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Old 2022-06-28, 02:55   #1
Prime95
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Default Proton vs. my ISP paranoia

Feedback please. TLDR at bottom :)

My wife and I frequently complain of slow internet. She might be on facebook or watching videos, I'm randomly surfing. Charter Spectrum is our Internet provider. It's been a long-standing issue that I decided to attack the last couple days.

The first chore was to replace the cable modem with a newer model and eliminate the 100Mbps router between the cable modem and the wi-fi (this was necessary because the damn wifi would drop the internet once or twice a week -- the cable modem and/or Linksys mesh wifi didn't like each other). I don't know if this problem is resolved, but at least my laptop now reports 300mpbs down using speedtest. Also, rebooted laptop because Windows had not done so in a while.

Response times are often still slower than they should be. We don't do much streaming but I do upload GBs of proof files -- so maybe Spectrum is throttling us. Google...(actually DDG). Most articles say ISPs can let speedtest traffic through and throttle the rest of your internet traffic. Spectrum may be a better ISP at not throttling as opposed to say Comcast. Sites recommend using a VPN so ISPs can't monitor your traffic for throttling (with a helpful commission generating link -- red flag that web site is biased).

I've had my eye on ProtonMail and ProtonVPN for a while. I've always worried about VPNs limiting my bandwidth with all that encryption going on. A gigabit router I looked at recently says it supports openVPN but throughput is ~50Mbps. I just tried Proton's free VPN and speed test reports 150mpbs on my laptop -- so maybe my bandwidth fears are unjustified as long as each client does its own encryption/decryption (as opposed to a centralized router doing it).

TLDR:

Anyone have experience with ProtonVPN or ProtonMail they would care to share?
Am I too paranoid about ISP throttling, will slow internet remain after switching to a VPN?
Even if ProtonVPN/ProtonMail would not solve throttling issues, should I switch simply on privacy concerns?
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Old 2022-06-28, 04:24   #2
Prime95
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AmazonPrime detects the VPN and will not work properly, I wonder what other services restrict VPN access?
This eliminates the idea of a central router encrypting all VPN traffic.
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Old 2022-06-28, 04:58   #3
kriesel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
Charter Spectrum is our Internet provider.
Charter, ugh. They're on my Never-again list.

Multiple fraudulent business practices experienced first hand. Disabling my internet to try to convince me that my own cable modem was not compatible or had failed and I should rent from them instead. (Actually they had reloaded their gear with the wrong MAC#, matching theirs not mine.) Shortly after that ruse did not work, raising the monthly rate anyway to collect the equivalent of modem rent when I was providing my own modem. Falsely claiming I failed to return to them something I never got from them, a Charter owned modem I never allowed them to install. Repeated misleading statements by customer support whenever I contacted them to try to resolve it. Then after faking the receivable they were not due, turning the falsified claim over to a collection agency. (Falsely inflating their accounts receivable while preparing for bankruptcy.) Misrepresenting the facts even by their attorney corresponding with the consumer protection government agency I involved.

Also there was that whole thing with 4 Charter executives and a Motorola executive committing securities fraud by overbilling in both directions and filing false financials, resulting trials, convictions, and at least one prison sentence of more than a year, and consequent stockholder suits. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117491832252948968

If your connection is by overlay on TV cable, that's effectively a fast party line sharing bandwidth with your neighborhood, not switched separate bandwidth per household. Oversubscription is common, so in prime time, actual usable line rates will sag below the limits subscribed for and set in the modem, independent of VPN or NAT or whatever. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_Internet_access
And a VPN with compression would be of little benefit re data rate. https://community.openvpn.net/openvpn/wiki/Compression

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-28 at 05:22
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Old 2022-06-28, 05:06   #4
Prime95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriesel View Post
Charter, ugh. They're on my Never-again list.
They are on my only-option list.

Hey, they rebranded as Spectrum so all that ugliness must be behind them, right?
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Old 2022-06-28, 05:23   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
They are on my only-option list.

Hey, they rebranded as Spectrum so all that ugliness must be behind them, right?
Condolences. Keep good records. If you get the chance, attend public meetings regarding any consideration of franchising/permitting another carrier into your area. I did that, and they had been considering Charter for an alternate service; after I relayed some factual experience, now there's fiber to the home offered by a different more reputable company & offering up to 1Gbps. Alternatives here are Charter cable (theoretically), Frontier "high speed" DSL (even more theoretically; they nominally could only provide nominal 1M despite incessantly advertising high speed, and couldn't even manage reliable 768Kbps/128Kbps 3 years ago, for nearly $80/mo), wireless terrestrial mesh (also theoretical, terrain is too lumpy), and assorted satellite offerings which cover essentially the whole US but are limited rate and/or too expensive. Cell service here offers data rates approaching satellite but cell data is capped & costly.

Do you have somewhere you could install MRTG to locally automatically monitor your traffic rates? I used to use that to monitor switch port traffic levels & even NTP time sync quality.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-28 at 05:42
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Old 2022-06-28, 06:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
They are on my only-option list.
Is T-Mobile Home Internet ($50/mo) or Starlink ($110/mo) available in your area? I recently switched from Spectrum cable (my only reasonable option until about a year ago) to T-Mobile Home Internet, and I've been very happy with it.
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Old 2022-06-28, 12:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriesel View Post
If your connection is by overlay on TV cable, that's effectively a fast party line sharing bandwidth with your neighborhood, not switched separate bandwidth per household. Oversubscription is common, ...
The first part I highlighted can be removed. This is normal for domestic connections. That is how they make it lower cost, by oversubscribing the bandwidth.

If you really need 24/7 guaranteed bandwidth then you have to move to a business line. They cost more for a reason.
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Old 2022-06-28, 16:14   #8
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I don't use a VPN as Tor covers my basic needs, that said it's worth looking into Wireguard instead of OpenVPN as the protocol to use. Wireguard is supposedly leaner and faster so a given service may be more performant with Wireguard if they offer both. I know of Wireguard mainly because support has been mainlined in the Linux kernel and it's pretty well supported including in OpenWRT so it must have some chops.
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Old 2022-06-28, 18:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frmky View Post
Is T-Mobile Home Internet ($50/mo) or Starlink ($110/mo) available in your area? I recently switched from Spectrum cable (my only reasonable option until about a year ago) to T-Mobile Home Internet, and I've been very happy with it.
We also switched and it has been fantastic so far.

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Old 2022-06-28, 19:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frmky View Post
Is T-Mobile Home Internet ($50/mo) or Starlink ($110/mo) available in your area?
No T-Mobile in my neighhborhood, confirmed on their web site.
Nor Starlink; https://www.starlink.com/map indicates 2023 expansion.

Among others offering availability listings for multiple carriers by zip code is https://www.broadbandsearch.net/
But oddly it does not list my current fiber internet provider.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-28 at 19:12
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