Network Upgrade 2015

During 2014 I’ve upgraded to UPC’s 200/20Mbit Internet account, cancelled my TV and landline and upgraded my T-Mobile account to 4G with 5Gbyte data. Not much has really changed in 2015 that I thought was worth blogging about.

Yes, this will have tech talk, but it affects you, so read it please.

tl;dr Once a year I review what I pay for my ISP/Telecom accounts and consider upgrading and/or downgrading. 2015 was a pretty quiet year with just a couple of changes. Suspecting 2016 not being much of a difference, why try to fix it if it's not broken. Also, surprise rant at the end.
Somewhere in 2015 Ziggo.nl and UPC.nl merged, it’s still the same 200/20Mbit for 55 Euro a month. And it’s still performing just fine. I am hoping that in 2016 they will offer bigger and faster accounts, so I can downgrade and save some money while keeping enough speed to feel comfortably spoiled.

Oh by the way, that broken and then suddenly fixed 1Gbit ethernet port has worked since the day I found out its problems were resolved. I am so happy about that! It really helped keep latency down and speeds consistent. Anyway…

T-Mobile at some point offered 6GB instead of 5GB, why say no to a free upgrade, right? 4G speeds are supposed to be around 120/50Mbit, but inside my apartment I get around 15 to 25Mbit down and 10 to 20Mbit up. Outside it’s nearly double. But I hardly ever get a steady 100+ down. Not sure when their ‘4G Max’ is actually ‘max’. One thing I have to say is that their 4G is quite stable, streaming 1080p 12Mbit movies through Plex and Netflix while commuting around the Netherlands hasn’t been an issue.

The Internet connection at home is still behind a crappy UPC modem in bridge mode, with that amazing Netgear r7000 Nighthawk router behind it. I’ve had no issues so far, performance and reliability have gone up actually. If you have any network issues at home, even on crap DSL speeds, it really is worth investing in a proper router. Please consider it.

My mobile devices also benefit from this. They can max out now. I’ve been able to save up money and upgrade my iPad 2 16GB to iPad Air 2 64GB, and my iPhone 5s 32GB to iPhone 6s Plus 64GB. Their speeds on both 4G and Cable are as high as the provider allows it, nice job Apple! (Tech 5 year prediction: Li-fi)

The last upgrade I want to mention is T-Mobile, that 6GB account was 54 euro per month, the new iPhone 6s Plus account is 12GB data and is 55 euro per month. I think that was worth upgrading.

But that’s it. A few little mentions of small upgrades and companies merging and sharing my experience. I don’t suspect there to be much more of an upgrade software or hardware wise. It runs, and runs smoothly. Any new device will support 802.11ac or better, and the router supports it. I have no plans to upgrade my network, if the providers offer options that save me money without having to compromise too much in performance, speed, stability etc, I will most likely downgrade to save money.

All in all I paid just a few euro more per month than I did in 2014, but compared to other countries it’s about half the cost of what I see others put down per month. My goal however is to have the ‘Internet side of things’ as a total to go below 100 Euro a month. It’s 110+ now. I remember as well that I was happy to go from 802.11g to n, in 2014. But in 2015 this changed from 802.11n to 802.11ac (except for the old iMac). Which really helped as well.

A small note though. When you read this, I recommend to do a few things. And feel free to contact me to see how I can help you.

a) If you have an all in one modem/router from your ISP, figure out if you can put the modern in bridge mode, and invest in a worthy router to improve your security, performance, stability of the network, etc.
b) Go through the modem and router settings, note them down securely in an app like 1Password. You might be surprise to learn that you are on an iPad supporting 5Ghz 802.11ac, and you’re connecting to your wifi on 2.4Ghz 802.11g, you could actually triple your speed.
c) Check with your ISP and Telecom provider to figure out which accounts you have, what they offer, and what you need. You might be surprised to find out for two or three bucks more you can get double the speed and traffic. Saving you loads of hassle and money in the long run. Or, if you only use/need a third of the the speed and data, that you could possibly save money by downgrading or switching to an all-in-one solution.

More details information about the 2014 network upgrade: http://mrfloris.com/article/1997/network-upgrade-2014/, and previous years: (2008, where it was 20Mbit down, now I have 20Mbit up! Wow) http://mrfloris.com/article/75/upgraded-my-isp-account/, 2011: http://mrfloris.com/article/1319/network-upgrade-2011/, and 2012: http://mrfloris.com/article/1856/network-upgrade-2012/ :)

There is some data to consider, around 2000 it was 2Mbit down, 2008 it was 2Mbit up (and 20 down) and now 8 years later 20Mbit up! I guess the 200Mbit down I have now might just be 200Mbit up in 8 years from now? Ha!

Footnote (a rant). People around me roll their eyes when they see techies like me talk about our network. And they wonder why we invest in a certain setup. What’s wrong with DSL? My (shitty) KPN provider tells me that cable is congested because it’s a shared line, and DSL copper is a separate line for every customer! The answer is because providers basically lie. Plain and simple. They make money capping and throttling your connection. They make money when it doesn’t work well enough for you and they can offer you a ‘max’ package you don’t need. They make money letting you invest in modems ‘maybe this will fix it’, while they know it does not. They won’t tell you that the latency on the network with DSL is 10ms or worse. And that with cable it’s 10ms or less. They won’t tell you that if you pay the same amount or more for shittynet DSL it will be (usually) a max of 24Mbit downstream and maybe a 1Mbit upstream. And that by default you won’t max that at 24/1Mbit, it’s more likely (real world usage) 18 to 22Mbit down and half a Mbit up. They won’t tell you that the distance from the central point to your house defines the actual reachable speed - you might end up with 8 to 12Mbit. With cable they give you 200Mbit, you get 200Mbit, 99% of the time. The much bigger upstream also gives the traffic freedom to deal with packets and overhead. Something that keeps performance consistent and latency down.

(Please) Invest in a good provider, a good router, configure it properly, and set up your devices for what they’re meant to be. You will benefit from snappy mail sending and delivering. Snappy browsing and responsive web apps. Not to mention while you Netflix you won’t buffer and HD content won’t be an issue, while someone else is uploading or Skyping with a friend. Stop being on shittynet!

Okay, now I am done.


[edit [1]] Update January 11th 2016; T-Mobile announced 225Mbit/s 4G+ Network upgrade on both their 900MHz- and 1800MHz-bands.
[edit [2]] Update February 3rd 2016; Ziggo ISP announced 120/12Mbit/s accounts to get free upgrade to 150/15Mbit/s in April, it will be worth considering a downgrade.

Next Article: New Year's Resolutions 2016