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Milford, NH
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications

1 edit

Goodbye FairPoint

We have been a DSL customer for many years. Due to distance we were capped at 3000/768 (3369/864 kbps sync speed). To FairPoint’s credit they upgraded us from the 1500/384 kbps Verizon cap. 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 not able.

G4 Communication is a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier). They rent copper circuits (UNE) from FairPoint and collocate equipment in FairPoint’s local central offices. 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. I signed up with G4; they in turn contacted FairPoint to move our circuit to G4 equipment. I ordered G4 service Nov 31; go live date was scheduled for Dec 5, FairPoint did cutover on Dec 10.

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

G4 treats speed differently than Verizon and FairPoint, there are no tiers. ADSL2/ADSL2+ is capable of 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 could get somewhat higher speed.

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 Zyxel user manual is pretty much useless but GUI configuration screens are pretty straight forward with surprising good built in help. G4 gave me all the magic incantations I needed for 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 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 circuit was capped at 6 Mbps so I had Interent access. Tech arrived on time and did several tests. Said line looked good and it was not clear why it had become unstable, perhaps due to noise from other circuits. To stabilize automatic sync speed G4 increased upshift and downshift threshold margin.

Line is now syncing at 6936/996 with 10 dB of margin. Speedtest.net reports 5.96 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.

This is a bundled plan, plain old telephone service (POTS) and ADSL. It 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 know if we lose power. I’m not a fan of call-waiting so had that disabled.

G4 requires automatic credit card billing, no paper statements. Residential DSL/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.

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




1 recommendation

Sounds about like what GWI does. They service Manchester as well as G4. One of these days I'll get to that CO while visiting my friend who lives in Manchester.

I gave her time to steal my mind away
San Jose, CA
·Pacific Bell - SBC

1 recommendation

reply to tschmidt
I did the same to AT&T. The CLEC I signed up with is Sonic.net, LLC. Much the same services and price. Went from 3.0 M PPPoE service (sync 3008/512; speed 2500/430) to 4.9 M DHCP service (sync 5800/500; speed 4900/460).

Anybody using DSL service from the local ILEC would do well to check for CLEC service in their area. Could lead to faster, cheaper service.
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum

Milford, NH
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications
reply to tschmidt

speed test 7266/996 kbps
Well I have a week with G4 under my belt and connection has been stable. Same IP address all week even when I rebooted the modem.

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 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.

ADSL uses DMT, discrete multi tone, to divide available bandwidth into 256 bins. Each bin is 4.3124 kHz wide going up to 1.1 MHz. Each bin can transport a variable number of bits (2-15) depending on line condition. ADSL2+ doubles the upper frequency to 2.2 MHz doubling the number of bins to 511. This modem has an interesting status display showing each bin. Interestingly even though I am pretty far away DSL is able to make use of 22 bins above 1.1Mhz. As to be expected the upper bins are the most variable with least number of bits per bin. The last few days have been cold with a little snow and rain. That ought to be pretty much a worst case test of line quality and stability.

The »speedtest.net result is based on sync speed of 7,266/.996 Mbps. 6.24/.84 Mbps is a nice improvement over our previous 2.88/.68 Mbps.

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.

Landline telephone has been uneventful, incoming and outgoing calls work as advertised. Features I asked to be disabled are in fact disabled.

It is funny how greedy one gets when it comes to speed. Being stuck at 3 Mbps for years I constantly though” if only I had a little more speed all would be right with the world.” Well now I have, and quite frankly speed is better than I expected given my distance. But I cannot help myself wishing I had even more. The reality is for how my family and I use the Internet 7 Mbps is fine, even though I cravenly want more. 20 years ago businesses ran their entire operation on 10 Mbps Ethernet.

Given all that is going on in the world this has been a nice Christmas present and I am happy for what I have.



united state

1 recommendation

Glad this is working out for you. But I will be sorry to see you leave the Fairpoint forum, at least with direct FP knowledge. We have slow FP DSL and are interested in getting a higher speed connection, but have not dared to pull the trigger. Your G4 experience is very enlightening.