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Anyone have experiences with the different providers good and bad.
Will be wanting a router with firewall and a number of computers connecting via the router.
What are peoples views on fixed dedicated or variable IP addresses for the connection?
And anyone have experience with relatively easy normal and perhaps one wireless connections..
At home I have a dynamic IP (with BT OpenWorld - £27 a month or so).
The now standard Alcatel green ADSL modem plugs into a Smoothwall firewall, which also does any packet routing I want, and that goes into a small 6 port switch for all the PC's on the green zone.
Works a treat. Smoothwall automatically updates my no-ip.com client without my having to run an additional client on any of the internal PC's, so it's all nice and clean and I can't say I really miss having the static IP.
At the office, I have the same setup with static IP and that costs an extra £10 a month (from memory). If you have an old PC that you can pull into service as a firewall like Smoothwall or IP Cop (I think there's a few of these now) then you won't really need one. Unless you're running mission critical stuff, but you'd be mad to do that on ADSL anyway.
As for BT, hit and miss. The first 12 months of service were superb. Lately, we've had a few problems, but I have to say, in their defence, that their customer support is first class and the guys on the end of the help-desk are well trained and know their stuff. That's worth something.
Bulldog are meant to be pretty good. For the same price they offer a slightly higher upstream bandwidth (386kbs instead of 256kbs) on all flavours of ADSL for the same money, but only in central London. I'm thinking of upgrading the office to that as the extra bandwidth if you're doing VPN could be useful.
Wireless I'll leave to someone else - but I was thinking about doing it for the office, and as far as I can see all I would need to do with my setup is replace the hub with an access point. I don't forsee any problems.
use a "netgear" router (cost now around 80 pounds i think), which has a built in firewall and i plug 2 computers into the router plus a laptop.
if you're running xp or 2000 then its very easy to set up.
have now applied for the 1meg trial which is cheaper than the bt 512 service
When ADSL first launched I used Openworld. They were appalling. Terrible customer service (must have changed considering trillianjedi's post) and constantly losing the connection. I now use Nildram and have recommended them to about a dozen friends and clients, all with good experiences. I also use onetel. They've been ok but have had massive problems with their billing dept (£300 they took one month :o). They also route you onto the openworld network so I'm definately happiest with the Nildram connection.
If your planning on hosting anything or might want to remote desktop your machine from somewhere I'd go for fixed IP, otherwise, save a few quid and go dynamic (as trillianjedi does, you can always use no-ip or simiar).
I have about 20 machines being routed through my ADSL router at work with no problems. I wouldn't recommend any of my routers though. I have an ASUS router at home that has DNS bugs never addressed by manufacturer and a DLink at work which insists on blowing my browser full screen when I log in (reaaaaaly annoys me) and has limited number of ports you can forward. I'd be interested to hear recommendations for routers also.
A colleague of mine uses an Actiontec wireless DSL gateway. It works as either wireless or wired and he's very pleased with it. No experience on the wireless front other than that though.
I dont plan on serving or doing anything critical from the connection, even email, just for access to POP boxes, FTP etc and browsing.
I briefly thought about serving a site for the experience of it but will not have time & dont see the point. That was one aspect of a static IP I thought about also trackability ... of people using it was another ..
I recently had trouble with a demon connection at a client which we had thought would be stable enough (apparently static IP and always on) to send email for that domain diretly to the machine.
This turned out not to be the case so we just converted back to a POP for that domain.
If I remember correctly they also allow you to signup for 3 months as well as 12 months so its like a try before you buy.
Anyone using NTL?
I had a 512 connection in the office, dont go there!
the call centre staff are useless
loss of emails for days
websites down for days
control panel down for days
I could go on and on and on about there service, I'm sure you get the picture.
I'm still hooked up to them at home (due to price) but as soon as my contract expires I'm changing.
Where I work now we use Nildram that says it all ;)
I went for a job with Bulldog in the city but thats another story
They're not the cheapest, and their website makes to attempt to target "mom & pop" customers.
I think this is intentional; so as to restrict their customer base to "tech savy" individuals (IT professionals etc.) and save themselves the customer service money drain that dogs the more consumer oriented providers.
Terrible customer service (must have changed considering trillianjedi's post)
Or maybe I just got lucky? Certainly more people seem to be anti-BT than are for it, but a lot of that may be due to people's dislike of monopolies and BT in general.
I certainly found the customer service fantastic. I had a team member once on the phone to me for about 3 hours (freephone number too) helping me sort a problem. Of course, you could say that there shouldn't be problems in the first place, but my experience is every network has a problem at sometime, no matter how much redundancy technology you implement.
I do like the look of Bulldog though.....
Oh and something about the number of other users also affecting my likely speed .....
High speed ... well they soon start mentioning reasons why they list it as
"speeds up to"
and uptime rates are hard to find.
Imagine I sold a porsche, 155 top speed .... depending on your weight, the wind direction, how much ballast, gradient etc etc .... there are quite a few buyers who would look to ferrari at that point :-)
Moved downstairs into a new flat a few weeks ago, the phone number remained the same and the ADSL was still enabled on the line, however as I hadn't installed it (when i bought it they only offered the engineer install) I phoned up for a filter. They told me I couldn't have one and would have to cancel my sub and take out a new one for hte new property! Although nothing needed to be done, and tried chargin me £100 for the priv! Needless to say I told them where to stick it.
So ordered Bulldogs 2Mb line and am waiting for it to be installed, god modems are slow!
Also we have bulldog 4mb line here at work in the meantime waiting for our leased line to be transfered, to be quite honest a adsl line is not a stable line, we keep losing connections for a minute or so every so often. Very annoying. Think we are used to our rock of a leased line which never went down in 3 years. Bloody BT and their 60 day lead time!