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mdf



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Topic # 24436 24-Jul-2008 09:06
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I will be leaving the competitive broadband paradise that is London (well, in theory it is) and heading home to Wellington in a few weeks. I will be saying goodbye to my free home and super speedy office connections (how do you compete with free!?), and have been checking out the current offerings at home with an increasing sense of gloom.

I'd appreciate some views about broadband connections, plans and providers there, particularly whether Telstra is all its cracked up to be.

I will be working from home and need a pretty robust internet connection (reliability, speed and data are all important), and had always assumed that Telstra's cable would be much better than a (resold) Telecom ADSL offering. But of course you check these things out, hence a visit to this site (kudos to all that contribute, by the way - some fantastic advice and answers!)

Some of the more recent posts in this forum have pointed out some real problems, seemingly with Telstra's (inherited) implementation of their cable network - numerous problems seem to have been reported, at least some of which don't appear to have been user errors. I note that some are even suggesting turfing their cable in favour of ADSL (not even ADSL2, which I don't believe is yet in Wellington?)

I have no particular need for a phone line nor digital TV, just a big fat internet pipe. Telstra's website offers 4/2 Mbps and 10/2 Mbps internet-only plans, but I see there are also some naked DSL plans starting to be offered from Telecom resellers (though of questionable value - topic for another forum). If absolutely necessary, I can of course put up with a phone line.

I will be living in Herald Street in Berhampore, which is about 1.4 km away from the South Wellington telephone exchange in Hall Street if I was going with ADSL (I assume this is the relevant exchange - the Island Bay one is about 2 km away I think). I know Telstra is definitely available, as previous occupants of the place have had it.

So… what's the verdict? Will I actually get anything like the advertised speeds (I know these are burst speeds only) on Telstra cable? How reliable is the Telstra network? I do not want to be putting up with constant dropped connections. Or will I get better performance out of ADSL? And will the network improvements described in some of the recent posts in the forum actually come to fruition? How much of a difference will they make?

I think of myself as sort-of semi-competent in this stuff, but to be fully honest with you the extent of my knowledge about the underlying technology of cable is basically that it is fibre for a certain portion but then co-ax to the home. Some of the stuff in these forums about vlan segmentation and arp reduction goes way beyond what I understand, so I've really no idea of the real-world implications of this.

Ideally I'd like to get this sorted before I head home so I can buy the necessary kit here and bring it with me (proper Amazon is something I will miss greatly!) Any suggestions on this side of things greatly appreciated too - I already have the Linksys WRT54GL on the shopping list thanks to some previous posts.

Any advice gratefully appreciated.

Cheers, mdf


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BDFL - Memuneh
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Reply # 150847 24-Jul-2008 09:23
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TelstraClear is just finishing some work in their network around here, reducing problems with excessive background noise traffic and other things. This should reduce problems for people using low-end routers that tend to freeze when overloaded.

I personally have never felt this problem - last night while in our chat I found out my neighbour (also moderator here) had a few disconnections during the day, while I had none. So I offered him one of the routers I have here to try.

I work on Geekzone full time from home (Geekzone is not hosted here of course), run my own Exchange Server, have a few machines in my network (Windows and Macs) and using the 10 Mbps service is pretty good and consistent.





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  Reply # 150849 24-Jul-2008 09:30
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Dude, that is a scary-fast response! Thanks a lot - good to know that others are having positive experiences too.

Cheers

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 150857 24-Jul-2008 09:40
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IMHO TCL Cable is good, yes there are problems but overall I have been quite happy with the Cable service.  The main advantage of Cable is a good uplink speed and low latency, which IMHO is vital for good VoIP services.

As for DSL providers, so far I have heard that X-Net to be one of the better ISPs,  You won't be able to get DSL from TCL in the Wellington region due to them having their Cable service, which makes for a challenging time if you want TCL but they can't provision the Cable service to your property.  The fastest downlink I hear on ADSL2 is ~12MB, and the fastest you will ever get uplink will be 1mb.

The uplink is what is what keeps me with TCL.





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  Reply # 150859 24-Jul-2008 09:46
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TelstraClear cable is the best option in Wellington by far!  I work from home most days and VOIP, remote desktop, Webex to clients and colleagues around NZ and Australia.  The 10/2mbps speeds are excellent and I also get great, low pings on NZ and Oz gaming servers.  You'd be silly to go with anything else IMO - especially if you work from home like me.




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  Reply # 150863 24-Jul-2008 09:50
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Telstra is definately the fastest it does hit advertised speeds (I have the 10G connection) though if you want anything not locally cached it is fairly pointless as the fastest downloads from offshore are slower (about 500kps max normally) though if they allow multiple concurrent downloads you can use a download manager.

......Having said that.....
Telstraclear's customer service is terrible! and they are currently having significant issues though it seems not to effect everyone. Wait times to call them are upwards of an hour on hold and normal response is at best to schedule a tech for 3-5 days later (by which time the network problem is normal resolved so they want to charge you if havent cancelled the tech). Despite many people having the problem they dont admit there is a general problem. They are I understand upgrading there infrastructure so fingers crossed it will get better the worst is having no idea if it will get worse/better.

For instance I was down entirely yesterday from 9am-3pm, it magically came back at 3pm and worked ok but dropped out every 3-5mins for about 30-60secs. Which was fine for web browsering as my router just reestablished connect but for online gaming it was hopeless and someone sent me a long email which I had to go into webmail to delete as I could not get the whole thing in one connect (so it started again each time)

My ping times for an average month for a local wellington server vary between 170ms and 800ms (or timeouts) with the 170 being about 70% of the time and 30%. Its rarely down all day though, its worst at peak times.

A year ago I used Xtra which is telecom (Oriental Bay, wellington) and its performance was terrible probably to much built up in that area. However the customer service of xtra was much better call and you were talking to a person.

If you really need the connect and speed isnt the critical option you may consider getting TC at home and a wireless connect as well, that way you can cover the cable problems with wireless and use the wireless outside the home. The 1GB wireless plans start about $29 a month and have about a 200kps speed so apart from online gaming (due to lag) give a decent option.

So in summary.....your best option.....Stay in London :)


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  Reply # 150909 24-Jul-2008 12:04
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freitasm: TelstraClear is just finishing some work in their network around here, reducing problems with excessive background noise traffic and other things. This should reduce problems for people using low-end routers that tend to freeze when overloaded.

I personally have never felt this problem - last night while in our chat I found out my neighbour (also moderator here) had a few disconnections during the day, while I had none. So I offered him one of the routers I have here to try.

I work on Geekzone full time from home (Geekzone is not hosted here of course), run my own Exchange Server, have a few machines in my network (Windows and Macs) and using the 10 Mbps service is pretty good and consistent.



Umm not sure what you mean here...low end routers...
A lot of us have had this problem now for several months with or without routers. I personally never used a router at all and tried the suggested WRT54GL, to no avail.

So in summary there are parts of Wellington where during peak times cannot use their cable network for online gaming at all, or suffer frequent disconnections.

Whilst I am sticking it out to the end of next week, I believe Telstra have oversold their network in Wellington and under capitalised with the growth. They have led customers to believe for many months that it is NOT a network fault. Their customer awareness is disgusting.

In summary, depending what suburb you live, depends whether or not you get a useable stable connection (at peak load times). But, when working correctly Telstra should and does outperform ADSL.

As mentioned above, the supposed fix for Wellington is programmed for next week. All this info from members of this forum...not Telstra.

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  Reply # 150923 24-Jul-2008 12:33
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Telstra has a monopoly, but obviously only in the areas where the cable network extends to.


Quite frankly, if you live in such an area, and unless you are very close to a Telecom exchange, there really is no choice. Telstra is the only sensible option.


As to your question regarding reliability. It seems to depend on where you live, and what sort of things you will be using your connection for.


As a gamer, I've been screwed over for the last few months with a connection that keeps dropping, and the TLC helpdesk gave me a total run-around. It is not something I can prove, but common sense suggests they have known about their network issues for quite some time, yet have chosen not to reveal that fact to customers -until such point as all other options have been exhausted.


As to the outlook for network fixes and upgrades, I think it is definately going to happen, the question is "when" Quite frankly, it is optimistic to assume the issues will be resolved soon (as in the next month or so). They keep changing the target date, and I suspect Telstra faces significant challenges at multiple levels: Technical; Financial and probably Political as well.


It's my opinion that we will be doing very well if a proper solution (to the ARP issue) is fully implemented this side of Christmas.


Do they deserve your money? In my opinion, No. Not based on the reliablity issue, but on the customer service one.


Having said all that -if I were not a gamer, I'd pretty content with the product. If you are not needing to use the Helpdesk, you will be blissfully unaware of how bad it is. For example, up until now, I always felt telstra deserved the industry awards it seems to collect every year (for Best ISP). Right now, I think that is a joke. What they actually deserve is "Only Cable Network available in NZ" award.





"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)

 


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  Reply # 150939 24-Jul-2008 13:22
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All major Wellington exchanges, including Well South and IslandBay have been upgraded to ADSL2+ for quite some months.

Cyril

mdf



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Reply # 151076 24-Jul-2008 19:31
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Hey, thanks guys - all very helpful responses, and some useful insights ~ I think the upload speed may be the decisive factor here, even if ADSL may offer technically higher burst download speeds (I did not know Wellington had gone to ADSL2+ - thanks Cyril).

And pretty impressive that I can basically get full answers to my queries (my time) overnight!

I won't be signing up for anything for a few weeks yet, so will have my fingers crossed that the promised upgrades will happen on time. I will quite happily kiss goodbye to mandatory telecom phone lines + $10 discounts if you have your tolls with us too blah blah...

Cheers, mdf

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  Reply # 151085 24-Jul-2008 20:11
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Not too sure..but i believe the exchange gear is all now ADSL2, but the backbone is not yet.
That is why noone is advertising ADSL2 quite yet. Shouldnt be far off tho.


PS
Its damn cold here atm

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  Reply # 151101 24-Jul-2008 21:14
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Matt, I think you will find that Telecom is in the process of some pretty serious backhaul upgrades, well as I understand it. The new ISAMs (ie when ADSL2+ goes in) are IP based DSLAMs using telecoms new Metro Lan MPLS network not the old ATM one. As such many of the backhaul limitations are being reduced. As to if these are currently noticable, who knows.

Cyril

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  Reply # 151105 24-Jul-2008 21:20
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I am that uber cool moderator and neighbour....

And I do get a lot of micro outages from time to time. However, it seems to affect me one night at a time, and will then be fine again for weeks.

Though I do rate this cable service over the ADSL at work, there the outages are a lot more frequent, and last for longer periods.

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  Reply # 151120 24-Jul-2008 22:22
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I work from home and use TCL cable in Wellington.  The performance does vary a lot depending on time of day and where you're connecting to.  I am on the net constantly during work hours so I do notice any outages.  I seem to get 1-2 minute outages every week or two.  Quite OK, as far as I'm concerned.

Thing that is really good about TCL cable is the upload speeds.  I FTP large files to Europe quite regularly and after a bit of tweaking to my TCP setting I now get up to 180kBytes per sec - more normally around 120kBytes per sec.  That's better than anything possible with ADSL2.

Obvious thing you'll notice moving back to NZ is that we're a long way away from a lot of the servers you'll probably want to be using.  The international connections coming out of NZ don't give great performance for whatever reason (won't go into this here) and whichever ISP you go with it'll be pretty similar.  From the UK, there are enormous numbers of very high-speed links to the US and Europe meaning that your internet speed is largely restricted by however you're getting connected to your ISP.  In NZ this mostly isn't the case and the most amazing ADSL2 or cable connection will still get the life choked out of it by a slow link across the Pacific Ocean.

Hey, on the upside, no more black bogies from riding the tube :-)


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