my tfnet experience

This was originally posted to the RBUA forums.

Well, I promised in another thread that once I got my TFNet (Toronto FreeNet) connection setup I’d write a post about it. So, this is that post 🙂 I suppose it’s also sort of a good “what happens when you sign up for DSL” for people who’ve never done it before. Before this connection I had an @Home / Rogers cable connection in Guelph.

TFNet’s URL is http://tfnet.ca/. I signed up for their 3Mb plan (3000/800 advertised), which is $65.00/month with a 45GB/month combined? transfer limit. There’s no setup fee right now, you just have to pay for your first two months up-front. You provide your own modem, otherwise you have yo buy one from them at $175 (it is a combined modem/router/hub box). Also, since TFNet is run by Toronto Freenet, a non-profit organization, you don’t pay PST, only GST.

I moved into my new apartment around Don Mills & Sheppard on May 1. I had called TFNet about two weeks before to place my 3Mb order with them. They couldn’t convince Bell to install the line card when they hooked up my line (grr slow Bell), but placed the order with Bell the day after the phone got hooked up. Excellent. Let the waiting begin.

On May 7, my DSL modem (Alcatel SpeedTouch Home, upgraded to Pro) got line sync, and the following day TFNet sent me my login info. Hey, less than a week to get a line card! Not too shabby. Unfortunately, two things prevented me from getting hooked up until late on May 9.

First of all, I had never set up a DSL modem before. Since I didn’t buy TFNet’s DSL modem (they offer a combined modem/router/hub solution, I can’t remember which brand), I was stuck configuring my own. Some FAQs and instructions I found on the Net led me to believe that I could initiate the PPP connection from the SpeedTouch instead of from one of my PCs. I could never get this to work and ended up just setting the SpeedTouch up as a bridge and doing the PPPoE login using my Linux gateway. I had to reconfigure my Linux gateway of course, but my setup is rather arcane so I won’t go into it 🙂 I use the Roaring Penguin PPPoE client.

Second, TFNet initially sent me the wrong login name: they had truncated it by a character. They corrected it the next day, but still… little things. Overall every time I called or e-mailed TFNet they were very nice. Their office hours are rather restrictive (Wed-Fri 12-6) so don’t expect much phone support.

Since I signed up, I’ve learned that TFNet is reselling Velocet/Wiznet/DSL.ca. Which is strange, because none of those companies seem to provide 3Mb via PPPoE (DSL.ca has 3Mb but via a more direct connection and it is hella expensive.)

So, how is the speed? Well, last night I ran a test on DSLReports using just a WinXP box directly connected to the DSL modem. The test came out to around 1600/700. Upload speed is definately there, but perhaps I have to tweak some things to get that download speed up. I also have no idea where my CO is…

While those were the test results, last night while downloading three TV episodes via BitTorrent I was getting a combined 200K/s. So some more testing is in order.

All in all, I am fairly happy with the connection. Obviously the download speed test is disappointing, but it certainly “feels” much much faster than my old cable connection. If anyone has questions feel free to ask them.

 

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