Author Topic: UK ISPs  (Read 5703 times)

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Offline steve30

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UK ISPs
« on: September 25, 2016, 02:35:14 pm »
I'm just wondering, what preferences do you guys in the UK have for ISPs?

I might need to get an ADSL connection at some point next year and am wondering who to go with.

Andrews & Arnold look very tempting, if a little pricey.

Unfortunately most ISPs (at least the cheaper ones) don't give you much useful information about what you actually get for your money. As far as I can tell, many of the cheaper ISPs just market their services as We're cheaper and faster than our competitor, or We give you better Wi-Fi, or Part of our service is free if you sign up for goodness knows how long.
 

Offline chris_leyson

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 03:34:08 pm »
Hi RetroSteve, back home in Wales my local exchange is just around the corner and I used to get 5Mb/s on average with ADSL until one of the phone wires went open circuit, was rubbing on a neighbours ridge tiles so my phone connection got re-routed to an another telegraph pole which took the longer route around the block and then the speed dropped to 3Mb/s on average. That was with AOL back in the day then TalkTalk and then I switched to BT which wasn't any faster. I don't think it makes much difference which ISP you are with, the exchange equipment and route are going to be the same no matter which ISP you choose. I switched to fibre I'm now with Virgin and get 40Mb/s to 50Mb/s down and maybe 30Mb/s up.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 03:51:54 pm »
I'm quite happy with Zen.
 

Offline KJDS

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 04:23:59 pm »
If you're somewhere that Virgin services (no sniggering at the back) then I'd go with them. That assumes that you also want some tele more than is available on freeview.

As I have no Virgin where I live then we've gone with Sky, mostly for the tele package. Come what may, it will be BT lines to your house that is delivering the broadband, you just have the choice of who bills you for the service and what they might do to put it right when it goes wrong.

Offline Andy Watson

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 05:00:09 pm »
I'm quite happy with Zen.
+1
Not the cheapest, but excellent reliability and good support when I've caused things not to work.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 05:17:54 pm »
Virgin have apparently had major service outages in some areas (e.g. no service for days at a time). Their customer service might seem good, but their technical competence can be questioned.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 05:26:52 pm »
I have around 3.7 mbs with BT on a line that is 3.5 to 4 KM long. Learnt the hard way that I need to be with BT as other ISP's wont send someone to the exchange until they have enough faults to warrant getting openreach in. When with AOL we were without any internet for 2 months on one occasion after 5 visits from a so called engineer who told us every visit the problem was at the exchange and he would arrange an openreach engineer,each time.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2016, 05:37:35 pm »
Liberty Global, who bought Virgin recently (with borrowed money?) are putting my BB+Phone package up by 10%. Again :(
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2016, 05:39:41 pm »
i avoid virgin media, their hub is terrible and you never get the advertised speeds. to me upload is important and virgin media is the slowest in upload.

Go with whats best in your area.
 

Offline amiq

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 05:55:00 pm »
Xilo or Zen are good.
 

Online dexters_lab

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 06:07:39 pm »
i have been using virgin media  for 15+  years in several homes, they have a continually good service for me... sometimes their admin/customer service can be irritating but the reliability of their connection is what i like.

I would say though after System Error Message's comment about the hub, i have never used their hub/router, i always use my own. The hub can be switched into modem only mode.
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Offline setq

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 06:12:17 pm »
Zen here. No problems. Like Andrews and Arnold but shuts up and keeps out of political discussion and doesn't charge you every time you fart.

I've had NTL (old Virgin), Sky, O2, BT, Demon and they were all wankers.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2016, 07:08:26 pm »
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Andrews and Arnold. I've been the chief techie/operations manager for no less than three different ISPs and when I no longer had my 'own' ISP to use and had to become someone's customer I moved to A&A. I hope that perspective adds some serious weight to the recommendation. Yes, they might be a tad pricier than the bucket shop ISPs like Virgin et al, but that pays for proper support staff instead of the monkeys you'll encounter at the others.
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Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2016, 07:12:55 pm »
i have been using virgin media  for 15+  years in several homes, they have a continually good service for me... sometimes their admin/customer service can be irritating but the reliability of their connection is what i like.

I would say though after System Error Message's comment about the hub, i have never used their hub/router, i always use my own. The hub can be switched into modem only mode.

But have you tried the upload? BT's VDSL is actually better for gaming than VM. VM may have more download than BT but their upload is actually lower. They may claim 20Mb/s but the most you'd get is 10Mb/s. So for streaming(upload), gaming and such VM is usually a bad choice.

I've been to many homes which use VM that use their VM hub and the experience is awful.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 08:45:56 pm »
I have both Virgin cable and BT ADSL, and use a Draytek Vigor 2860n+ router to automatically switch from Virgin to BT when there's a service outage on Virgin, which happens a lot, about once a month for me. In fact, as I write, my Virgin's been down since yesterday morning.

As my business is pretty dependent on having an internet connection, I chose to have two from different providers over different routes for resilience.

When Virgin works, I get 200Mb/s down most of the time, although sometimes it drops to about 20Mb/s, and I've yet to correlate why that happens, it doesn't seem to correspond to particular times of day, somI'm not convinced it's all contention. Sometimes rebooting the router fixes slow operation, but not always. Up, I get a fairly consistent 12Mb/s all the time. I have little faith in the quality of their network.

The BT ADSL I've had for many many years, and is rubbish in terms of speed, with only about 3Mb/s down and 0.5Mb/s up. It also suffers contention during the usual times of day you'd expect. It is, however, far more reliable than Virgin.
 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2016, 06:46:11 am »
I have both Virgin cable and BT ADSL, and use a Draytek Vigor 2860n+ router to automatically switch from Virgin to BT when there's a service outage on Virgin, which happens a lot, about once a month for me. In fact, as I write, my Virgin's been down since yesterday morning.

As my business is pretty dependent on having an internet connection, I chose to have two from different providers over different routes for resilience.

When Virgin works, I get 200Mb/s down most of the time, although sometimes it drops to about 20Mb/s, and I've yet to correlate why that happens, it doesn't seem to correspond to particular times of day, somI'm not convinced it's all contention. Sometimes rebooting the router fixes slow operation, but not always. Up, I get a fairly consistent 12Mb/s all the time. I have little faith in the quality of their network.

The BT ADSL I've had for many many years, and is rubbish in terms of speed, with only about 3Mb/s down and 0.5Mb/s up. It also suffers contention during the usual times of day you'd expect. It is, however, far more reliable than Virgin.

You could always upgrade to BT VDSL. I suggest you use dual WAN to load balance and have fail over.

The problem i find with both networks is that they use copper and are prone to interference. When more subscribe you get more crosstalk which affects speeds. I find that VM's network architecture (backbone, equipment, lines, etc) arent as good as BT's.

When i first subscribed to BT i got close to 80Mb/s (like 76Mb/s) and 19Mb/s upload. Now i get above 60Mb/s download but still the full upload and this is because more and more on my street subscribed to an openreach ISP or even BT (BT's wholesaler) which means they all use the same cabinet.

Also virgin being a cable company are traditionally greedy so they're quite stingy on upload and they have restrictions if you use the line too much. BT on the other hand dont do this and other ISPs that use BT's lines also only apply QoS rather than judge you when you download too much within an hour. My experience with virgin trains also wasnt that great as even though the trains have many coaches, they stuff all the advanced bookings into the same coach.
 

Online Zero999

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2016, 07:45:34 am »
When I lived at my parent's they had Virgin which is fast but can be unreliable. I believe where my parents live Virgin is fibre optic at the street and co-axial cable for the remaining 10 or so metres to the house.

Now I have fibre to my doorstep which gives me both phone and Internet. It's fast but comes at a price: it's a BT only network so I can't switch, as they're not ordinary copper cables to connect to and BT owns the fibre network! So far the speed and reliability have been excellent but it's more expensive than most other suppliers.
 

Online nfmax

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2016, 08:42:54 am »
Another vote for Andrews & Arnold (for xDSL connections). To quote a friend 'they are expensive - until something goes wrong'.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2016, 12:50:12 pm »
You could always upgrade to BT VDSL. I suggest you use dual WAN to load balance and have fail over.

I was considering changing the ADSL earlier this year, but didn't have the time bandwidth then to do anything about it, so re-engaged for another year. I also have my primary email account attached to the BT ADSL account through which I funnel everything into, so for anything I invoke I'd want to keep that address. That's vendor lock-in for you.

The router I have will do load balancing as well as failover, but when the two WANs are so asymmetric in bandwidth terms, as at present, I don't consider it worthwhile doing. In addition, I get to know when it's failed over because I can tell how slow it is!

That Draytek Vigor 2860n+ router is the business though, it's super reliable and has the best VPN I've ever set up (i.e., it actually works). It's a bit fiddly to configure, especially for failover, but once it's set up it just works. Even the VPN, together with a DDNS, fails over in seconds. Maybe I'll take a look at VDSL next time the contract's up for renewal.
 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2016, 01:53:39 pm »
You could always upgrade to BT VDSL. I suggest you use dual WAN to load balance and have fail over.

I was considering changing the ADSL earlier this year, but didn't have the time bandwidth then to do anything about it, so re-engaged for another year. I also have my primary email account attached to the BT ADSL account through which I funnel everything into, so for anything I invoke I'd want to keep that address. That's vendor lock-in for you.

The router I have will do load balancing as well as failover, but when the two WANs are so asymmetric in bandwidth terms, as at present, I don't consider it worthwhile doing. In addition, I get to know when it's failed over because I can tell how slow it is!

That Draytek Vigor 2860n+ router is the business though, it's super reliable and has the best VPN I've ever set up (i.e., it actually works). It's a bit fiddly to configure, especially for failover, but once it's set up it just works. Even the VPN, together with a DDNS, fails over in seconds. Maybe I'll take a look at VDSL next time the contract's up for renewal.

You could always ask if upgrading is possible on your account so that you can keep the email. Good routers actually do lower the latency. The bt homehub 5 has 2ms latency more than my mikrotik CCR router, 1ms latency more than my asus router. Not having a switch chip and using CPU connected ports makes a router faster. i run the ddns and opendns updates from my router and other things from it too and it's vpn speeds max out WAN without registering any CPU usage, quite embarrassing for UK internet lol. I really wish they would roll out FTTP/FTTH rather than using FTTC.

Another reason to have a configurable router like mikrotik is that it not only can do load balancing (difficult to set up) but it can also filter DNS and NTP, forcing these services to use your router instead so google chrome, android and other devices hardcoded to use specific DNS servers will obey your settings instead.

I usually recommend draytek when it comes to modems as they are not only good modems but also have features that basic routers and other modems dont and the reliability too.
 

Offline setq

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2016, 01:57:58 pm »
Got a Microtik here (RB2011UiAS) and a separate ADSL modem. Pile of crap. Forever crashing.

Draytek - never had a problem with them in the past going back to 2004. Wish I'd bought one this time, but no I had to go and try something new :(
 

Offline steve30

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2016, 02:18:48 pm »
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll add Zen to the list of possibilities.

I don't think Virgin is available in my area, but I'd be tempted not to bother with them anyway, primarily because they used to send me misleading/incorrect advertising back when I lived in a cabled area.

 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2016, 02:45:41 pm »
Got a Microtik here (RB2011UiAS) and a separate ADSL modem. Pile of crap. Forever crashing.

Draytek - never had a problem with them in the past going back to 2004. Wish I'd bought one this time, but no I had to go and try something new :(

Mine never crashes on me. before i had the RB450G and whenever that crashed it would reboot itself and it rarely crashed. The RB2011 has an LCD and you may want to monitor the health part relating to the PSU. Look at the voltage and see if it dips. The last time my CCR crashed was because the PSU had gone bad.
 

Offline setq

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2016, 02:57:34 pm »
I thought that to start with and swapped the PSU out with one I had lying around that was within the input specs and it still craps out.
 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: UK ISPs
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2016, 03:09:24 pm »
what about the firmware? Did you update it?
You may want to remove dude if you have it installed and disable some features. Sniffing and traffic analysis crashes MIPS based routerboards.

If its under warranty try getting a replacement. There are much newer and better routerboards out there that use newer MIPS CPUs so you may want one of those instead. They are cheaper too.
 


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