by Malcolm Rowe


As previously mentioned, I switched ISP from Demon Internet to Be today. As it turned out, the Demon connection shut off at noon, and I was up and running again by 12:15 (most of which was spent talking someone through the config changes remotely!). I think the DNS changes should all have propagated by now as well, so… well, that was easy!

A “B+” to Be, too, for the instructions they provided (this page, and the letter they sent me with the relevant IP addresses) were almost spot on. (I’ll cover that more in a future post.)

While waiting for the connection to switch, I hacked up a quick script to tell me when it had gone down. It simply sits in a loop and performs HEAD requests against a URL until the request fails, at which point it pops up a message box:

set -o pipefail
while curl -s -I --connect-timeout 10 $URL | grep -q '200 OK'; do sleep 60; done
zenity --error --text="No (or error) response from $URL"

This is pretty simple shell-scripting. Two notes:

Anyway, so far, I’ve seen some pretty impressive speed improvements. With Demon, my modem was reporting 7616 kbps downstream and 448 kbps upstream. It’s now reporting 15907/945, over twice as fast. That’s explained simply by moving from ADSL to ADSL2, but it’s the real-world speeds that are really improved.

With Demon, I typically got only about 900-1200 kbps at best in real world usage (my testcase was downloading this copy of the Firefox 3.0.5 source, but it was a general problem).

With Be, I’m seeing speeds of 3.5-7.5 Mbps, with some transfers clocking in at 10 Mbps. Impressive stuff, although it’s a bit bursty. (And even on my shoddy wireless network, I’m getting c. 3 Mbps, which is much better.)