Which Broadband Provider (UK) is really the best for macs ??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by McNut, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. McNut macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Help please !? ... So many providers and reviews keep stating that ALL the major broadband providers are mac compatible. But then I keep reading about all sorts of contradictory problems and hassles with people getting connected. (Which obviously means it's just not actually true !)

    So my frustrated question : ... Which broadband really has the best and easiest "set up", most seamless "out of box" compatibility for our macs ??? (And hopefully some knowledgeable support too ! Though I would much rather not actually need it !) ??? ...
    ... And of course I won't even mention "great speed" ! :D


    (I'd also probably prefer "a cable" one, rather than a "slowcoppercoach antique" one, ... If ther's actually a good cable option you guys can suggest ? ... (For I keep hearing contradictory stuff about "Virgin" too !)

    So which is it ???

    Thanx all in advance ! :)
     
  2. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #2
    Virgin are the only cable provider, unless you can get BT infinity which is very limited.

    There aren't Mac issues that I know of, there are issues though as with all ISPs.
     
  3. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #3
    How hard are you expecting plugging in an ethernet cable to be? ;) Most crap proprietary ISP software is Windows only anyway so just plug in and go. Virgin is fine and you're much more likely to get the advertised speed (just have to watch the evening download management cap).
     
  4. McNut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Thanx for the advice guys ! ....

    But guess what I've just found out !? ... I unfortunately do not have any cable available to my address yet :( ... So basically, no Virgin Media, BT Infinity (until end Dec 2011 :eek:), or even Sky for that matter ! ...
    News which I've just found most disappointing indeed ! ... (It's kinda making me feel like I'm stranded out "in the bush" here or something. ~ Which I'm not ! (LOL)

    So, any suggestions as to the best next alternative ???

    (I've actually managed to get my mobile broadband (i.e. "3") to work finally. (Had hassles with the drivers !) ... However, the signal and speed is unfortunately really lousy for some reason ??? (Am right next to a railway which might/could be it ???) ... So am now forced to go the "home" route alternative. )


    Also, anyone know if the 3G service is actually finally running at 7.2 MB speeds now ? Or are they still "capping off" at 3.7 MB's ??? ...
    I never ever get a signal above 1.8 max, which is very frustrating !? And never a steady signal either. (fluctuates "up and down" every second.)
     
  5. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030

    TheBritishBloke

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #5
    From what I can tell, you live in a very remote area, as you're not getting fibre until at least Dec 2011, and you're not even getting HSDPA signal..

    If you do live in a remote area, I'm sorry but you're going to be stuck with a copper line like most people in the UK. There's nothing wrong with copper lines anyway, unless you're going to be downloading so much useless junk 24/7/365.

    I have BT Option 3, and I have 8.0Mbps (My lines being upgraded to fibre in May). And it's perfectly fine. Little bit pricey, but unlimited usage etc.

    BT Home Hub comes pre-configured for your specific home, all you have to do is plug an ethernet cable in (or WiFi it..)
     
  6. mike.coulter macrumors regular

    mike.coulter

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Location:
    Cardiff
    #6
    I'm with Sky and they're excellent for me, shame you can't get them. Very cheap pricecs too, I'm on the unlimited plan for something like £10, but they're dropping it to £7.50. And thats with up to 20mb speed and unlimited downloads...:p
     
  7. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030

    TheBritishBloke

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #7
    I keep getting phone calls from Sky offering me that lol.. Just because I have their fully blown out £50/Month TV package, doesn't mean I want their broadband ^^

    Maybe I'm just picky, I didn't want it as they didn't offer an 802.11n router.
     
  8. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    I don't think it matters much which platform you use but if you want cable I think your options may be limited. For what it's worth I have Virgin Media and their internet is pretty decent. I think I've only had two outages in the last few years. However, Virgin's current cable television DVR box is COMPLETE rubbish. Stupidest, most unintuitive, slow, buggy piece of junk I've ever had the displeasure of using. I heard they are pairing up with TiVo though which may improve things later in the year.
     
  9. stuarthatto macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    #9
    Getting back to the topic - sorry about your broadband and 3G issues though...

    It doesnt matter what ISP you choose. They will provide a router with an Ethernet port, you plug your Mac in there and off you go. It doesnt matter whether its Windows, Linux, Mac, Ubuntu, VMS - anything - its just a network connection and any device capable of DHCP will work.

    Now, the question of which is the broadband provider in the UK is an interesting one... see if you can get an answer to that at http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ although without a broadband supplier near you its kind of a moot point really.

    Personally I use BT, I am out in a little village, I get 7Mb/s - but I am VERY lucky to have an exchange not that far from me.

    Stu
     
  10. McNut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #10
    Thanx for all the suggestions guys ! :)

    You know, I'm not actually in a remote address at all. Just a suburb in London (i.e Bethnal Green). So I have no idea why BT told me that I would only get cable end 2011 ??? (Or why I would not have access to Sky's cable ???) ... Perhaps I should try asking a different representative again.)

    I mostly want a speed that will be able to cope with stuff like iPlayer and the like. And one that will be able to stream video in a reasonably good manner, without being all "laggy" (or impossible). ... (At the moment I'm not even able to stream "youtube" videos, it's that bad ! ).

    Should an 8Mb line be enough to cope with stuff like that ??? Or would I need a "highspeed" (20MB) line for that ???
     
  11. stuarthatto macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    #11
    I can happily stream youtube HD and BBC iPlayer content in HD on my broadband line - you don't necessarily need cable for that.

    As I said earlier my ADSL runs at 7Mb/s and streaming takes up less than half that - easily less than half.

    Stu
     
  12. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #12
    You're in Bethnal Green? Snap.

    Try Be. Mile End & Stepney are the exchanges if you have a look at Sam Knows. Mile End will be upgraded to FTTC this summer, Stepney next year. I put in my postcode and got Stepney (that's the Sainsbury's side of the Tube station), my old postcode (the other side) gets Mile End.

    iPlayer works a treat, no limits. Regularly get 18mb or so for £18 a month.

    Very pleased with them TBH & have no plans to change.
     
  13. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
  14. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #14
    Ah Bethnal Green!

    Smack in the middle of East London's broadband desert. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a decent connection round there.

    One company that I work for in Bethnal Green / Whitechapel is struggling with a 5ish mbps connection shared between 21 staff. I've been onto BT, Openreach etc trying to get a better connection for them and it's like sucking turds through a straw.

    Try BeThere http://www.bethere.co.uk/ absolutely dreadful home page but good speeds and they are quite resistant to the government's creeping intrusion into our online privacy.

    I am with them myself and no osx problems.
     
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #15
    If you use broadband, you have a little box that does the broadband connection. It does that just on its own. The Macintosh (or PC, or XBox, or iPad, or whatever you use) isn't involved in that at all. The little broadband box will usually have a few ethernet ports (compatible with everything) and runs a wireless network (compatible with everything). Your ISP doesn't have any idea that there is a Macintosh connected somewhere.

    If you need to do anything with the broadband router, you just type its address into Safari or your PC browser (http://192.168.1.254/ or http://192.168.1.1 typically) and you are going; again, the router has no idea that you are using a Macintosh. Basically everything should just work, just you don't look for a Macintosh compatible power outlet.

    With cable connections I have seen that they have to install some stupid software on the computer that may or may not be compatible with the Mac. ADSL = "just works", Cable = "give them a chance to mess it up, and they will".

    O2 works just fine and is cheap. They will also sell you a fixed IP address for $5 a month, if you want to run a server that can be accessed from the outside. BT I wouldn't touch since their involvement with Phorm and some other activities that I consider criminal (but the British police doesn't). Orange had no Mac compatibility problems, they had just connection problems in general which is why I switched away from them. Obviously something like that may happen in one place and not in another. I think they tried to increase the bit rate to some point where it didn't work properly anymore, one day it changed from slow and stable to faster and unstable; O2 is slightly slower for me but rock solid (and what good is 30% more download speed when it gets interrupted every five minutes? )
     
  16. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #16
    Very few would disagree that Zen Internet have been the best ISP for many years now AND they fully support Mac's by which I mean they advertise Mac support and will give direct support for Mac related broadband issues. eg. email and browser config.

    Zen are not cheap at £24.99 for 25GB (rising to 50GB in June) or £17.99 if you only need 10GB or £34.99 for 100GB. However these figures only count downloads, uploads are free, and there is absolutely no traffic shaping or even fair use policy. You will not find a faster ISP or one as reliable or one with better customer service.

    I've been with Zen for 5 years and can't fault them. Only a 1 month contract so why not give them a try and then you will understand how much you are missing with the cheap ISPs.

    http://www.zen.co.uk

    Cheers,
    Craig.
     
  17. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #17
    Another vote for Be*. I've been with them for years, and the service is excellent.

    I went for Be Pro with a Static IP, giving me unlimited data for £21.50 a month. I get 22Mbit :)
     
  18. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    Which is right, BUT the routers they provide are generally complete crap.
    I used both BT and O2 routers (both O2 routers actually, the G and N) and all of them were really bad.
    The BT router didn't even provide the maximum line speed of 9Mbit, the O2 routers have terrible problems to maintain the network capability, which means that you constantly have to reboot the router (once a day at least), which really pisses me off.
    O2 is well aware of this issue, they even state the rebooting as the first attempt in case that anything doesn't work on their troubleshooting website.
     
  19. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #19
    Yes you are correct, router quality is highly variable with some ISP's making it very difficult for you to choose your own router. With regards to Zen Internet, they provide Thomson Speedtouch routers which I have been using since before I was a Zen customer and they are very very good. They are also quite discrete when compared to some of the routers which BT and others provide which look like something from Stonehenge!

    On the point made by another poster further up which said that all ISP's are the same when it comes to support for Linux, Windows, Mac etc. This is not true. There are times when having dedicated Mac (for example) support is highly beneficial. Zen have documentation which covers setup of a number of email clients including the Mac and iPhone. They also provide software specifically for the Mac such as the little desktop widget which tracks your download usage. They will also help you to resolve issues when connecting wireless Mac computers to your router.

    See here for more details:

    http://www.zen.co.uk/support/adsl/apple-mac-support.aspx

    Cheers,
    Craig.
     
  20. ttopp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    #20
    i have been with lots.. lol


    im with o2 they have been the best to date. orange was ok to start but then they claimed i wasnt on unlimited and cut me off, then they had too slow a speed.

    Virgin???? utter rank for non cable my sis has their cable i found it slower than my 02 (might just b her package though)

    tisscaly! need i say more... how really slow they were blamed my line as did virgin but was getting slower than i got with my first broadband account with them lol

    so O2 been the best fast and not had one problem.. hope i havent jinxed myself lol


    Though being a mac user genrally has no effect on internet providers..
     
  21. afd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #21
    Another o2 user here. Generally found them pretty good, although I do have to reset the box every so often. Not once a day like Transporteur said, maybe once a week. I have had to phone up support once in the last couple of years and spoke to a UK support person on a free phone number.
    Other good thing is the price I was getting unlimited downloads for £7.50 a month, since I was an o2 mobile customer. Am now paying an extra tenner on my iPhone contract for tethering and home broadband.
    Has anyone tried a different router with o2? Would plugging in an Airport Base Station solve the reset issue, or would it be better to get another ADSL modem and plug that into an AE?
     
  22. ttopp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    #22

    my routers fine i have a blue one the GF has the white one both never had a problem had to reset the white one about 4 times in its 2 year life so far
     
  23. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    Be* provide Speedtouch routers as well, the TG585v7 to be exact.
     
  24. afd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #24
    Just checked my o2 bos it's a TG585v7 too. My Dad has the same one and as far as I know (I've never had a phone call saying my internet's not working, what do I do?) he's never had to reset his in 2 years.
     
  25. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #25
    Not true. You get an optional installation disk (Windows only) which sets everything up plus probably installs a lot of Virgin junk. I have been on cable since it was Cable London and have never installed anything from the ISP on any of my computers. You can set everything up manually as, indeed, you will need to if you do not run Windows.
     

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