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uk.telecom.broadband (UK broadband) (uk.telecom.broadband) Discussion of broadband services, technology and equipment as provided in the UK. Discussions of specific services based on ADSL, cable modems or other broadband technology are also on-topic. Advertising is not allowed.

Initial experiences of PlusNet ADSL [Long post]



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 13th 04, 12:53 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Tiscali Tim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 755
Default Initial experiences of PlusNet ADSL [Long post]

I have recently upgraded my internet connection (from Home Highway) to
ADSL, using PlusNet (Easy Start) as my new ISP, and thought that my
experiences may be of interest to others contemplating something similar. I
have posted separately about the BT line conversion - this post is mainly
about the PlusNet order and activation processes.



I chose PlusNet because they have a good reputation in this NG and because
they offered a managed conversion from Home Highway. I had decided that 500k
bps was the right level for me (rather than anything cheap or nasty on the
one hand, or exotic and expensive on the other). I also had decided that
lots of webspace and a fax to email facility would be a good idea - so this
limited the choice to ADSL Home or Easy Start. I opted for Easy Start since,
at 3 quid per month extra for the first year but no activation charge, it
worked out cheaper overall than ADSL Home - even though I didn't want the
'free' modem or micro-filters (because I had already bought a PCI modem on
Ebay and intended using a filtered faceplate on the master socket).



I signed up on line, and was given the option of various methods of
payment - including Direct Debit and Credit Card. There was also an option
to make regular payments by Direct Debit, but to make the initial payment
(for the first month's service plus carriage on the "Starter Kit") by credit
card. This last option was claimed to speed the whole process up, since the
credit card payment could be made instantly without waiting for the DD to be
set up. However, since I was going on holiday and didn't want the
installation/line conversion to take place until my return, I opted to do
the whole thing by DD. Bad idea! For reasons which I totally fail to
understand, it takes PlusNet for ever to recognise that a DD has been set up
and that charges can be made against it. Until they had the right kind of
acknowledgement from my bank, nothing moved - even though I could see that
the DD existed through on-line access to my bank account. This all got very
frustrating, because I needed to get a confirmed installtion date agreed
before going on holiday - with the installation itself to take place
immediately after I returned. After I had raised several tickets and started
to get quite irate, they did eventally provide the required confirmation on
the eve of my holiday!



[If anyone is signing up, and wants the installation ASAP, I would advise
making the first payment by credit card - even if regular payments will be
by DD]



Because my line was being converted from Home Highway - and might
potentially fail the ADSL line test - PlusNet don't order and despatch the
welcome pack until the conversion has been successfully completed. Whilst I
can understand this, the effect was that I had an ADSL enabled line which I
would not have been able to use for several days had I relied on the arrival
of the welcome pack. As it happened, because I had already acquired a PCI
ADSL modem, I was able to get up and running on the day of the conversion -
albeit *without* concurrent phone usage.



[There has been a lot of discussion here about micro-filters - with some
people claiming that phones won't work without them, but ADSL will. My
experience was that, with *any* unfiltered phones plugged in, my ADSL modem
wouldn't synch. When I unplugged everything, and connected the modem to the
test socket with the master's faceplate removed, it was fine. Similarly, as
soon as I fitted a filtered faceplate 2 days later, it was fine with all the
phones plugged in - enabling concurrent use of ADSL and telephone].



Within a few minutes of my first attempt to connect to PlusNet's service,
they enabled my account and I was up and running. They also updated the
status on their ADSL tracker system fairly quickly.



The "Welcome Pack" arrived when I had been operational for a couple of days!
I had fondly imagined that, in addition to containing the 'free' modem and
micro-filters, this would have a booklet full of useful information about
all the features - like email accounts, fax-to-email, BBCi, etc. Forget it!
There was one grotty sheet of A4 - mainly containing supplementary
information about the modem setup - and that was it! All other information
has to be obtained from on-line sources - which are actually quite good, but
I did expect to receive more printed information. In addition, I assumed
that the pack would specify my 0870 fax number. Not so! It seems that this
is not automatically allocated, and that you have to request it on-line -
and also that it lapses if you don't receive any faxes in a three month
period. This is by no means clear in the on-line sales information!



OK, what do I think of the service? Well, it's a hell of a lot faster than a
64k HH connection (as it should be) - with streaming audio and video working
well. Newsgroup access (using Individual.net - I haven't tried PlusNet's
news server), browsing and software downloads are all fast.



At the time of writing, it has been on virtually continuously for a week.
[It did drop out and re-connect automatically 2 days ago. However, for
reasons which I don't understand, when this happened, I couldn't access
anything on-line until I had manually disconnected and reconnected (using
the internal modem's menu).



Overall, and I am well pleased with the service supplied by PlusNet.



[In case it's of interest, I'm using an old (PII, W98) computer running
WinRoute (free on a PC Plus Magazine Cover CD) as a software router to share
the connection across my network. I will probably replace it in due course
with a wireless ADSL router - so that I can sit in the garden and surf the
web using my laptop computer!]
--
Cheers,
Tim
______
Please reply to newsgroup. Reply address is Black Hole!


  #2  
Old May 13th 04, 01:39 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
robert w hall
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 242
Default Initial experiences of PlusNet ADSL [Long post]

In article , Tiscali Tim
writes

[In case it's of interest, I'm using an old (PII, W98) computer running
WinRoute (free on a PC Plus Magazine Cover CD) as a software router to share
the connection across my network. I will probably replace it in due course
with a wireless ADSL router - so that I can sit in the garden and surf the
web using my laptop computer!]



How does that compare with running IPCOP or (as here) SMOOTHWALL??
--
robert w hall
  #3  
Old May 13th 04, 04:47 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Tiscali Tim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 755
Default Initial experiences of PlusNet ADSL [Long post]

In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
robert w hall wrote:

In article , Tiscali Tim
writes

[In case it's of interest, I'm using an old (PII, W98) computer
running WinRoute (free on a PC Plus Magazine Cover CD) as a software
router to share the connection across my network. I will probably
replace it in due course with a wireless ADSL router - so that I can
sit in the garden and surf the web using my laptop computer!]



How does that compare with running IPCOP or (as here) SMOOTHWALL??


I can't give a definitive answer, but AIUI these both run under Linux. IPCOP
appears to be just a firewall, and Smoothwall appears to have both routing
and firewall capabilities.

In my case, I'm using WinRoute (running under Windows 98) just as a router -
and each PC in my network uses ZoneAlarm as a personal firewall.
--
Cheers,
Tim
______
Please reply to newsgroup. Reply address is Black Hole!


  #4  
Old May 15th 04, 09:52 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
PlusNet Support Team
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 353
Default Initial experiences of PlusNet ADSL [Long post]

On Thu, 13 May 2004 12:53:28 +0100, Tiscali Tim wrote:

I have recently upgraded my internet connection (from Home Highway) to
ADSL, using PlusNet (Easy Start) as my new ISP, and thought that my
experiences may be of interest to others contemplating something
similar. I
have posted separately about the BT line conversion - this post is
mainly
about the PlusNet order and activation processes.



I chose PlusNet because they have a good reputation in this NG and
because
they offered a managed conversion from Home Highway. I had decided that
500k
bps was the right level for me (rather than anything cheap or nasty on
the
one hand, or exotic and expensive on the other). I also had decided that
lots of webspace and a fax to email facility would be a good idea - so
this
limited the choice to ADSL Home or Easy Start. I opted for Easy Start
since,
at 3 quid per month extra for the first year but no activation charge, it
worked out cheaper overall than ADSL Home - even though I didn't want the
'free' modem or micro-filters (because I had already bought a PCI modem
on
Ebay and intended using a filtered faceplate on the master socket).



I signed up on line, and was given the option of various methods of
payment - including Direct Debit and Credit Card. There was also an
option
to make regular payments by Direct Debit, but to make the initial payment
(for the first month's service plus carriage on the "Starter Kit") by
credit
card. This last option was claimed to speed the whole process up, since
the
credit card payment could be made instantly without waiting for the DD
to be
set up. However, since I was going on holiday and didn't want the
installation/line conversion to take place until my return, I opted to do
the whole thing by DD. Bad idea! For reasons which I totally fail to
understand, it takes PlusNet for ever to recognise that a DD has been
set up
and that charges can be made against it. Until they had the right kind of
acknowledgement from my bank, nothing moved - even though I could see
that
the DD existed through on-line access to my bank account. This all got
very
frustrating, because I needed to get a confirmed installtion date agreed
before going on holiday - with the installation itself to take place
immediately after I returned. After I had raised several tickets and
started
to get quite irate, they did eventally provide the required confirmation
on
the eve of my holiday!



[If anyone is signing up, and wants the installation ASAP, I would advise
making the first payment by credit card - even if regular payments will
be
by DD]



Because my line was being converted from Home Highway - and might
potentially fail the ADSL line test - PlusNet don't order and despatch
the
welcome pack until the conversion has been successfully completed.
Whilst I
can understand this, the effect was that I had an ADSL enabled line
which I
would not have been able to use for several days had I relied on the
arrival
of the welcome pack. As it happened, because I had already acquired a PCI
ADSL modem, I was able to get up and running on the day of the
conversion -
albeit *without* concurrent phone usage.



[There has been a lot of discussion here about micro-filters - with some
people claiming that phones won't work without them, but ADSL will. My
experience was that, with *any* unfiltered phones plugged in, my ADSL
modem
wouldn't synch. When I unplugged everything, and connected the modem to
the
test socket with the master's faceplate removed, it was fine. Similarly,
as
soon as I fitted a filtered faceplate 2 days later, it was fine with all
the
phones plugged in - enabling concurrent use of ADSL and telephone].



Within a few minutes of my first attempt to connect to PlusNet's service,
they enabled my account and I was up and running. They also updated the
status on their ADSL tracker system fairly quickly.



The "Welcome Pack" arrived when I had been operational for a couple of
days!
I had fondly imagined that, in addition to containing the 'free' modem
and
micro-filters, this would have a booklet full of useful information about
all the features - like email accounts, fax-to-email, BBCi, etc. Forget
it!
There was one grotty sheet of A4 - mainly containing supplementary
information about the modem setup - and that was it! All other
information
has to be obtained from on-line sources - which are actually quite good,
but
I did expect to receive more printed information. In addition, I assumed
that the pack would specify my 0870 fax number. Not so! It seems that
this
is not automatically allocated, and that you have to request it on-line -
and also that it lapses if you don't receive any faxes in a three month
period. This is by no means clear in the on-line sales information!



OK, what do I think of the service? Well, it's a hell of a lot faster
than a
64k HH connection (as it should be) - with streaming audio and video
working
well. Newsgroup access (using Individual.net - I haven't tried PlusNet's
news server), browsing and software downloads are all fast.



At the time of writing, it has been on virtually continuously for a week.
[It did drop out and re-connect automatically 2 days ago. However, for
reasons which I don't understand, when this happened, I couldn't access
anything on-line until I had manually disconnected and reconnected (using
the internal modem's menu).



Overall, and I am well pleased with the service supplied by PlusNet.



[In case it's of interest, I'm using an old (PII, W98) computer running
WinRoute (free on a PC Plus Magazine Cover CD) as a software router to
share
the connection across my network. I will probably replace it in due
course
with a wireless ADSL router - so that I can sit in the garden and surf
the
web using my laptop computer!]


Hi Tim,

Thanks for taking time to write this out, feedback is much appreciated and
without it we cannot change the things that are wrong.

Just to reply to a couple of things. Firstly, Direct Debits. Unfortunately
this is something that is outside of our control. We can only accept a
Direct Debit and activate it when we get confirmation from the bank. Until
we get this we have no idea if the information you've given us is correct
or not.

Regarding the starter packs, for non-ISDN orders these are sent out in
advance of the activation date, it is only because an ISDN conversion can
fail on activation day that we don't send out the modem. We are able to
send out the hardware in advance but you would be responsible to return it
to us at your own expense should the line check fail.

--
Regards,

| Dave Tomlinson Broadband Solutions For
| Technical Support for Home & Business
| PlusNet Technologies Ltd. @ http://www.plus.net
+ ----- My Referrals - It pays to recommend PlusNet -----
 




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