I am lucky to have been selected as one of the first people testing TelstraClear's new 100 Mbps-capable cable network (available in Wellington, Christchurch, Kapiti). The telco has upgraded its cable network to support the DOCSIS 3 standard, giving users access to 100 Mbps download speeds, and 10 Mbps upload speeds.
One of the first things I've done was to start a discussion on Geekzone about it. But I will put a summary in this post - installation, infrastructure, performance, expectations, etc.
Installation in itself is easy, since the entire network is now DOCSIS 3 capable. A simple modem swap and we are ready to go. My first modem was a Motorola, which is being replaced today with a Cisco model. All the screenshots are therefore based on the Motorola modem. Of course (like in any other network situation) you have to put a bit of investment here. My current router is a Cisco Small Business Pro SRP 521W. This router supports two VoIP lines, and WiFi 802.11n. I am noting this because when you get access to a faster network your router will be an important piece of the puzzle. How many packets can it process? How reliable is it?
The 802.11n is important here. If you have a 802.11g router and use wireless as your main connection then you would already be limiting your bandwidth to at least half (nominal) or about one fifth (actual). More considerations on speed later (this is going to be a long post).
Also we have two gigabit switches in our home network, and all our PCs are either ethernet gigabit capable or 802.11n capable.
With no further ado, here are a few Speedtest captured when I got the modem installed:
Interesting, right? A speedtest to Christchurch gives me better results than one to Wellington, where I live. That's because of peering. It's important to note (as in any other broadband service), what you get is a line speed. Final results will depend on how packets are routed, the capacity on the target server providing the content you want, etc. Obviously this is limiting but only uses portion of the bandwidth available.
Let's get another test going on. Let's stress this connection by initiating an large number of downloads. Nothing best to test this than P2P software, so I decided to download lots of documentaries. All those were sourced from Vodo, a legal torrent site, distributing copyright free content. I removed any limits on number of connections, so this obviously tested not only my line speed, but also the Cisco SRP router. Here are some screenshots and comments:
Twenty five downloads, with different number of seeds available, automatic prioritisation by uTorrent. Note the download speeds - the peak was 6,428 KB/s (kilobytes per seconds), equivalent to 51 MB/s (megabits per second). As the software finished downloading the files you can see the ETA for download being drastically reduced as more priority was given to the remaining files:
And the last screenshot:
My next test involved the YouTube MySpeed Test page, and here are my results. You can see the big jump once we had this connection installed here, and below the instant results on a test video, at 26,788 Kb/s:
As part of my testing I agreed to have a TrueNet device installed here. TrueNet tests your broadband connection on random intervals, reporting individual and aggregate information (TueNet is alway looking for volunteers). This is my speeds on the first few days:
Good, but still not great, right? After meeting with TrueNet and discussing the results, they came to the conclusion some work was needed. For example small files didn't have the expected performance because very fast connections don't have time to ramp up to faster speeds. They changed the methodology and last week I received a new chart (below), comparing my 100 Mbps cable service with a 100 Mbps fibre service. Notice how my speed go consistently higher since TrueNet decided on a different approach for testing and statistical analysis:
Right, so what do I use all this speed for? We already used a large plan (25 Mbps, 120 GB) with TelstraClear before. We have two adults working from home. We consume a large amount of online content, including at least two or more video rentals from iTunes. I have an online backup account, using about 130 GB and about 1GB uploads daily, mainly documents updates, Outlook PST files updates, photos and home videos taken with Flip MinoHD. We also have two VoIP lines here (VFX with WorldxChange and an Australian number with Mynetfone).
On average we use about 100 GB a month. Count those 300 MB Apple mac updates, 100 MB Windows updates, MSDN downloads, a few LiveMeeting events every month, a few Skype video calls and you have a good idea of how much we use.
The big question for me now is how TelstraClear can make this a more compelling proposition. Price of course is going to be of impact. In broadband world "you get what you pay for" is very true and while the existing 25 Mbps cable service is not cheap, it's of the highest quality. Other things are value added services. I'd really like the option of moving my online backup (provided by a US vendor) to a local service. Obvious reason would be possible upload speed increase. Even better if TelstraClear provided a bundled service with non-metered traffic for this service. Or perhaps TelstraClear could join forces with Microsoft and offer a hosted communications services (which I am actually going to be testing very soon, with another provider).
I will post about this trial later with an update after changing the modem to the Cisco model.
Full disclosure: I have been a paying TelstraClear customer for about ten years now. We are so happy with the service itself that when we decided to buy a house one of the requisites was to have a cable-modem service available at the new address. As part of this trial my current plan is not being charged, but I pay for any traffic over my original plan. This happened once in the first month because all of the downloading and testing I wanted to do.
A $80 million investment, the IBM Highbrook Datacentre is the latest addition to IBM's network of green datacentres around the world.
So here is the video on that DVD:
PS: Bella watched it with me. Her comments were "This is a slow movie. Can we watch Hi-5 instead?". She's four.
Sometimes faults are reported to ISPs and telcos but no job is logged. This can happen because simply power cycling the router restores the service - but it may not actually fix the problem, and the companies don't know something is going on.
We also see many new discussions here on Geekzone with topics such as "Is [service] down in Christchurch or is just me?"
To help us get a better view of these small problems - and their real impact - I wanted to start collecting information from our users - the "crowdsource" part of the project.
I put together a Geekzone ISP/Telco Fault Report page where you can record faults as they happen.
We will make the collected data publicly available in the coming days with views by ISP and region, including some charts and hopefully a Google Map plugin.
Big thanks to Brett Roberts for starting the process...
A few weeks ago I received a suggestion to award one of our Geekzone users for his contributions. It was a great suggestion and after talking to our moderator team we agreed Stephen Abbot (cyril7 on Geekzone) has been of great help to our entire community and deserved some recognition. On his own words:
"I am deeply honoured and to be honest, quite humbled to be offered such a gift. As you probably are well aware my contribution is provided without hooks and in an effort to demystify stuff for the average person that they normally would not have easy access to."
Stephen lurks around Geekzone and helps people on lots of different subjects, from broadband performance to Freeview and Sky configurations.
I reached out to Dell AU/NZ and they offered a ST2320L full HD monitor - 23" widescreen HD (1920 by 1080) monitor, for use with desktops, laptops, gaming consoles, media centres, digital video recorders. It's here with me now and we will arrange for Stephen to get it this coming week.
After thinking about the suggestion for a little bit we also agreed to give a prize to the user who created the most epic discussion this year. This honour goes to Adam Jobbins (ajobbins on Geekzone, @ajobbins on Twitter) who created the topic "iPhone 4 NZ Launch Date".
This topic got really hot during the days - and nights - preceding the iPhone 4 release in New Zealand, and all the problems around the lack of external communications from both Apple and Vodafone New Zealand during that period. The discussion gathered so much momentum that on the launch night it got more than 70 pages of replies. In total there are 160 pages with 2,399 replies, making it the most epic discussion of the year (just a few replies ahead of another huge discussion, the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 by lokhor).
Adam will receive an Amazon Kindle (which I bought specially for this award).
Congratulations to both Stephen and Adam.
I am thinking we will establish a more formal award for 2011, with additional categories to be announced during the year.
For the third year I am a judge at IT Rockstar, a crazy competition to find the top New Zealand IT professional.
Brett (NZICT CEO)
Josh (IT Rockstar 2010)
Mauricio (Geekzone BDFL)
Rhoda (Greenstone CEO)
This year the team at 920 are accepting individual and team nomination.
Below is a video of the IT Rockstar 2010 final - skip to the 33 second mark to see me and fellow judge Brett Roberts (another Brett):
I am reproducing here Juha's blog post "New unjust copyright law alert: you are guilty until you prove your innocence" because this issue affects all New Zealand Internet users in general and I want it to get even more exposure.
Despite Labour and various lobby groups patting themselves on the back, saying a compromise has been reached that makes the amended copyright law workable and fair, it looks like things have in fact taken a turn for the worse.
Please make sure that you read this: Internet law guru Rick Shera is ringing the alarm bell about a completely new provision being introduced into the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill at the very last moment by the Commerce Select Committee.
Called Section 122MA, the provision essentially presumes an account holder is guilty if accused and must prove his/her innocence. Rights holders infringement notices are considered as conclusive evidence however. There is no sanction against rights holders who present erroneous or false evidence in the proposed new law either.
This is really bad from every perspective, and I fully concur with Rick that Section 122MA must be deleted. It's not necessary, not for rights holders, and not for copyright protection either.
As it stands, S122MA can be used maliciously
, and applied to not just file sharers.
Update: Rick sent a correction - "The new regime can ONLY be used to target file sharing (you suggest that it could be used for something else). Section 92C of course has exactly the same problem with guilt on accusation. Irony is many submitted that the new regime and section 92C should be made consistent. Little did we know that they would retrofit the new one!"
The irony here is that I remember David Farrar, wearing his InternetNZ hat, saying during the S92A debacle that it was necessary to engage and help shape the new law. If not, something much worse than S92A et al could appear.
Clearly, there have been many, many submissions on the new copyright bill and plenty of public opinion expressed too - and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone with the possible exception of rights holders have advocated that we remove the principle of innocent until found guilty from our laws.
So why did the Select Committee insert Section 122MA? This needs to be explained.
An interesting sequence of events started here earlier this week. I received an unexpected box, posted from Dunedin, apparently from one "Olga Fiedo". Inside the box a small clay ornament, with a numbered card.
I don't know Olga Fiedo, and search attempts didn't return anything meaningful.
But this morning I got a phone call. Someone asked for "Olga Fiedo". It seems this person also got a box from this mysterious "Olga Fiedo". With my phone number in the sender details.
Now curious, I looked at the box I received earlier this week and noticed that the phone number in the recipient details was not from Dunedin, but a Wellington area number. So I called that number and reached a family voice mail. No "Olga Fiedo" in the welcome message though, only mum, dad and two kids.
It's obvious now that whoever sent this wanted people to call each other, and spread the name - or get curious about it. As I posted to my Twitter, ok Olga, I'm listening...
Do you know Olga Fiedo?
Thanks to Fake Steve Jobs for refreshing our memory...
Received this announcement, which may be of interest to some here in the mobile development community:
Book your seat at the inaugural Forum Nokia Developers Breakfast on 4th November 2010
Tap into this unique opportunity to network with your peers and meet the Nokia team. Download market insights on the New Zealand mobile market and explore the latest trends in mobile apps. Get introduced to the latest Symbian^3 devices and understand Nokia's new software strategy. Learn about the publishing process to the Ovi Store and explore the partnering opportunities for brands, content owners, developers and entrepreneurs.
Also, learn about the advantages of developing on the Qt platform and cross-platform development opportunities.
When: 4 November 2010
Where: Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland
There are more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries worldwide committed to bringing Windows Phones to market.
“We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience — one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a ‘glance and go’ format.”
Windows Phone 7 will be available in a variety of form factors from device-makers such as Dell, HTC Corp., LG and Samsung, and from mobile operators including América Móvil, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, Telstra, TELUS, T-Mobile USA and Vodafone.
All Windows Phone 7 phones will include the high-performance Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. A broad selection of phones will begin shipping in holiday 2010 with more arriving in 2011, including phones from Sprint and Verizon Wireless. In addition, select models will be available at Microsoft Store locations and from Amazon.
Here's a video of Steve Ballmer talking about Windows Phone 7: