Review by BronsCon
Good "Quick install, fast speeds, low pings"
- Location: Walnut Creek,Contra Costa,CA
- Cost: $56 per month
- Install: about 4 days
Overall "Great ISP"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
UPDATE [Dec 24, 2013]:
A year in, I'm coming back to update my review and fill in the newly-added review fields. Still nothing bad to say about these guys, I've only ever had to call support when I had a service question, never for a service issue, and I've gotten responses directly from the CEO (see below, as well as on the Sonic.net support forums) on multiple occasions. I can't seem to get Annex-M working properly, but that's more to do with the old copper in my building than anything Sonic.net has control over.
I sync at a little over 18mbps down and 1.3mbps up, so 16/1.1 is right on the money. I also love that they don't cap and, since my stats are good and line is stable, they were more than happy to put me on fast-path; they even took me off the automated throttling (in place to resolve service issues on marginal lines) after I accidentally triggered it one night while messing with my cabling, at my request, of course.
During one of my "do you guys care if I *** on your network" calls, I grilled one of their support reps really good, asking all kinds of questions the average user might run up against (hey, I have friends who aren't as tech-savvy as me, I wanted to know if it was safe to refer them!) and they passed that test with flying colors, as well. Definitely recommended for anyone who wants a stable connection and doesn't necessarily need the fastest of fast speeds, whether tech-savvy or completely new to the internet.
UPDATE [Nov 6, 2012 #2]:
Looks like I jumped the gun on that last update, as I'm able to connect to mail services on my VPS on port 25. Looks like that's open for me, as well. Whether that's a result of my having a static IP or due to my request in the comments below (in reply to Dane), I don't know, but the fact is it's at least possible to have outbound port 25 opened up. All kinds of good over here.
I also realized I didn't explain the points removed for pre sales info and install co-ordination, so I'll do that in this update. Also, the total monthly cost is an estimate for now, as I haven't gotten my first non-install bill yet.
Pre Sales Information: My entire pre-sales experience was the Sonic.net website, which seemed to indicate that I was actually getting less than is actually included with my account. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, from the point of view of someone who is getting more than they expected. However, from the perspective of someone who may be looking for a small amount of online storage space and a dedicated fax number along with their internet connection, making it clear on the website that these services are included might sway a few more people who are still unsure about making the switch to Sonic.net.
Install Co-ordination: I can't fault Sonic.net for this one, but they had no idea AT&T had been out to connect my phone line already. I placed the order after office hours on a Friday, so I'm considering it as placed on Monday, allowing for the fact that AT&T doesn't do weekend installs. Come Thursday, I decided I may as well hook up my phone, so I can decide where I want it (the phone jacks are in odd locations in this apartment) and I was surprised to find that I had a dial tone, despite never having been notified by Sonic that AT&T had even been scheduled to come out. It turns out that the tech who connected my office lines on Thursday had grabbed a list of all pending installs in the area and swung by and hooked the line up (it's an apartment complex, so I didn't need to be home to allow them access to the NID, and Sonic does the final hook-up so they didn't need in my apartment). Since the install wasn't scheduled at that time, Sonic had no way of knowing it was completed. When I called Sonic and informed them that I had dial tone, they made a test call to the number to verify that it was correct; since it was, they were able to cancel my install and refund my install fee. They overnighted me a modem (which UPS failed to deliver so I had to go pick it up, no big deal) and I was online the following Monday. Since I didn't need to call them once I had the modem, and I had dial tone on Thursday, I'm considering Thursday to be "success"; Monday -> Thursday is 4 days, so there we go.
UPDATE [Nov. 6, 2012]:
Port 53 inbound isn't blocked, I simply misconfigured my router. It sounds like port 25 outbound may be blocked, however, so I'll have to look into that, as I was hoping to move mail services off of my VPS and host them locally. I'll come back and update this review again once I get around to that, likely sometime in January.
Simply put, they don't cap (though they will on request; for example, my home line runs great uncapped, but my office lines are both unstable unless capped to below their max attainable rate). What your line syncs at, that's the speed you get. To top it off, the price tag includes a modem, a phone line with all the features, unlimited long distance, 8hr of calling to a long list of countries outside the US, web-based faxing with a dedicated number, web hosting, and, for single-line accounts (e.g. the TMC listed on this review), one free static IP.
My office is 6500ft out, my home is about 6200ft out. I get ~18mbps down and ~3mbps up on 2 Annex M lines at the office and ~18mbps down and ~1.2mbps up on one Annex A line at home (Annex M had no effect other than making the line unstable at home). Internal wiring quality dictates a much larger performance difference than would be expected (e.g. the wiring at office sucks, while the wiring at my home is pristine). None of this is Sonic.net's fault, it's just the nature of DSL.
The few times I've called in for support (static IP, switch to Annex M, switch the home line back to Annex A, switch the home line to fastpath [5-12ms pings to local servers, BTW]), hold times were short and the techs were knowledgeable enough to hold an intelligent conversation about line stats and capabilities. One tech even went so far as to email me a tone index for one of my office lines that was unstable; I was able to determine from that information that a bridge tap exists in the internal wiring for that line (thereby saving me from paying a tech to come out to tell me they couldn't touch it since it's internal wiring).
Speeds are great, I've not once gotten less than expected from either my home or office connections (based on sync rates). Pingtimes blow away any other ISP I've dealt with; even the office connection, which is on an interleave profile, has pingtimes ~30ms lower than our old ISP. My home connection, on fastpath, enjoys typical pings of 5-12ms with 1ms of jitter to local servers.
My only complaint is that inbound port 53 is blocked, but I only noticed that tonight and have not called to ask about getting it opened up, so I won't hold that against them.
I highly recommend this ISP if they're available at your location. Take the time to get your line set up correctly and you won't regret it.
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updated 10 days ago