: Luddite IT question - Sky Broadband :


War Hero
Guys please forgive my ignornace. My mates lad set me up with BT broadband but have seen my Sky magazine is offering Sky broadband really cheap along with cheap landline calls. I am with BT Option blah de blah which is £23stg Broadband and about £22stg for calls / line rental et al. I think that for an extra £5 stg with Sky I can get broadband. It says it comes with a wireless router. is that I will need or do I have to buy something else. I have been on the PC world site and got myself confused as what I need to buy.

Has anybody got Sky broadband ? Is it good or would you recommend it.

Many thanks indeed
Ditto, if anyone has got it, spin the dit on whether they're any good or not-ta!


I don't have Sky Broadband but just remember you always get what you pay for, which is why companies like Tiscali and Talk Talk are sh1t.

As for the connection issue, all you need is a modem or a router to get connected as it is an ASDL connection meaning it goes over your phone line. Your existing router should be fine if the robbing fuckaz try to charge you for another router.

Im on BT and I must say that I've never had any problems with the service, bar them trying to restrict the speed on bittorrent ports but thats easy to get around.
Don't. Bloody. Do. It.

Only ever go with with companies that know wtf they're on about. All these companies that take on broadband as a second investment, treat it like a second investment...

You only have to check out places like this to see the problems people have been getting.

Stay with BT or move to another proper broadband provider such as Pipex.
Dont use sky broadband you will have nothing but problems and there technical help is pishh poor. To go fully wireless you will need a wireless pci card or a usb card, i recommend a pci card they have better signal gain than usb but its up to yourself.With competition being so strong prices will either freeze or will lower BT may drop there prices. If you do go with sky and end up telling them to beat it they may not be quick at releasing your adsl line so you can go to another company.
Best broadband companys are cable they have a higher bandwidth than adsl thats why cable companys dont drop there prices but upgrade your bandwidth cable companys will soon be able to go up to 30mb where adsl have a far lower limit
When buying a wireless router remember there are two types adsl and dsl. adsl is for land line and dsl is for cable go for a brand such as Netgear, Linksys, Belkin


War Hero
My missus' daughter has just been called up by a call centre she used to work for to come back on board to assist with the Sky Broadband rollout....and just because she is near family, I'll be kind....she is as thick as fecking shite and about as IT literate as your average house brick.

BTW, she's already started working for them and from what mum tells me she had near as damn it to the square root of feck all when it comes to training - just get on the phone and work your way through help guides.

It's all - ask specific questions and click on the chosen answer - you can't give an answer that doesn't appear on screen, you must choose one of the answers provided - then move to the next screen. A bit, no a lot, like Windows Help.

If you can't find an answer by the end then......oh, bugger......back to the old tech support days, early Windows, 'I'm sorry sir, you'll need to run fdisk, reformat your hard drive and reinstall everything from scratch'

Good luck!
jaybee2786 said:
When buying a wireless router remember there are two types adsl and dsl. adsl is for land line and dsl is for cable go for a brand such as Netgear, Linksys, Belkin
Er, no. adsl *is* dsl. DSL is completely different to cable.

DSL - digital subscriber link - is a broadband technology running over twisted pair POTS (plain old telephone) copper wire. Maybe you are mistaking (and its an easy mistake) adsl, sdsl, vdsl, etc.

In a nutshell
ADSL - Asymetric dsl, asymetric as the upload and download bandwidth (think speed) is different, e.g. 256k uplink, upto 8mbit downlink.
ADSL2+ - same as above, but with greater bandwidth: upto 1mbit up, 24mbit down
RADSL - Rate Adaptive ADSL. Essentially the same as adsl, except it allows for a longer line length between the exchange and the endpoint (router, modem). Essentially, it adapts to the line conditions.
SDSL - symetric dsl. Same up/down bandwidth.
vdsl, hdsl, and so on -higher bandwidth variants. Line length is extremely short though, one needs to be very close to the exchange and have high quality cabling to get it.

A technology that allows broadband transmission over copper or fibre cabling, the official standard is DOCSIS.

Which is better? Almost the same as "which ISP is better". If you don't live in an area that is served by Virgin Media (NTL:Telewest) then its irrelevant, as you will have to go dsl. I asume from the initial question you don't.

So which ISP to use? As mentioned earlier, the less you pay the less you get. But paying more aint neccessarily the best advice, either, as it all depends on what you want to do.

Firstlty, no matter what you want, avoid the dirt cheap ISPs. Many of these have no network at all, and are merely reselling someone else's product. Lets say to move beyond simple email and web browsing, you will need a MAC code to migrate to another supplier. You ISP drags it's heels, as they are awaiting it rfom the original seller. Or your ISP goes bust (and this has happened far too often), you *cant* get the MAC code from the real provider as you are not their customer, the ISP was. This scenario also lenghtens faults, as the ISP goes to the original provider who in turn goes to BT.

Whats BT got to do with it? With the exception of some ISPs with their own networks and access to the local exchange, all dsl is provided from BT, who also control access to the network. Your user logon and password actually log you into a RADIUS server which determines "yes, you are a valid dsl subscriber". A goodly proportion of dsl problems are due to an error with the account on this server. The tier 1 ISPs such as Zen, Pipex <spit> etc have access to the server, as they have the means to pay for access to BT's web based system, eCo to troubleshoot faults.

If you want top end access, with almost no faults, the leading ISP is Zen. But they do *not* compete on price. £35/month buys a MAX (up to 8mb depending on distance from exchange) adsl service, with a 50gb/month cap (the amount one can download before extra traffic charges kick in). The cheapest option, iirc, is about £25. They do a couple of lower bandwidth products, but other than email access they are not worth bothering about. The real beauty of Zen is they have what is acknowledged as the industries best support. You suffer from a fault (in 4 years I've had just two), and it is immediately acted on. Freephone number to the call centre, trained - and knowledgable - 1st line support staff, freuqent updates, and when they think they have solved it they call to confirm. They have their own network, one of the largest ISP owned networks in the UK, and lease very large capacity pipes into BTs network. I consider the higher charge much like an insurance premium. Yep, I could save a few quid a month going elsewhere, until it goes tits up and takes an age to report the fault, let alone clear it.

But Zen isnt for everyone. Either due to the cap (they were one of the few remaining uncapped ISPs, until BT put in the ridiculous traffic charges). Be is starting to get some good press, and, oh ffs I cant remember the name of the provider - cheaper than Zen, relatively trouble free service, and some good support stories.

Avoid the cheap ones at all costs. As mentioned earlier, Sky is a media-centric company, broadband is *not* their core competency. The only reason they are in the market is this perceived need to be a cross-play provider (media, voice, broadband, and for some, mobile) much like everyone else is trying to be - ie Orange with broadband. Consequently, they have not [yet] got the institutional culture necessary to support dsl users. Ie, the call centre experience, staff knowledge, staff competency, process and procedure. And their "network" is unproven.

Oddly enough, BT isn't a bad provider at all, provided you get the right package. Forget Home Hub (its a router in a large box that they charge you for). Although they get slagged, its often very unfairly. I worked for their largest competitor (in the UK), in an odd situation where we were their largest competitor and their largest customer. They've been in the game for years, know the network inside and out, and developed the tools [almost] everyone uses. The service offerings are pretty much no-frills, and not priced that competitively, but the service is good. And they tend to pass price cuts on (BT Wholesale sells all dsl services to ISPs, including BTs ISP - Bt Retail. Confused, you will be in this week's episode...)

Will you need a router or a modem? Router is better, in the context that it offers more functionality, allows for greater expansion (ie getting more PCs and/or other devices on-line) without having to use Internet Connection Sharing or a Linux box. Wired or wireless? Well, tbh I'd got for wireless as it will always have at least ONE wired port. What "speed"?

Well, anything above 54mb (802.11g) you will need to buy all components from the same manufacturer to guarantee they will all interoperate; 54mb is the latest official standard. You will see 108mb, 124mb, 200+mbit, pre-N, and MIMO. Although all of these support 54mb (.11g), they use propreietary methods to achieve higher speed. (with the exception of some 108mb products, which adhere to a manufacturers agreed 'standard').

Whats the "best" brand.

At the very high end of home devices, Draytek with the Vigor range. Much like Zen though, you are paying for a Rolls which might be plain overkill. Draytek tend to await standards though, so not only more expensive, they tend to trail the others in terms of bandwidth numbers.

Netgear, Linksys. Not bad at all. My prefernce is Netgear over Linksys. You might be told that Cisco own Linksys so the product is better. Dont fall for it. Cisco acquired them purely to gain a share in the home market as their own product was crap. Linksys is still very much Linksys, not bad, but some problems. However, if you are a nerd techie then you can compleetly customise many Linksys routers with a different OS and add many more features.

Netgear. Not a bad company at all. Was once part of Bay Networks (the equivalent of Cisco in the 80s and early 90s, ie the market leader). What is good about Netgear is the technical culture has stayed, even after 10 years. Tech support know what they are doing. Products are reasonably robust.

DONT touch DLINK, SMC, or the 'who-flung-dung' routers found in small local shops or at the lower price range on-line. Frankly, most of them are crap. Poor firewalls, poor configuration, prone to overheating or line freezes.

Hmm, rumbled on a bit here, any more questions, feel free to ask.
Or Linux/MAC OSX... evil thoughts... what about DOS/Win3.11 with an IP stack hehehehe
Iv got the free 2MB Sky broadband and im well pleased with it. Not had any problems at all, got the free wireless router, which btw is a top Netgear model, and is ace. The only problems iv heard of are with those who signed up for the higher speeds. If you just want the bog standard 2MB i say go for it. Saved me £18 a month with BT, aint complaining!
I am not sure which package im on ere at my parents house, but its an NTL one, possibly the top end one. In my sig is the speed i clocked this afternoon, which is fcuking impressive!
Think the old man is paying a score a month for it, dirt cheap an all!


tiny_lewis said:
Or Linux/MAC OSX... evil thoughts... what about DOS/Win3.11 with an IP stack hehehehe
Mac os x and BT no probs what so ever ........ your bit of a geek I take it :wink:

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