'll get everything done in 1/3 the time and forget about being booted off. Doesn't happen. I'm with Mark; go for it!
Broadband, (more than 1.544Mbps) is definitely the way to go. DSL's fine, but cable, such as RoadRunner can be enormously faster than DSL. AND, it doesn't tie up your fone lines.....of course, like everything else, it has its drawbacks. As traffic increases, speed decreases, but never below 1.544Mbps, or so I've been told.

Now, here's a link to what Ron needs. It's ok, Ron. Check it out: All The Speed You Need

Get this, and a straight fiber run from the CO to your house, add a router, and Ethernet etween your computers, and you'll be the fastest thing on the G!!! When reading the specs, remember, Ethernet can be as fast as 100Mbps

[ 02-25-2003, 09:34 PM: Message edited by: CharlesLowry. ]