1. Why change?
  2. Requirements
  3. Contestants
    1. TSI
    2. Oricom
    3. Ebox
    4. Beanfield / Openface

For more than a few decades now (!), I've been running my own server. First it was just my old Pentium 1 squatting on university networks, but eventually grew into a real server somewhere at the dawn of the millenia. Apart from the university days, the server was mostly hosted over ADSL links, first a handful of megabits, up to the current 25 Mbps down, 6 Mbps up that the Bell Canada network seems to allow to its resellers (currently Teksavvy Internet, or TSI).

Why change?

Obviously, this speed is showing its age, and especially in this age of Pandemia where everyone is on videoconferencing all the time. But it's also inconvenient when I need to upload large files on the network. I also host a variety of services on this network, and I always worry that any idiot can (rather trivially) DoS my server, so I often feel I should pack a little more punch at home (although I have no illusions about my capacity of resisting any sort of DoS attack at home of course).

Also, the idea of having gigabit links at home brings back the idea of the original internet, that everyone on the internet is a "peer". "Client" and "servers" are just a technical distinction and everyone should be able to run a server.

Requirements

So I'm shopping for a replacement. The requirements are:

  1. higher speed than 25/6, preferably 100mbps down, 30mbps up, or more. ideally 1gbps symmetric.

  2. static or near-static IP address: I run a DNS server with its IP in the glue records (although the latter could possibly be relaxed). ideally a /29 or more.

  3. all ports open: I run an SMTP server (incoming and outgoing) along with a webserver and other experiments. ideally, no firewall or policy should be blocking me from hosting stuff, unless there's an attack or security issue, obviously.

  4. clean IP address: the SMTP server needs to have a good reputation, so the IP address should not be in a "residential space" pool.

  5. IPv6 support: TSI offers IPv6 support, but it is buggy (I frequently have to restart the IPv6 interface on the router because the delegated block stops routing, and they haven't been able to figure out the problem). ideally, a /56.

  6. less than 100$/mth, ideally close to the current 60$/mth I pay.

(All amounts in $CAD.)

Contestants

I wrote a similar message asking major ISPs in my city for those services, including business service if necessary:

I have not contacted those providers:

I might have forgotten some, let me know if you're in the area and have a good recommendation. I'll update this post with findings as they come in.

Keep in mind that I am in a major Canadian city, less than a kilometer from a major telco exchange site, so it's not like I'm in a rural community. This should just work.

TSI

First answer from TSI was "we do not provide 30mbps upload on residential services", even though they seem to have that package on their website. They confirmed that they "don't have a option more than 10 mbps upload."

TSI were the first to respond, within 24h.

Oricom

They offer a 100/30 link for 65$ plus 25$ for a static IP.

No IPv6 yet, unlikely to come soon. No services blocked, they have their own PoP within Videotron's datacenters so clients come out from their IP address space.

I can confirm that the IP is fairly static from the office.

Oricom were the second to respond, within 24h, but required a phone call instead of an email exchange. Responded within 6 hours after leaving a voicemail.

Ebox

Ebox claims my neighborhood supports 400mbps down, but offered me a 100/30 package with 350Go bandwidth per month for 54.95$/mth or unlimited for 65$/mth.

Many ports are blocked, which makes it impossible for me to use their service:

No static IP addressing, shared dynamic space so no garantee on reputation. IPv6 only on DSL, so no high speed IPv6.

Ebox took the longest to respond, about 48 hours.

Beanfield / Openface

Even though they have a really interesting service (50$/mth for unlimited 1gbps), they are not in my building. I did try to contact them over chat, they told me to call, and I left a message. They responded saying they mostly offer business services for now, no residential in Montreal.

comment 1

Other than the speed being lower than what you want and the IPv6 being iffy, does TSI satisfy your other requirements?

I live on the South Shore, and haven't been very happy with either Vidéotron or Bell. Teksavvy might be an improvement.

Comment by mgregoire
comment 2

Other than the speed being lower than what you want and the IPv6 being iffy, does TSI satisfy your other requirements?

It does, mostly. I'm looking for something cheaper / faster.

One problem I have with TSI is they are not local. I come out from somewhere in Ontario, both in geolocation but also (more critically) in terms of latency. So that's inconvenient for local voice conferencing, where you want latency to an absolute minimum.

DSL also adds quite a lot more latency than cable, so the latter is kind of becoming a must. And unfortunately, there, TSI has the same problems as Ebox, last I checked (that is, services are blocked).

Comment by anarcat
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