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19 posts

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# 175558 3-Jul-2015 18:08
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Our area is getting Fibre shortly, and I'm therefore looking at the implications of upgrading our Slingshot broadband connection to fibre.

I have noticed that both the most-commonly pictured Chorus ONT (2xPOTS, 4xEthernet, 8-pin power) and the Slingshot-offered router (Tripleplay150) have phone outlets. I emailed Slingshot to ask if you had to use the TP150 outlet. They stated that they "encourage" use of the TP150 "FSX1" outlet, but gave no indication of the basis or strength of that recommendation, and have not (as yet) replied to my request for clarification.

So my questions are:

1) Is there any fundamental difference between these two phone outlets?

2) Has anybody used the ONT phone outlet with Slingshot fibre?

3) Has anybody tried setting up a Slingshot fibre connection with a router other than the Slingshot-provided TP150? (I would assume setting up a fibre connection on a router is little different than setting up an ADSL connection on a modem-router.)

The reason I'm looking to avoid having the phone connection through the TP150 are twofold: (i) it avoids one more potential Point Of Failure between the fibre connection and the phone & (ii) I'm seriously underwhelmed by the TP150 (no-name-brand, only 802.11n & no gigabit ethernet) and would prefer to use a router of my own choice.

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  # 1336596 3-Jul-2015 19:10
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As I understand it - The difference is how each provider is doing thier switching - with the ONT ports they have do it localy or have a seperate back haul connection for voice service and with useing the RGWs ports they can do it remotely useing the same backhaul as the data

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  # 1336601 3-Jul-2015 19:14
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I dumped the TP150 for a NetComm NF4V. It also has the phone ports but has gigabit  instead of 100Mbit ports. The phone actually sounds better on it as well I have found.

Of course all this is ending up rather moot for me as in 3 weeks I am switching to Bigpipe and getting a 200Mbit connection instead of the max 100mbit that Slingshot offer, and I won't have a landline at all.





 
 
 
 


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  # 1336617 3-Jul-2015 19:43
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You can't use the phone ports on the ONT if you want to use Slingshot phone. If you want to use those ports then you'll have to choose another company, MyRepublic or Spark for example.



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  # 1336637 3-Jul-2015 20:51
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DarkShadow: You can't use the phone ports on the ONT if you want to use Slingshot phone. If you want to use those ports then you'll have to choose another company, MyRepublic or Spark for example.

That's unfortunate, as it will restrict me to a very small number of available gigabit routers (most probably one or two Netcomm models, it I want affordable and known namebrand) and 802.11n (no 802.11ac models seem to have a phone jack, though a few of them do claim SIP).

I would however prefer not to move away from Slingshot, if I can avoid it, as migrating email addresses tends to be a real pain.

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  # 1336681 3-Jul-2015 21:43
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why not run a device to run the phone and your internet connection that supports gigabit ethernet and then run a second device to serve your wireless devices?

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  # 1336699 3-Jul-2015 22:17
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Why not run a separate IP phone or an ATA?



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  # 1336700 3-Jul-2015 22:26
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Jase2985: why not run a device to run the phone and your internet connection that supports gigabit ethernet and then run a second device to serve your wireless devices?

I could, but for me it's probably a better strategy to simply live with gigabit/802.11n for now. It would have been nice to get a single future-proofed router (with all the latest protocols) that would have served our bandwidth needs for the next few years, but lacking that, it makes more sense to hold off on buying a second device until we really need its extra WiFi bandwidth. 300-450MBps probably will give us reasonable headroom over Slingshot's 100Mbps, until they get around to offering Gigabit.

My philosophy is somewhat along the lines of 'upgrade as far as you can (economically) in a single step, leave off extra steps until you actually need them.'

 
 
 
 




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  # 1336702 3-Jul-2015 22:38
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DarkShadow: Why not run a separate IP phone or an ATA?

Until I looked them up on Wikipedia, I didn't know that ATAs existed. Are any Slingshot-compatible ATAs available in NZ, and if so, at what price? Do they go between the ONT and the router (meaning gigabit would be a must), or hang off the Router in the chain?

The downside of this of course, is adding another device, and (potentially) another point-of-failure, to the mix.

I think our family would prefer to keep our existing (hard-of-hearing-friendly) cordless setup, if at all possible, so I doubt if an IP phone is a viable option.



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  # 1336719 4-Jul-2015 02:58
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A quick followup question: does the router that I choose as a substitute for the TP150 have to support VLAN 10? If so, how do I find out which routers do so (is there an IEEE standard I should be looking for or something)?

I must admit, I'm finding these (ISP-undocumented) differences in hardware-requirements/setup somewhat daunting. Certainly they would make ISP-switching a fraught exercise for the uninitiated. They also make you more reliant on ISP-provided hardware -- which in Slingshot's case with the TP150, isn't particularly adequate.



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  # 1336727 4-Jul-2015 04:15
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[Apologies for the further post, but GZ doesn't seem to want to allow me to add this as an edit to my previous post.]

Scratching around a bit, the answers to my followup questions seem to be "Yes" & "IEEE 802.1Q".

This of course puts further restriction on router choice, with the only viable candidate (at a reasonable price) appearing to be the Netcomm NF5 (which appears to be the successor to Brumfondl's NF4V). Admittedly, it doesn't help that PriceSpy does a rather poor job of documenting IEEE 802.1Q compliance.

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  # 1336739 4-Jul-2015 07:10
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hrafn:
Until I looked them up on Wikipedia, I didn't know that ATAs existed. Are any Slingshot-compatible ATAs available in NZ, and if so, at what price? Do they go between the ONT and the router (meaning gigabit would be a must), or hang off the Router in the chain?

The downside of this of course, is adding another device, and (potentially) another point-of-failure, to the mix.


they need to go after the router, as they need an internet connection to work

im pretty sure an ata is an ata, Cisco do a good one
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/unified-communications/spa112-2-port-phone-adapter/index.html

hrafn: A quick followup question: does the router that I choose as a substitute for the TP150 have to support VLAN 10? If so, how do I find out which routers do so (is there an IEEE standard I should be looking for or something)?

yes you need to find a VLAN 10 capiable device fore pretty much every ISP in NZ.

ISP's only really care about the products that they sell. if you want to change device you would be considered an advanced user and hopefully know what you are doing

hrafn:  it doesn't help that PriceSpy does a rather poor job of documenting IEEE 802.1Q compliance.

because price spy only lists basic specifications of devices, you need to go to the manufactures site and check that it supports it. sucks but it is what it is.

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  # 1336856 4-Jul-2015 10:56
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You can try ASUS RT-N56U. Also, there's the Huawei HG659(b) from Trademe, while this is a "free" ISP router, it's not bad.



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  # 1336988 4-Jul-2015 17:45
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Jase2985:

1) According to http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=49&topicid=174969 , only about half of ISPs require VLAN-tagging, and I don't remember seeing any of them mention this requirement in their UFB information (certain as to Slingshot, less so as to others).

2) "Only really car[ing] about the products that they sell" is only acceptable if "the products that they sell" are a reasonably robust solution to the range of tasks that users would have for them -- and in the case of Slingshot's TP150, that isn't true. It appears to be barely adequate (and frequently flaky) for even the most basic of needs.

3) A would-be "advanced user" who is new-to-fibre can only "know what you are doing", if somebody is prepared to provide them with that specialised knowledge. That information appears to be completely absent on ISPs' FAQs and documentation, and although much of it is available on GZ, it takes more than a little digging to find (a Fibre FAQ would be a nice idea).

DarkShadow:

The ASUS RT-N56U appears to lack a phone jack. The Huawei HG659 looks quite attractive (is there any significance to the (b)-variant, as most documentation/Trademe-listings don't mention it?). The downside is that, as its not publicly-sold, support information (detailed specs, firmware upgrades, etc) might be hard to find.

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  # 1337065 4-Jul-2015 20:08
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1) according to that list over 90% of connections require VLAN tagging given the market share of those companies, and they are the ISPs that the majority of people would use. There others who dont are generally niche ISP's who cater to business or enthusiasts.

2) ISP's provide devices that meet the minimum specs for their connection at pretty much the cheapest price. The devices work for what joe blogs needs, and maybe a little more. ISPs test their devices robustly before issuing them to customers.Sure some people would be willing to pay more for a robust solution but many wont, considering the modem most people get is FREE, on a contract. If you want more you have to pay more.

3) Yep the info is probably lacking but they only support their device, some provide a guide for setting up a third party device, like this one from spark: https://www.spark.co.nz/help/internet-email/getstarted/broadband-settings-for-third-party-modems/
Has everything you need in there, and with a small bit of research you can work out if a device will work with their connection or not. Other ISP's may or may not list that info but, thats time and effort they have to spend on devices they dont support.




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  # 1337087 4-Jul-2015 20:59
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Jase2985: 1) according to that list over 90% of connections require VLAN tagging given the market share of those companies, and they are the ISPs that the majority of people would use. There others who dont are generally niche ISP's who cater to business or enthusiasts.

(i) Your original wording was "pretty much every ISP in NZ", not "% of connections". (ii) In trying to ascertain the requirements of an ISP it is irrelevant to me, as a potential new customer, whether they have 1,000,000 existing connections or 1. They are each simply yet another set of undocumented, idiosyncratic requirements.

2) ISP's provide devices that meet the minimum specs for their connection at pretty much the cheapest price. The devices work for what joe blogs needs, and maybe a little more. ISPs test their devices robustly before issuing them to customers.Sure some people would be willing to pay more for a robust solution but many wont, considering the modem most people get is FREE, on a contract. If you want more you have to pay more.

No. The Slingshot offer is for a 100Mbps connection. The TP150 is a N150 WiFi router, which, in many real-life situations, provides WiFi throughput well under 100Mbps. So unless "joe blogs" really didn't want that 100Mbps, it is a substandard specification even for minimum use. Compare this with the Huawei HG659 offered by Vodafone and Spark, which offers at least N300 (and in some variants 802.11ac) and gigabit-by-wire.

Even "joe blogs" will frequently find themselves in situation where some limitation of the home setup requires some extra headroom in the router to fully utilise the service.

Finally, an 'only meet the minimum specs' device is unacceptable when you are only willing to support that one device. You need to allow for at least some diversity in customer needs.

3) Yep the info is probably lacking but they only support their device, some provide a guide for setting up a third party device, like this one from spark: https://www.spark.co.nz/help/internet-email/getstarted/broadband-settings-for-third-party-modems/
Has everything you need in there, and with a small bit of research you can work out if a device will work with their connection or not. Other ISP's may or may not list that info but, thats time and effort they have to spend on devices they dont support.

So each wannabe-"advanced user" (setting what is a ridiculously low standard for that term) has to reinvent the wheel in determining what hoops they have to jump through in finding out what equipment that matches their needs will work with an ISP (other than Spark or some other, similarly enlightenedly-self-interested, ISP)? How dreadfully inefficient. For the time it took one potential customer (me) to research this for myself, they could have put up a FAQ explaining all this, and (i) avoid risk losing multiple customers who felt that their offered hardware was substandard (but did not know enough to, or could not be bothered, research it further) & (ii) reduce the number of time-consuming customer support queries about the hardware requirements for connection.


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