Marketing Hype & Reality – Connection Speed

I previously complained that my ISP, Aliant (a Bell company), was only providing me with 10 MB of e-mail space for my $45 per month while Gmail now gives me 2428 MB of storage for free. My peeve right now is advertised versus real connection speeds.
According to the Aliant website, my Highspeed Ultra is supposed to give me "up to" 5 Mbps. Jay Cross has recently referred to this connection speed checker and my connection speeds are 1.2 Mbps down and 0.44 up, a far cry from the advertised speed. Another speed checker is Wugnet, with a neat visual interface, which clocked me even slower at 1.06 down and 0.18 up.
If you are in Atlantic Canada and have a highspeed internet connection, I’d appreciate it if you checked your speed and posted it, either here or somewhere else. If my case is not an anomally, then Aliant and its competitors should know about it.
Update: I checked with tech support at Aliant and was informed that one of the issues could be that my telephone extension cable was too long. According to Aliant, my ethernet cable can be almost any length but the phone cable extension from the jack to the DSL modem should not be more than 10 feet. I changed this last night but it hasn’t affected my connection speed. Aliant also recommended that I use the speed test for Aliant clients which clocked me at 134 kbps and 1.02 mbps throughput – slow for their High-Speed Ultra clients.

41 Responses to “Marketing Hype & Reality – Connection Speed”

  1. Visitor

    Connection SpeedAliant’s promised 5mbps Ultra service remains strictly in some dream zone.  When I first log on in the morning, my speed averages between 4mbps and 4.9mbps.  Absolutely stunning you may say.  However, wait until daddy and the kiddies get home from work and school and suddenly speed begins to degrade until, during what I will call peak usage hours, between 6PM and about 11PM, speed will drop as low as .8mbps.    During that period each and every day, Aliant is *stealing* about 84% of what I pay them as I’m only getting about 16% of the speed I contracted for.  Some twit at their inbound call center actually had the gonads to tell me that this variation in speed was acceptable and that I had agreed to it when I signed on with them.

    From what I can determine, Aliant is either shoving overloaded servers down our throats or they have genuine server problems.  This can be observed on Speakeasy as you can watch the server stall.  If one thinks this is Net congestion, then go to DSL Reports and run the tweak utility.  Invariably it will report 1 to 2 second stalling.  As well, they will give the cause as peak overload of the server or a faulty server.

    I firmly believe that it’s about time Aliant was taken to task for this.  It is not acceptable and indeed breaches the contract between them and the customer.

  2. dave

    agreed with the above comments….to top things off i signed a 3 year contract with aliant to get a dell computer which will cost $3000 when payment is over. When i recieved the computer i found out that it doesnt even have a pentium but instaed a celleron. on top of that i priced the same computer at home hardware for just under $600…with a pentium at that!to make matters worse i could only return the computer before 1 month of owning it…i didnt find all this stuff out until i had the comp for 3 months meaning im stuck with a shitty comp for 3 years no matter what…i signed up for ultra today and it will be active tommoro.I can only guess the greif that will give me if what you say is true….which probably is. we will see tommoro and ill let ya know what the ultra high speed does 4 me….if anything!

  3. Sheldon

    I too am an Aliant Ultra High Speed user (in Newfoundland) and my results from both of those speed tests listed above fall between 1.95 mbps (242 KB/sec) and 2.252 mbps (281.5 KB/sec). My upload is capped for all sites at 458 kbps (57.3 KB/sec). This is a far cry from the 5.0 mbps promised. When I use the test file download from Aliant (netassistant) the download starts really high but drops off rapidly to hang around 370 KB/sec when it ends. Not bad but that is from the Aliant network. I will ask my cable friends to try the same sites to see how they perform.

    From the wugnet site my Quality of Server was between 90% and 95%, Round trip from 2-6 ms and my stall time between 47 and 65 ms.

  4. Daze

    I am a Highspeed Ultra customer in Riverview/Moncton. I get about 2.5Mbps upload. I’ve been with Aliant for about a year now. I have called tech support inquiring about the speed issues, and they tell me that I am within range, i.e. 205k/s to 600k/s. Aliant’s charging us more than what you would be paying in Ontario, let’say. To top it off, I asked them if I could try the SpeedStream 6520 modem instead of the Comtrend, and they tell me that would be impossible. Customer service is very very lacking. For example, I asked the tech support person how far I was distance wise from the CO, and he told me that they don’t have this information handy. Nice! Way to help your customers if you don’t even have your basic information handy. Another thing, the tool they use to check if your ADSL modem is up, keeps reporting that my modem is down. Quite impressed so far.

    I think I may switch to Rogers despite the bandwidth cap.

  5. Harold

    Daze: I don’t think it really matters if you switch. Both telephone companies and cable companies are and act like monopolies. We need real competition in this sector. One option available, at a significant up-front cost, is a satellite dish from

  6. Daze

    Call their tech support again, and ask them to check your profile settings. If they still fail to dispatch a tech to take a look at things, ask to speak to a supervisor. Politely but firmly ask the supervisor to cut a ticket with their testing group. Basically, the testing group needs to look at settings for your line on the DSLAM end. Sometimes they misconfigure things, and never take the SNR ratio into account to apply the correct settings. Let me know if you need more help. They came to my house, and now I getting higher speeds!

  7. phishybongwaters

    Welcome to Aliant my friend. This is how it works, aliant has several packages.

    High speed, 1.5 meg

    and ultra, anywheres from 3 to 7 meg.

    You pay for ultra, but they will NOT switch you to the ultra circuit until you complain about 15 times, then they click the button and you get your ultra speed.

    For about amonth, when they switch it back to 1.5 thinking you won’t notice.

    I’ve been an Aliant customer since vibe began, and have been an ultra customer since they started offering it. This is how it works, and I’m a tech for the government so I know what I’m doing, and I know exactly what is going on.

    Aliant does not have the bandwidth to support the “dedicated” connections it sells, so it screws most people, and they don’t notice.

    A few notice like us, and spend the rest of our lives fighting them to get the speed we are paying for.

  8. Harold

    Thanks phishybongwaters, I’ll have to start a concerted action on Aliant to get what I’m paying for. Perhaps a first step would be sending them a link to this post.

  9. Cameron

    They are right when they say keep the phone cable short and the ethernet cable whatever length you like. That really helps. Nobody gets as much speed as they are sold. Good luck!

  10. Jason Bright

    I’m an Aliant Ultra high speed customer, and when I run the speed test at, with no other bandwidth consuming program running, I usually get between 5600-6300kbps down, 500-520 up. Right in line with what they advertise, although it took one email and one day to get on the ultra speed profile. When my service was first activated, I was only getting at most 1500kbps. I emailed customer support, someone emailed me back within the hour and said they’d have a tech check it out within 24 hours and contact me when the problem was corrected. Next day, the tech phoned me and let me know the problem was corrected.

  11. Harold

    My speed is now within an acceptable range, but it has taken several calls, wading through the automated telephone system, getting information from readers of this blog, and finally two service calls to correct the situation over one year later. So far, Aliant has not apologised, nor offered to reimburse or compensate me.

  12. Chris

    I have the Aliant Ultra serivce. So far the service is ok. I’m in saint John NB. The biggest pissoff for me is new members getting the speedstream 6520, but not available to me? Someone who has there highest residential serivce? give me a break. Download speeds are 6055 KBPS and 237 KBPS upload.

  13. myth

    i have aliant ultra high speed and i hit on average 650 kb/s download and 67 kb/s upload im getting my right speed im from bathurst newbrunswick….

  14. Joel

    Happening upon this site when searching for similar problems, my connection was constantly dropping and Aliant was giving me the runaround. I decided to test my speeds, and low and behold, I am supposed to have High Speed Ultra, but am averaging 1.2MB…

    So, I went into the Aliant chat room, and this was the conversation:

    Joel: I am currently subscribed to the Aliant Ultra High Speed package
    Joel: But my download speed is usually 1,200 kbps when I am supposed to get up to 8m000 kbps
    Joel: 8,000
    Justin: May I get your phone number please?
    Joel: *******
    Justin: Can you try the following website: and tell me what your Transfer rate is?
    Joel: sure, one moment
    Justin: Your transfer rate should be somewhere between 400 kbps and 600 kbps, depending on your location.
    Joel: still downloading..
    Justin: Can you see the Transfer rate in the download window?
    Justin: You don’t have to download the whole thing, I just need to know what the transfer rate is.
    Joel: 140kb/sec
    Joel: and dropping
    Justin: OK, I will send this off to our network group to make sure your line is configured for Ultra. Try this website again tomorrow morning, once the changes are made, you should notice a significant difference.
    Joel: ok, thank you
    Justin: You might want to reboot your DSL modem tomorrow morning as well, to make sure it picks up the proper configuration.
    Joel: ok I will

    Seriously, there seems to be enough of us out there, this should be brought to the media’s attention so we can shine a spotlight on this crap!

  15. Remi

    Hi All ,

    I have read a few post and i just want to put in my 2 cents. I will try to explain ,dont mind the spelling im french .

    1st Aliant have more than one pakage and they have 2 system billing and support. If you were previosly with Aliant high speed and you upgrated with ultra then somethimmes what hapens is that the sales dep adds Ultra to your account and then submit a ticket to support to up your bandwitdh. somethimes that ticket gets lost its just a mater of calling them and explaning.

    Now other issues i red whas that Aliant dosent have enough bandwitdh and tries to rip off ppl . Well that is funny because Aliant”bell” have the fastest network in nort america why do you guys think that all the call centers are in new brunswick?.

    Now second to that is the conextion type offerd by Aliant is DSL PPPOE witch is a dedicated conection to the CO “central; office” It is imposible that the network drops speed at peek times I have had high speed since its been avalable and have ultra way before all your guys and my bandwitdh have alwaise been between 10 % of fluxctuation .

    What hapens in a pppoe conection is the furtur you are away from the co the packlets tend to drop . Its like having a 300 ft power cord to a skill saw. Now that being sad means that in order to be eligable for ultra you nead to be close to the co “withing 2k”. That is why its not everyone that have high speed that can get ultra. basecly ultra speeds should be anywere from 3mb to 5.5m now alsow remember that 1m is not equal to 100kb/s but more around 144kb/s

    Now see this is were Cable comes in play they advertise a 5 mb conextion and they can bush that speed farther than ppoe but the problem is that cable is all on a shared network and if a lot of users are using the bandwitdh then its gets realy slow . I guest it depends what you want do you want a dedicated conextion that will garantie constant speed without being harased by your isp for downloading to much or would you rather pay for cable at 5 mb shared and as soon that you start to use it quite a bit then they harase you for bandwitdh consomption .

    Well for me the choice is clear Aliant it is and as far as the upload goes its is caped at about 40-60 kb/s because other wise pepole would have their own home servers wich meen hosting sites from their home and nohone wants that because it would kill the server market.

  16. Dave

    I don’t know where everyone is located at… But I don’t seem to have any problems with Aliant. On mulitple speed test sites I’m showing between 4.6mbps to 5.20mbps download and 347mbps to 426mbps. And it doesn’t matter what time of day it is… I’ve tried it a 3am, and 5:30pm, an it still looks like it’s what they advertise.

    Maybe I’m just a lucky guy, or in a good area. I’m in Saint John, NB.

  17. Bill

    This is some good info, I just upgraded from high speed to high speed ultra. Hopefully they get it right the first time, dude on the phone just said to reboot my computer and modem in 24-48 hrs. I’ll let you folks know how it goes.

  18. Troy Jollimore

    I moved into Halifax from the outskirts so I could get high-speed Internet, and signed up with Aliant in 1999. Lived VERY close to the CO (even dialup surfing was quick) and got really fast speeds (800kbps-1.2Mbps measured downloads). I was happy.

    Then I moved just down the street to another apartment. Still fairly close to the CO, but Aliant said I had to change my modem from a Cisco 675 to a 678 to go with the ‘new and improved’ PPPoE service. My speeds were now less than half of what they were (250-400kbps measured downloads). I was not so happy, but it still wasn’t bad.

    Then I moved just outside the city. Don’t know where the CO is, but it can’t be too far away. I rewired my Internet jack with new Cat5 cable to the demarc box. My FASTEST download is now 183kbps with the ComTrend modem they said I had to get. I am not happy. Not happy at all.

    Their tech support has always just said, “Those are normal speeds.” even though I’ve watched what I pay for degrade and degrade. I probably won’t be with them for much longer when I see cable users getting up to 10x the speeds I get.

  19. John

    Yeh I got aliant ultra high speed and 1 TV connected though their IPTV network. When I first switched to ultra I could download at 5-6Mbps with the TV off with TV on I was lucky to get 2.5-3. But that’s ok I could deal with that. But now the TV is unwatchable, my download speeds are worse then dialup. Called Aliant many, many times. They finially gave me a free month of service. Have a Tech comming out tomorrow to either replace my modem or the port somewhere that they say may be bad. but I’ll post back and see how it goes. There will prob be some point tonight when my connection drops and comes back and it will work good till morning.

  20. John

    So the Techs showed up today, they replaced my modem and the problems haven’t been back so far today. With the TV on I get 2.5-3Mbps and with the TV off I get 5-6Mbps. I just hope it stays this way. From what I was told there should be new equiment comming at some point to replace all the old stuff mainly if you have aliant IPTV but should improve the over all perfomance. Or so they say at least.

    And I was right last night at around 8-9 pm my old modem reboot itself and everything worked perfect till morning. Just glad it was still messing up when the aliant techs showed up so they see I wasn’t full of shit.

  21. Daddio

    It doesn’t matter what service provider you are with, connection speeds depend on many variables. You lucky complaining guys with DSL at least have a dedicated connection to the DSLAM (ADSL service interface) whereas I, on Persona, am even sharing bandwidth with the neighbors, which is only slightly bettter than dialup after school. None the less, the internet itself is a SHARED network which is what makes it work. Those ‘speedtest’ sites are useless, in my opinion, as if you trace the pings, they go to Montreal, Toronto, and God knows where else. Your download speeds depend on how busy the internet is (all pipelines, server availability, may include many service carriers, etc). Also, even with DSL, there are variables which can slow the connection down, such as how far you are from the serving office. Download speed is always greater than upload speed. Nothing is guarenteed in the data world unless you are willing to pay BIG bucks for ‘guarenteed data transfer’. I’d guess that only certain govt services or banks would avail of this. THATS why it advertises MAX of 5M, and is possible all other things being equal. Read on the net a bit further about DSL technology. Also, most companies help desk support is manned by less than knowledgable people. In the end, we all wish we could all be faster, no matter what speed we get in the future……

  22. Layla

    When I first subscribed to Bellnet, it was explained to me that although the maximum speed is 4 or 5 I don’t remember any more, what I would actually get would depend on my distance from their central facilities. Although I am not that far from one of their central facilities, I still get 2-3 mbs per second which is actually quite satisfactory in my case. I hope this can help.
    However, what I don’t understand is this SpeedStream modem which replaced my precious Alcatel Home which dropped and got damaged. It says the speed is l00 Mbps, yetI read its specs (which I can’t find any more) and it said it goes up to 8. Anyone can help expalin this to me?



  23. Anony

    Comment on John’s Post:

    Usually you cannot get Ultra Speed with Aliant TV. Aliant TV will use a LOT more speed and they will only be able to setup the high speed at a regular connection. If you ever get TV they will have no choice of changing it to the Regular speed. I’m pretty sure they will increase it in the future.

    Comment on Layla’s Post:

    Bellnet? Do you mean Aliant? The speed you see on your computer of 100MB is the speed if your network card. It means that it can handle a speed up to 100MB. If you were doing file sharing directly between 2 computers you might be able to get up to 100MB but most ISP offer an speed and in Aliant case up to 5MB

    Comment on Daddio’s Post:

    Great post. Very well explained. I know that sometime it’s frustrating to call technical support but most company offer it free. It’s a free service that the ISP will give you and it’s troubleshooting over the phone. I’m sure you would have a lot of fun calling your Car manufacture for troubleshooting over the phone… At the end you will still have to pay big bux to fix your car…

  24. Dave H

    I understand this completly the buggers and stealing money from the users because most ppl don’t even really understand the old ways when computers where used in the commnad line days. and there for aliant can shovle this internet over booking oif the bandwidth .. i explain it like this to ppl. Airport over book setting in much the same way and if everyone shows up for the flight then there is delays and crap like that.. now if the bandwidth of the servers are overbooked and when u try to login ..and there it is the little red alert light comes on and boom NO NET.. what the hell ..thats my point confusion aliant should be made and watch to make sure they stop stealing for my connection speed and yours.. Stealing is stealing ..just because a BIG Corp. is doing it thou .. it gets brushed under the rugs..

  25. Dave2

    Wugnet results for my Ultra 5.07Mbps down 551Kbps up. My speed was slow until I called and they had to set the limit up? No present complaints but it is a good idea to test from time to time. This was the second time my speed fell off.

  26. David W

    I had Ultra up and until about 3 months ago when I moved to an area that does not have Aliant DSL service. For the year I had Ultra, I never went below the advertised 5 Mbps. Downloads where always in the 600 k/s range off of sites like microsoft and Best of all they do not seem to block torrents in any shape of forum. Could be better, of course but could be much much worse (I see that know after using satallite high speed, YUCK)

  27. Jonus

    Haha oh lord.
    I noticed my connection speed being horrendously slow the past month. To the point its rediculous.

    A highspeed user, but I can barely open common webpages. The NetAssistant tool to test your connectivity speeds with Aliant, is going at 2.9KB/s, oh the irony of it all.

    As for the ‘blocking torrents’ comment from the person in Nov’07, this is no longer true as of Dec’07.

    Testing my speed on Wugnet, my download speed scored an awesome 4.28kbps! Even modems back in 1995 were capable of 10x more than that, upload speed scored 239kbps, which is still horrendously slow. Seriously, why are we paying these people $40/mo for a service that barely works, asides from theit near monopoly. I seriously wished Rogers getting into the internet game would give Aliant some competition and force them to pull up their pants for once, but their fees and services are mirrored to that of Aliant’s. Could move to anywhere else in the country and get a more legitimate service than these guys are trying to pull off.

  28. Chris

    I have Aliant highspeed 5 mps…I have alot disconnecter in the last few days. Also my account always says that the connection is down.

  29. Les

    Bellnet…..well, what a bunch of bullshit artists. Had Rogers high speed (business) cable and that ran at ….ahem, around 6.5 mbs download. When we moved the business we had to change and could only get Bellnet……Bellnet advertised “up to 5 mbs” and can acheive only half of that on a good day with a tail wind. As much as I hate Rogers, the best they could do was to tell me that they would be up in this industrial area to put in high speed cable and that they had it scheduled for the year 2020. I should live so long.

  30. ChuckuFarlie

    I got Aliant High Speed Ultra which worked @5 Megabits for 6 months then the speed dropped to 2.1 Megabits. Tech support was no help at all, they just kept saying my speeds are within 2-5 megabit every time I called..
    Since nobody would help me at Aliant I decided to order a secondary dedicated High Speed Ultra Connect on what they call a ghost line, which costs a little more.
    The tech came out a week later and installed the new connection and modem. The new connection worked great at 5 megabit for about 6 months, then just like my other connection dropped to 1.9 – 2.1 megabit. Now I’m paying $100 a month for about 4 megabits. Aliant obviously caps their bandwidth to half what it was about 6 months after a customer gets it.
    Aliant knows most people wont notice or will not want to bother dealing with their tech support that has only been trained with a script that says your speeds are within range. It’s pure Bullshit that both my connections are just hovering at 2 megabit and were the full 5 megabit for the first 6 months.
    Aliant is fraudulently stealing bandwidth you pay them for so their limited servers do not get congested. This violates their contract they have made with hundreds of thousands of customers, can you say Class Action law suit, I can and will if my internet isn’t back to it’s proper speeds very soon. I have about 6 months left on my latest HSI connect contract. I have a feeling I’ll be switching all of my services to Rogers at that time even though I have doing business with Nbtel/Aliant for the last 20 years. btw I have been a network engineer for 15 years so I have some Idea of what Im talking about.

  31. Ryan

    I have had Aliant high speed since I was able to get it in my area. Up until the last 5 months I have not had many issues ongoing but now since April of 2010 I have been having issues between 1900-2300 most if not all nights. When I have contacted Aliant internet support they keep telling me it is my computer or my internet box or my router that is causing the issue. Funny how it is not an issue in the day or late night just in peak time?? I have reg High speed ahould be 1.5mb download but when preformed the test from netassist and I fond I am getting about 5kbps download. Yet it seem that Aliant is reporting no issues form my lines at all and this is an isolated case.

    Anyway nice to see I’m not alone and that others know Aliant doesn’t really care about their clients

  32. Thomas B

    I think this speaks for itself, 0.15 download and 0.12 upload when I’m supposed to be getting 7 mbps download. Terrible speeds. This is called a scam. I was on the phone for 3 hours! Talking to 8 different bell operators and the last one finally flicked a magic switch to give me the service that I had been paying for. Terrible.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)