My Experience With Toob
+ what you need to know about Toob Broadband before you sign up
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(Update 13th Feb 2023: I’ve had 20 hours of downtime since I signed up to Toob. Here’s my downtime diary.)
(Update 6th July 2023: Since the downtime in February, the service has been very reliable with no further issues to report.)
I am a new Toob customer who lives near Camberley in Surrey, and I now get superfast broadband via their network of fibre cables.
Here I’ll show you the speed I consistently get to my desktop computer.
But not everything is as rosy as it seems.
This is my brutally honest review of Toob where I’ll cover:
- Toob uses shared ip addresses and why this could be a problem for you.
- How much extra they charge for a static ip address.
- Download and upload speeds I’m getting on my devices, inc PlayStation, laptop, desktop etc via WiFi and LAN cable connections.
- The installation process, how it went, how they got the cables into my home.
Toob Uses CG-NAT (Shared ip Addresses)
I won’t bore you with technical details but Toob uses shared ip addresses.
Historically, every broadband customer was given their own ip address, one per household.
However, due to a worldwide shortage of ip addresses, Toob and some other providers are now using protocols that allow an entire neighbourhood to connect to the internet via just one ip address.
This saves them money as they don’t need to buy as many ip addresses.
Most people won’t notice any difference, however, some will.
Here’s the problem with CG-NAT/shared ip addresses:
- It creates an extra step in the connection and this results in latency issues (lag/delay) that online gamers may notice.
- If you use peer-to-peer file sharing or peer-to-peer gaming, you may not be able to connect at all.
- If you want to host a web server at home, you’ll have problems with this type of connection.
- If a website administrator bans a user by blocking their ip address, then anyone else using that shared ip address will be blocked too.
There’s more details about CG-NAT including disadvantages, on the Wikipedia page.
I urge you to research CG-NAT before signing up for TOOB but to be fair, they aren’t the only provider that uses this protocol to save money.
Static ip Address Cost
While Toob uses CG-NAT by default, they offer their customers an upgrade to a static (traditional) ip address for £8 per month.
After doing my research, this is the option I chose.
So my contract is:
£25 per month for 18 months.
+ £8 per month for a static ip address, cancel at anytime with 7 days’ notice.
Toob published a blog post about CG-NAT and static ip addresses that you may wish to read.
Think Broadband has a forum section about Toob’s CG-NAT and static ip address cost, it’s worth a read too.
Toob Download Speeds
Before you read this section, please be aware that the download speed via WiFi is almost always less than via a LAN cable and on most connections, it’s the device’s WiFi receiver that slows down the speed.
That said, here are my speeds on the 19th January 2023:
Toob’s Playstation 4 Pro Speed (Via LAN Cable)
That’s fast enough for me:
Playstation 4 Pro (Via WiFi)
Quite a bit slower and large download files will take much longer.
For those not-in-the-know; online games always play better via a LAN cable as WiFi can introduce slight lag/stutter/latency issues.
Desktop Workstation (Via LAN Cable)
My desktop workstation is built for video editing and has a super fast processor, 32gb of ram and a modern graphics processor.
The download and upload speeds via LAN are maxed out at over 900mbs, which is lightning fast.
I always back up my 4k Ultra High Definition videos by uploading them to cloud storage, and it’s here that I notice a huge difference.
On Virgin Media (upload speed 11mbs), my files would take over an hour to upload, while with Toob, they take about 2-3 minutes.
Also, note the low latency (2 milliseconds) which gamers will appreciate:
Desktop Workstation (Via WiFi)
Here things are much slower at 100mbps download and 92mbps download:
Laptop (Via LAN Cable)
I have a low-end laptop from Dell that’s three years old. I use it mainly for web surfing rather than heavy lifting.
Interestingly, I get slow speeds via the LAN cable with 92mbps download and 91mbps upload.
Compare this to the 900mbps I get on my desktop:
Laptop (Via WiFi)
My low-end laptop from Dell performs well via WiFi though with 206mbps download and 309mbps upload.
(yeah I know, it should be the other way around but it is what it is, slow on LAN and fast on WiFi).
Mobile Phone (WiFi)
I own a Moto G8 phone which is a low-end (sub £200) device and get 44mbps download and 40mbps upload:
The Bottom Line on Toob Download and Upload Speeds
The speed you get on your device will depend on the device.
Modern, high-end devices should be able to cope with 900mbps via LAN as my desktop workstation did. While older devices, such as my cheap Dell laptop, will get much less, even with a LAN cable.
I believe the Playstation 4 is capped at around 800mbps, so via a LAN cable I’m getting a very good speed.
If you’re hoping to get anywhere near 900mbps via WiFi then I think you’ll be disappointed – only one of my devices could handle over 300mbps via WiFi.
Toob Broadband Installation
If you’re wondering how the installation went; well, it couldn’t have gone smoother.
I ordered Toob online on the 28th of December and was given an installation date of the 18th of January.
A day before, an engineer tapped my door and said he was checking the condition of the ducting that leads to my property.
He then pushed a hollow cable through the existing ducting and out by my front door:
The engineer then took the cable along the wall and then underground around the corner into the rear garden.
The next day (the original installation day) another engineer came in the morning and fitted a small black box next to the old damaged Virgin Media box:
Indoors, he fitted another box to the wall, this one requires a power source (3-pin socket):
The WiFi box is nearby and is the horizontal type; it’s quite big (275mm wide x 180mm high) and requires another power source (3-pin socket), it has 4 LAN sockets to the rear.
The entire installation took about 40 minutes.
20 minutes the day before to check the existing ducting and pull through a hollow cable.
20 minutes to pull the fibres through and fit the boxes on the installation day.
Toob Reliability and Downtime
I haven’t been connected for long, so maybe I’m not the best person to pass judgement on Toob’s reliability, but so far my connection has been stable, with the upload and download speeds fairly consistent, even during the busier evening period.
I did get this email, just one day after the installation:
This is something Toob customers should expect; the company is in the process of rolling out the infrastructure and there will be downtime.
If you require a 24/7 connection, then maybe you should wait until they have rolled out the infrastructure in your area.
I’ll keep my downtime diary updated here, see how I’m getting on.
Next, I’ll answer some questions you may have:
Is Toob Broadband Good For Gaming on a PC, Playstation or Xbox?
I can only recommend Toob to gamers if they pay for a static ip address (currently £8 per month) as they may experience problems with the CG-NAT protocol Toob uses,
As for my experience with a static ip address; yes it’s blazingly fast and the latency is consistently below 3ms on my PS4 Pro.
Do Toob Need to Dig Into The Ground?
My property has a duct near the front door and a BT cable comes through this, so Toob just pulled their fibre cables through it as well, they didn’t need to dig anything up.
To get the cable from the front of the house to the rear, they tacked the cable to the wall for a few metres and then dug it underground where I had a lawn.
I presume that if I had a patio, they would have just tacked the cable to the wall all the way to the rear of the property.
Do Toob Need to Erect Telegraph Poles?
I’ve read reports of Toob erecting ugly telegraph poles in some neighbourhoods but in my street, all the cabling is underground and appears to be going through existing infrastructure.
What's The Fastest Download Speed You Can Get With Toob?
I can get 920mbps over LAN cable to my desktop workstation, this is fairly consistent.
Over WiFi, the fastest speed I’ve had is 320mbps to my laptop but this varies though and is often 200-300mbps.
It’s very unlikely you will get anywhere near 900mbps over WiFi, even on a modern device.
This is the LAN cable I’m using for my desktop and Playstation.
Do You Really Need a Static ip Address?
I occasionally do online gaming so for me, it’s essential.
Also, I’ve had past issues with CG-NAT where some website administrators blocked the ip address my neighbourhood was using, and I was unable to access the websites. This is an issue for me as I work from home and spend 8+ hours a day online but the average user who spends little time online may be just fine without a static ip address.
Is Toob Reliable?
I’ve had some downtime. Read my downtime diary here.