About three weeks ago I spoke a little about how Eclipse has set me up with one of its bonded DSL products for a trial period. As I'm stuck with a rubbish old BT telephone exchange, it has been a real eye opener.
If you didn't take a look at the original blog, I'd suggest you take a look at 'Part 1' before continuing to give this blog a bit of context.
But to summarise - what I've experienced is a literal doubling of my broadband speed, as well as an end to problems of slowdown at peak times. There has also been a huge increase in download speeds, which I can only presume is down to dealing with a smaller company that charges a premium for a business quality home broadband connection.
However, price isn't the only barrier when setting yourself up with what is essentially a business grade broadband package; another is hardware (as well as the plug space/electricity to go with it).
As you’ll see from the image above, where once was just a single wireless router and a telephone there is now three extra lumps of tech (there could also be an extra telephone, for the extra landline, but I’m not really using it), each with its own plug.
What you have to bear in mind is that the usual customer for bonded DSL are businesses – which means they will usually have quite a large telephony set up already in place and maybe an IT department (or at least guy) to turn things on and off when required.
Me? Not so much. When the routers arrived I plugged them in and away I went. I use Netgear powerline homeplugs for both my internet ready TV and PC, so initially I thought everything was hunky dory. That was until my girlfriend tried to connect wirelessly with our laptop and couldn't find the network.
This wasn't a problem with the service, per se - more my presumption that I had wireless routers. However, as the more eagle eyed of you have probably noticed, you in fact get two wired routers with your bonded DSL package (or up to four, depending on how many lines you’re bonding together).
As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t going to be a problem for your average business. For me, it meant a call to Eclipse tech support followed by a trip to Amazon to buy a wireless access point and desktop switch. Thankfully the pair only set me back £25 and, once arrived, they installed and were up and running in no time.
I did call Eclipse back once the gadgets had arrived, but luckily all the bits spoke to each other without a fuss. This isn’t guaranteed of course – it may depend on which manufacturer’s gadgets you pick up, for example.
Finally this time, I should expand a little on the tech support side. In short, it was refreshingly polite and professional – it certainly didn't seem scripted, while queue time was kept to a minimum. Of course when you’re paying around £100 per month for your broadband connection you would hope for good customer service. But having paid close to that for certain ‘multi-play’ services I could mention from leading broadband suppliers, the reality is often anything but.
Speaking of multi-play, next time I’ll talk a little about how to help keep your monthly bills down so that you can afford to get decent bonded DSL in a rural area and still enjoy some top notch online gaming and television experiences.