Rogers has decided to make the move from old-school cable internet and television to a new service called Ignite. This service is designed to be more user friendly, advertising simple installation, management, and convenience at every point of the experience. In theory, this is great, but in practice Rogers Ignite is a wonky experience that only gets worse if you have unique home networking needs. From start to finish, everything about getting Ignite Internet and Ignite TV working in my home has been a nightmare.
In early 2020 I wasn’t watching a lot of television. I made the decision to get rid of my cable television and just fly with Netflix and a couple of streaming services to make sure I didn’t miss out on any of my Toronto Maple Leafs games. Fast forward to October 2021, and my wife and I find ourselves wanting a standard TV package. Since I’ve been a Rogers customer for more than a decade, I give them a shout to get the ball rolling.
The agent on the phone informed me that the only television package they offered was called Ignite TV and, to get this service, I had to switch my internet to Ignite Internet. I could not keep the gigabit internet that I had and get any sort of cable television from Rogers. I hesitated since I was rocking a solid 900 Mbps down, 32 Mbps up, and a sub-10 millisecond ping. Working from home, great internet is essential, but I figured it would be fine since I was getting the Ignite Internet Gigabit package.
Skip to installation day and the technician comes out. He gets out of his truck and proceeds to wander around the neighborhood looking for the cable box. He opens one, then wanders to another, before I finally poke my head out the door and point him to my next-door neighbor’s lawn. He fiddles around, then comes to my door and hands me the gear. This is a self-installation I’m told, but he wants to come into my home and check my current modem.
Once the technician leaves, I hook up the new modem that Rogers says I must use to get Ignite Internet, which I must have to get Ignite TV, which I must get because old-school cable has gone the way of the dodo. This internet is supposed to be configured in an app, so I fire up the app and sign into my account to immediately receive an error message. I’m signed into my account on my PC, so I’m sure the credentials are good. I call Rogers for internet support. Apparently my account wasn’t properly linked to my profile or something, so I get an unwanted password reset, then informed I need to wait a few hours for things to start working in their system.
While I was on hold, I was able to navigate to my modem’s IP via a web browser and set everything up. Since I had working internet, I ran a speed test. Where I was getting 900 Mbps down earlier that morning with my old modem, I was now getting about 450 Mbps with the new modem. The agent told me it can take up to 24 hours for the modem to reach top speeds. I called this man a liar and told him that it was okay if he didn’t know what to do, but that he should escalate me instead of punting (call center term) me. He escalated me.
After finishing that call, I proceeded to configure my home network. Since I have four levels, I use wireless repeaters to keep a solid signal throughout my home. These had to be configured from scratch, but fine. Once they were up and running, it was time to install Ignite TV. This process was straightforward, but the one thing I noticed is that the Ignite TV didn’t ask me which wireless network I wanted to connect to. It connected directly to my modem’s SSID, giving me no option to connect to the wireless network created by my repeaters. Puzzled by this lack of customization, I headed back to the phones to speak with Rogers.
This time I spoke with a technical support agent from Ignite TV. This person had zero idea how wireless networks operated. I had to ask if he had an iPhone, then explain what I was trying to do was go into the wireless settings and switch the wireless network I was connecting to. His solution was to reset my modem, which I declined. He then said it must be my TV that wasn’t working. Wrong again. I asked if it was possible to connect my Ignite TV to a wireless network other than the one created by the Ignite Internet modem. He said no. I asked if he was sure. He was.
Once that call was done, I decided to double check this agent’s information with Google. I should have done this first, because the first result explained how inputting code with your Ignite TV remote would allow you to choose a different wireless network. I tried it and within five minutes of leaving that call had connected my Ignite TV to the SSID of my wireless repeaters.
Including visits from technicians, physical setup, software setup, and calls with agents, it took me about seven hours to get my entire network running. I just didn’t have it in me to configure the modem to my unique specifications, so I left it for a few days.
Last night I decided it was time to do some port forwarding. Time to get a few of the unique settings that I use on my home network configured and ready to go. Again, I logged into the modem via a web browser, only to find that every setting redirected me to a link. Odd, but I followed the link. What I found was that there were no options for port forwarding, using the DMZ, or any other setting a proficient user with unique needs would need. Back to the phones with Rogers.
Thankfully, the agent I spoke to was a well-informed person. Unfortunately, they confirmed what I thought; Rogers Ignite, in both internet and television form, is built for the dumbest users you can imagine. Everything is about one-click setups through apps, wireless everything, and absolutely no configuration options beyond the most basic needs. If I wanted to configure my network my way, I’d need a router and to put my modem into bridge mode. Luckily, these are things I’m comfortable with, but it sucks that I ended up spending nearly $300 on a high-end router when I didn’t need one before.
As for how Ignite works, it’s not bad. The open ticket has been resolved and my speeds are back to normal. I do enjoy being able to watch television on any device in my home. What I’m not a fan of is the fact that on gigabit internet with hard wired Ignite TV box, 4K looks like a YouTube video from 2008. The heavy push to everything streaming and everything wireless is probably going to cause a lot of growing pains until internet technology can take a few more leaps forward. I don’t like setting up my modem in an app that doesn’t work. I don’t like that my modem looks about as durable as Kleenex box. I don’t like the fact Rogers agents in general seem untrained, uninformed, and that I must walk a mine field to try and get good support.
But, this is the way it is. The future of television and internet at Rogers is all about streamlining everything even if it costs informed users all their customization options. It’s about wireless regardless of quality. It’s about catchy words like Ignite that don’t mean anything but are meant to make you feel like your experience is fire and powered by awesomeness. It’s all smoke and mirrors, and it’s designed make something feel better even if the actual core of the system and experience is rotten.