Wanadoo 8mb Broadband: Any Good?

  Flopper 22:03 23 Feb 06
Locked

I was (and technically still am) on Tiscali 2mb Broadband with no download limit @ £17.99 per month. I am in mid-transfer to Wanadoo 8mb with a 6GB download limit (which is fine for me) for and extra £5 per month. I am still on Tiscali but my Wanadoo should(?) kick in any time now. Unfortunately since I 'signed' up over the phone I have read a lot of negative feedback re: Wanadoo, but to be fair Tiscali had a lot of initial problems but now have almost 1 million subscribers so they must be OK. I have read that only 1 in 20 households actually enjoy the full 8mb although I am informed my exchange and my line 'should' be able to handle it. I have a nagging feeling that I have made a monumental error in switching my ISP.
Does anybody agree or disagree, based on personal experience or otherwise?

  ade.h 23:39 23 Feb 06

If you want to back out, what about Freedom2Surf? Still 8Mbits, but a bit cheaper than Wanadon't at £20 and the allowance is more generous at 10GB. More to the point, the included features are more generous as well, and there is no contract!

The reliability has been perfect for all of the last 18 months. The phone support has gone downhill a little bit, with longer waiting times, but that's it.

There are other similar options out there.

  Flopper 13:35 24 Feb 06

Are you getting the full 8mb?
I ran a quick test on the Freedom website and my line will take between 512kbps and 2mb, although this is not an exhaustive test, so maybe an upgrade would be a waste of time?
BT will not tell me if the exchange or my line can handle it because I have dared to go to someone other than BT.

  amonra 14:27 24 Feb 06

For 8 MB you have to be pretty close to the exchange, with no nasties on the line, and well nigh perfect setup. Good luck!

  bloo meeny 17:32 24 Feb 06

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Wanadoo announcing my free upgrade to 8MB a few days later.
Sure enough, on the following Monday evening, things were definitely faster and I awaited the Wanadoo email which would confirm the new line speed....

On Wednesday, their email confirmed that my line was capable of the full 8MB - great !! It also had a link to a webpage, and said that I'd need to upgrade my modem drivers to enable the full speed.
Four of the modems featured had direct links to the drivers, but the bottom two (mine included) said to contact Wanadoo Customer Services.

When I did so, I explained that I had the Alcatel USB Speedtouch modem (the one known as the 'stingray', because of the shape). His response was "Ok" ..... "Aah" ..... "Errrrmmm", so I asked whether I was the FIRST caller to have that model?
Eventually, (great money-spinners, those 0870 numbers), YES I had to upgrade the drivers, and a web page was provided (after he'd looked it up on the internet !!)

I updated the drivers and ..... ended up with a computer that refused to start up!!!! Just a blank screen with a flashing cursor. A second call to Wanadoo got me nowhere so I fiddled for about two hours and got it to start but it was reporting errors left, right and centre and finally went into an endless boot repeat sequence.

I backed-up, wiped C drive and re-installed. All ok again. I spoke to a friend the following day, who downloaded the drivers from a different source. He'd read about something called the "Speedtouch Modem Optimizer" and said my the new drivers should work ..... Yep, you guessed - I tried them again - BINGO, one unusable PC !!!!!!!

After a SECOND wipe/install (and a THIRD call to you-know-who, during which I discovered they had no knowledge of any modem optimizer utility - or at least they weren't saying), everything is now running fine ON THE ORIGINAL MODEM DRIVERS and I have NO intention of updating them ..... ever !!!

My broadband speed? Well, I HAVE had the full speed (measured 1000 kbps using online speed test) a few times, BUT it generally settles down to around the 2MB mark. At least it's faster than my previous 512k (and at the same price of £17-99).

As a conclusion, it appears that the newer drivers are NOT required to 'enable' 8MB, so anyone with the same modem, please learn from my experience.
I have also read that the processor speed and CPU load at any given moment, can directly affect download speed - so bear in mind my computer spec given below. I believe my reduced speed (8MB to about 2MB) has more to do with contention ratio and time of day/night as it has dropped below 1MB at times.
Also, it has dropped the connection a few times, requiring a restart.

PC: 550Mhz PIII 512MB W98SE - assembled April 2000
ADSL Modem: Alcatel Speedtouch USB

Original modem drivers (from Freeserve Broadband CD): V140.3R
Updated modem drivers (NOT USED): V3.0.1

  Ray5776 18:30 24 Feb 06

I was thinking of doing exactly the opposite ie switching from Wanadoo to Tiscali.
8MB is the max you can get not the norm, I have the 8MB but can only get 2.2MB it depends on lots of things but mainly the speed of your phone line.
Tiscali says it is unlimited which is what I want,
Wanadoo has capping and different prices so read the contract carefully before commiting yourself.

Ray

  Jackcoms 19:05 24 Feb 06

Have any of you bothered to check if your BT exchange is capable of 8mb?

If it isn't your ISP could offer 1,000mb and you'll never achieve it!

click here type in your phone number and postcode and click 'Check!.

  Jackcoms 19:08 24 Feb 06

And on the next page click 'BT ADSL'

  Flopper 19:40 24 Feb 06

Jackcoms...I mentioned in my earlier post that BT will not tell me if the exchange or my line can handle it because I have dared to go to someone other than BT.
I followed the link and got this message:
"The following level of service is available at your location:

You can receive 2Mbps ADSL
You can receive 1Mbps ADSL
You can receive 512Kbps ADSL
You can receive 256Kbps ADSL

You are approximately 1.18km from the exchange (straight line distance).

However, there appears to a compatibility issue with your phone line. This could be caused by an existing broadband connection, ISDN, a DACS unit, TPON, a pending ADSL order or many other common issues. This will need to be resolved before ADSL can be supplied to your line"

As regards my PC I have a (self built) 3GB P4 with 1GB of PC3200 400mhz Kingston memory on an ABIT IC7-G Motherboard and a 256MB Sapphire Radeon 9800XT graphics card so I should be able to handle it.
I will be using my own Router, a Netgear 4 port 10/100Mbps DG834 which I am told is ADSL 2 enabled, whatever that means.

On balance I am seriously thinking of cancelling the Wanadoo application and renewing with Tiscali if I am only going to get 2mb anyway.
Wanadoo may be able to tell me if and when the exchange will be capable of supporting an 8mb speed but if they waffle, they can whistle.

  bloo meeny 19:49 24 Feb 06

Yes, I have checked before and it is, the link you give only confirms up to 2MB though.

I figured that Friday evening might be a busy time online, so just ran online speed test 3 times - and got 310 kbps, then a minute later 90 kbps, another minute later, it gave 454 kbps ..... a typical indication of how it is bound to vary.

I'm not worried about the speed particularly (and I don't even know if my connection is capped as such !!)
I responded mainly because 'Flopper' requested personal experiences re 8MB but also to highlight the modem driver issue.

  Jackcoms 20:34 24 Feb 06

"Wanadoo may be able to tell me if and when the exchange will be capable of supporting an 8mb speed"

No, they won't. It's a BT exchange and they set the rules.

If you really want 8mb now, have a chat with your local cable provider.

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