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Magma Communications page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating Unavailable
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Reviews:
bullet 12 reviews (9 good) (0 bad)
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Review by ryuhosuke See Profile

  • Location: Markham,ON
  • Cost: $40 per month
Good "Excellent Service"
Bad "Wait times are long to speak to a rep"
Overall "good value"
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My Other Reviews

·TekSavvy Cable
There was not any other options but it was recommended by a former pastor at my church. loyal customer for almost 8 years now and even gave me a free month of internet service.
At that time it was 1.5 Mbps now under Primus brand its 5 Mbps

Order was quick and painless no technician required.

That time it was an ovislink modem until it decided not to work anymore so primus gave me a speedtouch modem.

No relevant experience except the long wait times to speak to a representitive.

member for 3.7 years, 149 visits, last login: 208 days ago
lodged 3.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by cmh See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $55 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Was a great company with excellent tech support"
Bad "Bought by primus. Enough said."
Overall "If I could turn back time."
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I was on the professional DSL service that came with a static address. Paid about C$55 a month for this, which by today's standards is overpriced. At the time it was pretty good. They were great and had good support. I once had an installation snag, but I believe this was Bell's fault. They were bought by Primus, and customer service was eviscerated. Today we still use their data centre for work stuff, but the quality there is gone too. I was happy with Magma, but hate dealing with Primus and so discontinued service in spring 2009.

member for 7.1 years, 67 visits, last login: 19 days ago
lodged 5.5 years ago

Comments:

Review by Mark Rejhon See Profile

  • Location: Ottawa,ON
  • Cost: $79 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 3 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Reliability, low latency, massive bandwidth, zero downtime switching DSL service"
Bad "Virtually none so far"
Overall "I keep switching back to Magma from Rogers, Sympatico, I*Stop, etc."
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Been with Magma at various time since 1995 in the dialup and ISDN days. More recently, last year, 2003, I decided to switch back to Magma from I*Stop. I already had my own DSL modem (Alcatel Speedtouch Home DSL Ethernet). Here goes...

What did I order, What do I have...

I ordered the Magma 3 Mbps Premium DSL service (soon to be 4 Mbps in March 2004 at no extra charge). The cost is $64.95 per month plus $15 static IP address. PPPoE is required for all residential DSL connections in Ottawa. However, I had my own router (BEFW11S4) and my own DSL modem (Alcatel Speedtouch Home DSL). I have a LAN of several computers are more than one switch, and also a hardware firewall.

Seamless Switch...

After three business days later (normally fiive, all I had to do was change the PPPoE password and I was on Magma. That was a 100% seamless switch. Apparently in Ottawa, you can have multiple DSL providers simultaneously on the same phone line -- all you need to do is change your PPPoE username and password. You do not even need to cancel your previous DSL provider first if you are switching to Magma! One minute I was on I*Stop, and the next minute I was on Magma, just by changing the PPPoE username and password via my Linksys BEFW11S4 router. If you attempt a seamless DSL switch, make sure you do not cancel your old ISP first. Sign up for the new DSL ISP anyway and let them know you haven't cancelled your old account yet. This will allow you to switch DSL services with no downtime! (At least for Magma). I didn't need to be on the phone with the Customer Service for very long to get my Magma account set up, and I don't remember any of my occasional phone calls to Magma ever lasting more than a few minutes. I don't remember ever being on hold waiting for a CSR when I call Magma, but I haven't needed to call them back much since installation. They seem to have the equivalent of Level 2 Tech Support directly manning the phone lines, rather than untrained Level 1 people reading from lists. With such people on the phone, one can wonder who's left at Magma to keep the equipment running as reliably as they do.

Minor Gripe....

One of my minor gripes is that when I edit my email addresses using Magma's online email editing tools, such as to create a new mailbox or forward email to another mailbox, the changes tend to take effect on approximately 10 minute intervals. I'd prefer the changes to take effect immediately - I appreciate being able to create temporary email addresses instantly, but I would love to be able to use them instantly too without waiting a few minutes for this to take effect. However, most ISP's don't even let you edit your email addresses online nor even allow you to create aliases for your email addresses. This otherwise 4.5 out of 5 stars rating for "Services" by this, is thus rounded up to 5 stars. Also because this review system doesn't let me select a fractional star for a ratings category.

Special Notes:

This review may be outdated by March 2003. I got an announcement from Magma that they're upgading the 1.5 Mbps DSL to 3.0 Mbps (which seems to be 3.5 Mbps actual), and upgrading the 3.0 Mbps to 4.0 Mbps. This is a result to the competition by Rogers Canada offering the new Premium 5 Mbps offering. I think the DSL services are all doing the same (probably coordinated by Bell Canada who operates Sympatico and must resell DSL lines to local ISP's). All the local DSL providers are all going to be providing the same upgraded speeds. Actually, I suspect the actual speed of the 4.0 Mbps will be faster than 4.0 Mbps since I am located downtown and because Rogers is going to be 5.0 Mbps. Magma have tended to lowball their 3.5 Mbps DSL service as being 3.0 Mbps via their website.. The G.DMT compliant DSL modems are capable of up to 7 Mbps. I'm wondering if my speeds will actually be uncapped? Downtown users might get close to that. Time will see, I'll update my review if needed...

Connection Reliability...

The startling standout category is Connection Reliability. I give Connection Reliability the maximum possible rating. It is so dramatically better than past experiences with other ISP's, that the should be six stars out of five. Magma Connection Reliability is so good as to provide a new benchmark that literally re-ranges a 4-to-5-star ratings for my past ISP's down to 3-4 stars, merely to keep it proportional with my 5-star rating of Magma. Had I been excited about the other ISP's to post reviews. (Some oldtimers may remember me being one of the first Canadians to write about ADSL experiences in Canada back in 1997, of my first experiences with Sympatico's early Weststell FlexCap 2.2 Mbps RADSL service. Google for "Rejhon ADSL Report" at groups.google.com). No other ISP other than Magma since 1997 that I have used ever came close to that famous 2.2 Mbps down / 1 Mbps upload RADSL non-PPPoE service that Sympatico eventually discontinued in favour of the early Nortel 1 Mbps PPPoE modems which were much-hated by Sympatico users. Even the early widely-loved beta 2.2 Mbps high speed service has to be downrated down to 4-stars compared to Magma today. The rest of this review focuses solely on the various sub-categories of Connection Reliability: Downtime, Download Reliability, Latency, and VoIP, to justify my rating of Magma's own Connection Reliability.

Connection Reliability: Downtime...

Up to now, almost a year since I switched back to Magma, I have had virtualy no downtime. Although in the suburbs, the cable modem signal may be more reliable if you are far from the switch office, my DSL signal downtown is a nonissue and there are absolutely no retrains at all here. Magma has seven backbones and peers at two near-local locations (OTTIX and TORIX). One of the reasons I wanted to switch back to Magma is because I like their multihomed backbone. Back when I switched back, I was impressed they were connected to five backbones. I just checked their website again recently and they seem to have added some more backbones for a grand total of 810 Mbps aggregate bandwidth just for a local independent ISP that's not a telco or cable company. This helps me to have nearly zero downtime, and any that happened were 3:00am preventative maintenance or a telco switch upgrade session that I never noticed because I wasn't around. (I think one time I did, because I stayed up really late!). I work at home, because I am self employed, so I am on the Internet all day. One time I had downtime because I screwed up using a different Ethernet card MAC address during a home network upgrade. (This downtime was really my fault - I later learned that I just had to power cycle my DSL modem - from a quick 2 minute call to Magma made after midnight). I think they're better than four-nines reliability now during the hours that I actually use the Internet. Magma still worked during the Great Blackout 2003 over dialup from laptop. (The DSL signal was probably dead for everybody).

Connection Reliability: Download Reliability...

In my opinion, download reliability and consistency is more important than download speed. Magma advertises their premium DSL service as being 3.0 Mbps download and 640 Kbps upload. However, they are all really 3.5 Mbps download and 800 Kbps upload (I*Stop markets it this way). My download speeds on Magma consistently goes beyond 350 kilobytes per second even during midday, regardless of whether it's a Windows Update, Norton Antivirus update, Linux download, most Download.com downloads, and a great many other sites. The fastest speeds have hit about 375 kilobytes per second, though most downloads average about 350-360 kilobytes per second - that's full kiloBYTES rather than kiloBITS, with a full 8 bits per 1 byte. My uploads have hit as much as 87 kilobytes per second, and consistently exceeded 80 kilobytes per second. With other providers such as Sympatico, I*Stop, Rogers, download speeds tend to be all over the map such as a (300, 250, 200, 150, 100, 100, 100, 75, 50, 25) sampling for 10 different sites as a rough illustration of my point. In contrast, Magma tends to show results such as (370, 360, 355, 350, 340, 330, 300, 250, 100, 50). Essentially, 8 out of 10 major corporate sites that I tried, tend to rocket past 200 kilobytes per second. In contrast, with other ISP's only about 3 out of 10 sites rocket past 200 kilobytes per second. My tests done on major overseas sites such as ftp.funet.fi and ftp.telepac.pt have given of over 350 kilobytes per second. That is an overseas download that pretty much fully saturated my DSL connection. I play a special trick whenever I download a new big videogame demo or patch that's over 50 megabytes in size: I click on an overseas download site (instead of recommended local site). That way, that download site is usually lightly loaded rather than an overloaded North America download site. I usually get faster speeds that way, especialy since the overseas site is usually in a timezone that puts it at 5:00am local time. With Magma, the distance to the site is meaningless as long as it's a major site already connected to some big backbone over there, and that the site is in a timezone that's lightly loaded. Last year, I downloaded Max Payne 2 Demo at a whopping 350 kilobytes per second from some far away site that most North Americans avoided clicking on. No fussing with overloaded local mirrors. In this case, Magma really gave me the freedom to choose any well-connected site based on their load regardless of how far they were -- without confining me to geographical boundaries. Download rarely cut off in the middle, if at all, with Magma. It also becomes useful when I have to transfer big files to a far-away client for my business, too.

Connection Reliability: Latency...

From my experience among Rogers, Sympatico, and I'Stop .... it appears Magma greatly outperforms all of these for average latency to sites on the Internet. Some places like Google surf instantly - clicking between links and buttons happen nearly instantly just as if all their pages were saved locally to hard disk. It's like having your own T1, T3, or even OC3 connection directly to your home in terms of latency because the latency of your DSL modem is almost meaningless with Magma, and the packet error rate is virtually zero to Magma, and to many sites on the same backbones as Magma. It gets a bit addicting too easily.

Connection Reliability: Voice Over IP (VoIP)...

Recently this January 2004, I installed a Primus TalkBroadband VoIP phone line ($20 per month local phone number plus $20 per month unlimited long distance North-America-wide). I am only 7 hops away from the VoIP gateway and only 17 milliseconds ping away. I did a test phone call and measured the packet error rate (PER) and found zero lost packets over a 15-minute period. This was even while I was making downloads that fully saturated the connection. I even only had the D-Link VoIP adaptor connected to a spare LAN port on my router which even meant that my VoIP was competing with my PC for bandwidth and unable to use QoS. It seems that you don't even need QoS for VoIP on Magma because Magma's is apparently reliable enough for zero-packet-error-rate VoIP to TalkBroadband without QoS! (Important: This is not a TalkBroadband review, but on how Magma is able to make it reliable. TalkBroadband still has some glitches/disadvantages such as incorrect 800 number routing and lack of 411/911 service.)

Credentials Verification:

Google for my last name Rejhon.

_________

EDIT: I am no longer with Magma. Please go to Teksavvy -- they are better than Primus who took over Magma. I left Primus last year.

member for 10.7 years, 206 visits, last login: 3.9 years ago
updated 6.5 years ago

Comments:

Review by xgmranti See Profile

  • Location: Almonte,ON
  • Cost: $41 per month
  • Install: about 1 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Reliable, good pings, unlimited downloads, no traffic shaping, and excellent tech supports."
Bad "3Mb/800Kb is their highest offering."
Overall "Bought by Primus."
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Recently fed up with the service from VIF, I decided it was time to switch.

I was able to use my own modem which I purchased from VIF with Magma; which unlike other ISPs gave me no hassle what so ever. I called in for service and they had me up and running within a day. Since I was already on a DSLAM there was no Bell delay.

Magma had ping issues once in the 12 months of service I received (2007). Called tech support which happily looked into the issue. They resolved the problem, unfortunately taking two weeks. However their tech support called back later to make sure everything had been corrected.

Overall they were a solid ISP, little downtime, nice pings (10ms [Ottawa]), and had knowledgeable yet friendly 24 hour technical support.

Their only downside being they only offer 3Mb/800Kb service and nothing faster.

I would recommend them to anyone other then the fact they are now owned by Primus and I don't think they are opening any new accounts.

member for 8.9 years, 156 visits, last login: 1.8 years ago
updated 6.9 years ago

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Review by appalbarry See Profile

  • Location: Hamilton,ON
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "99% Superb Support"
Bad "The other 1%"
Overall "Superb until DSL fails - then Bell Hell"
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I have many years as a Magma customer and love their rock solid reliability, superb spam filtering, and exceptional support.

Until this month I have never had a support issue that wasn't resolved in less than 24 hours, usually within minutes of phoning the real live technical people who work there.

Last week though I arrived home from a business trip to find that I had no DSL. I did the usual things - reseting the router and modem, changing and testing cables etc, and still no connection.

A call to Magma led to a few minutes of additional troubleshooting, followed by a test for the quality of line sync. "Oh," they said,"we'll need to escalate this to Bell." (the telco).

It has now been ten days without service, with no indication that anything is being done.

As near as I can tell, as reported by the Magma folks, all trouble tickets submitted to Bell are ignored for a minimum of 48 hours before being dealt with. Added to which, the usual trouble shooting process is a multiple step operation, each step of which is considered a new trouble ticket subject to the same delays.

In practical terms this means that I spend five minutes on the phone with Magma support, then wait two or more days until they hear back from Bell. Then I spend another five minutes on the phone with Magma, and wait another two or three days until once again they hear back from Bell.

So over ten days there has been a total of perhaps twenty minutes spent actually trying to solve the issue, and nine days and twenty three hours doing nothing.

This apparently is not an unusual situation. Magma tells me that two and three week outages are a regular thing.

The last word today, after faxing them a letter expressing great frustration, is that they are sending down a replacement modem (something that I suggested a week ago) which may or may not solve the problem.

In the meantime I'm signing up for cable modem access through Cogeco. I will probably maintain Magma for web hosting and e-mail, but not for connectivity.

The bigger concern though is that Magma was purchased by Primus, a company whose "customer support" plumbs new depths in rudeness, incompetence, and sheer unresponsiveness. Six months of trying to use their cel phones, and multiple twenty and thirty minute waits on hold, led me to finally mail the phone back to them and return to Bell Mobility.

I am now fighting them over whether or not I will pay the $200 buy out for canceling the contract. My argument is that since the pohone didn't work in half the places that I went - like Kelowna BC, a city of 100,000 in British Columbia with great coverage for Bell, Telus, and Rogers curtomers - I was sold a bill of goods.

I fear that Magma will sooner or later let their support slide to Primus levels.

member for 9 years, 5 visits, last login: 5.4 years ago
lodged 8.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by tiredtechie See Profile

  • Location: Toronto,ON
  • Cost: $40 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
  • CLEC party: Bell Canada
Good "Good sales/service and technical team"
Bad "Still have to use Bell Canada Equipment"
Overall "Bell DSL quality but with competent support staff"
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Magma is much easier to deal with than Bell. If they need to involve Bell, they do the calling, NOT YOU! Also Magma includes 10GB of newsgroup access through GIGANEWS! The other great thing is Magma's customer service page where you can login and get ALL the details of your service. Much better than Bell's!!

I haven't tested them on recent discounts that have been offered by other companies. Right now I am paying $40/mo + taxes since I already had a modem lying around and didn't have to rent.

member for 9.6 years, 135 visits, last login: 6.4 years ago
lodged 8.7 years ago

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Review by Solar1um See Profile

  • Location: LÚvis - QC
  • Cost: $45 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Good route ping service..."
Bad "English people don't speak very good in french !"
Overall "..."
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Pre Sales information & Install Co-ordination : the tech is very good and i have activate my account the day i have phone ( the login ... i have already my sync )
It speak in english and is french !

Connection reliability : Waouuuuu very good connexion... great route... great speed... good uptime... no port blocked... unlimited bandwitch

Tech Support : Tech are really very good...

Services : 12 X Mail 250 MB - 20 MB Webspace - 8 GB For newsgroups ( 55 days for binaries and 720 days for text ... Giganews reseller ) - Extra login PPPOE for 5 dollars !!! - and many great others services ... Datasafe to backup your data !

Value for money : For 45 dollars + Tax : 39.99 + 5 for extra login pppoe ... is very good ... because you have many service !

Update 12/07/2005 :
Tech is many english people who speak very bad is french !!!!
Grrr !!!
i have cancel because i have some problem with some site ...
and no have the bandwitch (peering ) they annouce !

member for 9.7 years, 660 visits, last login: 8.2 years ago
updated 8.8 years ago

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Review by redEagle0 See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $42 per month
Good "Great technical support / customer service, DSL Lite Package, NO caps, Datasafe, anti-spam"
Bad "$7 modem rental fee for Advanced/Premium packages"
Overall "Great ISP"
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Update: Magma has just removed their caps for the Advanced/Premium packages. They've introduced a new DSL Lite package, at $30/month ($20/month for the 1st 3 months) 256 kbit/256 kbit speeds, with a 2GB/2GB cap (with unlimited bandwidth between 12 a.m. to 7 a.m.). On the lite and starter package, it's $5/GB for going over this cap. But like i said, for the Advanced and Premium packages, the cap has been removed. There's also a great Datasafe option, which basically allows you to backup your most important data (like the My Documents folder), to their Datacentre. This data gets encrypted, before it reaches the Datacentre. Datacentre storage options range from 500 MB ($6.95/month) to 5 GB ($24.95/month). All in all, Magma is exceptional value, and is starting to get *very* competitive, with the larger ISP's out there (Bell Sympatico, Cogeco). This is a great ISP, and now i have reason to recommend it to people. The only thing i wish is, that they didn't charge a modem rental fee on their Advanced/Premium package, because this extra $7 could be the difference in a person signing up with Magma, or a person deciding to go with Bell Sympatico, instead.

This is a great ISP... their webpage is very professional looking... with lots of information... it is easy to see all the packages that they offer... Tech support is great... and over all they are a great ISP. It would be nice if the download speeds were higher... but this is not under magma's control. That is dependant on Bell. Hopefully... with the Primus takeover of Magma... i'll still have the great service that i've always had. Bottom line is that the tech support and customer service is absolutely fantastic. It would also be nice if Bell increased the speed soon. Also... because of Primus's aquisition of Magma... i'm interested to see what happens with internet phone options.

member for 12.1 years, 837 visits, last login: 8.3 years ago
updated 9.6 years ago

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Review by karlj1 See Profile

  • Location: Ottawa,ON
  • Cost: $45 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
  • CLEC party: Bell Canada
Good "Reliable, Fast, no unexplained problems, great support"
Bad "none"
Overall "good value for the money"
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I have always wondered what "good" net access was. For the longest time I felt that having a reliable and knowledgeable ISP was important, but didn't know where to get one. I honestly can say that Magam just works. Their net access is good with no unexplained problems. Their support is knowledgeable. I have never called and gotten someone who doesn't know what's going on!

The only "bad" point I can think of is they live in obscurity. There was never a compelling reason to use them. Once a friend of mine told me about Magma, I gave them a shot. I have never looked back since. Magma is one of only a handful of ISP's with 7 redundant backbones. Say Bell were to piss them off (iStop flashback), Magma could tell Bell where to go and run their services off of their 6 other backbones. If you want reliablity Magma's the only choice.

member for 10.7 years, 849 visits, last login: 6.2 years ago
lodged 9.8 years ago

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Review by mrkil See Profile

  • Location: Toronto,ON
  • Cost: $50 per month
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Great technical support, very few outages (most are caused by Bell). 24 hour 7 day/ week customer service with no wait time w00t"
Bad "price point 50 for service plus modem rental, also 30/30 cap (but it's unlimited during midight too 7 am"
Overall "works out in the end. and much better customer service than Bell or Rogers"
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best for the service i have found. i have been with Bell and Rogers. Rogers was the absolute worst Bell was in the middle and Magma is right on top.

my biggest concearn is that they where purchased by Primus. service hasn't gone down YET

i am running there 3mb package and get an average of 240k and have topped out at 350k

it has a dynamic ip and came with the D-Link 300G modem for an extra $7 a month.

i've heard horroer stories about the other modems they provide bbut i lucked out with a brand new one

i'm very happy with them

member for 9.8 years, 0 visits, last login: 9.8 years ago
lodged 9.8 years ago

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