Oh, won’t you go to O2?

February 17, 2008

Vista busy cursor As ISP’s go, Pipex has in its time come in for more stick than most. Not that I have had much reason to complain about them. I signed up in 2001 and enjoyed over 6 years of largely trouble free service. My Internet connection just worked, pretty much all of the time.

Nevertheless, I have taken my custom elsewhere. Friday lunchtime, my Internet connection switched to O2 Broadband.

My reasons for switching were compelling: faster connection speed, no usage limits and lower cost. I had been on an unlimited 1 Mbps service for some years at a cost of about £23 per month. Pipex had contacted me, inviting me to upgrade to one of their higher connection speed services, up to 8 Mbps, but all their plans included a usage limit and there was no great cost saving. I didn’t take the offer up at the time because it came across as an attempt to bribe me into accepting a usage limit, which I am uncomfortable with in principle.

Currently, Pipex offer three plans, none of which offer unlimited usage, and they all use old-style BT wholesale ADSL connections which cannot top 8 Mbps. In contrast, O2 offer ADSL2+ which is theoretically capable of far higher connection speeds, do not impose usage limits and their prices are far lower. As I qualify for a discount, having an O2 mobile phone contract, it is only costing me £10 a month for a service which in principle can deliver up to 16 Mbps.

Sadly, as I live a fair way from the telephone exchange the maximum connection speed seems to be topping out at a little under 6 Mbps. I have to say I was a little disappointed as the connection speed calculation spreadsheet I mentioned in this earlier post indicated that I should expect roughly double that given my downstream attenuation of around 35dB.

Well, maybe I should subscribe to Jason Bradbury’s campaign for broadband truth in a fit of pique. Or maybe I won’t.

Another downside is that I cannot get my MIMO pre-N Belkin router to work with O2. I have to use the router supplied by O2 which does not have as good a range. It is not that O2 object to customers using their own routers (provided they support ADSL2+ obviously), indeed they give instructions on how to do so. The problem is that O2 uses the ETHoA protocol rather than the more common PPPoA or PPPoE, and the Belkin does not seem to support it. That leaves me either having to chain the two routers together or maybe relocate the O2 router more centrally in the house.

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