Some thoughts on Rogers 21.1Mbps service

January 2nd, 2010

Where I live the only choice for broadband internet is Rogers cable. When I first moved in you could choose to get DSL via FCI broadband or cable via ACI. Then Rogers bought out FCI followed by ACI and Rogers-ized them. After, they disconnected my house’s demarcation point so I can’t get DSL anymore so my only choice is cable.

Now as far as cellular service goes I get strong Rogers GSM/HSPA and TELUS CDMA service in my house. TELUS HSPA, BELL CDMA/HSPA signal are extremely weak in my house (to the point that phones with poor RF performance get no signal in my house while strong phones with strong RF work intermittently). Wind cuts out just before my house according to their coverage map. So my choices are TELUS CDMA or Rogers.

Now Rogers cable plans go up to a respectable 50Mbps downlink but the uplink maxes out a measly 2Mbps – and you have to pay 100 bucks a month if you want 2Mbps plan. I don’t feel like spending that much coin so I only have the 25/1Mbps plan. 25Mbps is pretty darn fast but the 1Mbps kills me when I’m uploading HD videos to YouTube.

So I got an idea, Rogers new 21.1Mbps service has and uplink speed of up to 5.76Mbps, nearly double their fastest cable plan. I ran out and got a ZTE MF668 21.1Mbps USB modem (AKA the Rogers HSPA+ Rocket Stick) thinking I could get upload speeds of almost 6x faster. Now I realize that mobile plans have much smaller bandwidth allotment but I have 6GB available and I don’t upload THAT much stuff to YouTube.

Anyways I’m faced with a few challenges, first off I actually use Fido and not Rogers. While Rogers owns Fido, Rogers phones are usually locked and  don’t always  work on Fido without first being unlocked. Secondly it’s a slight grey area when it comes to whether I can upload GB’s worth of stuff without getting a huge bill… I’ll find that out soon enough.

It turns out the ZTE MF668 is locked – it asked me for the subsidy code when I stuck a Bell SIM in. Not suprisingly it took a Rogers SIM just fine but the good news is that it also likes my Fido SIM and even comes preloaded with settings for Fido. Just remember to tell the ZTE MF668 to use the Fido settings since it uses the Rogers one by default and won’t connected with them if you’re using Fido. Now I can’t say whether all Rogers ZTE branded MF668′s will work with Fido but the one I bought was.

Now before I start YouTubing I thought I’d run a speedtest at www.speedtest.net.

I don’t get anywhere near 21.1Mbps down but I do get a very respectable 3.18Mbps up. YouTube’s next.

To test, I uploaded a 50 second 1080p video clip that weighs in around 73MB. On my Rogers cable connection with 1Mbps up it took about 10 minutes to upload, that translates to around 120kbps which is pretty much my connections  maximum. That’s a pretty consistent. Speaking of consistency my cable does slow down during the evening when everyone else is on (lately it’s gotten a lot better), so I ran the test during the day. On to the ZTE MF668.

Long story short, the ZTE MF668 didn’t work out. Whenever I tried to upload the video to YouTube the upload would stop and get stuck. I tried it on 2 different computers with the same results. It wasn’t a Firewall/Antivirus problem because the computer I tried it on didn’t have either plus it can upload to YouTube just fine when I switch to WiFi or plug an ethernet cable in.

So, while I was happy that the ZTE MF668 worked with Fido, for me there was little point to it. While it has relatively fast upload speed there’s some strange issue that keeps me from uploading videos to YouTube. I’m going to speak to Rogers to see if they have an explanation and will update this if I hear anything interesting.

*Update* I just tried the same thing with an unlocked Novatel Wireless MC950D USB modem I have lying around. Same thing – it won’t upload.

Entry Filed under: Rogers Wireless

3 Comments Add your own

    Quotation  |  January 3rd, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Rogers/Fido blocks many youtube functions over cell networks. Try changing which kind of youtube uploader you’re using — switch from their default to their basic html uploader, etc.

    Also, note that Rogers put a “$100 maximum data fee” on its plans, but changed that billing cap to $585/mo in October 2009. Double-check your October bill for the note, they still haven’t updated their website!

    kalok  |  January 3rd, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Are you from Toronto or Montreal?

    Anonymous  |  January 5th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    No Problems uploading with my novatel or zte. Never tried YouTube but others work fine.
    Hspa is hype & not ready for prime time usage or consideration other than for ul speeds. Returned my zte after a month of extensive testing across GTA.
    Howard perhaps Acanac online PC might be something to look at.

    Happy New Year
    TelecomZombie

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