Reliability of internet connections
Just had chance to catch up on the “Web client or desktop client? thread. A very important side-issue arose, namely “Reliability of internet connections”. @MRKDavies asked if AWeb could do a survey as to how this issue has affected people.
Whilst I consider how a survey could be worded, it’s worth mentioning my experience over the last few days.
On Friday morning the BT line went down, across which my firm’s broadband is hosted That was a total loss of voice and data. This has happened before and can come back. But when it didn’t I rang BT. The line test was OK, but we had no dial tone, the phone wouldn’t ring and of course thre was no internet access. BT diverted incoming calls to my mobile, which was OK short-term.
@anthionymellor mentioned his firm uses a Zyxel 2WG router, with sim card. At around £150, this is one of a number of devices that can automatically route the internet onto 3G if the landline fails, I believe.
Alternatively, in our office we have a 5-user MiFi, through which connection can be made manually. These units are small enough to be pocketed on the move, and are available from Three and Vodafone for around £50 plus SIM contract. You can put in an existing 3G dongle SIM if you have one. Not a perfect connection, but at least some degree of internet access can be restored for a homeworker, small business or small workgroup. (It’s also a way to avoid having to take out a new micro-SIM contract for an iPad, if you already have a data SIM contract).
The line was restored mid-morning Monday. Malfunctioning equipment at the exchange apparently. Only one business day lost, but three full days over the weekend.
In terms of reasons to lose a line, on Saturday someone told me their phone line had gone down when a neighbour’s line had been added, and the engineer had fouled the wiring in the local cabinet. A couple of years ago all the locality lost their lines when the main wiring was vandalized in an attempted theft one Wednesday morning. So there can be all sorts of reasons to lose the line and any internet connection.
Subscribing to a different broadband provider does not help if they also share the BT lines. But Virgin cable is an alternative, which as far as I know is a network totally independent from BT, at least until it connects into the internet.
Intermittent outage can be because of contention, sharing the internet access with other users. As @daveforbes mentions, this is worse on a residential line than a business line. So when BT Resiodential rang up this morning offering BT Infinity’s 20MBit connection to potentially replace the 2MBit business connection, it is tempting. However, probably better to pay a bit extra to upgrade our business line.
It certainly pays to have at least two ways of connecting to the internet. What other alternatives?
And what other experience do you have of good or bad internet connectivity?