Does Fusion IP Broadband / AT&T FTTN gracefully degrade?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
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by dfernandes » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:27 pm
I had Sonic ADSL2 for quite a long time, 7+ years give or take in San Jose, Willow Glen area. The speeds were getting a bit too slow for using the web in 2019, so I switched to Toast.net since they had a good deal on reselling dual bonded 45 Mbps / 6 up service.

We did have some line issues in the past, but for the entire summer one of the lines would keep conking out at the most inopportune times, namely the weekend when their call service center would be closed. Both lines needed to be up in order for the gateway to get an IP address. I think we had something like 15+ trucks roll out who would fiddle around until they gave up and passed the ticket onto another tech, or they would get a successful sync, claim "success"...and of course it would fail out again in no more than 48 hours. They would try things like switching our line to a different VDSL card to no avail. I am guessing it was some sort of thermal noise or heat expansion issue, since it always seemed to happen when temperature outside would rise above 87F. About 2-months into this saga, Toast.net actually recommended that we cancel and they would release us from contract.

My thinking is that they provisioned the service in such an aggressive all-or-nothing way such that if one of the lines failed to synchronize, whole the service would go kaput. There was no graceful degradation to a slower speed tier like ADSL2.

I am wondering if Sonic's 50/10 profile with AT&T is less aggressive and will gracefully degrade? Can I request a lower speed tier thru Sonic given our loop length is something like 2200ft? I don't really care if it synchronizes at 24/3, or if one of the lines goes down etc, so long as it doesn't conk out entirely at a survivable issue.
by Guest » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:33 pm
Sonic resells the AT&T bonded FTTN service, i.e., with respect to the physical VDSL service (including modem) that your question involves. So it would be surprising indeed if the failure recovery differed between AT&T and Sonic for the FTTN service.

Other customers that have AT&T bonded FTTN as the underlying service (regardless of whether it is AT&T or a reseller who interfaces with the customer) have stated problems similar or identical to yours with respect to single line failures of a bonded pair. See:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6282

In any event, it would be good to get a formal answer from Sonic as to how its resold AT&T bonded FTTN service works regarding recovery from single line failures.
by virtualmike » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:10 pm
While Sonic Fusion requires copper all the way back to the Central Office, IP Broadband typically has copper only to a nearby neighborhood VRAD; e.g., a much shorter run of copper. You may see a completely different experience.

In my older home, I was about 4,500 feet from the CO on 1950s copper with Fusion X2, and I continually saw one line that would get significant interference during warmer months, but only for a few minutes--just enough to make the line train down to a lower bit rate. If I reset the router, it reset to the higher bit rate until the next episode.

AT&T and Sonic did swap pairs (which, of course, took the same physical route as the original pair) and even ports, but the problem persisted during warmer months. I figure it was some sort of high-RF equipment starting up, such as a pool or spa pump, along the route.

I'm now in a different area with copper from the same era, but I'm less than 1000 feet from the neighborhood VRAD, and I'm getting 45/6 on a single pair (that shows a consistent bit rate of 52K).

Thus, your experience on IP Broadband may be completely different than your Fusion experience.
by dfernandes » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:57 pm
Thanks for the reply! Sorry if I wasn't being clear, the Toast.net service is resold AT&T Uverse, known as AT&T enterprise, which goes to the same VRAD (and therefore the same VDSL2 cards in that VRAD). Sonic sells the resells the same thing as IP Broadband, but what I’m asking is how they actually configure the line profile for the VDSL service. Unlikely it’s different, but I thought it would be worth asking if Sonic gets any say in how AT&T configures the service.
by virtualmike » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:47 pm
Gotcha. Sorry I didn't catch that. I suspect Sonic can't do anything more than tell AT&T to deliver service of a certain tier to a certain address.

Given your experience, I'd wonder if either the ports/line cards to which you're connected, or the VRAD itself, is the issue.
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