VPN Slows Fiber Connection; Sonic Plans to Upgrade?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
5 posts Page 1 of 1
by sfreedkin » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:47 am
A few months ago we got Sonic Fiber. I've found that using Sonic's VPN service sometimes slows my connection to pre-fiber speeds, forcing me to choose between VPN-protected access and the speed I was hoping for with fiber. This is time-of-day dependent (and the VPN service slows me down on various devices at the same time), so it doesn't seem it can all be attributed to the time my device takes to encrypt and decrypt traffic; that wouldn't make different devices slow down at the same time of day and shouldn't cause huge differences in speeds at different times of day.

I'm writing on Saturday a little before noon, when the problem is usually much less pronounced. I just tested with SpeedTest, and got:

Without VPN: down 224 Mbps, up 272
With VPN: down 140 Mbps, up 38 Mbps

I also did an "eyeball test" by visiting two similar jam-packed Web pages, and could see the much slower download with VPN active, so this doesn't seem to be a testing anomaly.

During high-traffic periods (weekday late afternoons), I can see speeds as low as 30 Mbps ↓ and 20 Mbps ↑ with the VPN active.

I'm particularly concerned about the much-slower upload speeds, because where I am most concerned about VPN privacy is when uploading files. Is Sonic planning to upgrade the speed of its VPN servers/service?
by kgc » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:51 am
There's no benefit to using the VPN while you're connected to our network. It will just slow down your connection as you've already discovered while consuming excessive resources both on our VPN server and your systems.
Kelsey Cummings
System Architect, Sonic.net, Inc.
by sfreedkin » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:08 pm
Thank you. So, is my communication encrypted while transmitted over WiFi in my home (since there is a password on the WiFi network); while transmitting through the fiber network; and in your servers until it exits on its way to wherever?

That would mean your VPN is useful when I am connected to the Internet via a different network, e.g., when using public WiFi somewhere. In my home, I've found that sometimes your VPN disguises my location (e.g., Google Maps thinks I'm in Santa Rosa), which I like, but can live without (and since it's inconsistent, if I decide that matters to me, I'll need to use a different VPN service).

Please confirm that all of the above is correct. If so, I'm satisfied. Thanks!
by gnu » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:58 am
Now that Sonic is selling connectivity over wiretapped AT&T fiber, doesn't it make sense to use the VPN service to avoid AT&T being able to spy on any of the traffic? In which case, wouldn't it make sense to upgrade the VPN service to handle all your new spied-upon AT&T customers?
by miken » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:34 pm
@sfreedkin Modern routers will all use WPA2 encryption over wireless. Further encryption through SSL will depend on the website you are visiting. In a nutshell, the primary benefit of having a VPN is to avoid having your ISP collect your data, which is a practice Sonic does not participate in. We do recommend using our VPN when connecting to a non-Sonic network though!

@gnu Most of our Fiber is just that - our Fiber. For our resold Fusion IPBB: Our wholesale contract with AT&T doesn't allow them to packet sniff or shape traffic. That being said, you can use our VPN if you'd like. It should be noted that speedtests are not going to be accurate when running them with a VPN enabled.
Mike N.
Development Trainer
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