The Move From Rogers To Bell Is Almost Complete…. Here’s What Happened

Readers of this blog will recall that since the nationwide Rogers outage in early July and one additional outage after that, my wife and I lost all faith in Rogers ability to provide a reliable Internet product. Thus we decided to make the move to Bell. Which to be frank isn’t a company that has the best customer service, but as I’ve said previously, they have an Internet offering that destroys anything that Rogers currently offers. On top of that, they appear to be far more reliable than Rogers at the moment. Thus my wife and I made the switch. And just to get you up to speed, you can read about the ordering process which was a bit of a mess here and here.

Now on Tuesday which was two days before the install, I got a call from Bell claiming that Rogers would not port my number across to Bell. I found that difficult to believe as by law if they get a number porting request, they have to honour it. And when I pointed that out the Bell rep, the rep assured me that she would resubmit the request and get it done. Though the rep also said that I would have to call into Rogers to cancel Internet and TV as Bell couldn’t do that for me. I was fine with that and ended the call.

Total time invested: 2 Minutes.

Ninety minutes later Bell calls again. This time they wanted to explain to me that if I wanted my home phone service to stay working in the event of a blackout, I needed to buy a UPS. I told the agent that I was aware of that as I had read this article on the Bell website. That’s when the Bell rep pivoted to trying to upsell me to TV, mobile phone service, and home monitoring. And the rep was hyper aggressive. I blew the rep off and ended the call.

Total time invested: 6 Minutes.

This illustrates how aggressive Bell are in terms of getting all your services. Thus you have to survive that if you want their services. It also means that you will get more of this upselling the longer you are with Bell.

In any case, we fast forward to Thursday which was install day. My wife and I spent the day before clearing out the area next to the place where the fiber cable enters my condo. Here’s a picture of it:

This outlet is next to the door to my balcony, and this is where Bell ran the fiber cable about 5 or 6 years ago when they put fiber runs into every unit in the building as the were rolling out Fibe Internet. Bell ran individual fibre cables up the side of the building and into each unit. But they didn’t terminate the cable. I am guessing that they just wanted the cables in every unit so that all a tech had to do is light it up if you wanted Bell services. You can also see the Rogers cable jack next to it.

The install window was scheduled for 8AM to noon and everything should take two hours. The tech arrived at 9AM and was done by 10AM. And the first thing that he had to do is to terminate the cable.

The tech ran the cable from the box to this box. Then the tech plugged in a fiber patch cable into this box. I would have liked to see the Bell tech have everything self contained in the box that was in the previous picture.

Now the fiber patch cable went to this:

This is Bell’s new Whole Home 4000. This is the piece of gear that drives your telephone service, provides WiFi and TV. On the back it has a 10Gbps Ethernet port so that you can get fast speeds from Bell’s services. My plan was to use PPPoE passthrough to connect to this via my ASUS ZenWiFi AX XT8 mesh router as I never, ever use my ISP’s gear to power my home network. What PPPoE passthrough means that I use my PPPoE credentials on the ASUS mesh router to connect to the Bell network. Essentially passing through the Bell hardware to connect to the Bell network. I am doing this because unlike Rogers modems, Bell modems do not have a proper bridge mode which sucks for those of us who want to use our own gear. This requires you to get your PPPoE login information from the Bell tech, which he was all too happy to hand over. But if you can’t get it from your installer, you can get it via your MyBell account. If you’re interested in the technical details about how I set this up, I’ll be covering that in a separate article.

Once I did that, this is the speed I was getting from the Bell hardware:

Since I was paying for 1.5 Gbps down and 940 Mbps up, I was getting more than I pay for. However, this wasn’t what I getting from the ASUS XT8:

Now PPPoE does have some overhead, thus I was aware I would lose some speed by using PPPoE passthrough as a lot of consumer routers don’t do a good job of handling high speed PPPoE connections. But only getting just under 400 Mbps was pretty bad. I did some checking inside my router settings and found that I had QoS turned on. That can seriously mess with the speeds that you get. I turned that off and I got this:

This is better, but the upstream isn’t where I want it to be. I did some Internet searches and discovered that this seems to be an issue with ASUS routers where they can’t go much above 500 Mbps when using PPPoE. So I reported this to ASUS and provided my router configuration and logs to them so that they can investigate and tell me what if anything I can do to fix this. Or ASUS just fixes this in the form of a firmware update. But even with these speeds, the upstream speed is about 16 times faster than what I was getting with Rogers. So it is still a win. But I want more. One thing that I will point out are the ping times and the jitter. The ping time is insanely low. It’s one fifth of what I was getting with Rogers. That means that for gaming, Zoom or Teams calls, my wife and I will get great performance. In terms of jitter, which is a measurement of the variation or inconsistency of your ping speed, or put another way how consistent your ping speed is, it’s insanely low as well. Far lower than what I was getting with Rogers. Which again means great performance for gaming, Zoom, or Teams calls.

The only downer on this whole experience was the fact that I can’t use the FibeTV app which if you look at my story about the ordering process was slipped in. Apparently I have to wait until I get a Bell account number to activate that according to the two Bell reps that I spoke to. And that may take until late next week to happen. That really seems dumb and Bell really should do something about that. But I will report back on that when I get that working.

The last thing that I will cover is cancelling Rogers. To my surprise, they didn’t put up much of a fight. And they sent us a Canada Post return label to allow us to return our Rogers hardware. It was all very civilized and a total non-event.

I’ll continue to keep you posted in terms of my progress with Bell including getting my first bill to see if they do anything shady, and getting the FibeTV app working. Stay tuned for that.

3 Responses to “The Move From Rogers To Bell Is Almost Complete…. Here’s What Happened”

  1. […] Straight Talk About Information Technology From A Nerd Who Speaks English « The Move From Rogers To Bell Is Almost Complete…. Here’s What Happened […]

  2. “So it is still a win. But I want more.”.

    Did you get it yet or living harmoniously with 500?

    Any plans for a UPS or have already?

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