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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...

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.

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

All content is created equal on the net

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 16:39

Recently Sky Network Television Ltd announced their plans of partnering with some New Zealand-based ISPs to distribute content for its new service iSky free of charge ("unmetered") to their customers. Like so many things on the Internet, free is good - unless it has the potential to undermine the basic principle of equal access to information to everyone.

The following is a guest post by Ludwig Wendzich on this topic:

The great thing about the Internet is that anyone with access to the network can access any public content available through these connections. The independent content producer, the home movie dad and the giant media moguls are all on a level playing field and the consumer, you, have the option to decide which content they want to consume, as long as you have a working Internet connection and haven't run through your data cap yet.

Net neutrality is the idea that access to the Internet means access to the whole Internet at the same price. The product which telcos sell are bits, or data transfer. They can charge you a $80 for 40GB of data transfer at 256kpbs, or offer you different packages, but their product is still data transfer.

What data you choose to download is up to you. Telcos should have no business in deciding which content you should or shouldn't have access to.

Now we have to defend our rights against some New Zealand telcos placing a bias towards the consumption of certain types of content -- more specifically, a bias toward the content produced by media giants with enough cash to subsidize the cost of data transfer.

ISP Orcon announced the O-Zone where they allow free access to a number of large websites, including TVNZ. Telecom New Zealand announced their partnership with TiVO giving customers unmetered access to on demand TiVO content. And now a number of ISPs (including Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot, farmside, Woosh and Xnet) have announced a partnership with SKY which allows SKY subscribers to have unmetered access to on demand SKY content on their computers over the Internet.

On the surface this seems like a great deal and that's exactly what the telcos want you to think. Vodafone spokesman, Paul Brislen, has said (on their company twitter account) that "this is nothing more than Sky saying 'you can watch the content you've paid for on TV or on PC' and that's it". But this simply isn't true. The distinction needs to be made between the two services:

1. Access to on demand SKY content
2. Data transfer from the telcos

Paying for content online doesn't mean you have paid for the delivery. These are separate services. When you buy a book at Amazon you still have to pay for postage. Buying a movie from iTunes doesn't mean that you no longer have to pay for the data transfer. It uses just the basic form of content - bits - to  transfer this iTunes movie as downloading the same movie from torrents.

The cost of the service doesn't negate the cost of the data transfer which means that the telcos here have effectively made the iSKY service an infinitely cheaper entertainment service than anything else online (except for TVNZ on Orcon). That's because they have allowed SKYTV to pay for those data transfer charges instead of passing them on to their own customers, you.

This seems very good for us now, no data charges for TVNZ (on Orcon), no data charges for SKYTV (on selected providers) if we already subscribe to SKY, and no data charges for on demand TiVO content (on Telecom.) Not paying for something must be good, right?

That's a shortsighted view because it will lead to us ending up with the Internet being populated by the media giants, who can afford to strike these data transfer deals with the telcos to allow their content to be accessed for free. And the rest of us, who can't afford to pay for everyone else's data transfer of our content are at a huge disadvantage with consumers having to pay for something they are used to having paid on their behalf, making them less likely to access our, now more expensive, content.

When I suggested to Vodafone that they are creating an Internet that excludes the little man, they responded with "there is nothing to stop you doing any of this - that's absolutely untrue", suggesting that if I wanted to be on a level playing field with the big boys I could also strike a deal with Vodafone that would have them serve my content for free. I asked how much this would cost and it turns out that Vodafone "have no idea how much [I'd] pay - that's a commercial negotiation [I'd] have to engage in, just as Sky has."

Think for a minute what this means. New startups could not exist. Creating a new Internet web property would cost so much to the new entrant, that they would cease to exist because they do not have enough money to subsidize everyone's access to their websites.

Every single web property only exists because the Internet is a neutral platform. Anyone can put something online, and anyone else with an Internet connection, can access that content at the same cost as consuming any other content (of the same file size) on the Internet.

The great thing about the Internet is that it is neutral. Let's not give control of the Internet to the conglomerates, the media companies or even the telcos. Telcos should be bit movers, not content providers.

We protested against Section 92a (#s92a) and won. Child pornography and piracy were used as a smokescreen to confuse the issues but we saw through it. Now you are being distracted by free access to on demand video content. Just because the telcos handicap us with low data caps at ridiculous prices doesn't mean we should fall for this.

Instead, we should stand strong behind this issue, our freedom of choice, and argue that if the telcos are so interested in the customers, as Vodafone claims on their twitter account (, then they would increase caps and drop prices instead of making content choices on our behalf.

Access to the whole web is being restricted (by low data caps and high prices) and telcos want you to believe you are better off because access to certain content is now free. This is simply not true and New Zealanders would be shooting themselves in the foot  if they accept this as Internet will go the way of radio -- everyone will have access to the available content for free, but the available content will be severely limited to those who have the financial means to afford to distribute it.

Ludwig Wendzich is a 19 year-old web and technology enthusiast who is currently studying Design at AUT. He's been involved in the world of web design from a very young age and has been running Barcamp Auckland, a homegrown gathering of technologists from around New Zealand, since 2007. His personal website is and you can follow him on Twitter @ludwigw.

The Day the Routers Died

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 13:12

Just excuse the American British pronunciation of "routers"...

HP Networking Executive Seminar - Wellington 26 Nov 2010

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 10:13

HP Networking will be hosting an Executive Seminar over breakfast with Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, Mark Fabbi, who will discuss emerging technology trends and how these trends can affect an organisation's network infrastructure.

The HP Networking Executive Seminar will address the evolving networking landscape, market trends and challenges faced by organisations.

In addition, HP will discuss how its networking solutions provide simplified, more flexible and secured networks, as well as how it reduces network complexity, improves IT delivery, and lowers overall costs.

Where: Intercontinental Hotel, 2 Grey Street, Wellington
When: Friday, 26th November, 2010 8:00am - 11:00am
Who should attend: IT and business leaders and HP channel partners
Cost: Free

The story of New Zealand's Internet, one chapter a day

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Oct-2010 09:41

A couple of months ago I was invited to record a sessions about my personal impressions, memories and other bits of New Zealand's Internet history from my point of view. The end resulting website Down to the Wire, created by Heyday, launched today and tells the story from 1989 through now, a page for each year, a page released every day.

Each page comes with a couple of video interviews, recordings, "track of the year" (free downlod!), quotes, a bit of history, and links to more reading. And of course the required Like and Tweet buttons.

I have no idea if my video contribution will be used, and if it is I don't know which year it will show up, but if you see me say hello!

But it doesn't stop there. You can contribute your personal experiences too, but clicking the "Add your story" button and entering your own memories to the list. I've done that already, so now it's your turn - visit Down to the Wire now.

UPDATE: Actually I visited the 1989 page directly, before and didn't notice my mugshot is already being used in the frontpage:

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. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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:

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