Review by JimBee
Good "Uncapped/Unthrottled, Speeds as advertised, MLPPP, Free OpenVPN/SSL, Inexpensive!"
- Location: Kingston,ON
- Cost: $75 per month (month by month)
- Install: about 60 days
- Bell Canada
Bad "Like most wholesalers, Acanac is at the mercy of Bell to connect their own users"
Overall "Fantastic value if you're willing to do whatever it takes to get your lines working"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I ordered Acanac's 2x Dry Loop MLPPP service at the beginning of August 2011 for my new apartment. I opted to use all of my own hardware, which is:
2 Thomson Speedtouch 516v6 ADSL2+ Modems
Linksys WRT54GL v1.1 running Tomato/MLPPP
I didn't manage to get down to the apartment to test out the connection until around August 14th. When I got to the place, I plugged in one of my modems, stuck in the log in info provided and was surfing the internet within minutes! My line stats were amazing as well.
The problems began when I tried to get my second line working. There were obvious physical issues with the line which I knew were my own responsibility (it was frayed and spliced in multiple locations).
One thing to note is the apartment I moved into is located in downtown Kingston, which any Bell technician will tell you is a complete mash-up of legacy phone lines running all over the place.
Undaunted (and because I've had to do this in my last old Kingston apartment) I hired my own third party technician to re-run the lines from my apartment to the demarc. This was expected on my part and I was willing ahead of time to spend the money. Unfortunately it cost a little bit more than I thought it would as there were issues in the building (multiple splits, this place was an old department store). It ended up costing me $260 for parts and labor. Expensive yes, but definitely worth the piece of mind, now I know the lines from my apartment to the demarc are perfect.
The lines were re-run and fixed on August 31st, however when my tech went to hook up my second line at the demarc, nothing was labelled or set aside (Bell hadn't been up at the demarc to connect it) so I was unfortunately still stuck with only half my service working. I started a ticket right away with Acanac informing them that they need to send a Bell technician to come connect my second line from the pole to the demarc.
This is unfortunately where the problems began. Acanac opened the tickets for Bell to send a technician up to set up the lines but Bell kept closing them without anything having happened. Three tickets were opened (over the course of two weeks) until finally fourth time was the charm.
I should also note at this point that I never once tried to contact their telephone support -- all of my contact with Acanac was done over emails (email@example.com) and by messaging Acanac representatives on DSLR here. I was frustrated with how long it was taking so I had to start my own thread in the Canadian Broadband forum in order to get some attention on my case.
Right away Acanac called me and explained that Bell had been closing the tickets without actually fixing anything and that they were re-submitting it (for the fourth time) and a technician should be contacting me soon (this was around the last week of September).
Sure enough, a Bell technician (who I later learned was the head technician for Kingston) contacted me and set up an appointment for the next morning at 8 AM.
The Bell tech arrived and after examining the lines at the demarc, realised that my second line was in the basement of the building next door (legacy lines). He said that whoever had been closing the tickets must have been new and clearly didn't realise how phone lines worked in downtown Kingston.
We went to the basement of the building next door (it's actually all one building that's now attached together), hooked it up and bingo, everything worked.
Getting MLPPP to work from that point onwards was a bit of a challenge but something I was completely willing to do and my troubles had nothing to do with Acanac.
Now my two 5Mbit ADSL fastpath connections are bonded and I'm chugging along at 8000Kbps down and 1200Kbps up. This is exactly what is expected as fastpath has some overhead (10Mbit on ADSL fastpath works out to about 8Mbit actual download).
I download at ~1MB/s and upload around ~150KB/s. And my latency has been halved (10ms to google.ca!) The connection has been extremely reliable, although sometimes I'm dropped to only one modem when the MLPPP doesn't connect right away. This typically fixes itself
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I'm a unique case. I'm extremely "tech savvy" and have experience with DSL lines and downtown Kingston. I was also willing to pay a third party tech to re-run my lines and I understand the frustration that is getting a Bell tech out (those techs are worth their weight in gold). I do not blame Acanac for this.
That said, I can understand how the typical user would have been completely frustrated with the situation. What made things acceptable was the fact that my single line has been working since basically day 1. I was never once left without internet access (even if it was only half the service I pay for).
Of course I'm disappointed that Teksavvy later rolled out ADSL2+ plans (up to 16mbit) literally a week after I signed up for Acanac's 2xMLPPP. Bad timing on my part. However, now that I've gone through all the trouble to get my two lines working properly, I'm eagerly awaiting Acanac's upgrade to ADSL2+ so that I might bond two faster connections.
It's worth noting that if I had only ordered their vanilla 5Mbit service, it would have been up and running the day I moved in and would have been perfect. All of my woes came from me trying to get my second line connected, which I willingly knew would be difficult.
So, if you know that your lines work, Acanac all the way. But if there are issues/you think you might need extensive support, this is not for you.
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