Byte Me Article 398 – Internet & Wet Weather

Today we are looking at a regular scenario of a customer getting into technical strife because of rain.  It so happened to one of my friends just 3 weeks ago when we finally had some rain, that their Internet suddenly slowed.  This was the start of a long-winded saga. 

For the purposes of this article let’s call this person Joe.  Joe had and ADSL 2 connection that averaged around 10-12Mbits download speed and was rock solid for reliability.  Rain finally arrived and the next day the Internet had dropped down to 1Mbits.  Also, suddenly you could lift the land line phone receiver and hear a crackle on the line. 

Joe called Telstra tech support, offered up exactly what had happened – including the rain theory and was run through their standard tests.  Joe was asked to remove all other house phone, to try turning the modem off and back on, to uninstall his anti-virus, to turn off any other computer or smart TV devices in the house……. 

At the end of an excruciating 90 minutes on the phone, Joe had successfully got Telstra to turn the Internet connection off – completely.  They had scheduled a technician to come out in 6 days and now Joe had no Internet at all.  Previously even 1Mbits was enough to keep his email up-to-date and for some light Internet browsing, however a week of silence now presented itself. 

Further trouble for Joe was ahead in the form of the Anti-virus that he had just uninstalled.  Without Internet there was no getting that back, and this troubled Joe immensely.  Had he not given me a call, Joe was about to bundle all his gear together to bring to us so that we could reinstall the AV – more money wasted if this had happened. 

A week later a Telstra tech arrive and switched the line over to a different copper pair.  Presto – now down to 0.1Mbits (one tenth of the previously bad speed).  I suggested to Joe that he look at the alternative of NBN Fixed Wireless – which he would need to go to soon enough anyway (the copper-based ADSL connections are getting phased out).  Plus, Joe lives just 450 meters from a brand new NBN tower – this should prove to be a great connection. 

A sign up to Optus Fixed Wireless NBN at a theoretical maximum speed of 25Mbits and with unlimited downloads was proceeded with and due to my influence and extra $15/month was allocated to a “Speed Boost Package” to take the theoretical max speed to 50Mbits.  Joe’s computers should all but fly with this type of connection speed! 

Two weeks later and the NBN is connected.  A quick click on showed the results of this transition to Australia’s latest baby – 12Mbits at best!!!  Joe was back where he had started when his ADSL 2 connection was working properly, however the NBN fixed wireless was also showing less stability and more drop outs than the ADSL ever had. 

A support call to Optus had them quoting some documentation suggesting that 12Mbits was above the allowable minimum and that Joe should be satisfied.  Joe was able to reinstall his own anti-virus and his emails are again up-to-date, but the connection is less stable and no faster than the 12-year-old previous technology. 

I stood at the side of Joe’s house looking at the shiny new NBN tower, wondering just what speed could be expected if the distance had been 10kms instead of just 450 meters?  Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected]and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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