My window to the world

Alcatel-Lucent guide to ultra-fast broadband

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 14-Dec-2010 11:35

Just received this release from Alcatel-Lucent and decided to post here:

Alcatel-Lucent has announced the publication of a user-friendly guide to understanding the potential of ultra-fast broadband (UFB) for New Zealand.

Titled Ultra-Fast: Understanding the Next Generation of Broadband in New Zealand, the guide helps to answer some of the common questions many New Zealanders have about UFB. Like, "What is it?" and, "What will it mean for me at home and at work?"

Shifting the focus away from contracts, layers and architecture Ultra-Fast: Understanding the Next Generation of Broadband in New Zealand looks at the potential of UFB for New Zealanders, in particular within the health, education and business sectors.

"People have said to me, 'what's all the fuss about UFB, it's just fast internet right'?" said Jyoti Mahurkar-Thombre, CEO Alcatel-Lucent New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

"UFB is about so much more than just fast internet. I'm excited not only because it will allow us to do all of the things we can imagine with higher bandwidth like super-high-quality video calling - but also because it will allow us to do things we can't yet imagine."

Students at Pt England School in Auckland, are already leading the way with ICT-enabled learning. Podcasting, blogging, television and cloud computing are well utilised e-learning techniques.

"Today, Pt England School uses a mix of technologies to provide connectivity for students, however with a UFB connection delivered over fibre, the school will be able to take its pioneering learning approaches even further. There will be no limits," said Jyoti.

The Ultra-Fast: Understanding the Next Generation of Broadband in New Zealand guide has been endorsed by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Hon. Steven Joyce, Crown Fibre Holdings and the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ).

To download a copy of Ultra-Fast: Understanding the Next Generation of Broadband in New Zealand, or view the video please visit:


TelstraClear 100Mbps trial so far

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 13-Dec-2010 11:42

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.

IBM Highbrook Datacentre walkthru video

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Dec-2010 18:18

Today I got a DVD by mail (with a puzzle that could be solved by visiting this site)... It's about IBM's new datacentre, opening 3rd March 2011. This will be a 1500 sq m column-free raised floor datacentre, one of the largest (if not the largest) commercially available datacentre in New Zealand.

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.

Crowdsourcing ISP/telco fault reporting

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Dec-2010 08:30

After talking to a couple of people we thought it would be interesting to collect data regarding ISP performance in a consistent way.

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...

The first Geekzone Awards ever

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Dec-2010 13:11

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.

IT Rockstar 2011 is on - register now...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Nov-2010 18:27

For the third year I am a judge at IT Rockstar, a crazy competition to find the top New Zealand IT professional.

Judges are:

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):

New Zealand copyright law proposal: you are guilty until you prove your innocence

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Nov-2010 15:25

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.

Where in the world is Olga Fiedo?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 29-Oct-2010 10:19

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?

iPhone the most expensive phone, does not appeal to business...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Oct-2010 12:32

That's what Steve Ballmer said

Thanks to Fake Steve Jobs for refreshing our memory...

Forum Nokia Developers Breakfast (Auckland)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Oct-2010 16:44

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

Link to register for the event
Link to see the agenda

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

Social networks presence

View Mauricio Freitas's profile on LinkedIn

My Blog by tags...

Viral Marketing...
Web Performance Optimization...
Windows Phone...

Other recent posts in my blog

Unlimited is not unlimited: Vo...
How bad is Vodafone cable at t...
Frustrated with Microsoft Fami...
State of browsers Geekzone Mar...
You are still a pirate accordi...
2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Award...
Trackers - How technology is h...
Geekzone is a ESET NetGuide We...
Windows Phone and Android apps...
Minister for Economic Developm...

New posts on Geekzone