Zianet Review

Overview
Zianet.com appears to be independently owned and operated and is the largest of its kind in New Mexico. Service area is limited: it serves 27 cities in NM and one city, El Paso, in Texas.

Features
Each dial-up or DSL account comes with five email addresses which is nice; however, sometimes I have problems with this feature. Nothing is more annoying than going to check your email and getting a message that your password is incorrect. It is odd that this only happens on the secondary accounts. The primary (first email address set up) always works, but from time to time, the other four email addresses get disabled somehow.

Internet access options include dial-up services, DSL or ISDN. In my experience, most dial-up services I tried have a severe problem with line availability. With Zianet, this is rarely a problem. A couple of times I have got a busy signal when trying to dial-up, but the computer will automatically retry and by the 10th attempt, it always connects.

I've never used ISDN, but DSL was a great improvement. There is one major disadvantage of DSL though. It has to be set up through the local telephone company which in our case is Valor Telecom and quite frankly, they suck. Zianet doesn't charge any extra for DSL services, but Valor Telecom charges $30.00 per month to add the service to the phone line. I called Valor Telecom and signed up for DSL service. Within a week, I received my packet, including the modem and connections, which allow you to access DSL service from Zianet. We connected the equipment and the DSL service didn't work. After talking to the Zianet support center, I called Valor Telecom and of course stayed on hold for way more than 30 minutes, before talking to someone who couldn't help me and transferred me to another department to hold for another 30 minutes. Finally, I got to talk to a DSL representative at Valor Telecom who told me I never ordered the service (?!). I informed her that I received an equipment shipment from Valor Telecom, so obviously I did order the service unless they just randomly ship modems out to people. After convincing the rep that I did order the service, she decided to put it in the "queue" to be turned on, but informed me that it would be two days before the service would be active. Knowing Valor Telecom well, I was not concerned when the service was not turned on within two days. I patiently waited and by the seventh day, my modem started flashing "ready" and I was able to activate my DSL service.

A weakness of DSL is its 3 mile limit, so service is not available to all of the customers, and some have to keep dial-up service. If you live in the city you can get DSL services, but the country folks can not.

Zianet provides web-mail services which allow customers to access their email from anywhere in the world without long distance charges. This is a nice feature; however, it can be a pain also. When I am traveling and I check my email, I generally have a ton of junk mail. I delete it through the web service, reading and preserving my "real" email. What is weird though - when I get home and access my email through Outlook, all of the junk mail comes into my box even though I deleted it through the web service.