an Alternative to ADSL

Since I moved to Canary Wharf I’ve had intermittent problems with my ADSL. Mostly its OK. But sometimes for days the speed will drop from 6 Mbps down to 1 Mbps or worse. It will stay like this for a couple of hours or sometimes a few days. Apparently this due to the line or exchange or something that several BT engineers were unable to fully fix although they did work hard to solve it.

I guess I shouldn’t complain because a large part of the Isle of Dogs has such slow ADSL that dial-up is faster (sadly not an exaggeration).

My block is wired for FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) but most ISP’s are only geared up to sell FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) so if FTTP is available  at all its usually pretty pricey or has a lot of limits or both.  BT have a competitive offer for FTTP but on an 18 month contract which seems way too long to me.

Then a short while ago I saw advertised at the Wharf . Its unlimited and there is an option for a month at a time contract so I decided to give it a whirl and a few days after ordering it the router arrived and was installed in just a few minutes. It uses 4G/LTE technology rather than a fixed line of any kind. So installation is plugging into the mains!

Thats where the fun starts.  Relish have a postcode based checker on their site which estimates the bandwidth you’ll get. They estimated 30 Mbps and on turning on the router I was getting 24 occasionally drifting up to 30. Since I’d just sat it down on an empty space on my desk I thought I’ll try moving it around to get a better signal.

By some weird coincidence that one spot I first sat it down in is the best signal by far! If I move it as little as an inch in any direction the rate can drop down to 8 Mbps or worse. Not sure why its so location sensitive but its something to be wary of.

Relish don’t offer a static IP to home users (only to business users) so I used to get its address so I can connect in from outside.  Although there is a dyndns client built into the router unfortunately the way the Relish network works meant the built in dyndns client registers the wrong address. So I disabled it and ran up a client with more options on one of my servers.

After a few days of use all seems well with it. The download speed is a little variable but is still such a huge improvement over what I had before.