Zen internet (& others)

From: william (WILLIAMA)19 Apr 10:19
To: ALL1 of 14
A few weeks ago, Mrs WilliamA pointed out that our Virginmedia TV box had been on standby for nearly a fortnight. In that time we had watched YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and a bit of Freeview courtesy of our telly. We had made a handful of phone calls on our mobiles, and spoken to family and friends over Zoom, Facetime, Messenger etc. Our "landline" was untouched. Essentially, I was paying nearly £60 a month for two services we hardly use and £40 plus for broadband which we do use.

I said we should swap to the gigabit service that a firm called CityFibre have been destroying the pavements of Worthing for, over the last 6 months. Scrap the TV feed and landline. The Virgin broadband has been the fastest show in town for ages at, but now it's slower and more expensive than the alternatives. She said, what if there's an amazing new TV series that everybody's watching? I said that I was sure my friend Jim would let us see it.

So here we are with Zen internet's 900+ service. No introductory price (beyond free installation and setup) just £40 per month for ever - or until it goes up for everybody. Been fine so far, and very interesting. With a service that actually exceeds the specifications of most of our kit's ability to use it, you start to discover just how stingy manufacturers are when it comes to network chipsets and cards. The shabby Qualcomm card in my laptop peaks at around 200 mbits when it's right by the router, whereas my phone tells me that at least 450 mbits are available. We seldom hit the 900+ even on ethernet connected directly to the router, but it's usually close.

Interesting looking at the forums too. So many people seem to have the idea that it's like a water supply and if the pressure drops below 900 at any point then they're being cheated. They appear to believe that out there on the internet everything runs on massive arrays of Xeon or Epyc based servers, through fibre, directly to their ISP who only has to pump it straight to their homes. If only they could see the scrappy old Pentium rack-mount that their favourite online store still uses, or the miles of old copper twisted pair that makes up part of the journey, or the three million other people trying to hammer the same disks that they are, or the people like my FIL, endlessly repeating the same online query because the answer didn't come back straight away. It's something of a miracle that anybody ever gets the maximum speed.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)19 Apr 14:20
To: william (WILLIAMA) 2 of 14
Our 'smart' tv struggles bringing down a daily fix of filth and trash over the 5mbps (15 nominal) from the cutrate, third-party isp we hooked up to a couple of years ago (it does 100KB/s up on a good day, which is a bit of a problem for WFH on rare occasions, but that's another story). Broadband and mobile are wildly overpriced in this here colony compared to uncolonized, savage territories as well as the mothership.
From: william (WILLIAMA)19 Apr 14:42
It still amazes me. It doesn't seem that long ago that there were no personal computers apart from hobby things that could say "hello world" or (if you were lucky) send a pie-chart to your b&w telly. Then when the internet was a thing, you could manage 15 minutes if you were wealthy and nobody wanted to make a phone call, in which time you could fire up the mighty 14.4K modem and maybe open half a dozen web pages - some of them successfully. Now we watch 4K films on the tellybox, while No1 son is YouTubing somewhere else and we both have our laptops on the go as well.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)19 Apr 14:59
To: william (WILLIAMA) 4 of 14
We still have a 56k modem on standby near the phone jack (kept for use as a fax), under about a snow shovel of dust.
From: ANT_THOMAS19 Apr 15:02
To: william (WILLIAMA) 5 of 14
Were you on VM 350 previously?
Are you noticing much real world difference?

Since I've been spending most of my time at my girlfriends in the past 12 months I've been on a 35mbit Sky connection. Whilst it's obviously not as quick as my home VM 350mbit connection, for day to day use it's not a whole lot different.

Netflix streams quickly, Sky on demand stuff, Youtube, etc etc

Jim speeds are obviously lower, but if you're not in a massive rush it's no big deal.

Just if, for whatever reason, I want to download a big file it feels slow.
I do like seeing 35+ MB/s download speeds.

Upload speed is a bit pants, but being able to shift 20+GB in an 8 hour period means my nightly backups of photos etc back to my home server work fine.

Would I take a gigabit connection for £40/month? Absolutely, wouldn't think twice.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)19 Apr 15:40
To: ANT_THOMAS 6 of 14
20+GB in an 8 hour period means my nightly backups of photos


From: ANT_THOMAS19 Apr 15:45
~7mbit upload speed - nothing ground breaking.
0.875 MB/s upload
8 hours = 24.6 GB
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)19 Apr 15:53
To: ANT_THOMAS 8 of 14
OIC, you meant the capacity, not the actual volume of nightly uploads.
From: ANT_THOMAS19 Apr 16:14
Yeah, rarely hit the limit unless I've had a big trip out or not backed up in a couple of weeks.

Probably helps that I've stopped shooting bracketed for the time being, so I'm not taking 3x the photos I need.
From: william (WILLIAMA)19 Apr 16:17
To: ANT_THOMAS 10 of 14
I had/have their 200 mbit service. There is a huge improvement for usenet, but no, for most things no big difference. Thing is, Zen offered the 900+ thing for the same price as Virgin's 200+, so why not?

I still have Virgin until 16 May and I'm quite attracted by the prospect of Northern Exposure, 115 episodes, around 460GB.
From: koswix 9 May 21:52
To: william (WILLIAMA) 11 of 14
I recently did the Virgin cancelation dance and ended up upgrading to their gigabit service. The new hub thing seems, so far, a chunk more reliable than the SUPER hub 3 I had before.

We live in a wee village so I'm not spoiled for choice when it comes to ISPs - I believe there's FTTC through openreach, but I cut my BT phoneline down as it was annoying me and so now it just terminates by being tied round a branch on my apple tree. Virgin Media cabled the village about 5 years ago (we've been here 3), so it's all shiny new fibre to the premises stuff. And as there's only about 2k people in the village, contention ratios have never been much of an issue.

Shame about the upload speed, though: Gigabit down, 50 meg up  T_T
From: koswix 9 May 21:57
To: william (WILLIAMA) 12 of 14
If you're stuck for seeders let me know, I have them all downloaded - although I'm not convinced they've got the right soundtrack (licensing issues meant many of the home format releases of the show had shitty musak instead of the real stuff). Should probably check that at some point....
From: william (WILLIAMA) 9 May 22:38
To: koswix 13 of 14
There was a blu-ray remaster with all the original music (oddly enough produced for the UK market not the US). Somebody left all 110 episodes lying around on usenet. 
From: william (WILLIAMA)12 May 20:26
To: koswix 14 of 14
If Virgin had offered a Gbit connection for the same price, I'd have been completely happy to stay with them. Their cable internet was fine at 200 Mbits, but they were 100% set to exploit the "fastest show in town" act with loads of stuff I didn't want. When I asked for a breakdown of the bill, which was hitting a £100 per month, they completely played the "it's complicated" card so I thought, fuck it, let's just get rid of it all.

Be interested to know what the GBit service costs, because they quoted me £50 for the 500Mbit service and £60 something for the Gbit service (when it's available)...although, fair enough, they admitted they weren't going to beat the £40 Zen price.