I see that many people have told of their journey to upgrade to fibre, and thought I'd share mine here. Many of these stories include frustration and disappointment, so perhaps this will provide a counterbalance to all that.
Firstly, the speed of the whole process. Now I'm not sure if there's a world record for this sort of thing, but I would've come very close to tickling it if there was. I logged onto the Spark website last Monday, chose my plan, and submitted my request. The next day Chorus were around to do the scoping and discuss the install plan. On Friday I was all connected. 5 days from request to go-live. Five. Days.
The Chorus techs were great, and not shy to discuss all aspects of the install. While it was a reasonably straightforward one, I wanted the ONT on the second floor of our house, as that's where all the ethernet cables throughout the house terminate. It's also where the VDSL connection was located.
They were also upfront about their limitations in implementing this. I was keen to use the existing path that the copper took for the install, as this meant everything would be behind walls, with no drilling or cutting required. After taking a look at my current setup, they indicated that they probably didn't have the skills or tools to do that, so suggested I got an electrician in to do that part. The difficulty was the path that the existing cable took, with too many twists and turns making it difficult for them to use it to guide the fibre cable through.
I took them up on this advice, but the sparkie told me that he'd probably have recommended the Chorus approach anyway (drilling down through the floor and running the cable that way). He said he could've repurposed the existing cable, as it was CAT5, but that would've involved getting a new power point installed in the garage (and an Ethernet jackpoint). I decided to take a punt and went with the free Chorus install option instead.
As it turns out, this was a pretty good idea. I'm more than happy with the workmanship, with only little bit of minor damage to the wall. This will be easily addressed with a touch up of paint (which thankfully I have, due to a recent internal repaint).
I was also dead keen to avoid having the external cable attached to a fence. I still reckon that's a pretty dumb idea. But unfortunately there was no other option, as it was impossible to dig down far enough to bury the cable for the last part of the journey. They did try their best to avoid this for me, and even investigated using the path taken by the existing copper cabling. But that wasn't feasible. So they buried as much as they could, and attached it to our fence for the last 3 metres or so. After seeing the workmanship, I'm more than happy that it will outlast our time in the house. It'll only be a problem if a future owner decides to replace the fence (which is only about 14 years old, and is in perfectly fine condition).
And then the fun began. I had a blazingly fast Internet connection terminating at my house, which I then had to spread throughout the house. I was planning to use the Asus RT-AC68U for this. Initially I was getting sync speeds of around 350Mbps/500Mbps (I'm on a 950/500 plan). But then I disabled QOS on the router, and this leapt up to 750/500. I figured that would be good enough.
But on Saturday night, this degraded down to 200/500. After a bit of testing I found this was due to WiFi being enabled, and disabling this gave me the higher sync speeds again. Just to clarify, all testing was done via Ethernet, but the mere step of toggling WiFi on or off on the router was affecting the state of play.
The CPU and memory usage on the router looked OK, so I thought a WiFi client may have been chewing up the available bandwidth. I was in the process of looking into this when Steve Biddle suggested that the Spark supplied Huawei modem/router was actually quite a capable unit. So I switched to using that, and this was the end result.
I was a little concerned that WiFi coverage using this may not be as good as the Asus, but it certainly seems to be comparable. In any case, all our important stuff is wired, so poor WiFi simply means whinging teenagers (at which point I can remind them that I did offer to install Ethernet into their bedrooms, but they declined). So I'm gonna stick with the Huawei for a while, and may repurpose the Asus as a switch elsewhere (with the added benefit of extending the WiFi coverage).
So all in all this was an incredibly speedy journey, with an outcome that certainly exceeded all expectations. A huge thanks to Spark and Chorus for making this possible.