General Discussion
  >> Which ISP? (Residential)


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.


Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)   Print Thread
Standard User nextstep
(newbie) Mon 15-Jun-15 02:08:28
Print Post

Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-home?


[link to this post]
 
Hello,

I just moved to the UK (Cambridge) from Denmark. I'm setting up a home office where I will be doing quite a lot of work. I analyse genomic data, so I'm generally downloading between 0.1 and 0.5 TB / month.

I'm quite unfamiliar with the ISPs here, so I'd appreciate some guidance on what ISP to choose as I'm quite dependant on my connection and its QoS for work.

Some facts:

- I'm served by the Cherry Hinton exchanage EACRH
- I'm not a company so in principle I should opt for residential providers

I'm considering Aquiss and Zen. Both are roughly similar in terms of price. Zen has LLU in my exchange, but Aquiss (Entanet) doesn't. Does this make a difference?

I've seen some data indicating both are pretty stable. I hope latency is also good, as that's important for VoIP.

I've discarded IDNet and AAISP due to the high monthly fee I'd have with my data usage, but they look very nice.

I'm on the fence with Plusnet and TalkTalk. Much cheaper, maybe OK. I'd love to get access to TalkTalk Business, but it seems I can't.

I'm not considering BT, Sky or Virgin, but perhaps I should?

Thanks
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 15-Jun-15 05:03:41
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
Welcome to the UK and to the Cherry Hinton area. I know that area pretty well as I used to work for a firm on The Paddocks, which is best though of as behind Budgens on the A1134 / Cherry Hinton Road roundabout. These days, I live over in Bedfordshire, to the west of Cambridge.


Virgin Media run their own network, which does not use Openreach owned infrastructure. Every other residential ISP using fixed infrastructure will depend to a greater or lesser extent on Openreach infrastructure.

A key consideration is therefore what is likely to be available over Openreach infrastructure at your property, also what the predicted speeds are for ADSL and, if available, FTTC. To find this out, go to the BT Wholesale DSL checker and search by phone number if you have an active phone line at the property that is recognised, otherwise search by address. Do not search merely by postcode, as that search does not provide accurate information for FTTC and FTTP.


I regard Zen as a very solid choice for home office use. I've had Internet service from them for eleven years and currently have Zen residential voice and FTTC service.

Zen will give you a static IP address and may still offer a /29 allocation (block of 8 static IP addresses, with one being your local gateway address) at no extra cost. These days any address block allocation requires a special request to Sales rather than being an online sign up option. Unless you have a need for multiple static IPv4 addresses, I'd probably stick with a single address.

Zen's own backhaul network is solid in my experience. You can access my live latency monitoring by clicking the 'thinkbroadband quality monitor' link in my signature. From a location around 45 miles from London, I currently have 9.5ms round trip time to London based servers over my Zen FTTC connection with very little observable jitter.


The only major drawback is that Zen do not currently offer native IPv6 on consumer broadband, though you can get a free IPv6 tunnel from SixXS or Hurricane Electric. I have no doubt that native IPv6 will come, though Zen continue to claim customer demand for IPv6 is still weak and appear, not unreasonably, to be concentrating on developing their network.

Standard User AdrianPH
(newbie) Mon 15-Jun-15 08:57:10
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
I would go with Zen, I've had Zen fibre for the last 14 months and it is extremely reliable .


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.

Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Mon 15-Jun-15 10:34:47
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
Hi, and welcome to the forums and country.

You can have business products without being a company. It's more a product service quality description than a customer-type requirement. Until of course you get to the "corporate" type of connection which are exorbitantly priced for most of us.

In particular you do have access to TalkTalk Business. Whether direct or only through resellers such as xilo/uno and vivaciti I'm not sure. The resold TT Business network seems to be excellent, but as far as I know does not have any FTTx products - see later in this post re those.

As you do sound like a sole trader business rather than an employee of a company, you may need or find it useful to be registered for Vat here even if below the threshold for compulsory registration. Were you in Denmark?

If the link David gave you says you can get a decent speed FTTC then that would be advisable. If FTTP I think only BT and Plusnet offer it. Plusnet don't advertise it but do have it available. In all cases FTTP is subject to Openreach feasibility assessment. Please could you copy and paste what the link David gave says. Just the estimates table and the line above it. Make sure you edit out the phone number or address!

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 57821/14115kbps @ 600m. - IPv4BQM IPv6BQM

Edited by RobertoS (Mon 15-Jun-15 10:35:36)

Standard User ClaretMatt
(newbie) Mon 15-Jun-15 11:13:20
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
I'm with Aquiss and I'm pretty satisfied overall. I have Native IPv6 and the customer support is excellent. I get the impression that you deal direct with the owner of the company which is a nice change.

Speeds are solid even at peak times, however I am probably going to leave them again after I've seen out the year contract period because the latency I typically get is disappointing using the same hardware as previous supplier (PlusNet). It's possibly not quite worth the monthly price and I'm going to look at Zen very seriously when the time comes.
Standard User nextstep
(newbie) Mon 15-Jun-15 11:39:07
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: ClaretMatt] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the detailed replies. Here's the info from the BT broadband availability checker:

FTTC Range A (Clean) 80 69.4 20 20 -- Available
FTTC Range B (Impacted) 80 60.7 20 12.2 -- Available
WBC ADSL 2+ Up to 17 -- 10 to 19.5 Available
WBC ADSL 2+ Annex M Up to 17 Up to 1.5 10 to 19.5 Available
ADSL Max Up to 7.5 -- 6.5 to 8 Available
WBC Fixed Rate 2 -- -- Available
Fixed Rate 2 -- -- Available
Other Offerings
FTTP on Demand 330 30 -- Available
Fibre Multicast -- -- -- Available
Copper Multicast -- -- -- Available

I am having some issues getting availability information directly from ISPs. My development is brand new so the postcode is unfortunately not yet in most databases.

Would you recommend going for FTTP if it can be installed? FTTC speed is good enough for me (although in some cases I'd rather have a bit more). Reduced latency and no bottlenecks during peak hours is what I'm mostly after.
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Mon 15-Jun-15 12:15:36
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
I'm assuming that is from the Address Checker? Or is it phone or postcode? As has been said, this matters in the level of reliability of the result you have posted.

There is a big difference between (native) FTTP and FTTPoD (FTTP on Demand). The former is normally not available when FTTC is, and vice versa. The latter is only available when FTTC is and costs a fortune to install.

Go for FTTC, which is available from nearly all ISPs. FTTP is not available, and just for interest price details of FTTPoD follow:-

For the installation of FTTPoD Openreach will charge the ISP a fixed amount plus a variable amount. Example prices below are ex Vat, which of course doesn't affect the ISP but by the time it gets to a non-VAT registered user makes a big difference. What you do get is a guaranteed connection speed of 330/30Mbps. That doesn't guarantee the throughput of course.

Fixed charge - £750
Minimum variable charge (at 0-199 metres from the aggregation point) £350
Ditto at 800-999 metres £3,150
Ditto at 1500-1999 metres £6,125

Annual rental in all cases - £1,180 Minimum contract period 36 months.

Judging by your FTTC estimate the variable element for your premises would be £200, £600 or £1000. Plus ISP markup and Vat. Price list.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 57821/14115kbps @ 600m. - IPv4BQM IPv6BQM
Standard User nextstep
(newbie) Mon 15-Jun-15 12:51:12
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by RobertoS:
I'm assuming that is from the Address Checker? Or is it phone or postcode? As has been said, this matters in the level of reliability of the result you have posted.


Thanks. Unfortunately I don't have a phone yet. Nobody in the building has actually. Our postcode is not in the databases yet either. But when I enter my whole address and postcode I get a very close match from a block that is 50 m away. I guess it's a good rough approximation, although I understand that availability will only be confirmed when I install a phone line.

Would you recommend going for Zen or similar providers vs trying to get something cheaper from Plusnet / TalkTalk?
Standard User mlmclaren
(experienced) Mon 15-Jun-15 13:06:40
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
Zen may be worth a look... specially if there is LLU at your exchange!

Plusnet 21CN 3500/800 @ 4.2Km > TP-Link TD-W8968v3
Plusnet Fibre 67000/19999 @ 450m > HG612 > Asus RT-AC87U BQM
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Mon 15-Jun-15 14:04:19
Print Post

Re: Just moved to the UK. Zen / Aquiss / ... for work-at-hom


[re: nextstep] [link to this post]
 
That's a hard recommendation to make.

TalkTalk Retail I would not go for, particulary because of its support reputation. On the other hand my neighbour across the road (low usage) has always found the support fine.

Virgin Media is a different technology altogether. Nothing whatsoever to do with the Openreach landline system. They have a cable system to local nodes and extension cabinets, then twin coax feeds underground from the extension cabinets to premises. I don't think they supply what sounds like a block of flats/apartments, particularly new build. Don't take my word for that.

Twelve months ago I would have plumped immediately for Plusnet, who I have been with on FTTC for over three years. However, since then they seem to be having problems that I think are associated with a huge growth in customer numbers and new kit to cater for that.

This affects two things. One is the telephone and ticket support, though the higher-level support people on these and the in-house Community forums are generally excellent and will always persist on hard to solve problems. Normally with success in the end.

The other is that some customers are experiencing poor throughput at times, though most of us aren't affected. Those affected are of course very vocal and post about it frequently.

I myself am affected a little when on particular gateways. My latency and single-stream speedtests can be affected. See this speed test result. It should be like this one.

Zen overall are probably better, but considerably more expensive. I haven't used them myself, though I did use IDNet FTTC before Plusnet. I've never regretted the move and have saved an awful lot of money. The only worry I have about Zen is that I've see a few reports in the non-Zen forums here, (I don't monitor the Zen one), where on consumer-level lines they seem to give up remarkably easily when Openreach or BT Wholesale say what amounts to "Tough! The line can't do what the customer says and never could". When it clearly did.

Plusnet forum support would chase it harder. Zen business-level support I expect do.

An alternative supplier you may have ruled out because of the apparent cost is AAISP. If you look at their Pick & Mix option, those prices can look eye-watering for heavy use. Until you find
Instead of the normal off peak tariff, between 2am and 6am usage is metered at 1000GB/unit.
by clicking the "How it works" link at the end of the paragraph below the package builder on the Pick & Mix Prices page. If you could fit your downloads into that time span you would be fine., and they don't take "No" for an answer from OR or BTW.

Their problem handling and line monitoring is first class. They claim that they often tell customers they have a problem before the customer realises. Comparisons.

Just an afterthought, how much do you upload?.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 57821/14115kbps @ 600m. - IPv4BQM IPv6BQM
Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)   Print Thread

Jump to