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Standard User baby_frogmella
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 10-Jun-17 10:51:23
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My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[link to this post]
 
Following on from here where BT almost sold me FTTPoD 330/30 for a 'bargain' £150 pm with zero construction charges, I went with Fluidone/Fluidata in the end. In order to help others who are thinking of going down the FTTPoD route, I will describe my experience and the various stages involved in the build process. It was a relatively straightforward install (despite some hiccups at the end!) but as many of us know Openreach can botch up even simple bespoke installs, so I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning.

I ended up paying £3700 in construction charges (band D) and £300 pm in rental charges on a min 3 year term after which I can take out a native FTTP service at a lower price. At present Fluidone are the only ISP selling the Openreach based FTTPoD service. If you live in SW England/S Wales then Spectrum Internet may also be offer you the product provided they have LLU'd your exchange. But obviously living in the Scottish Highlands, Fluidone were my only option.

The service was ordered in mid February 2017 and finally went live yesterday so took nearly 4 months which was within the initial estimated timescale of 2-4 months given by Openreach to Fluidone at the beginning. Fluidone were pretty good and kept me in the loop all along, their 'Service Delivery' team (thanks to Ana, Roxana & Adina) were very pro-active and provided weekly email updates. Based on their correspondence, these were the build stages after I placed the order:

1) Survey

This was carried out 3-4 weeks after I placed the order. An Openreach Surveyor came around, had a poke inside the home & took loads of photos inside & outside the home. He followed the existing duct routes to the nearest aggregation node (~800m away) looking out for any possible obstructions and other bits and bobs. Based on his report, there were no Excess Construction Charges (ECCs) so the order went ahead as planned. Its important to remember that if ECCs do apply after the survey, then you have the option of cancelling the order without paying a penny - otherwise penalties may apply. Also be aware that Openreach will not install the service to a Multi Dwelling Unit (eg block of flats) for obvious reasons - this will normally be flagged up at the quotation stage.

2) Test Rodding of Existing Underground Ducts

Over the next few weeks, I saw Openreach shoving rods/poles/cables down various manholes and outside my home checking for any obstructions in the U/G ducts. My home was built in 2008 so the ducts aren't that old but I imagine blocked ducts could add significant delays to the timescales. Test rodding was completed without any issues.

3) Cabling of route

Openreach had to back order the fibre cabling as they had insufficient stock at their Inverness depot, this took around 3 weeks. Once cable supplies arrived, it took around 10 days to lay the fibre. Again this went smoothly.

4) Jointing Works

Once the cabling was in place, it had to be spliced along with the necessary work at the exchange & installation of Customer Splice Point (CSP). For some strange reason Openreach also did the internal wiring and fixing of ONT during this stage which had me excited prematurely. Jointing works took around 2 weeks in total.

5) Testing of FTTP circuit & allocation of Circuit ID

This involved the engineer going with his meter gadget and checking the signals at various points in the PON network, eg CSP, DP, splitter node etc. Once testing was completed successfully, the BT/Openreach line checker for my address changed from FTTPoD to native FTTP and a circuit ID was issued for my line:

https://postimg.org/image/isc1wd2a5/

6) Installation of internal wiring/ONT and activation of service

An Engineer arrived a few weeks later (was surprised to see the ONT & internal cabling already installed), spent a few minutes activating the ONT using its serial number and bingo the PON light changed to a solid green. However my router (Netgear R9000) wouldn't establish a connection to the ONT and neither would the spare one from the Engineer. After further investigation it became clear the service required PPPoE authentication to Fluidone's Radius servers (despite the carrier being BT Wholesale) so had no choice but to use the ISP supplied Juniper SRX300 firewall between my router and the Openreach ONT. Its a horrible lump of metal which I could do without (missus was so incensed by it she threatened to rip out the external fibre CSP frown but after some cajoling she calmed down LOL) however its not interfering with my router's activities, eg no double NAT or neither is it doing any DHCP routing so may have to bear with it.

Once the correct hardware was hooked up, I finally got a connection. However speeds were shocking initially (ala dial-up) and web browsing was painfully slow, but a few hours later Fluidone made a few config changes at their end and speeds were more respectable. For some strange reason TBB speedtest results are weird and I never get more than 300 Mbps:

My Broadband Speed Test

However, speedtest.net and speed.io and give me the full whack 310/30 so I'm not too fussed about the TBB results. More importantly (?!) torrents download at the full 40 MB/s so can't complain too much. Pings aren't brilliant @ 20ms but living in North Scotland means I'm never going to get ping times in single digits, even on a FTTP service.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/6366208787

Overall the install went smoothly and I didn't really have anything major to complain about despite the hiccups at the end.

Prior to placing the order with Fluidone, I was chatting with Zen Broadband Sales and they told me they weren't selling FTTPoD anymore due to their poor experience with Openreach, even relatively simple installs were taking as long as 18 months. I guess AAISP decided to discontinue FTTPoD for the same reason - see here for a FTTPoD install experience on AAISP a few years back. However, if (and its a big 'if') Openreach have now improved their deployment process for FTTPoD, then it would be great if the likes of Zen, AAISP, IDNet et al could look into selling the product again. This would probably drive prices down, not by much as FTTPoD is still a premium/niche product but it would be good to at least have a choice of FTTPoD providers -for the Openreach based service that is.

Some photos of my install:

https://s18.postimg.org/n3s26bdop/IMG_001.jpg

https://s18.postimg.org/76ta9llah/IMG_002.jpg

https://s18.postimg.org/nvuq5ihvt/IMG_003.jpg

https://s18.postimg.org/h6o6phwjt/IMG_004.jpg

https://s18.postimg.org/rurxoc6ix/IMG_005.jpg

https://s18.postimg.org/69mv0q9s9/IMG_006.jpg


Hope this helps, any questions fire away smile

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Fluidone FTTP On Demand 330/30 Mbps
Powered by Netgear R9000 X10
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Edited by baby_frogmella (Sat 10-Jun-17 11:55:45)

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 10-Jun-17 11:24:50
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Our weird results might be reflecting things not at 100% perfection yet.

http://tbb.st/1496901211513905955 this is a native GEA-FTTP install, but nails the speeds. The fact your single thread is not nailing it indicates something is up somewhere, if we used the sampling of others we'd probably be reporting figures where you did not query anything i.e. saying something in the 270 to 280 Mbps based on your data.

Another native FTTP http://tbb.st/1497020290829869155

The ookla test may be pushing more threads at you, which is what torrents do to get the maximum speeds for people.

You do seem to have the prize for fastest FluidOne customer we've seen for a while

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User baby_frogmella
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 10-Jun-17 11:38:31
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by MrSaffron:
Our weird results might be reflecting things not at 100% perfection yet.


Thanks Mr S, I'll send the TBB results over to Fluidone support and see what they say.

------------------------------------------------------
Fluidone FTTP On Demand 330/30 Mbps
Powered by Netgear R9000 X10
------------------------------------------------------


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Standard User Jabes
(member) Sat 10-Jun-17 11:56:51
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Brilliant, thanks!

You didn't mention in your post here, but have elsewhere that your exchange was not initially listed as having FTTP on Demand support.

I'm moving house (long exchange to completion) but will be in place in January and that's when my FTTPoD connection needs to be in place, so I'm planning to order over the next few weeks. I'd probably rather stay with Zen (who I'm with now), or at least have some other ISPs to compare with but I think fluidone seem quite respectable business ISPs.

Like you, my exchange (NDBRI) currently doesn't have FTTPoD support but fluidone sales have confirmed that BT will open it up (should be this week). I'm assuming that the DSL checker will be updated to say FTTP on Demand when it does - I keep checking out the postcode/phone number of the house but not changed yet.

With the support of the current owner of the house I plan to order ASAP and get the connection in ahead of taking over the property. Fluidone have indicated they would not charge the monthly line rental until the service went live and we can separate the two parts of the install - but I haven't got to final agreement to verify that is indeed the case.

Best wishes
James
Standard User Jabes
(member) Sat 10-Jun-17 11:58:48
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Does the SRX300 come with a rack mounting kit? I'm thinking where I need to terminate my connection and ideally I'd put a small cab there.

Edited by Jabes (Sat 10-Jun-17 11:59:06)

Standard User baby_frogmella
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 10-Jun-17 12:18:43
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: Jabes] [link to this post]
 
Yes I forgot to mention that back in Dec 2016 when i initially enquired about leased lines with Fluidone, they said they would also check with Openreach about FoD availability - despite my exchange not showing this (NSICL). A few weeks later, they said OR had agreed to open up the Inverness area for FoD orders due to their interest. So as you've also noticed they do have quite a bit of clout with Openreach - apparently they're one of Openreach's biggest customers for business connections. Having said all that, around February of this year OR decided to open up most FTTC enabled areas for FoD orders.

Wrt SRX300, i didn't receive any rack kit for it but I imagine Fluidone could supply you with one if you requested for it. It just came with a few ethernet cables and a PSU - it will come pre-configured for your line so you just plug everything in and hope for the best smile

------------------------------------------------------
Fluidone FTTP On Demand 330/30 Mbps
Powered by Netgear R9000 X10
------------------------------------------------------

Edited by baby_frogmella (Sat 10-Jun-17 12:23:20)

Standard User RedBull2k14
(newbie) Sat 10-Jun-17 13:34:42
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
you talked about "Ping" what was it on FTTC.
Standard User baby_frogmella
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 10-Jun-17 13:52:32
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: RedBull2k14] [link to this post]
 
Was getting around 22 ms on FTTC and now on FTTP it's around 20 ms. I'll ask fluidone if ping times can be improved but I suspect not due to my location (N Scotland).

------------------------------------------------------
Fluidone FTTP On Demand 330/30 Mbps
Powered by Netgear R9000 X10
------------------------------------------------------
Standard User Michael_Chare
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 10-Jun-17 16:44:46
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Interesting post thank you. I would have thought that at 20ms your ping time is quite high.

Michael Chare
Standard User IanBB
(committed) Sat 10-Jun-17 17:20:05
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Re: My Fluidone FTTPoD install experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the recap, I've been following the install with interest.
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