Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto (Etobicoke)
My experience with this service so far
I'm currently testing this service in my home for Bell. I got set up on Saturday April 22. I am keeping a detailed log of any connection or other issues. Based on my (albeit limited) experience so far, I wouldn't recommend this service as primary internet access for the average home user, especially Bell's rendition of it, for the following reasons:
- Cost $60/month and the expectation of signing up for a 2-year contract for this service is unreasonable. Bell also insists on automatic credit card withdrawals as the only method of payment. I have grave issues with this, as Bell has demonstrated in the past that they're not the most competent when it comes to handling billing issues! I pay $45/mth for Rogers highspeed extreme and get much faster speeds (5 mbps as opposed to 3), a larger bandwidth usage cap, and greater reliability. Also, according to their website, Bell plans on charging users extra to connect outside of your "primary usage area" (your home/main address), thus (for me) negating the advantage of portability. Bell also plans on charging users extra for exceeding their bandwidth and other usage limits (which according to their TOS are subject to change without notice). From what I have seen, Rogers' offering, while it has a slower connection speed, is more reasonable in price, and they don't plan on charging users to move their modem around.
- Reliability or lack thereof I'm in Etobicoke, west-end Toronto, in a highrise apartment building with a clear line of sight to downtown. My modem always shows I have a steady full-strength signal, but I'm getting kicked off the Internet for a few seconds at a time, on average once every 5 minutes or less. With this lack of reliability, this service would be useless for streaming media applications, large downloads or online gaming. Web pages are frequently slow (30 sec to 3 minutes) to load or refresh, and I often get "you are not connected to the Internet" errors or 404s. Online chatting using MSN Messenger is nearly impossible as well. Last night MSN was kicking me off due to network interruptions two or three times every 5 minutes; to chat online I had to switch back to my Rogers cable connection. Also bear in mind the stability of connection is affected by weather and geography (buildings in the area etc.).
- Portability? The modem they currently supply for this service does not allow for a battery backup, so your "portability" is limited to areas that have a power outlet handy. So you can't go to your local park, for instance, to connect to your broadband connection using this modem. There are also the extra fees Bell plans on charging for using your modem outside of your home or primary place of usage. Bell has not announced details of the amount of these charges as yet. I'm wondering if they may change their minds on this before they release to the general public.
My recommendation for this service so far would be that it would make a fine backup service, or a good service for someone who absolutely requires portability and isn't willing to look for wifi hotspots, and who doesn't need absolute reliability of connection. So far I have only tested it for home use on both Mac and Windows PCs, but I am an IT professional who often works out of my home via VPN, and I plan on testing its stability for VPN/business use as well. I will also be bringing the modem to my office sometime this week to test the connectivity outside of my home. If anyone is interested I will keep you posted on the results of my testing.
"There's one born every minute, and you were born quite some time ago!"