Review by fivebyfive
Good "Good spam and virus filtering at the ISP"
- Location: Morgan Hill,Santa Clara,CA
- Cost: $40 per month
- Install: about 5 days
- Verizon (ex GTE)
Bad "Install kit arrived a week after EarthLink cut off my Verizon DSL service"
Overall "Solid DSL service, poor installation coordination"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I just switched from Verizon Online DSL to EarthLink DSL, mostly because I've been an EarthLink dial-up customer since about 1997. I signed up for Verizon Online DSL at a time when EarthLink didn't offer DSL in my area, but now that they do, I'll save money by getting email and DSL Internet access all from one source.
I woke up Wednesday morning, 22 November 2006, with no Internet connection. The problem was that EarthLink hadn't yet delivered the DSL "Welcome Kit" with the their modem, filters, cables and installation CD. They had cut off my Verizon Online DSL service at midnight and substituted their own signal. Thinking it might be as easy as rebooting the old Verizon-supplied Westell VersaLink Gateway Model 327W modem/router/wireless access point (Model A90-327W15-06, Rev. E; software version 03.00.63a), I cycled the power. The modem rebooted showing a green DSL light, but the Internet light remained dark. I called EarthLink on Friday to find out where the stuff was, and they told me it had shipped late Wednesday, with expected delivery next Thursday! So, here I sat, trying to run a business, limited to only 20 hours of dial-up service per month under the DSL contract! Unfortunately, they'd starting billing me for my nonexistent DSL service based on the date the order was placed, not the date at which I could first install it and take advantage of it.
When I asked about equipment compatibility at the time the DSL order was placed, the rep pleaded ignorance, saying there was no guarantee that Verizon's equipment would work with EarthLink DSL. In other words, it might work, but since EarthLink didn't supply the hardware, I'd be on my own if I tried to use it. In desperation, I spent Sunday afternoon on 26 November poring through DSL Reports forum archives to find the information needed to manually reconfigure my Westell 327W modem to work with EarthLink, and eventually succeeded (thanks to forum member Doctor Olds; no thanks to EarthLink). Sheesh! The modem reports it's now running at 1792 kbits/s downlink speed and 448 kbits/s uplink speed, which is quite good.
It would have been a lot smarter on EarthLink's part to modify their procedures for existing DSL customers switch the DSL connection at the phone company's central office only after the installation kit was delivered and hooked up by the customer. That would have provided a seamless transition for me, with at most fifteen minutes to swap DSL modems and reboot.
(The EarthLink installation kit arrived on 29 November 2006, a week after it was shipped. I opened it to examine the contents and the packing slip, but haven't used any of the materials, since the equipment that I had been using with the Verizon DSL installation is still working fine, and the modem supplied by EarthLink has fewer features.)
(Update 9 December 2006)
The modem is still reporting 1792 kbits/s downlink speed and 448 kbits/s uplink speed. Error rate is zero. Flawless performance, so far. My service location is just under 4500 feet from the central office.
(Update 7 November 2007)
Just one hiccup about a month ago, where the carrier dropped for a few minutes. It required a modem reboot. Otherwise, no problems.
(Update 26 February 2008)
The Westell 327W DSL modem from Verizon just gave up the ghost, so I ended up using the ZyXEL P-600 series DSL modem from EarthLink after all. It has a rudimentary router built into it, a rather poor firewall which fails the Gibson Research online firewall probe test, and no wireless capability. I turned the modem's firewall and router off using the browser-accessible configuration screen, i.e., put it into "bridge" mode, and set the modem to automatically log into EarthLink via PPPoE, so that if the carrier were to drop, in theory the modem would automatically get my home network back online within about 10 minutes. Then, I bought a Netgear WGR614 v7 Wireless Router that has better 802.11g wireless range and a better firewall than the Westell 327W had, making my computers totally invisible to the Internet. The wireless chip set in the WGR614 is by Atheros Communications ( »www.atheros.com ), the same as in the WG511 networking card in one of my laptop computers, so they talk to each other flawlessly, though the WGR614 still has trouble talking to my Compaq laptop equipped with a Broadcom wireless chip set. (Broadcom seems to make cheap junk that laptop vendors love to buy because it saves them a few pennies, at the expense of customers of said laptops beating their heads against the wall because they won't reliably connect to 802.11 hot spots half the time.) I don't know what chip set the Westell 327W uses, but it wouldn't connect to Compaq and Dell laptops with built-in wireless networking either.
(Update 28 September 2010)
The ZyXEL P-660R-ELNK modem from EarthLink is still working fine. However, based on my previous problem with the Westell 327W modem, I purchased a used P-660R-ELNK modem for $5 (+$5 S&H) via an eBay auction to keep as a backup if the modem in use should fail. I haven't had to contact EarthLink about replacement hardware, but would expect to be disconnected from the 'net for 7-10 days if I were to rely on them sending me a replacement modem. It's cheap insurance.
Since early July EarthLink has had a problem with logging into Web Mail. I left an inquiry with the "Web Mail Guy" on the blog site several weeks ago, but so far there hasn't been any response. The login works, but has become extremely slow, taking 1-2 minutes before the page finishes loading and my browser can auto-fill the login and password fields. This process used to take less than 10 seconds. Up-time on the DSL line has been better than 99.999% and performance has been better than the nominal 1500/384 kbps, so I have no complaints in that regard.
(Update 26 January 2011)
The slow log-in to EarthLink Web Mail finally got fixed in early October. I never did see a statement about the cause of the problem. Whatever; at least it works as it should again. I'm getting a bit tired of paying $39 per month (up from the $29 per month introductory rate) for 1.5Mbps DSL. EarthLink is capable of far faster DSL speeds at my location, although I don't really feel like I need it, since I don't download movies and the like. I'd go for reduced cost, say $14.95 to $19.95 per month for the service I now have.
(Update 17 August 2011)
When I originally got EarthLink DSL service, it was allegedly provisioned by Covad, a CLEC. A check with »www.ipchicken.com/ today indicates that the service is now provisioned by Verizon, my ILEC and land line provider. The change happened without notification, and as far as I can tell, with no interruption in service.
(Update 3 January 2012)
EarthLink's DSL service has been nearly flawless, but the EarthLink Web Mail has gone sour since around Labor Day, September 2011 -- pages and individual messages load with glacial slowness. I wouldn't have believed it, but my long relationship with EarthLink may be coming to an end soon. Multiple calls to their technical support have resulted in no resolution, and they just put the blame on my equipment. (That's unlikely, since I haven't seen any slowdown with any other sites, just EarthLink Web Mail.) I like the fact that I can send messages via EarthLink's SMTP outgoing server with an alias of my choosing, something that isn't allowed on Gmail or Yahoo! Premium, so I may keep EarthLink as an email-only account. On the other hand, other ISPs or email providers may offer the same capability. I already know I can get DSL service from Netzero here at the same speed for nearly half the price, or go to Charter Internet LITE without television service for less than $30 per month and twice the speed. EarthLink DSL was $29 per month when I started and it has increased to $39.95 per month. Since EarthLink seems to be increasingly falling behind the technology curve, the alternatives look attractive now.
(Update 13 March 2012)
After long, careful deliberation, I have dropped my EarthLink DSL service and have switched to Charter.net "Internet LITE" cable service. EarthLink's quality of customer service has been deteriorating steadily for the last 5-7 years, and the broken Web Mail service has become intolerable. Besides, Charter offers twice the speed at just $25 per month with no contract, 63% of the price of EarthLink. My ratings of EarthLink in the "Services" and "Value for the money" categories have been downgraded two steps each as a result of my most recent experience.
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updated 1.7 years ago