From Sudo Room
Revision as of 12:23, 18 September 2015 by Peteforsyth (talk | contribs) (update lead section; remove chart that is 3 years out of date and arbitrary for any current purpose)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

As of (??? -- this text was added in 2012) Sudo Room has a dedicated paired fusion line from Upon installation our reported speeds (with dual Annex M) were 26.5/3.7. Our Sonic (we used to have, but switched) modem is in bridged mode, and the wifi network "sudoroom" is served by an Asus RT-N10+ running OpenWRT compiled from the latest git trunk. The router is named torta - admin access is by ssh & https. Contact Yardena for the key or password.

This page contains a breakdown of Internet service options in Oakland and surrounding areas. See also mesh.

Internet options for Oakland residents

Relevant email thread starting Nov. 23, 2013, with some good info: [1]


  • DSL is a digital Internet signal transmitted over an ordinary phone line. It's typically faster than dialup, and it uses the line in a way that allows simultaneous use of the phone.
  • The phone lines in Oakland are owned by AT&T, and you can buy DSL service (called "UVerse") through AT&T.
  • Other Internet Service Providers also sell DSL service over those same lines; you can get this service without any direct business relationship with AT&T.
  • is one such service. DSL plus phone costs a little under $50/month (including taxes, equipment rental, etc.)
  • provides good customer service and reliable connectivity (in my experience); $33/mth for 5-6 mbps
  • The quality and length of the phone line between your house and the telephone exchange's central office will dramatically affect the speed you can expect. In parts of West Oakland (and elsewhere?) the lines are very poor. On poor lines, you might get speeds like 3 MBit downstream, and 1 MBit upstream -- enough for a video stream like Netflix or a video call like Skype, but not enough to do multiple high-bandwidth tasks at the same time.
  • It is possible with some DSL providers (at least with Sonic) to adjust the balance between upstream and downstream speeds. See Sonic's Annex M FAQ for details. For a data point: my connection over crappy copper is 4 Mbps down/1Mbps up (under the default Annex A), and when tested with Annex M it was 1.4 Mbps down/1.6 Mbps up.


  • Comcast is the cable TV provider for (all of?) Oakland. You can get Internet service through their lines. There are several speed categories; all are faster than DSL. Comcast offers many different packages; typically you will have to get cable TV and/or phone service along with your Internet connection. Many of their plans require a 1 or 2 year contract, which you will probably not be able to get out of if you move or change providers.

Fiber optic, T1, direct ethernet

  • Fiber optic based Internet can be outrageously fast.
  • AT&T offers fiber to the home in some parts of Oakland. (It's technically "fiber to the pole outside your home", and then standard copper phone lines deliver the signal into your home.) There is a 1 year contract. Be sure you know what you are getting, since AT&T uses the "UVerse" brand for both DSL and fiber. [2]
    • NOTE: As of 1/14, the "Pro" and "Elite" levels of service (least expensive) each offer 1 Mbit upstream; "Max" offers 1.5 Mbit. They don't say this anywhere on their web site.
  • Other service providers seem to only offer it as a business service, not residential. See Sunstream, FastMetrics, and LMi.
  • A T1 line (copper wire similar to phone wire, dedicated to networking) is what businesses have used for decades. It's generally too expensive for residential use and there are usually better options for business use.
  • For direct ethernet, see Megapath. Asymetric looks fairly affordable (but more expensive than DSL, cable, etc.), but symmetric is outrageously expensive. Their offerings are considered for businesses, not residential; so they have guaranteed bandwidth and uptime, they don't care what you do with the bandwidth (e.g. sharing with neighbors), etc.

WiMAX/other wireless

  • LMI offers point-to-point wireless service, which involves installing an antenna on your rooftop. You need a line-of-sight to either the Berkeley Hills or Sausalito. Setup cost is high because of the installation (over $300) and 6 Mbps down/3 Mbps up costs about $55/month.
  • Telepacific also offers fixed-wireless service.
  • Many cell phone providers now offer home Internet service that may be competitive with the options above. For instance, Sprint has plans as low as $35/month. This approach also has the advantage that you can take your Internet connection with you (if you have a portable modem).
  • You may be able to "tether" your existing cell phone, providing Internet service to your laptop, without even signing up for a new plan; this can be really useful as a temporary measure, but is probably not practical for everyday use!
  • MonkeyBrains: Currently available in San Francisco only. (Not sure about the note above, though -- perhaps it is coming to Oakland??)


Satellite connections typically offer high downstream speeds but low upstream speeds, and higher latency than other connection types. (Latency is the amount of time it takes to initiate a connection.) Fine for watching streaming video, not so great for video conferencing, uploading your own videos to YouTube, etc.

  • HughesNet Gen4 is available through dealers in Vallejo and Hayward, and should work anywhere in Oakland that you can see the sky!


  • WebPass offers very fast Internet (100 Mbps) for $50/month, but it is only available in apartment buildings that have made an arrangement with WebPass. If you live in an apartment building, use their web site to check if your building has WebPass.


  • Some Sudo people are currently (fall 2013) trying to establish a "mesh" network that would allow you to make wireless network connections to your neighbors, and perhaps the Internet or other services. This is an aspiration, but will hopefully become a reality soon. See the wiki page mesh for techy details, or the more public-facing site:

Terms of service

Some ISPs allow sharing of Internet access and others do not. We provide node owners with a list of local ISPs that are known to allow sharing of Internet access and advise them that some ISPs may not allow sharing. The worst case scenario here is that one or more users get their Internet disconnected for terms of service violation.

The ISPs in the East Bay that allow Internet Connection sharing (that we know of) are:


  • Dialup Internet used to be the only common way to get online. Your modem allows your computer to "talk" over your phone line to the Internet. You can't use the phone for voice calls while you are online. The speeds are very slow compared to all other options listed here.