dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
    ISP Rolodex Intro Local ISPs Members U-Verse FiOS FiOS Soon
spc

spacer




how-to block ads



SONIC.NET page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 881 reviews (754 good) (62 bad)
bullet Submit a review by email click here
bullet login for new review notification feature

Review by wsanders See Profile

  • Location: Lafayette,Contra Costa,CA
  • Cost: $50 per month
  • Telco party SBC
Good "Outstanding Tech Support"
Bad "Still Pac Bell's B**ch When it Comes to Line Repair"
Overall "Best alternative for DSL"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

For $49 per month including taxes and fees, you get DSL at whatever speed your local loop can handle (no caps, standard annexes), a static IP if you need it, no usage caps, old fashioned POTS and voicemail, free long distance, and 8 hrs of free international calling to select foreign countries' landlines. Plus, Sonic is a local business.

But it is *all* about the tech support. Actually being able to reach a human who isn't an idiot, without holding for an hour, and getting the problem solved without any buck passing has added years to my life. A case in point - we live about 8000 feet from the CO and our local loop is complete crap. When we set up service years ago, it look a lot of phone calls to set a low (2 Mb) cap so that our line would be reliable. Recently, I took a guess and called them again to uncap the line, and one 10 min phone call later, it's working at 6 Mb. Good enough for me. Comcast is faster, but more expensive, and the rest of the family wants a POTS line.

The only drawback is Sonic doesn't have much leverage with PacBell if you have physical problems with your line. You'll need to prepay $200 or so to roll a truck. I don't know what their reimbursement policy is, but when I had service with PacBell it was only marginally easier to get a tech out to fix a broken line.

member for 12 years, 124 visits, last login: 18 days ago
updated 18 days ago

Comments:

Review by BronsCon See Profile

  • Location: Walnut Creek,Contra Costa,CA
  • Cost: $56 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Quick install, fast speeds, low pings"
Bad "Hmm..."
Overall "Great ISP"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
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.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

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.

member for 11 years, 2368 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 46 days ago

Comments:

DaneJasper
Sonic.Net
Premium,VIP
join:2001-08-20
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:9

53 not blocked...

Port 53 inbound is not blocked - on the Fusion platform, the only blocking is on port 25 outbound, to limit spam from compromised hosts.

BronsCon

join:2003-10-24
Walnut Creek, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: 53 not blocked...

Thanks for that, I actually realized it after reviewing my router's port forwarding settings and seeing that I had failed to input the correct IP address for that port. I just haven't gotten around to correcting my review yet; I'll do that after work today.

Is port 25 OB blocked for static IPs and can I request that it be opened up for me?

Review by jkreuzig See Profile

  • Location: Yorba Linda,Orange,CA
  • Cost: $56 per month
  • Install: about 8 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Easy order process, great communication, good pricing"
Bad "Nothing so far"
Overall "Go for it if you can get it"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

UPDATE - 09/03/2014

I've been a sonic.net DSL customer since Feb 2006. They finally opened up Fusion service in my area of Orange County, so I jumped on it. Turnaround time was great, only 8 days from the time I ordered to the switchover.

As always, the order process was painless, and customer service has been top notch. Only hiccup was that I am the first customer in my area on the network card in the CO (according to support). It needed to be rebooted in order for me to get an IP address for the modem. Tech support was fantastic, actually called me back when they said they would.

So far, so good. It looks like my line is starting at just under 8 mb/s. I'm hopeful that after the first couple of weeks it will jump.

************************************************
I've been waiting about a month since I got my connection before writing a review. I can honestly say that I'm really glad I switched to sonic.net. The only problems I had was trying to get covad to release my old circuit so sonic could provision. The connection was up and running 3 days before the install date.

Yea, I'd like to have the 768 up I had with cyberonic, but that's an SBC issue.

member for 13.2 years, 655 visits, last login: 46 days ago
updated 48 days ago

Comments:

Review by dslX46 See Profile

  • Location: San Diego,San Diego,CA
  • Cost: $30 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 5 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Consistant but.."
Bad "Slow service, unfortunate customer service errors"
Overall "Goodbye "
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

Family IT guy here, set up and paid for this SONIC.NET account for the Head of my family who resides in San Diego, CA. The service went on for two (2) years and my family mentioned only some slow speeds with two users online. The time to end my paying for the service had arrived and I had paid for service through 09-01-2014. I contacted Billing to request that at the END of the service month again, paid for in advance, I wanted the service disconnected. The request was "noted" and one day latter, 08-08-2014 the service was abruptly disconnected. When I called Billing to ask what had gone wrong I was told "sorry" it was a mistake and that it would take up to seven days to CORRECT their error , (reconnect service). I have to scramble to get another company to take their place, causing me to look really bad because they also use the line for VOIP! UNFORGIVABLE ERROR!

Month to month, $29.95

1500/384

ztel (?) modem



member for 7.8 years, 6 visits, last login: 74 days ago
updated 74 days ago

Comments:

Review by NedLudd See Profile

  • Location: 94117-4164
  • Cost: $120 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 5 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Cust. Service. Very good speed with two bonded, dedicated (no ATT) phone lines. FREE PHONE includes International Long Distance!"
Bad "A DSL issue, not a Sonic issue - I am far from the phone exchange, the wires here in SF are very old, my speed is not so fast."
Overall "Sonic - the only EFF perfect privacy score. FUSION works, fibre is on the way."

I live in San Francisco, in a neighborhood that was developed before 1900. (I think Mr. A.G. Bell strung our phone wires personally.) I am at the end of the loop, far from the telco exchange. I struggled for years trying to get reliable DSL at a decent speed. Most DSL providers use your existing phone line. The lower frequencies are reserved for phone conversations, and the DSL is carried at higher frequencies. Sonic uses a "dry pair"- a phone line that they dedicate to data, without the compromises needed to share the wire with another provider. Their "Bonded Fusion" service pairs two of these lines for greater bandwidth and higher speed - like a divided highway instead of a narrow road with traffic moving in both directions. Sonic's system brought me fast and reliable service for the first time. Customer service is excellent, the tech people respond to the customer rather than reading a script. (I think they may even be located in North America!) Sonic is a small ISP but a technology leader. Google chose Sonic to instal and operate the Stanford/Palo Alto fiber-to-the-home network.

member for 12.5 years, 336 visits, last login: 4 days ago
lodged 109 days ago

Comments:
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Sonic

Google may have used Sonic for 2 Fiber cities, but in the end Sonic got kicked to the curb for the rest of the project. Also Sonic still uses AT&T for the phone lines to deliver Fusion aDSL.

Review by kmcmurtrie See Profile

  • Location: Sunnyvale,Santa Clara,CA
  • Cost: $110 per month (month by month)
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Support, uptime, and telephone"
Bad "AT&T wires, telemarketers, modem fees"
Overall "Good local ISP"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

This is a local ISP offering a wide variety of features for both everyday and power users. Online support has been fast and knowledgeable.

Their Fusion product provides ADSL2+, static IP address options, e-mail hosting, web hosting, and plain telephone service.

The telephone service has free national calls and free international calls to selected countries. The sound quality can't be beat. Call forwarding, voicemail to IMAP, caller ID, and call blocking are supported. Sonic.net's phone service is unfortunately an illegal telemarketing magnet. Expect a phone call every morning at 9:30 and a few more until night. Sonic.net claims to have "Spam Call Blocking" but it has been completely ineffective ever since telemarketers started using random local numbers as their Caller ID. I get more telemarketers on Sonic.net in a DAY than other phone providers get in a YEAR. Support claims they can do nothing to trace or block the calls.

ADSL2+ is delivered at whatever your AT&T wires can handle with about a 6dB SNR margin. That can be anything from near-zero to 20Mbps. There's an option to bond two Fusion lines together to double your bandwidth. Other than that, neighborhoods with old AT&T wires are out of luck. Static IP addresses can be purchased and there's a way to switch Annex M on and off using your phone.

My service is two bonded Fusion lines using Annex M. The combined modem bitrate is a very consistent 8/2 Mbps delivering 7/1.6 Mbps actual. That's usually too low for video-on-demand at high quality. When asked about upgrade options, Sonic could only offer 5/5 Mbps for $599/month on their FlexLink Ethernet plan. I hope to get bandwidth elsewhere but keep one Fusion line for phone calls.

Warning! New Fusion customers must pay a $6.50/month modem rental fee. Only older customers can opt-out.

member for 8.5 years, 549 visits, last login: 13 days ago
updated 119 days ago

Comments:

Review by dayyan See Profile

  • Location: Oakland,Alameda,CA
  • Cost: $52 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "Great Company"
Bad "Not Fiber"
Overall "Do it"

I am 8000 feet from the local central office and still get about 7 Mbps.
I follow @dane on twitter, he is the CEO and answers questions. Great company, great leadership.

member for 152 days, 0 visits, last login: 152 days ago
lodged 152 days ago

Comments:






Review by Tobester See Profile

  • Location: San Francisco,San Francisco,CA
  • Cost: $53 per month
  • Install: about 15 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Great $$ value, Speed, Tech Support"
Bad "modem documention lacking"
Overall "HIGHLY recommend!"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

AT&T's newly introduced DSL Terms of Service, including monthly caps, simply rubbed me the wrong way. I know I will never come close to approaching a cap, however, I was angered with AT&T telling me "at our convenience" and with "one month's notice............" Your only option is to accept terms or cancel.

Well, guess what AT&T, you made me get off the fence and try Sonic.net and I have been thrilled.

I switched from a barebones measured AT&T landline partnered with 6.0Mbps DSL.

Now I have much higher Sonic ADSL2+ speeds, unlimited local and national long distance, voicemail, and custom calling features for practically the same price.

No more AT&T, Yahoo, U-verse, or router passwords to juggle or bouncing between two AT&T and Yahoo to change account settings.

»New San Francisco (94115) Fusion Installation (LONG)

11/2/2013 Update

I have had Sonic FUSION for well over a year now and my speeds have consistently remained at 10.5Mbps up and .94Mbps down and the connection is rock solid.

During the past year I did have some connectivity problems, for which I called Sonic Tech support. The problem was finally solved by AT&T finding corrosion in their wire at the neighborhood junction box in the next block.

Not that I would ever consider leaving Sonic, I do keep up to date on the AT&T and Comcast offerings and the FUSION package is the best on the market.

Being able to deal with the Sonic Customer Service and Tech support lets you know they value you as a customer.

member for 13.9 years, 4341 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 161 days ago

Comments:
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Wanted to update my Sonic review

I now have had Sonic's FUSION service for going on two years now and am still thrilled with the speeds, service, tech support, and their genuine concern for this customer.

My latest speed test:
Download Speed: 10415 kbps (1301.9 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 928 kbps (116 KB/sec transfer rate)
Latency: 56 ms
Friday, January 24, 2014 4:22:34 AM

The connection is rock solid too.
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA

May 2014 update

My Sonic FUSION service remains excellent, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who has Sonic as an available option.

Review by leibold See Profile

  • Location: Sunnyvale,Santa Clara,CA
  • Cost: $100 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 8 days
Good "Excellent Support, Great Phone and Internet Service"
Bad "None to report"
Overall "Highly Recommended"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I have been a Sonic DSL customer since February 2006 when I switched from Cyberonic (since they no longer offered the Worldcom/uunet service). In all those years the service has been 100% reliable and I had no reason to use the excellent Sonic support staff.

The reason for updating my review of Sonic.net is that I upgraded to the latest product offering: Fusion. Fusion is a combination of ADSL2+ (which is a faster version of DSL allowing up to 20Mbps down and 2Mbps up) and plain old telephone service (not VOIP!) at one low price. Fusion allows two DSL lines to be bonded together for even higher speeds and I signed up for bonded Fusion ($50 per line) with an additional $20 for static IP addresses. Even at that price Fusion was cheaper then the cost for my two existing DSL lines (one with Sonic and one with AT&T) due to the ever increasing cost for the AT&T phone service.

However the day before my go-live date Sonic decided to drop the price per line to $39.95 so that the total is now just under $100 (not including the phone service related taxes).

For the switchover Sonic provided not just a date but also included an exact time: 11AM. At 11:05 I lost sync at the old DSL line and by 11:13 I got sync on the new Fusion modem. Phone service took a little longer but by 11:33 I was already making phone calls on my new Sonic phone service (which is amazing with all the free features: free long distance, free caller-id, free voicemail, etc.).

After configuring the modem to my liking I get DSL sync of 8.5Mbps down and 2Mbps up (DSLreports speedtest result is 7250 Kbps / 1635 Kbps). Those are the results for both lines combined since I'm pretty far from the CO.

To increase upload speed I had Sonic customer support enable Annex M which trades download speed for upload speed. This changes the sync rate to 3.7Mbps down and 2.9Mbps up. The support call was very nice since all I had to do was call 611 from the new Sonic phone line. The call was answered very quickly and the person who answered the phone was directly able to help me (no endless waiting and no repeated transfers to find the right person).

After one week of DSLreports line monitoring I'm happy to report no packet loss and a very consistent low 10ms latency to the west coast monitor (60ms to the east coast).

Update March 2011: Service is still going strong with low latency and no packet loss but the price has been reduced: dual line (bonded) Fusion is now only $69.95.

Update November 2012: There have been a couple of pricing changes this year that don't effect existing customers like myself but make bonded Fusion more expensive for new residential customers. On the other hand it got cheaper for business customers and International phone users. I'm still very satisfied with my service (no problems to report).

Update May 2014: still a happy Sonic.net user

member for 12.2 years, 5869 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 162 days ago

Comments:

Review by NormanS See Profile

  • Location: San Jose,Santa Clara,CA
  • Cost: $61 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "No caps! Smooth change."
Bad "Modem rental fee."
Overall "Worth the change."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·Pacific Bell - SBC
When AT&T Yahoo! DSL, my former ISP, implemented caps, I went shopping. Sonic.net had good reviews, so I checked availability. They showed about 9,500 to the CO, and a Fusion equipped DSLAM at the CO. I placed the order on June 8, 2011, and the service switch went smoothly on June 15, 2011, as specified in the email.

I did pay attention to other posts in the DSLR Sonic,net forum, and based on the information presented, I did not call AT&T to cancel! The number was switched without issue, nearly as I can tell. I did have to change the router from PPPoE (I had bridged my SpeedStream 4100 earlier in the year) to DHCP, but that was all.

I haven't had it long enough (barely two hours) to say if it is more reliable. But it is faster. A check of the SS4100 stats showed synch at 6208/1024.

So far this is looking like a good move!

I am not sure how to proceed; primarily because I moved, and set up new service at my new residence, but don't want to remove my prior comments.

In looking at the fields, I see I missed the part about including taxes and fees; so that is why I changed the "Total Monthly Cost" figure; still a bargain because the comparable AT&T bill, when I had them, was ~$101.xx per month.

Once I settled on my new location, I checked availability, and was pleased to see Sonic.net Fusion was available at my new residence. I placed my order, and was given an activation date about five days out. Service went live before the modem arrived; but I used a spare from the old residence and was online easily enough.

A tech brought a Pace 4011N-030 residential gateway a couple of days later. He fussed around a bit, and seemed rushed. Maybe he had parked in the 10-minute zone in front of the MDU, and wanted to get going ASAP? He failed to get synch with the splitter/filter, and left with my RG up, but landline down. On checking, he had left the phone connected to the filter/splitter, so I was able to see why he couldn't get synch: He had the phone plugged into the unfiltered ("Voice") port. Easy to set right. I could have done this as a self-install, but it all worked out.

Fusion does not have speed tiers, the modem and DSLAM work out the best data rate for the loop. At the old residence, the distance to the DSLAM was 9,156 feet, and the speed started out just over 5 Mbps, settling out at 4.9 Mbps. Here, the loop is ~3,000 feet, and the speed started out close to 15 Mbps, settling out to 13 Mbps.

At the other residence, I signed up for a single static IP address when they became available. I signed up the new service with a static IP address from the get-go. No charge. They have a control panel where I can set the reverse DNS, again, no charge. For an extra $1.95 ($23.40 a year), they provide DNS for my domain; about $3 a year less than I was paying another provider before.

Update:

Sonic.net turned up 6rd in January, 2014. After smoothing out a couple of early glitches, it has been working well.

The purchased-from-Sonic ZTE 831II died, so I gave the rented Pace 4111N-030 another try. When I first tried bridging the Pace, it failed; apparently due to the firmware version. Shortly after getting it running, I checked the firmware version, and it seems they pushed an update. I tried bridging again, and this time it worked.

My domains being up for renewal this year, I went ahead and moved them. Sonic.net resells Tucows registration, so I have it all in one place now. Sonic allows their customers to use the Sonic.net SMTP servers in their MX field of their domain. They also allow one to map domain email addresses as aliases to their basic email addresses; very nice.

member for 13.6 years, 5226 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 164 days ago

Comments: