Archive for Bell

Bell introduces 5G+

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2022 by itnerd

Bell today announced the network readiness of 5G+, to be deployed across the country on Canada’s fastest and most awarded 5G wireless network, and offering unprecedented mobile data speeds.

In 2021, Bell secured prime 3500 MHz spectrum in urban and rural markets across the country, adding high-capacity airwaves critical to the evolution of Bell 5G on its network. Bell is now poised to deploy 3500 MHz wireless spectrum and unleash the next phase of 5G advancement. Bell plans to continue its network leadership position and deliver to customers the fastest 5G+ network in Canada, with its world-class network technology strategy and prime spectrum position.

Optimized for demanding apps and services, 5G+ is the fastest mobile technology yet in Canada. From gaming to streaming, to video conferencing, everything is expected to be faster and more responsive with peak theoretical download speeds of up to 3Gbps in select areas.

Bell 5G customers with compatible devices will soon have access to 5G+ capabilities, starting with those in Toronto. For all other 5G customers, until 5G+ is available in their area, they can continue to enjoy 4G, LTE and 5G on Canada’s best network. Bell will work towards offering 5G+ coverage to approximately 40% of the Canadian population by the end of 2022.

Bell Expands Their Fibre Rollout To London Ontario

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2022 by itnerd

Bell continues to aggressively expand their fibre network rollout by announcing that they will bring all-fibre broadband access to approximately 160,000 additional locations in London by 2026. This expansion will bring speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps and access to Bell services such as Fibe TV to those customers. 

I have to say that both Bell and Telus have really been pushing the accelerator on their fibre rollouts. That in my mind will put them in the position of being the leaders in Internet access in Canada as they will simply have the fastest networks out there, which will attract customers to them and away from the competition such as Rogers. I say that because while Rogers has made some recent announcements, Bell and Telus both have quite the head start. Thus I have difficulty seeing how Rogers can catch up to them in a rapid manner.

Microsoft Discovers Security Flaws In Android Apps Provided By Canadian Telcos Among Other Telcos

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by itnerd

This isn’t a good look for Rogers, Bell, Freedom Mobile, TELUS and a few other telcos. According to BleepingComputer, Microsoft has found some serious vulnerabilities in Android apps that they distribute:

The researchers found these vulnerabilities (tracked as CVE-2021-42598CVE-2021-42599CVE-2021-42600, and CVE-2021-42601) in a mobile framework owned by mce Systems exposing users to command injection and privilege escalation attacks.

The vulnerable apps have millions of downloads on Google’s Play Store and come pre-installed as system applications on devices bought from affected telecommunications operators, including AT&T, TELUSRogers CommunicationsBell Canada, and Freedom Mobile.

“The apps were embedded in the devices’ system image, suggesting that they were default applications installed by phone providers,” according to security researchers Jonathan Bar Or, Sang Shin Jung, Michael Peck, Joe Mansour, and Apurva Kumar of the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team.

“All of the apps are available on the Google Play Store where they go through Google Play Protect’s automatic safety checks, but these checks previously did not scan for these types of issues.

“As it is with many of pre-installed or default applications that most Android devices come with these days, some of the affected apps cannot be fully uninstalled or disabled without gaining root access to the device.”

Well, that’s not good. But these apps have been fixed. Sort of. Microsoft reached out to the relevant parties and these vulnerabilities were fixed. But the at-risk framework is likely used by numerous other service providers who may still have apps out there that aren’t fixed. Which means that threat actors can still launch attacks.

To protect yourself, search for the package name com.mce.mceiotraceagent on you Android device. If you find it, delete it ASAP if you can. I say that because you might need root access to delete it.

Bell and Amazon Web Services bring 5G Edge Compute to Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 26, 2022 by itnerd

Bell today announced the launch of the first public multi-access edge computing (MEC) with AWS Wavelength in Canada. Building on Bell’s agreement with AWS, announced last year, together the two companies are deploying AWS Wavelength Zones throughout the country at the edge of Bell’s 5G network starting in Toronto.

Bell Public MEC with AWS Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of the Bell 5G network, closer to mobile and connected devices where data is generated and consumed. This enables software developers and businesses to take full advantage of the high speed and low latency of Bell’s 5G network and the cloud with AWS to build innovative, low- latency solutions that leverage real-time visual data processing, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), advanced robotics, and much more.

Network infrastructure is the backbone for Canadian businesses today as they innovate and advance in the digital age. Organizations across retail, transportation, manufacturing, media & entertainment and more can unlock new growth opportunities with 5G and MEC to be more agile, drive efficiency, and transform customer experiences.

Optimized for MEC applications, AWS Wavelength deployed on service providers’ 5G networks provides seamless access to cloud services running in AWS Regions. By doing so, AWS Wavelength minimizes the latency and network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS. AWS Wavelength is now available in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, and Japan in partnership with global communications service providers.

Creating an immersive shopping experience with Bell 5G

Increasingly, retailers want to offer omni-channel shopping experiences so that consumers can access products, offers, and support services on the channels, platforms, and devices they prefer. For instance, there’s a growing appetite for online shopping to replicate the in store experience – particularly for apparel retailers. These kinds of experiences require seamless connectivity so that customers can easily and immediately pick up on a channel after they leave another channel to continue the experience. These experiences also must be optimized for high- quality viewing and interactivity.

Rudsak worked with Bell and AWS to deploy Summit Tech’s immersive shopping platform, Odience, to offer its customers an immersive and seamless virtual shopping experience with live sales associates and the ability to see merchandise up close. With 360-degree cameras at its pop-up locations and launch events, Rudsak customers can browse the racks and view a new product line via their smartphones or VR headsets from either the comfort of their own home or while on the go.

Bell Public MEC with AWS Wavelength is now available in the Toronto area, with additional Wavelength Zones to be deployed in the future.

Bell Internet Goes To 3GB In Both Directions…. Which Makes Rogers Look Like They’re Yesterday’s News

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 7, 2022 by itnerd

A while ago I wrote about Bell having the upper hand on Rogers when it came to the speeds of their Internet offering. And yesterday, they did something that will absolutely make Rogers a complete non-factor when it comes to getting Internet access in Canada. Here’s the announcement from Bell:

Bell today introduced the fastest Internet speeds of any major provider in Canada, with total speeds three times faster than cable. Bell pure fibre Internet service now offers download speeds of 3 Gbps (gigabits per second) as well as upload speeds of 3 Gbps, providing that faster experience while working or learning from home, playing games or sharing videos with the upload speeds that cable cannot deliver.

This new service is now available in most parts of Toronto. But you can bet it will be coming to other places soon. And combine that with Telus doing just slightly slower speeds for their fibre offering in Western Canada, I can’t see a scenario where Rogers comes back from this. I say that for the following reasons:

  • Rogers with their current cable offering can only hit a maximum speed of 1 Gbps downstream and a rather pathetic and uncompetitive 30 Mbps upstream. Which when compared to this new offering from Bell isn’t in the same league.
  • While Rogers is doing a rollout of fibre in a few places starting with the east coast, they are years behind Bell on that front. And they are unlikely to catch up.

Now while I am a Rogers customer, but it is offerings like this that make me want to switch to Bell. That despite Bell’s horrible customer service which contrasts greatly to Rogers much better customer service being a factor as to why I haven’t pulled that trigger yet. But this new offering from Bell is tempting me. And I am sure it is tempting others as well.

Rogers, you have a problem.

Nokia & Bell Canada test 25G PON Fiber Broadband Technology

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 16, 2021 by itnerd

Nokia and Bell Canada today announced the first successful test of 25G PON fiber broadband technology in North America at Bell’s Advanced Technical Lab in Montréal, Québec.  

The trial validates that current GPON and XGS-PON broadband technology and future 25G PON can work seamlessly together on the same fiber hardware, which is being deployed throughout the network today. 25G PON delivers huge symmetrical bandwidth capacity that will support new use cases such as premium enterprise service and 5G transport.

For the past decade, Bell has been rolling out fiber Internet service to homes and businesses across the country, a key component in the company’s focus on connecting Canadians in urban and rural areas alike with next-generation broadband networks. With this successful trial, Bell can be confident that its network will absorb the increased capacity of future technologies and connect Canadians for generations to come.

Bell and Nokia have closely collaborated over the years on many industry breakthroughs, such as the first Canadian trial of 5G mobile technology in 2016. Bell continues to work with Nokia to build and expand its 5G network across Canada. 

Nokia’s 25G PON solution utilizes the world’s first implementation of 25G PON technology and includes Lightspan and ISAM access nodes, 25G/10G optical cards and fiber modems.

Usually located in telecom central offices, Nokia’s high-capacity access nodes are deployed for massive scale fiber roll-outs. They connect thousands of users via optical fibre, aggregate their broadband traffic and send it deeper in the network. The fiber access nodes can support multiple fiber technologies including GPON, XGS-PON, 25G PON and Point-to-Point Ethernet to deliver a wide range of services with the best fit technology.

Nokia ONT (Optical Network Termination) devices, or fiber modems, are located at the user location. They terminate the optical fibre connection and deliver broadband services within the user premises or cell sites.

Bell Canada Claims to Have Added “More Value” To The Canadian Wireless Marketplace….. Yeah Right…

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 29, 2021 by itnerd

I have to admit that I come into this somewhat jaded because of my recent horrible experience with Bell Canada, but when Bell posted this press release claiming that it was bringing “more value” to the Canadian wireless marketplace which is insanely expensive, I was skeptical. And reading it only made me more skeptical because this press release was focused around they Virgin Plus flanker brand. There was nothing in the press release about the Bell brand.

If they really wanted to bring value to Canadians, Bell would bring these same changes to the Bell brand. But clearly that’s not the plan as they still want to milk Canadians for every dollar possible. So I would take this press release and file it under “meaningless noise” because it doesn’t mean anything other than optics to check a box that was imposed upon them by the federal government.

hayu Brings Top Reality to Bell Fibe TV

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 1, 2021 by itnerd

Reality TV fans looking to get their daily dose of drama with The Real Housewives, go Below Deck or binge-watch every season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, can now do so more easily than ever before.

Today, NBCUniversal announced that hayu – the all-reality TV and ad-free subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service – is bringing the best in reality content to Bell Fibe TV, offering customers direct access to over 300 popular shows.

As the partnership rolls out across Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada, Bell Fibe TV customers can now access hayu via the Bell Fibe TV app menu. Those who are currently subscribed to hayu can sync their subscriptions to enjoy a lean-back viewing experience of their favourite reality TV moments.

Targeting the broad base of viewers who are fans of the reality genre, hayu offers over 8,000 episodes of top reality TV content. The service offers extensive choice, with a wide variety of unscripted sub-genres in English language including: Home and Design, Dating, Cooking, Crime, and Fashion. With the majority of shows available on hayu the same day they premiere on TV, Canadians can watch their favourite shows without worrying about spoilers or being an episode behind their friends. Subscribers can also exclusively stream shows such as Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen and Love Island.

In multiple markets globally, hayu has distinguished itself as the must-have, all-reality streaming service. Fans of reality in Canada can subscribe for $5.99 (+applicable taxes) per month.

For more details or to sign-up, visit www.hayu.com/bell.

Rogers Attempt To Buy Shaw Will Get A Good Hard Look By Regulators

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 7, 2021 by itnerd

I’m pretty sure the folks in Rogers HQ at 1 Mount Pleasant in Toronto are not happy about this development. Reuters is reporting that the Competition Bureau is going to take a look at Rogers attempt to buy Shaw:

The Canadian regulator looking into telecom company Rogers Communications’ planned C$20 billion ($16 billion) purchase of Shaw Communications has obtained court orders to advance its review, the Competition Bureau said on Thursday.

In March, Rogers agreed to buy Shaw in a deal that would create Canada’s second-largest cellular and cable operator. 

The Canadian government was quick to say it would attract stiff regulatory scrutiny, including an investigation from the Competition Bureau and a parliamentary hearing. 

The orders obtained earlier this week will allow the bureau to compel companies including BCE Inc, TELUS Corp and Quebecor Inc-owned Videotron to produce records relevant to the investigation, a statement from the bureau said.

I am not an expert on this sort of thing. But I am thinking that the fact that this deal isn’t being rubber stamped by the relevant Canadian authorities has to concern Rogers as that would that opens up the possibility that someone will put the kibosh on this deal. Because many people think that this deal isn’t good for consumers as there would be less competition. Hopefully the Competition Bureau keep that in mind as they investigate this deal.

Where Bell Failed, Rogers Over Performed….. So Far

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 1, 2021 by itnerd

Yesterday, I told you the story of our attempt to switch to Bell Canada from Rogers because our cable bill was too high, and Bell has a way faster Internet offering. That of course went horribly sideways and resulting us deciding to forget about switching to Bell and instead switch to Rogers Ignite platform. That would accomplish the saving of money part. But it won’t do anything about our Internet speed. And we were fine with that. So we pulled the trigger on that via the MyRogers portal.

A couple of hours later, we got a shipment notification with a tracking number for Purolator Courier that didn’t appear in their system when I went to look it up. We were surprised, but I figured that Rogers had just printed the label and it would be picked up on Tuesday from Rogers and delivered to us later in the week.

Imagine our surprise when we got a knock on the door early this morning and there was a box outside with these two pieces of Rogers gear in it:

This is the brand new Rogers Ignite modem which also doubles as a gateway for our home phone.

And this is our new Rogers Ignite IPTV TV box which absolutely dwarfs the cable box that we were using up until today.

So at this point, Rogers was over performing. We ordered something from them online. And it showed up insanely quickly. This is the exact opposite experience that we had with Bell. So Rogers is scoring points with us so far. But now came the part that I was dreading. There was no way that this was going to be set up easily and quickly because from prior experience with Rogers, this is where things go sideways.

Let’s walk through the setup process, and how each part went for me:

  • Internet: Plug it in, download the Ignite WiFi App, follow the prompts in the app. Done. It was insanely easy.
  • TV: Plug it in, hook it up to your TV using an HDMI cable. Follow the prompts onscreen. Done. It was insanely easy.
  • Home Phone: This is where things came unstuck…. Sort of. I should have been able to just plug in the phone into the back of the modem and get a dial tone. The dial tone part never happened. So it was a call to Rogers and after finding that I would have to wait online for over 30 minutes, I requested a call back. Rogers called back in 25 minutes which was again over performing on their part. But the tech that called back couldn’t get our phone working. Though I will say he tried really hard to do so. He eventually opened a ticket and said that it would be working in a couple of hours. It was working in less than one hour. All things considered, I would say that Rogers over performed .

So at this point I could have declared victory and had a beer. Ignoring the fact it was about noon and that was early for beer, I had a couple of extra tasks to perform. The first being that I wanted to put the Rogers modem into bridge mode (which makes the Rogers gear act as just a modem as opposed to a router/modem combo) as I have my own network gear via my Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 mesh network that I wanted to use instead of Rogers gear. The reasons for that were two fold:

  • It’s not that I don’t trust Rogers, but if I have my own gear that I have personally locked down, I can ensure that nobody is getting into my network.
  • I as a rule never rely on my ISP’s gear to run my home network. It also makes it easy to change ISPs.

Putting the Rogers modem into bridge mode is insanely easy. And Rogers has the instructions in this support document with warnings that you might break your Rogers TV service if you do this. Which is 100% true as that’s what happened to me. But I got my TV service back online simply by connecting the Rogers IPTV box to my home network.

Total time invested: 2 hours….. Which unlike the two hours that my wife and I spent with Bell yesterday was completely productive.

Now over to the Internet speed part. I did some speed tests from my router which is directly connected to the Rogers Modem. Here’s what I got:

For comparison purposes, hers’s a speed test from the old Rogers hardware done a few days ago:

The speed is slightly higher. Which is good. The ping time went up, but is still more than acceptable as far as I am concerned. And the jitter, which you can get a definition of here, is a bit better. In other words, it’s pretty much the same overall from a numbers perspective.

The only task left is to send back our old Rogers hardware back to Rogers. And the only option to do that is via courier. Rogers supplied a label and we can reuse the box to do that. That will happen on Tuesday after the long weekend here in Toronto.

So, I will give kudos to Rogers for massively over performing during this whole experience. They allowed us to order the Ignite gear online and delivered the new gear shockingly quick. And the setup was mostly painless. Plus as my wife pointed out to me, Rogers isn’t nearly as slimy, aggressive, and used car salesmen like as Bell are. I have to admit I was That’s one major plus towards sticking with them. For now.

But the one outstanding item is the billing. Rogers has a history of screwing that up. But if they continue to over perform by not screwing that up this time around, then Rogers will have earned a significant amount of respect from yours truly and my wife. Expect an update on that front when we get visibility on that.

In the meantime, I will play with my new Roger gear. Expect an update of some sort on that later in the week.