My ROGERS Adventure


October 1, 2004

 

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NOTE:
If you're experiencing very slow speeds using Rogers, here's a fix that might work for you:

TCP Optimizer
"The TCP Optimizer is a free Windows program designed to help optimize your Internet connection. Just download and run, no installation required. The program makes it easy to find the best MaxMTU value, test latency and tweak all the important broadband related registry parameters. The Optimizer can be helpful with tuning any Internet connection type, from dialup to Gigabit+ :) If you need help with the program, read our broadband tweaking articles, the Optimizer FAQ, and/or visit our Forums. As an alternative, you can try one of our generic Registry patches instead. "
OS: Windows 9x/ME/2K/XP | version: 1.0 | date: 04/25/02 |
Filesize: 425 KB
Source:
SpeedGuide

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It all started in December 1998...

Yup - it's been that long, and I haven't left 'em.
I had problems for the first month [you can read about that below...], then things were OK, then they weren't. then they were, then they weren't - you get the picture. But I have this need for speed, y'see...
I created and maintain a (free) Canadian social research links website called (appropriately enough) Canadian Social Research Links. My Rogers cable Internet connection is a valuable asset when I work on that site, because I get to visit more sites more quickly and thus work more efficiently - way more efficiently. Without trivializing the problems that some people continue to encounter with Rogers' performance, stability and support, my own experience is that Rogers has been steadily improving since they broke free from Excite@Home.

And now that I'm really happy with Rogers...

No, I mean it - I'm really happy with Rogers.

Visit the website of the Residential Broadband Users' Association for discussion about Rogers' service...

The latest improvement (for me) in Rogers' service is the move to Yahoo! Mail --- best thing that Rogers could have done to improve customer relations!

October 1, 2004

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The rest of this page is something that I created back in early 1999 when I was having startup problems with then-Rogers@home.com --- just venting my spleen.
I'm just keeping it here for a smile, 'cause some people said they liked the Monica thing...

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Once upon a time...

 
THE @HOME PROTAGONISTS: 
Me: The "little guy" 
  • My first visit to the World Wide Web was in October 1995
  • I've had my own website since November 1997 (URL is at the bottom of this page)
  • I surf the net extensively at the office and home
  • I have Internet service experience with (in order) America Online, CompuServe, Netcom and Comnet
  • I'm not a techie - just someone who knows a good Internet Service Provider --- and good customer relations (subjectively, of course...)
ROGERS@HOME
  • munificent corporate good guys or Spawn of the Devil? You decide.
.
THE @HOME SETTING: 
  • Fall 1998 - ROGERS inundates the Ottawa market with an offer that's hard to beat: unlimited high-speed cable access to the net, up to five e-mail accounts, each with 5MB server space for web pages , waiver of the $15/mo. modem rental fee for the first six months after installation --- all for $39.95/mo.
    • In hindsight, this is very much like the AOL saturation marketing technique: - get a whole slew of people signed up, THEN try to work out the problems caused by the surge in demand...
...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
.

The @HOME 
Sale:
  • Since November 1997, I've been with Comnet, an Internet Service Provider here in Ottawa. 
  • My Comnet account runs from a humble little 28.8K modem on my home computer.
  • I work a lot on my website, Canadian Social Research Links
  • I figured I deserved good working tools, and ROGERS' deal sounded good.
  • I "signed up" in mid-November, with installation scheduled for December 1st. 
The @HOME Installation:
  • December 1 - cable guy came on time, did an excellent job installing new cable to my computer and my new LanCity modem; another guy (computer techie) came, also on time, did a quick installation of my network card, connected me to @HOME, showed me a few basics on the @HOME page and left. The whole installation went swimmimgly from start to finish. 

  •  

     

    So far so good. 
    This is me dancing for joy on December 1, 1998.
    * MEMO TO MYSELF: next time (!) get the techie to do some large downloads before he leaves. 

The @HOME Shock:
  • December 2-3-4: Tested my new connection on a variety of downloads/file transfers - especially ROGERS' own graphic speed test "guy-on-a-bike" 943K file - http://www.home.com/home/speed.html

  •  

     

    - ROGERS' claim of a seven-second download for the file rang hollow: my average time was around two minutes each time I did the test (after clearing my caches, of course). 

  • A number of other speed tests over the first few days confirmed my fears:  I was maxxing out at 8.7KPS, no matter WHAT I file was downloading or opening. 
  • ROGERS@HOME marketing stresses "speeds attaining 100 times dial-up". My old (28.8) dialup speed was a consistent 2.8KPS. I found it totally unacceptable that I wasn't able to get more than three times that speed with ROGERS - far from 100.
The @HOME Technical Support Experience:
  • First call (of about a dozen overall) to ROGERS@HOME tech support December 5. Reasonably short wait - five to ten minutes was the longest I ever had to stay on hold...
  • Very polite, very sympathetic guy. We did a bunch of tests, agreed that someone should come to my house to make things right. He also took note of the fact that two of my work colleagues had sent messages to my @HOME address only to have them bounce back saying "Fatal Error".
  • Another cable guy came to my house in mid-December. Verified the integrity of everything up to and including the modem (he even replaced the modem), but things didn't improve. He said he wasn't authorized to actually do anything to my computer.
  • Several calls (to the tech support line) later, another cable guy was dispatched to my house (December 31), once again to check the integrity of the line up to the modem. He, too, had been told to replace the modem - even though he knew even when he arrived that I'd already had a new modem installed in mid-December.
@Loggerheads with @HOME:
  • Started the New Year resolving to resolve this dilemma. Do I tell ROGERS@HOME to shove their cable where the sun don't shine OR duke it out with them?
  • The "unlimited connection time" part of the ROGERS deal is definitely worth more than a regular "unlimited" dial-up account (capped at 50 hrs. prime time, 50 hrs. non-prime with my old Internet Service Provider). This was a major factor in my decision to try to fix the problem with ROGERS.
  • I initiated a two-pronged strategy - continue calls to tech desk, but also send e-mail to ROGERS customer support with proof of my horrendous download speeds - the 8.7KPS cap. Others I know who have ROGERS@HOME in Ottawa are getting 50-250 KPS, depending on the traffic on the net, by the way...
@a Crossroad with @HOME:
  • The January 1999 issue of the Ottawa MONITOR (the local free computer mag) panned ROGERS - "Rogers @Home hits speed bump" (this link is no longer working...)
  • For the first time, I was considering cancelling ROGERS: no help (a LOT of genuine sympathy, but no help) from the tech desk, no response to my e-mail message except for a "form letter" saying that my query was in the queue. I feel abandoned by Rogers.
  • I've renewed my Comnet account for two extra months just because I don't trust ROGERS' mail server...

 
 

Things come to a head with @HOME:
 

  • ROGERS' customer support called January 22 in response to an e-mail I'd sent them originally on January 4 lamenting my slow speeds. I'd included a copy of some test results from a download speed test page. 
  • After some initial snide remarks about lack of speed by me and some defensive remarks by the customer support guy, we set down to work, checking this, downloading and installing that, etc. - for about an hour and a half...
  • "We" determined that my TCP/IP profiles needed tweaking because they were optimized for my 34.4 modem instead of the ROGERS cable connection. Following his directions I downloaded a program called iSpeed (which seems to have disappeared from the Web since then) and installed it on my system. I opened the program, selected the "Settings" tab, clicked "1500 (WIN95 default value)", and saved the result. I rebooted, opened my browser, and downloaded a large file. BINGO. Success....well, at least with the speed thing. 
  • Since "the fix" (Jan. 22), I'm getting consistent good download speeds (90KPS with bursts up to 250KPS is very good compared to 8.8KPS...)
  • Now, about the mail server thing...
  • NOTE: in lieu of iSpeed, try TCP Optimizer from SpeedGuide to optimize your Rogers connection.
    (this link was recently recommended by a former Rogers tech, and it's working as at October 1, 2004.)

    Dénouement
       
    .@Peace with @HOME 
     
     
      All's right with the world. Someone from Rogers saw my posting in the Rogers newsgroup a few days later about spotty mail service and took my case in hand personally. Within 24 hours, my mail was working - and consistently, for the many messages I've since sent myself from the office. The guy called himself an "engineer", but I KNOW he was an angel in disguise (not in a weird way, of course). Thank you to all the support guys - good shits every one, especially the last one, who got me to try iSpeed! 
    • Now I'm truly @peace with @home...

    THE BOTTOM LINE:
     
    If you're considering a move to ROGERS and you're even just a tad just don't, okay?
    People could get hurt. 

    See what people have to say in local newsgroups. 
    If newsgroups is daunting for you, try this: go to the "Location" box in your browser, type in "dejanews" and hit Enter - the browser will take you to the online version of newsgroups. Use the search feature to find postings (messages) for cable internet connections in your area, e.g., search "ROGERS@HOME and Ottawa".
    Or check the Residential Broadband Users' Association website...

     After all that, if you still want to go with ROGERS, no problemo.
    Just remember: When the computer techie finishes the installation, do a few large downloads before he leaves, just to be on the safe side...

     

    - Everyone at ROGERS with whom I spoke was very courteous and very sympathetic.
    But it's a BIG multinational corporation and things move slowly - at least that was my experience.
     
     

    Caveat Emptor.
    ... and don't forget to check the same newsgroups ("ott.online" for people in the Ottawa area) regularly for postings about ROGERS and Sympatico High Speed Edition (in case you're considering Sympatico as a high-speed alternative to ROGERS, they've got their problems too) .
    Regards,
    Gilles Séguin
    Canadian Social Research Links
     
     


    Comments?
    Send me an e-mail message
    gilseg@rogers.com


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