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So whats wrong with BT then...
Everything in our opinion, BT have squandered the opportunity to provide the UK with the reliable, un adulterated high speed service demanded by businesses, their service can be slow, support could do better, email is flaky and the hardware is landfill material.
If youve been convinced by recent BT adverts that they provide a good connection, think again as recently BT disconnected hundreds of thousands of business users with static IPs, there are much better ISPs than BT who dont use Phorm
BT were late into the game with ADSL. After all, spoiling your expensive ISDN business with cheaper and faster ADSL diddnt make sense to BT, so ADSL took longer to become widely available. BT then continued to 'drip feed' the UK with slowly increasing speeds as the service became more widespead and competitive (they really dont like that word). Unfortunately BTs own ADSL offerings just dont measure up, as we find speeds are seldom as good as advertised and at peak times may be as slow as a 56K modem.
"Broadband usage in the UK has been one of the great consumer technology success stories and we are aware that this accelerating demand has meant that a few exchanges can be congested at very busy times," the provider recently stated. A few exchanges? Id hazard a guess at most of them & the problem is going to get a worse. Businesses demand speed, particularly if the type of media & data exchanged is to dramatically increase, then ADSL itself is probably not the right technology for high speed wide area networking, but that is a different issue. Consumers demand results, not excuses, thats not good enough any more.
This lack of speed is also due to contention. Essentially, each ADSL connection is contended or shared. A good (or expensive) connection may be contended 10:1 or 20:1 the lower the better, cheaper offerings have higher contention ratios making them slower.
We know that the more commercial the offering, the higher, thus worse & potentially slower the contention ratio will be. 50:1 was generally considered the limit however, we believe 50:1 may be exceeded by some ISPs providing higher contention ratios.
Reliability - take care, I have witnessed first hand on more than one occaision where the Ts&Cs stated 99% availability. Well 99% of a year is 361.35 days & the other 3.65 days constitute working days (or thats what I was told) so if your 99% reliable connection goes down on Friday night, it could be the following Thursday before anyone turns up. Of course, the BT engineer who to be fair are usually quite good, will turn up with that horrid rubber frog modem with all its parameters set so open you could probably connect to anything. They will then declare your line to be fit for service and plop a bill for £160 + VAT or what ever they charge now for the privilidge, ouch.
BT Support to be fair has improved, they got a few crossed wires over who ran the BT ITSM for small businesses. It seems like they read through the script to the place where they can say 'reboot the PC & if you still have problems, call back... The Internet seems full of forum posts of users venting off. Its not fair to rubbish any ISP due to a lack of technical understanding without good reason but some posts do back up their claims with evidence. Also on offer to the un suspecting home user is - secure wireless router set up for £90.00 - Im not sure how they achieve this, the home hub is insecure as it only supports WEP & has a known security issue (see hardware) this along with a computer health check for £90.00 which looks like they use Norton security - a program which I would personally avoid. These give me little confidence that BT has anything of really serious value to offer apart from a large bill.
A couple of support gems include being told that the router had connected at their end - before it was actually switched on & the icing on the cake in the form of 'I really think youve got to re-install Windows...' Reinstall Windows on my Mac Book? I dont think so, they probably never heard of Mac Books & OS-X. Support, to coin a phrase, 'could do better'.
Static IP - Free with IDNet if you require a static IP address - as you run a VPN or have a web camera you want to log on to then. Thats another £10 a month for the business 'support package' with BT - but why the charge?
BTs Email also seems riddled with too many issues to cover here, we dont have a problem with BT using smtp authentication, but preventing the senders domain being used is draconian. BT will gladly charge an additional £10 per month for the business 'support package' with the premise of additional support, but the reality is they add your domain to the account to permit sending domain mail. In our opinion, this is a restrictive practice. Clients mail headers sometimes get BTCentralplus inserted which is bad practise.
Sending mail from BT accounts also encounters a similar lottery in wether or not its going to reach its destination. Of course what BT want is for everyone to use their mail, that way it would be reliable? no thank you.
We constantly find that BT in their infinite wisdom block large ranges of IP addresses, BTs customer support is of course like talking to a brick wall (even for those unfortunate enough to have an account with them) I wouldnt mind if I at least received a rejection mail stating the reason why my mail was not going to reach the destination, but no, nothing not even a bounce.
BT also block ports in the upper ranges, if you run a business and deploy services that require a specific port access this is infuriating to discover it blocked by BT. Yet another useless attempt to 'help' people by blocking these ports to protect against hackers, grow up please BT we know what a firewall does and how to configure it.
Firstly it only supports WEP encryption WEP is weak and fairly easy for the average 10 year old to break, so once inside your 'home hub' network they can do some real intelligence gathering for a bit of identity fraud or dump some porn on your company laptop for fun. This is just not good enough and sufficient reason to propel the home hub into the bin & replace with something much better.
Second it looks like someones found a significant security breech with it as this article BT router wide open to hijackers explains
Third, it needs to be hacked to unlock it to provide the all the features, the Internet is full of posts regarding this, although my solution would be to buy a decent router in the first place. The Netgear DG834 series do a perfectly reasonable job for a reasonable price and if you have specific requirements then youre probably technically adept enough to find a Draytek router to suit your needs.
Whats even more worrying, is that BT, in its desire for market dominance is planning to implement a wide area wireless network using your fairly insecure home hubs. The idea is that BT open up your wireless network so any old Joe can connect to it, wonderful?
So youve got WEP & a home hub, both fairly limited in terms of security - this alone would make me run like the wind from BT.
Our own wireless lan is WPA encrypted with access control by MAC address & further protected by an Arxceo Ally, one rougue packet sniff or nmap scan and the connection is instantly banned and thats before youve even started to have a crack at the WPA encryption or spoof the mac address, share our wireless network in the manner BT propose? NO WAY.
So a very big NO thank you to BT on all counts
The opinions expressed here are personal and collected following several years of ADSL installation & domain hosting
This information is provided freely with no liability for loss or damage what so ever