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rchrd

join:2006-01-09
Oakland, CA

Would You Recommend Sonic.Net ?

I'm contemplating switching from legacy AT&T HSI ELITE DSL to Sonic.net. I'm in Oakland and they tell me I'm 6891 feet from the CO. Estimating from the minimal amount of info on their website, the cost should be 58.50/mo. The existing AT&T DSL is attached to a second landline and we're paying about 72/mo for that line plus the DSL service and taxes.

The current speed is about 3.2MB/s down, and about 360KB/s up. Also we are a Mac household with MacOSX 10.8.1.

So would you recommend the switch? Even if I got the same speed, it would be a small saving per month ($14). But from what I've seen on this forum I should expect faster speeds in both directions.

But are there other problems I should be aware of? I'll be calling them to discuss this further, but I'd like to get an idea of what people have been experiencing. I've heard a lot of good things so far.

Thanks in advance, and I hope this question doesn't devolve into a shouting match. I know I'm being provocative.

Richard Friedman
Oakland, CA



NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC

1 edit

Assuming that CO has a Sonic.net "Fusion" DSLAM, you will get ADSL2+ service. At that distance I'd guess around 10M to 12M. With that I'd definitely switch.

I will add that I have set up two Fusion loops. One was a self-install switch from AT&T, the other a new service from scratch.

Switch:

9,156 foot loop, measured by SBC Direct techs.

Had 'at&t Yahoo! HSI Pro'. SBC issue Siemens SpeedStream 4100 modem would sync at 3008/512. A bit graphing tool showed an estimated Max Rate of 4200-5200; too low for Elite, the ADSL 6016/768 service. Sonic.net sent their then issue ZTE 831II ADSL2+ modem. It syncs reliably at 5800/600, with consistent speeds of 4900/400.

New service:

3,300 foot loop, reported by Sonic.net; probablt from AT&T's database.

Sonic.net installed a Pace 4111N RG. It syncs reliably a 18667/892. I get consistent speed of 16M/.75M.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


Zeonis

join:2009-03-16
reply to rchrd

For me it is... been there done that... and no I would not do it again. I switched to save money also and it was a nightmare... See the topic Unreliable Speed. But you might get lucky and not have problems like I did.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to rchrd

I recommend Sonic.net all the time whenever the topic of Internet service comes up in a conversation. I used to have Sonic legacy DSL and switched to Fusion when it became available here.

Those of my neighbors that have switched to Sonic.net are all happy with it despite the fact that our neighborhood is close to the 2 mile mark from the CO (and therefore we don't get anywhere close to the fantastic speed offered by Fusion). I have dual line bonded Fusion to get the speeds I want.

Sonic.net is great for those that want affordable, reliable, unrestricted and unlimited Internet service (and Phone service in the case of Fusion). Depending on your distance from the CO Fusion may not be for those whose primary interest is to have the fastest Internet access possible. However I don't understand that mentality anyway, the faster speed only allows them to reach their bandwidth cap sooner.

The only valid reason not to sign up with Sonic Fusion is that it isn't available at a particular address (not in Sonic.net service area or too far from the CO or phone line served from RT or VRAD instead of CO).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


rchrd

join:2006-01-09
Oakland, CA

Well, this all sounds very good. I've scanned the forums here and on the sonic.net website and things look generally positive.

This morning I called the sales office and had a remarkably informative conversation with them.

So, I submitted an application and we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for the replies.


Zeonis

join:2009-03-16
reply to leibold

said by leibold:

The only valid reason not to sign up with Sonic Fusion is that it isn't available at a particular address (not in Sonic.net service area or too far from the CO or phone line served from RT or VRAD instead of CO).

The only valid reason? I take issue with that... Anyone in my neighborhood would experience the same issue as I did which was proven by a Sonic.net tech. I can't speak for other neighborhoods but you get my point.


bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to rchrd

I'm beating a dead horse here, but I feel that Sonic is worth more than AT&T, and would unabashedly recommend them.

I wouldn't count on getting much more speed than AT&T, but perhaps Sonic would be more diligent in working for you to try and improve it.


Tobester

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

said by bobrk:

I'm beating a dead horse here, but I feel that Sonic is worth more than AT&T, and would unabashedly recommend them.

I wouldn't count on getting much more speed than AT&T, but perhaps Sonic would be more diligent in working for you to try and improve it.

Agreed.

A few negative experience postings in this forum, due to inaccurate expectations, cannot overcome the excellent service provided by Sonic.

Tobester

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

I'm ~5100 feet from the Sonic Fusion DSLAM and get 10.2M / 949 Kbps, which is more than double the speed from my old AT&T Elite DSL.

Additionally, Sonic rolled trucks and worked with AT&T to identify a bad copper pair which had caused intermittent problems over the years.

When I had complained to AT&T, they said sorry our DSL service is "best effort."

Sonic continued escalating the problem until it was fixed.


Zeonis

join:2009-03-16
reply to Tobester

said by Tobester:

Agreed.

A few negative experience postings in this forum, due to inaccurate expectations, cannot overcome the excellent service provided by Sonic.

Due to inaccurate expectations? That is pretty funny... so one should expect their DSL to run below 1 Mbps at times even though they are synced at about 17 Mbps and the speed to vary often being well below what it should be based on the sync speed?


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

said by Zeonis:

said by Tobester:

Agreed.

A few negative experience postings in this forum, due to inaccurate expectations, cannot overcome the excellent service provided by Sonic.

Due to inaccurate expectations? That is pretty funny... so one should expect their DSL to run below 1 Mbps at times even though they are synced at about 17 Mbps and the speed to vary often being well below what it should be based on the sync speed?

No, clearly not. If it's synced at 17Mbps, you should get roughly that (less about 15% protocol overhead) in actual payload throughput. If you are not, contact support and ask them to fix it!

-Dane


NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC

He has. And decided to switch service:

»Unreliable speed

I have had ADSL ('at&t Yahoo! HSI Pro') and two ADSL2+ (Sonic.net 'Fusion') circuits. All delivered ~85% of sync speed. I have only seen max sync/min download when there was activity on the line. But I don't have wide experience in this, so there might be causes I have not seen.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


geeeker

join:2012-10-12
South San Francisco, CA
reply to rchrd

We are currently using Sonic and I wouldn't recommend them. Our modem broke last week and when we called them to get some help they put us on hold for ~30 minutes, we finally get ahold of them and 10 minutes into the conversation the guy told us that he has a meeting to attend and would give us a call in about an hour. We all got sent home early because there was no internet connection and didn't get much done. We needed a new modem and it was sent over the weekend. They do have reliable internet but if you have a problem the customer service stinks.


rchrd

join:2006-01-09
Oakland, CA

1 recommendation

Well, for completion, I should report that I have switched my DSL off AT&T and over to Sonic.net. The transition has been, so far, seamless. I was initially unable to connect up my Apple Airport to the Sonic.net modem and called customer support. Contrary to the previous comment, they did a superb job. I was on the phone with them for over an hour as we tried various strategies to change the operating mode to bridge rather than router. There were some problems, mostly due to settings on my side, but most of the interaction was done remotely from the Sonic office. I'm up and running, with the Sonic.net wireless disabled and all wireless activity via my Apple Airport. It's hard to tell what my real bandwidth is, but dslreports tools report close to 5 MB/s down and better than 1.2 MB/s upload, which is better than I was getting. So far, so good.



saronian

join:1999-09-07
Oakland, CA

Richard - I'm glad your switch went smoothly. I made the same switch about a year ago and it has been fantastic. I'm also in Oakland about 1800' from the CO and getting Fusion speeds of 16+Mbps Down/0.85Mbps Up.

Also Mac OS x 10.8 with and AirPort Extreme.

Congratulations on the conversion!



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
reply to geeeker

I guess YMMV. I've had nothing but stellar service when I've called, even when it was something stupid I did like plug the wrong phone line into the modem.



aboutisps

@torservers.net
reply to rchrd

For me, if it was between Sonic.net and AT&T, Sonic.net easily wins, unless Sonic.net is so much ridiculously more expensive than AT&T that cost becomes a problem.

Pros:
+Sonic.net cares about user privacy. There's no doubt about that. Even the EFF has recognized them for this. I actually feel that I can trust Sonic.net with my data, which is not something I can say for most ISPs.

+Sonic.net has a stellar reputation for support. I personally cannot speak to this, not because Sonic.net's support has been bad, but because I have never needed technical support. I can usually just fix things on my own. The only exception is if there's a line problem. But a quick search on DSLR will reveal that most users rate Sonic.net's support very highly indeed. I highly doubt AT&T users can say the same.

Cons:
-Sonic.net forces all new customers to rent their modem. In other words, if you are a new Sonic.net customer, you won't be allowed to use your own modem. Instead, you will be forced to pay a monthly fee to rent out their modem. This has been debated before, and the justifications for doing so are arguably shaky.

Users basically argue that the fee amounts to a disingenuous price increase, and that they should be given the freedom to use their own equipment. Sonic.net claims that renting modems to everyone makes providing support for everyone easy, and that it is necessary to compete with other ISPs that also do the same thing.

In the big picture, even a person as displeased as myself will grudgingly admit that the positives far outweigh this one big negative. If privacy and support are important to you, I would go with Sonic.net.



NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC

said by aboutisps :

Users basically argue that the fee amounts to a disingenuous price increase, and that they should be given the freedom to use their own equipment.

AFAIK, being forced to rent doesn't preclude use of personally owned CPE. I am seriously looking at alternatives to the rented Pace 4111N, which is much less configurable than my old D-Link DIR-655 and a basic ADSL2+ bridge.

But the fee is unsatisfactory, especially when using one's own CPE.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum

ddruker

join:2000-08-13
Palo Alto, CA
reply to rchrd

We've been a customer for years, and are very happy. We are on bonded fusion, and get about 230% better performance than the single DSL line we had before, and the price is a lot cheaper than we had been paying for two phone lines plus DSL from a combination of Pacbell and our DSL provider.

Both phone and DSL have been very stable / reliable, and customer service, which we've rarely needed, has always been good. I'm not sure we've had more than a handful of short-term outages over many years.

So I feel like it's been a real win across the board - overall price, price performance, reliability and service are all good.

My main concern going forward is really overall telco infrastructure. I'd like to see gigabit internet connections, but I don't know how this is going to be realistically accomplished. Our city killed its fiber to the home initiative, it's not in pac bells strategy to run fiber or to build out new colo centers any closer to my home, and while cable is faster than copper pairs, who would want to deal with comcast. So I don't see good choices coming to get to gigabit, or even 100 megabit speeds.


ddruker

join:2000-08-13
Palo Alto, CA
reply to NormanS

Duplicate post deleted...