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G4 Communications page on DSLReports
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Review by tschmidt See Profile

  • Location: Milford,Hillsborough,NH
  • Cost: $59 per month
  • Install: about 14 days
  • Telco party G4 Communications
Good "Much improved speed, more phone features, lower cost"
Bad "so far nothing"
Overall "I'm excited about the higher speed."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

12/2/2013 Update
Well it has been an uneventful year - which for an ISP is great. Service has been rock solid, nice getting rid of PPPoE. Speed is not capped so it varies a little based on line conditions. Upload sync speed never changes at 996 kbps, download varies from low of 6488 to high of 7616 Kbps. Summer speed tends to be a little slower then winter. Speed test results indicates no congestion and am getting close to theoretical file transfer rate.

ISP lost an email server so was without ISP email for a few days. I only use ISP email to upload home automation status reports. If it had not been for that would not have even noticed outage.

Landline phone service has unlimited nationwide calling - nice not being concerned about talk time.

I had a problem with my hosting service. ISP tech support was very helpful running some tests to identity the routing issue at the server farm even though it had nothing to do with them.

I still lust for for more speed but the reality is Netfix and Youtube work just fine and large downloads complete in a reasonable amount of time.

2/8/2013 Update
The February bill shows a bunch of new taxes and fees bringing the monthly total to $59.05 a $3.14 increase, Cost of phone and DSL service has not changed.

$6.50 Federal Access Charge
$3.20 Primary Exchange Carrier Fee
$0.23 Local Number portability
$0.57 E911
$1.68 NH Communication Services Tax (new)
$0.72 Federal Tax (new)
$1.60 Federal Universal Service Fee (new)
$0.11 Telecommunication Relay Service Fee (new)

Some of the new charges are the same as FairPoint but I wish they had all been disclosed upfront.

1/28/2013 Update
After a month DSL and phone have been rock solid. Due to circuit length downstream sync speed varies a little, currently syncing at 7084/996. Upstream speed never changes and margin is 9-11 dB, downstream margin varies from 5-10 dB. File transfer benchmark is consistent with sync speed even at low margin. Having DHCP is nice since it appears IP address is bound to MAC so it never changes.

»www.speedtest.net/result/2468527102.png
I just realized the letter grade from Speedtest.net is useless varying for A - D+ for the same speed. Assignment must be driven by recent speed tests rather then some larger metric..

12/19/2012 Update
We survived the first week - DSL has been very stable.

Upstream sync rate is stable 996 kbps with 11 dB of margin.

Down stream sync rate varies a little from a low of 6967 kbps to high of 7266 kbps. If you restart the ADSL connection the modem picks the highest possible sync rate appropriate to current line conditions. Even if line conditions degrade a little sync rate is maintained down to 4-6 dB before speed is downshifted. Downstream transmit power is maxed out at 19 dBm so if line condition degrades the only option is to automatically reduce speed. Surprisingly even when margin is poor end-to-end speed testing reflects the current sync rate. Modem is still able to support sync rate at low margin.
»www.speedtest.net/result/2382481309.png

Interestingly first hop latency is slightly higher than with FairPoint DSL, 28 ms vs 23 ms. I assume that is due to higher modem interleave but I do not know for sure. Neither the modem GUI nor Telnet CLI has any info about interleave. Traceroute shows latency staying at 28 ms throughout the G4 network.

12/14/2012 We had been a FairPoint ADSL customer for many years. Due to distance capped at 3000/768 (3360/864kbps sync speed). Service has been stable, except for occasional problems with PPPoE. However: 3 Mbps is not as fast as it used to be so I’ve been looking to upgrade for years. But due to distance was out of luck.

G4 Communication is a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier). They rent copper subscriber loop (UNE) from FairPoint and collocate equipment in FairPoint’s local central offices. Luckily for me Milford is one of the locations they have their own equipment. They are primarily focused on business customers but now offer a very attractive residential phone and DSL bundle. Given they are a small local company though I’d give them a try.

Since I already had phone and DSL from FairPoint the switchover was easy. G4 notified FairPoint of the change and had them move my circuit to G4 equipment in the Central Office. At the same time G4 sent me an ADSL router. I ordered G4 service Nov 31; go live date was scheduled for Dec 5, FairPoint did not do the cutover until morning of Dec 10.

DSL
G4 markets speed differently than Verizon and FairPoint, there are no tiers. ADSL2/ADSL2+ is capable of up to 24 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up depending on line conditions. If you are close to the CO get 24 Mbps, far away like me, slower. Our line had very good margin at 3 Mbps so I was comfortable we would get higher speed but would not know precisely how much until after the cut-over.

Like FairPoint G4 does not impose any monthly caps. That is a plus since we are a Netflix user.

G4 uses DHCP rather than PPPoE, which should result in more stable service and a slight reduction in overhead. G4 gives customers choice of a Zyxel P660R-D1 or Comtrend CT-5071T ADSL2/ADSL2+ ADSL2/router. I picked the Zyxel. Unit was delivered Dec 4 preconfigured in bridge mode with the expectation customer use their own router.

I prefer using an all-in-one modem/router so with G4’s permission defaulted the router and reconfigured it once line was working correctly. The user manual that came with the router was pretty much useless but the GUI configuration screens are pretty straight forward with surprising good built in help. There is a newer version of the user manual on Zyxel’s web site that is much better. G4 gave me all the magic incantations I needed to configure the WAN side.

Line was syncing at 7.5 Mbps in the morning but by the afternoon had become unstable. Margin was very poor 6 dB or less. One of the advantages of ADSL2/2+ is that modem/DSLAM constantly try to adjust sync speed up and down based on varying line conditions. So regardless of line condition should have been able to find a stable sync speed.

I called support; they did some line tests and scheduled a tech for the next day. In the interim I asked to have speed capped lower so we could use the Internet. Tech arrived on time and performed several line quality tests. Said line looked fine and it was not clear why it was unstable. Assumption was that upshift/downshift thresholds were occurring at the same level as noise causing modem to hunt. To stabilize circuit upshift and downshift thresholds were adjusted.

Line is now syncing at 6947/996 with about 10 dB of margin. Speedtest.net reports 5.84 Mbps down .84 up, about double the download speed we had before. According to speedtest.net my broadband is still only rated as D+ but I’m a happy camper with the higher speed.

POTS
This is a bundled plan, plain old telephone service (POTS) and ADSL. Phone service includes unlimited calling in the US and Canada and Caller ID. There were a couple of other features we did not want so I asked them to be disabled, voicemail and call-waiting. We have our own answering machine; it is easier to look at a physical machine then log into a remote server. Plus it provides a way to determine if we lose power. I’m not a fan of call-waiting so had that feature disabled.

Thanks to phone number portability we were able to transfer our existing number to G4. That was an important consideration as we have had it for many years and did not want a new phone number.

Cost
G4 requires automatic credit card billing, no paper statements. Residential ADSL/POTS bundle is $44.44 a month, with taxes and other fees comes to $55.91. Because we already had phone service there was a one-time activation charge of $60. If they need to have FairPoint install a new service one-time cost is a little higher.

Summary
Too soon to tell for sure how stable this will be long term but so far so good. Nice getting double the speed and more phone features for about $20 a month less than before. Tech support and sales have been great. Nice being able to talk to someone not reading a script and willing to work with the customer to resolve problems and answer questions.

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