Well, it does look like my blogging will be as sporadic as it became on the old Nothing Special blog. Alas, I work a lot of hours for my company, and there are many distractions right now (ongoing), so ’nuff said.
Back to the topic: I finally decided I had had enough of overpaying for my cable and cell phone services (it is an axiom in Canada that you will overpay when compared to rest of world, but overpaying against other Canadian services is just a mistake that needs correcting). So I investigated Bell and a number of the lighter weight (and cheaper) services.
Bell continues to offer maximum speeds in my neighbourhood of 150Mbps, which frankly is completely underwhelming, especially when they still call this “Fibe” lol.
TechSavvy and others look decent, but again they do not reach the heights of speed and convenience of Rogers.
So I took a closer look at Rogers and started comparing levels of service in both their Digital TV (think: old stuff) and their new Ignite TV, which is a combined streaming service with YouTube and Netflix access and search.
Price-wise, they are rather similar. You can do a little better on either setup depending on the channels you desire. But Ignite wins on convenience by a long margin, so I looked closer at that. Of course, the bundles make it essentially insane to buy the lower tiers, since higher tiers are pretty small increments. (I know, one man’s small increment is another man’s irritating difference).
So I ended up where I expected to end up — 3 cell lines with infinite data, which means that when you run out of data you still get a drip of data speed for light weight surfing. It’s 512kbps, which is faster than the ISDN lines I was on in the 90s, so don’t complain lol. I took Ignite Gigabit speed internet and their populr level Ignite TV.
They send technicians to your house to assess the signal they can get at the tiny Ignite boxes (everything is now recorded in the cloud, so these are the size of little Android boxes, which is basically what they are). These guys were very professional and got the remotes working with the TVs. The downstairs remote also handles the receiver’s volume, so I no longer need the other remotes, they exists only for backup. Way cool.
We had some trouble with the signal to the upstairs TV because it is at the opposite corner of the house about 60 feet away from the corner of the basement where the cable modem / router is located, but I use an access point in the middle of the house to ensure that every room has excellent wifi at 2.4 or 5g. All three networks have different names, so you just set them all up and your device typically choose the one it likes.
What we did with the upstairs Ignite TV box was to put it on the 5g access point network, which is very fast. My old Macbook Pro (2012) can see about 280Mbps over wifi, so no problem there. Of course, the TV works perfectly. The livingroom Ignite box sits right beside that router and could be using a direct connectiong, but the guy set it up talking to the basement router and it works perfectly as well. No dropouts, no snow, just clean signal. I’m still gonna switch to a cat7 cable though 🙂
So finally … how fast is the internet? I have a blog article on the other blog where I document my trials and tribulations with Rogers over several years, but overall I was happy with the speed back then … around 320 to 330 Mbps on the 250u plan and then the same on the 500u plan when they forced me to move up or down. On the latter plan, I got around 500Mbps now and again, although it was by no means consistent.
On this gigabit plan, I consistently get around 500Mbps, which is the limit I can get with the cat5e wiring I have in the basement. I plan on replacing the wiring with cat7 for obvious reasons. That can carry the full bandwidth throughout the house, and it can handle more TVs, should that ever come to pass.
Edit: I tried connecting the box directly using cat7 and it looked a little funny. Turns out that the Ignite boxes connect over ethernet at 100Mbps, which is lower than they can achieve with wifi. So leave them on wifi if you can.
Bottom line … I have to say that, if you are not shopping strictly on budget, this service is worth checking out. I am pleased.