ef37a wrote:I really don't understand much of that so what are the likely implications if I don't use Homesafe?
I can't find any definitive information regarding whether they still currently use DPI technology. The big increase in online encryption has impacted the effectiveness of DPI so it may be that they no longer do (which is a good thing if so) but historically they have a pretty bad track record.
From the limited information I've seen, I think it more likely that they are using DNS to insert their shenanegans into your browsing sessions, but if you set your DNS servers to the Google or Cloudflare addresses you should be able to bypass that unless the Talk Talk router is doing shady things.
ef37a wrote:I "had" to change browsers from IE and chose Firefox. I don't like it much and intend to try Chrome.
It's no bad thing to stop using IE (though it would annoy me on principle if an ISP demanded I did as that would be overstepping the mark IMHO). It always was a troubled browser and is now consigned to history. Chrome is a nice browser - I use and like it a lot. Firefox is fine, and although not quite as widely supported you could also look at Opera, which is very fast.
ef37a wrote:There is a 30 day cooling off period on the package so what sort of things should I look/test for that could be a problem in the future please? If I were to break from TT I might go to EE?
I'd be inclined to ask their support these simple questions:
1) Does Talk Talk apply DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) technology to my traffic (ie above Layer 4) if I opt out of using Homesafe? If they do, what is that technology employed for?
2) Will Talk Talk prevent me from using alternative DNS servers such as those from Google or Cloudflare?
3) Is Talk Talk ever going to force me to use Homesafe whether I want to or not?
If the answer to 1 is 'yes' then I would be concerned, as there is no legitimate reason to apply DPI to your payloads in normal situations. Levels 1 and 2 are out of scope in all of this and can be ignored. Using it on layers 3-4 is fine, as that's required for things like routing and load balancing, which are legitimate needs (and in fact, most Internet infrastructure will use levels 3-4 for one reason or another anyway (they all have their own 'private' level 2 that you don't need to worry about), that's what they exist for). Levels higher than 4 however (they go up to 7), are poking into your data and as such should be avoided.
If the answer to 2 is 'yes' then I would be concerned as DNS is the means by which your PC determines the address of everything on the Internet, so if they are forcing you to use their 'special sauce DNS' then that is a massive red flag.
If the answer to '3' is 'yes' then I would be concerned for the same reason as 2.
As long as you are able to opt out of all the above, then if they work, sure, use 'em ;-)
EDIT: A quick addendum to describe the "levels" I mention above. Each network packet you send and receive consists of 'layers' of data, which are accumulated as the packet is prepared for transmission and shed as the receiving end decodes them.
Level 1 is the actual physical (even wireless is considered physical) link from your computer to the next device (ie: your router) and can be ignored - it is handled by your network hardware only.
Level 2 is the Ethernet protocol (usually, and certainly will be on your home network) and is a few bytes that your local network uses to get the packets from your computer to the correct device on your network (usually your router but could also be things like NAS or other local devices).
Level 3 is IP (usually, but for the purposes of this discussion that's enough) contains information about the ultimate destination (destination IP address) to which the packet should be sent
Level 4 is TCP or UDP (usually, not always, again lets keep this simple) and that contains state information that ensures a reliable connection (TCP only) and port numbers that allow many connections to a single IP address without confusion.
Levels 5-7 are your data that the packet contains and vary wildly (that data may contain further headers though that's not relevant here), but they should always be out of scope of ISP interest and not consulted (analysing or messing with these levels is where the "Deep" in "Deep Packet Inspection" applies).