Advantages No problems in 7mths of running it, 12 email 'mailboxes', local rate support
Disadvantages 'dialup' style, daft email addresses that require aliases, only available to BT Customers
When moving home at the end of last year, I was certain of one thing: I was going to get rid of my old Dialup Connection (reviewed on here sometime ago) and switch to Broadband. Dialup was slow, inconvenient (I need to have the phone line free at all times), and no longer suited my browsing habits (heavy and often!).My initial problem was which one to choose. My sister had just signed up with BT Broadband, and was experiencing a lot of problems with her service. I knew I wasn't going to go for BT Openworld, but that left me researching the alternatives.
Wannadoo/Freeserve (only just moving into the broadband market), and Tiscali were valid options, but I wanted to go with a provider who offered local rate customer support (having heard horror stories of people stuck in queues, racking up huge phone bills).Eventually, I "googled" broadband providers, and drew my line at Clara.net or Pipex.
Now I didn't know much about either, but what I did recollect (from the pit of my brain) was that I'd seen businesses and educational institutions use a Pipex address. What's good enough for a company is good enough for me.In fact, upon revisiting their site to aid me in this review, I notice that they've received 'multiple' awards as an ISP for Business and Residential (see for yourself: http://www.pipex.net/awards).
Clara came a close second, but their setup fee put me off. Thus, Pipex was my choice.# Speed:
This was a fairly easy choice for me: go for as high a speed as you can afford. The options available to me were (up to) 512k download, 256k upload, or 256k/128k. Having been on a dialup previously, I knew that I wanted as fast as I could get. This time there would be no waiting for that Ciao login to happen. The only constraint in the speed I would receive would be the price.- A note for those who don't understand the differences -
A standard dialup Internet connection (through your phone line, giving an engaged tone) will usually give you 56k connection speed.This means that your computer will connect to the Internet at a speed of 56,000 bytes per second. However, due to traffic constraints, when downloading/uploading, surfing, the average dialup will reach roughly 5k/sec, if you're lucky! Given that an average MP3 is 4mb (roughly 4,000,000 bytes) (NB: not that I advocate illegal downloads!), you're looking at *does the maths* an average of 13 minutes per MP3 downloading. That's assuming that you've not been disconnected in the meantime...
- So why the 512k/256k or 256k/128k split? -Put simply, the former is the maximum bandwidth speed you can receive when downloading, the latter is the maximum speed when uploading. Downloading = pulling things to your computer, uploading = pushing things to other computers (or for others downloading from you).
# The price is right:Back in November 2003, there weren't the £15.99 offers of broadband being advertised everywhere you look (how things change in so little time!). In fact, you were expected to pay your one-off setup fee back then.
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