At that time only 35% of exchanges in Ireland were DSL enabled, as can be seen
in the map below (with my exchange highlighted in the center of the map).
I was paying line rental and phone call charges to eircom, so the cheapest option for me
was to switch to a "bundle" option from BT where I pay rental and call charges to them.
All considered this means I get the 2Mb/s package from BT for about €16 extra per month,
over what I was paying eircom just for voice calls.
BT's DSL service is good except for one important caveat.
They actively disconnect multiple times throughout the day, causing the DSL router
to obtain a new IP address and thus breaking any long lived connections.
This is a major pain for telecommuting where one generally has long lived connections to the company LAN.
Also affected are, instant messaging, firewall access and some web applications etc.
For €40 extra as part of the package, I received a zyxel 660 wireless router
which complements my laptop nicely.
[Update Jan 2007: Trying to extend the range of my WLAN I noticed that the zyxel 660HW
does not have a replaceable antenna or support WDS. Also its integrated antenna only gives 2dBi gain.
The user guide states that it is replacable with any one with an I-PEX type jack,
but it looks pretty integrated to me?
Also trying to determine the transmit power and receive sensitivity is difficult.
I did notice somewhere though that there are 3 POTS 660HW models, I guess
corresponding to different wireless power ratings for different countries?
I've got the the "61" version (UK/Ireland) in the table below:
I find the wireless connection unreliable over any significant distance,
and considering my house has 0.5m stone walls throughout, only a very small area is covered.
Note I do have a 10mW DECT phone which in the US (DFHSS) does use the 2.4GHz band
and could cause some interference, however I'm in Europe where DECT phones use
the 1.8-1.9GHz band, so this is not a problem.
Even over short distances, for reliability I find I have to limit the connection speed from
my linux laptop, to 2Mb/s using the following command:
sudo iwconfig eth1 rate 2Mb/s fixedTherefore I have relegated the Zyxel to ADSL access, and I'm now using the excellent
Linksys WRT54GL wireless router to both provide full coverage throughout
the house, and to connect another house to this ADSL connection.]
[update Sept 2007: BT have increased prices for their broadband bundles by around 8%
which increases my 2Mb/s bundle from €42.50 to €46 per month.
They're blaming this on eircom for increasing their wholesale prices.]
[Update Nov 2007: I upgraded the firmware to adress DHCP issues I was having.]
[Update Aug 2008: I got a free upgrade from 2048Kb/s to 3072Kb/s,
which started happening for BT customers in June 2008.
This gives a theoretical download speed of 330KB/s (assuming a 14% ATM and TCP overhead),
which I confirmed with a wget and the graph above from speedtest.ie]