We’re finally on Fiber!
Yesterday, installers from Converge ICT came to our house and installed our first ever Fiber Internet connection.
We got the P1,500 a month plan that provides unlimited, uncapped internet with speeds of up to 25 Mbps.
WHY DID WE TRY CONVERGE?
We have been loyal PLDT DSL subscribers for 12 years, P999/month for 5Mpbs. In fact, I still have not requested for the disconnection of our PLDT DSL while we are still trying Converge. We are also keeping our PLDT landline.
But the reason that we went looking for another internet provider was because we have been noticing slower speeds than normal on our PLDT DSL. Sometimes, photo-heavy sites like Pinterest and 9gag would take a long time to load. It doesn’t happen all the time, and the problem fixes itself after about an hour, but it happens often enough to be annoying.
Uploads also took forever! Once, I tried uploading an HD Youtube video and I had to leave my laptop on the whole night since the upload took about 20 hours. I felt like I was back in the days of Kazaa and Limewire. 😀
I also felt like torrents were being de-prioritized / throttled. Have you noticed your torrent speeds cycling from max speed, then going down, further down, until it’s maybe 1/20th of max speed, and then going back up again, faster and faster, until it reaches near max speed, and then the speed goes down again, then up again. This cycle goes on throughout the download. That was a recent thing that I noticed starting a few months ago. Before this, torrent speeds were steady once it reached the optimal speed. I mean, in the past, torrent speed would start slow until it connected to more seeds and leechers, and then it would remain steady at around 400+ Kbps.
Kodi box can’t work with such slow internet. Sis bought a Kodi box and it’s not working as well as it should because of the slow internet. if you’ve heard of XBMC, you have an idea of what Kodi is. The app works well on a tablet, but when using a wifi Kodi box connected to a TV, the videos stutter and the resolution is awful.
This isn’t to say that the PLDT DSL service was bad. In fact, I consider PLDT DSL as “old reliable”. We’ve never had outages that last for longer than a day. Once an issue was reported, someone worked on it quickly, usually visiting the house the next day. Service is generally good, and PLDT has replaced our DSL modem several times already for free. But I had been waiting for PLDT to make Fibr available in our neighborhood for 3 years and it’s still not available – 5Mbps DSL is just not meeting our growing internet needs anymore. Without cable TV, we’ve been watching more Netflix, iflix and YouTube. So here we are.
CONVERGE FIBER APPLICATION PROCESS
My sis was the one who handled all the application procedures. So basically, she contacted Converge to apply for internet from their website. She received an email from someone from Converge telling her all the requirements. My sis then emailed the requirements. She got an email reply telling her to wait for a few days while Converge validates the submitted requirements and checks if there are available nodes nearby.
Converge emailed back asking for the initial payment. The initial payment was P4,000: P2,500 installation fee + P1,500 for the plan. There’s a 2-year lock-in period.
She paid and emailed Converge with the payment details, and Converge replied that they would schedule an installation.
CONVERGE FIBER INSTALLATION + Disrespectful crew
The very next day, someone from Converge called, telling me that they were on their way to the house to install the connection! Wow, that was fast! I was a bit shocked because I had no idea they were coming over and I had to leave in an hour to attend an event. I asked if they could reschedule but they were already near the house daw, so I just agreed to get it over with. They said they would try to finish as quickly as they can. Hopefully in the future they will set appointments with their customers and not just suddenly show up. Paano kung walang tao sa bahay. It was a good thing I was still at home, because the other people at home, like my parents, are tech-clueless.
Three of the Converge guys came in the gate, while the others stayed in the Converge van outside. When they entered the gate, they just walked right in and started looking around! I understand that they are looking for where they can attach the cables, but it felt invasive. I was having a mini internal freak out because it seemed like a home invasion, even though I know it’s not. Like, wtf guys, you walked into the house like you owned the place! Tinalo niyo pa mga pinsan ko. When you’re let into a home, just stay in the sala until the homeowner shows you around.
They just walked into the house, one went outside to the balcony, looked around, even peered into one of the windows of a bedroom! One went to the dining area, without so much as asking “Ma’am, is it alright if we go to this part of the house to check the blah blah…?” I was wondering how I was going to split myself into 3 so I could follow them all around. They were just walking into private areas like it’s nothing. I don’t like random strangers looking around my house! You just don’t go around snooping into other people’s homes! Nag-tour lang sila sa bahay without even waiting for the homeowner to tour them around! These young men, they had no clue that they were being disrespectful. As in, wala man lang ka hiya hiya sa ginawa nila.
We’ve had many technicians, contractors and other people in the house, and almost all of them had manners. They don’t just walk into areas of the house where they were not invited to go. Some even remove their shoes and slippers before entering. They always ask permission before doing something. That’s basic etiquette when you enter someone’s home. I sound like a tita for complaining about this, but who raised these people? That is one plus for PLDT – their technicians that we have met are not like this. Minsan may mayabang na PLDT technician, but still not like this.
They asked if it was alright to have the external cable come from the Meralco line outside to the house (2nd floor). I said no. That would make it look like we had a jumper connection. Like Tarzan would be swinging on it any second. Also, it would be a big obstacle to anyone walking on the balcony. Hindi daw kasi puwedeng maipit yung fiber cable. Pero ayaw ko talaga ng panget na wiring, lalo na yung magmumukhang jungle yung house! I showed them how the PLDT guy rewired our telephone connection. They were hesitant to do it but eventually they just followed it.
They also measured how much cable length the job will require. They said the plan only includes a max of 300 meters, and that they will charge us for the extra. P58/meter daw. I said okay. They didn’t give me any receipt for the extra cable charge, pero, sige na nga. Pang lunch niyo nalang. 🙂
In the end, they did a good job with the connection, more or less, so parang tip na yung “extra cable” charge. They just followed along the previous PLDT phone wiring so the Converge wiring is not very obvious (mostly hidden near the ceiling).
Oh, I just noticed the dirt marks after taking the pic. Sorry, I’ll have that cleaned.
The whole installation process took about 2 hours.
THE CONVERGE FIBER MODEM
This is their modem. There are 2 parts: the actual modem and the square thing (sorry, I don’t know what it’s called 😀 )
The fiber wire connection goes to the square thing, and then there’s a wire going from the square thing to the modem/router. Since the modem has 2 antennas, I expect the signal to be stronger. True enough, it has a longer reach compared to our PLDT modem.
These are the ports at the back:
There’s a USB port and a CATV port. Will have to see what I can use those for. Maybe I can finally set up a NAS (network-attached storage) or a media server.
The modem also has “feet” to help with heat dissipation:
I also appreciate that they have the Converge hotline and email address very visible on the modem. Para hindi na kailangan mag-Google ng hotline number pag may problem. 🙂
It doesn’t indicate what brand the modem is. There’s a sticker at the bottom that has the usernames and passwords. You might want to change it because it’s way too easy to guess!
CONVERGE FIBER SPEED & PERFORMANCE
The internet is fast, although not as fast as I had imagined. For web surfing, there is a noticeable speed improvement before web pages show up, but it’s not the instantaneous Boom! Webpage! that I expected. But the pages loaded fully, down to the photos and whatever at the bottom of websites, faster than before.
Dropbox syncs almost instantly. I guess, for me, that is a very, very big improvement over our old DSL. Upload speed is amazing compared to what I had with DSL.
Youtube. No buffering! I’m watching at least 720p or up to 1080p, depending on which gadget is used (if the gadget is HD capable). Have to make sure the settings are set to 720p or 1080p because YT videos sometimes default to 480p when set to Auto.
Netflix. Super clear. No buffering.
Torrents download speed fluctuates – Yesterday, we downloaded a 1.6GB file. Of course! We were so excited to finally be on Fiber and to finally enjoy 720p or 1080p downloads. To my dismay, the torrent speed fluctuated! It went up to 2.6 MiB/s then gradually went down to 40 KiB/s, then back up again, then down again. It took around 20 minutes for the 1.6GB torrent to finish, which was still way, way faster than on our old DSL. But still, it would have been so much faster if the download speed remained steady at around 2 MiB/s. Will observe some more and update this.
Smart TV works – for what it’s worth, a smart TV with wifi is able to show HD-quality quality videos directly. I think we were watching at 1080p for YouTube! But honestly, the only “channels” that were actually watchable on the smart TV were YouTube, Netflix and RT. The other channels were “unavailable” or only showed texts and graphics. Typing on a smart TV is also such a chore, unless you have a dedicated wireless keyboard for it.
Kodi – works well. Can stream up to 1080p!
I generally get 20+ Mbps on speedtests. However, last night, around midnight, for about 10 minutes, the internet was terribly slow. Speedtests showed only 1 Mbps speed, up to around 4 Mbps. I called the hotline and somebody answered right away. He made a report and said that their engineers will do some tests. Maybe it’s just initial installation hiccups. Will have to see if the slowness happens again tonight.
Aside from the issues with the installation crew, I am generally very happy with the service we are getting from Converge so far. I did experience a few hiccups like slow internet for 20 minutes last night, and the fluctuating torrent download speed is a bummer, but generally the connection speed has been great!
I’m hoping those issues are just first day issues. Tonight, the internet connection seems to be stable. I don’t know what I expected. I think I expected magic internet, yung pag-click ng website, boom, it’s there! The 25 Mbps speed does not provide that kind of magic speed for web surfing, but it’s still very fast, faster than what we had before. Also, the website’s server could be slow, and that could cause slower web loading, as well.
The most noticeable improvement is for torrent downloads and downloads in general. Upload speed is also a gigantic improvement! Streaming is also better, clearer. We are now better able to take advantage of our smart TV’s features, as well as use Kodi. We could all be watching different internet streams at the same time, and we would not experience any slowness.
Is the speed improvement worth the extra P500/month? Definitely, yes! I still have not requested disconnection of the P999/mo PLDT DSL we have. We’re giving it one month. If Converge works really well with no issues, we’ll let go of our PLDT DSL after one month.
I’ll update this post if I experience any changes in the connection.
Aug. 6, 2017 – internet was down for about 30 – 45 minutes (wifi is connected but there’s no Internet). I called the Converge hotline to report the problem. It took me about 5 minutes waiting on queue before I reached an agent. According to him, they just started receiving reports of no internet in our area, so they are investigating. The internet got restored soon after I hung up the phone with the rep. Problem was fixed naman agad, no big deal 🙂 hope it doesn’t become a common occurrence though. We already had our PLDT DSL disconnected.
September 17, 2017 – writing this update from my phone. Converge is down AGAIN! Napapadalas na mag-down. It’s been 3 hours already. 😡 Tried calling their customer service but all lines are busy. Sometime 1-2 weeks ago, Converge was also down but only for about 15 mins. This time has been the longest so far.
So internet was down for a total of 4 hours. We’ve never had such frequent disconnection problems with PLDT DSL. With Converge, it’s like every week or every other week, we experience some internet down problem – mostly they last about 30 minutes or less, but sobrang dalas na, it’s not funny anymore. When Converge is working, okay naman siya. Madalas lang mag down!
Oct. 3, 2017 12:30 am – Converge’s internet is down again. Tried calling the hotline but I just get a recorded message saying that they are eexperiencing a major outage. Nothing on their social media about it yet. It’s been about 30 mins already. Will update tomorrow if internet has been restored. Update: Internet was restored after about an hour.
Oct. 12, 2017 – Last night, the internet went out again for about 20 minutes. I was keeping up on the latest on #risottogate and suddenly, no internet! It was beyond annoying already so I called the Converge hotline to complain. FYI, I’m not on anybody’s side on the #risottogate fight, I think both have made mistakes. But like a train wreck, you just can’t look away… 😀
Back to Converge. I was convinced that Converge service was poor and I was insisting to the poor customer service agent that Converge is having so many outages! He said they had no reports of any outage in our area. He said he will file a report. Anyway, as it happens, internet was back in about 25 minutes so I ended the call.
Then this morning, a crew from Converge came to the house to check the connection. That was fast! 🙂 These two technicians seemed more knowledgeable and were more respectful and nice. They saw the problem right away. They said that one of the wires was baligtad. I said we never changed anything, everything was as is when the installation crew installed it. They said they had encountered things like this before. Hindi daw kasi marurunong mga installation crew. Apparently, these two technicians were called in all the time to fix screw-ups by the installation teams.
This could have been causing all the connection problems we’ve been having! Kung hindi ba naman nakakainis yung installation crew na mali-mali. Color-coded na nga, mali pa. At least it got fixed now, and Converge responded to my issue right away.
Anyway, we’ll see if we experience the connection issues again, let’s give it a few weeks and then I’ll give an update.
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