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Wireless whinges

By johnboy - 19 October 2009 20

I write this from a wonderfully stable and quick 3 Mobile wireless connection in the Inner North after my nefarious housemates busted through our ADSL cap.

But not everyone is enjoying the wireless love.

Flashlee sent the following in as a story overnight:

3 wireless braodband slowness
I live in Chifley and terribly slow wireless broadband speed. Slower than dial up 54 kbps.

Not to be outdone Snout, soon after, filed this one:

Optus Wireless Broadband
Have just been informed by Optus that the wireless broadband service is unacceptable due to congestion of the tower and will release me from the contract. Anybody else get the same story?

Discuss.

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Wireless whinges
taco 6:32 pm 19 Oct 09

4G mobile is not the same thing as WiMax, though it has goals of addressing the capacity problems, though I imagine roaming, bursty internet usage like what the iPhone or Android would use would be the design priority rather than fixed broadband replacement.

I think Intel was really trying to push to get WiMax off the ground here via Unwired in Aus a few years ago (I could find a news article from 2005 confirming it), and I think that it was going to be used for the Opel roll out before it got canned, and I think they are looking at using it as part of the NBN for the 10% of the population that won’t get fiber.

The York Peninsula in SA has been using WiMax since last year http://news.smh.com.au/business/sas-yorke-peninsula-gets-broadband-20080819-3y1j.html – apparently wiring up the area was infeasible. I’m not sure about how it’s actually turned out.

Ralph 4:55 pm 19 Oct 09

WiMax. Is this what is also called 4G mobile?

taco 3:21 pm 19 Oct 09

junkett said :

Is wireless any good around the rest of Oz? I’m happy enough at home with ADSL1 (which apparently won’t be upgraded down south to ADSL2 any time soon anyway) but have thought about buying a prepaid USB wireless gadget for trips around the country. That would save me trying to dial in – but will obviously be a moot point if wireless internet is a pipe dream Oz wide.

I think if you can get coverage in less populated areas it shouldn’t be too bad. The slowness issue is mostly to do with congestion, which rural areas shouldn’t have an issue with.

But, it will never be a reliable technology. You might find it works great one day, then without you changing anything you might get disconnected every 10 mins due to drop outs.

taco 3:17 pm 19 Oct 09

Gungahlin Al – were those “raving about the wonders of wireless” proposing a purpose built wireless network such as WiMax?
I believe that technology has much more bandwidth available per cell and thus can handle more simultaneous users than 3G mobile phone networks

As more and more people start using 3G services, the worse it will get.

Jim Jones 3:14 pm 19 Oct 09

Fiona said :

My Virgin connection was woeful – not sure of the speed, it was the not connecting all the ime that sucked. The modem did die a week out from the end of contract, so the dodgey modem may have played a part.

I’ve got a little stick modem now from Crazy Johns which is doing the job. Not super fast of course.

Virgin wireless is owned by Optus and is so appalling that there aren’t enough nasty words in the dictionary to describe it appropriately. Their *ahem* “customer service” was also so bad as to be worse than completely non-existent.

I went to the telecommunications ombudsman about Virgin mobile and was let out of my contract very very quickly. I’d suggest anyone having problems do the same: http://www.tio.com.au/

fishface 2:51 pm 19 Oct 09

Complain, complain complain!

It is worth it.

I’m in Chifley and whinged about the speeds awful speeds (download 0.25 Mb/s; upload 0.31 Mb/s) to the call centre and while they couldn’t promise a fix, I didn’t leave empty handed.

I am on a $29/month plan and my complaining scored me $10 a month off for the next six months. They also said if the slowness continued they’d cancel the contract (whether they will or not, of course, is another matter) … and the Indian call centre operators were so nice I felt guilty about whinging!

junkett 2:27 pm 19 Oct 09

Is wireless any good around the rest of Oz? I’m happy enough at home with ADSL1 (which apparently won’t be upgraded down south to ADSL2 any time soon anyway) but have thought about buying a prepaid USB wireless gadget for trips around the country. That would save me trying to dial in – but will obviously be a moot point if wireless internet is a pipe dream Oz wide.

H1NG0 2:26 pm 19 Oct 09

I tried Virgin 3G in Gungahlin and it made Dial-Up look like a high speed alternative. Anyone who tries to promote wireless as an acceptable alternative to ADSL (Telstra) should not be in the internet game.

Ralph 9:46 am 19 Oct 09

My 3 mobile broadband, Gungahlin, has been slowing to a speed slower than dialup in the evenings, and weekends.

I won’t even bother trying to complain, you just get put through to an Indian call centre, who are no help at all.

Gungahlin Al 9:45 am 19 Oct 09

Gungahlin…typing fingers obviously not warmed up yet…

Gungahlin Al 9:44 am 19 Oct 09

So where are those who were raving about the wonders of wireless as the solution to Gyungahlin’s broadband ills now?

Coach 9:13 am 19 Oct 09

My Optus wireless is constantly much slower than dial up in the Canberra CBD. However, since we live at Michelago, and Optus is the only carrier that gives us reception on our property (Telstra 3G has zero reception 35km from the nations capital) at Michelago, we have to stay with Optus and let the data trickle in from the web.

What’s worse, we can’t get ADSL at home, because Telstra told us the Michelago exchange is full, and they won’t put any more equipment into it.

Finally, all of those issues have resulted in many hours on the phone to phone companies, before one finally gives up in disgust. As long as they are raking in the billions, who needs to provide service.

qedbynature 9:01 am 19 Oct 09

its a slow day so what the heck…

The cellular architecture which is used to make mobile phones work is not really ideal for pure data services such as an ADSL type replacement. The reason isn’t because the gear can’t do the job because obviously it can and does, rather it is the manner of deployment and utilisation by the telcos.

Essentially every wireless tower that pops up around the place creates a cell. Each cell has a certain fixed capacity in terms of bandwidth. If that bandwidth is used only by people making phone calls or texting then the cell can cope with thousands of users but the bandwidth requirements for a phone call or a text message are orders of magnitude smaller than the bandwidth required to supply ADSL speed internet.

The telcos fudge all of this by prioritising the traffic through their cells in favour of phone/text data, after all if people’s phones stop working then that’s lots of angry customers. In a average situation there is usually a fair bit of capacity left in any cell to handle a bit of high speed internet data but the capacity isn’t elastic, its fixed.

Another fudge is duration. Usually phone data tends to be short duration and moves from cell to cell. Mobile internet is often longer and less mobile especially so with the home internet packages being sold that use the 3G network. Things like iPhones are somewhere in between, they still use full bandwidth internet connections but typically the duration of a session is relatively short.

All of this is a fancy way of saying with wireless 3G your mileage can vary depending on how many others are using the same cell, what they are using it for and how your telco is managing data traffic in that cell. Add to that reception and signal strength problems and 3G internet is still a less reliable model than say fixed line based internet, but it is getting better.

I’ve used Three, they sux more often than Telstra which I have also used and I have used Optus who have their patches of pure bullshit too. It could be the way of the future but we would need a lot more wireless capacity than we currently have. On the other hand moving targets are harder to hit…

Fiona 8:55 am 19 Oct 09

Oh and that was in Hughes and then in Holder, if location has anything to do with it – think it was just as bad in both places…

Fiona 8:52 am 19 Oct 09

My Virgin connection was woeful – not sure of the speed, it was the not connecting all the ime that sucked. The modem did die a week out from the end of contract, so the dodgey modem may have played a part.

I’ve got a little stick modem now from Crazy Johns which is doing the job. Not super fast of course.

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