Est. 2007

Posts Tagged ‘Auckland’

Switching ISPs in Auckland from Orcon to Vodafone

In Tech on August 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm

First post in a long time.

I recently switched ISPs in auckland and I thought I’d share my thought on this and perhaps give a bit of insight.

The nature of the residential connections is that most companies bundle voice services with data services, so the home phone is bundled with the internet. The only ways around this is to go for naked DSL or to go for wireless providers, which are few and far between. So far as wireless goes, there are the 3G connections from mobile phone providers. There is Woosh, NZWireless, Compass and Callplus have a WiMax system for Whangarei and Auckland city. I’m sure there are a few more regional providers, but that covers all the bases. In terms of fixed wired broadband, Telecom is probably the largest in residential services. It is good to note though that for Auckland at least Vodafone and Orcon are the ones with the unbundled networks at the exchanges. Compass has a few too and Telstra focusses on Wellington and Christchurch on its cable service. Pretty much most of the others piggyback on these networks. This is a good summary, but I’m sure I’m missing some other potential networks.

In recent times, telcos have been increasing the data caps for most users trying to hold on to customers. The recent changes have been sparked by Telecoms change to its bundled packages to 40GB and above. Vodafone struck back with 50% more data increasing their plans to 15GB and 45GB and the options of doubling that. Late last year, Vodafone took out competitive Naked DSL plans, which are probably the best in the market currently. The way they have done it is to offer discounts based on having an on account mobile phone plan. Let’s be honest, we all use our mobile phones enough that we already have our phones on a plan or employers put us on one. Plus mobile phone plans give better value because Vodafone is trying to be competitive in the market┬árelative┬áto the competitors; compared to landlines, which are not competitive compared to VOIP lines. Overall, you could save a lot if you go for a Vodafone naked DSL plan, cell phone plan and a VOIP line from 2Talk. Moving your Sky over to them could help as well, saving you on the MY SKY every month. This would be a triple play style service from Vodafone in an untraditional way. This is precisely what I have done. Orcon, on the other hand, have tried to reinvent themselves a bit with their Genius product. Basically, they are trying to lower the prices of the services they provide perceivably by lowering their costs and not using telecoms landlines, instead providing the phone line over the internet they can provide and likely over their own unbundled network most of the time. In the mean time, their service has not been good. They are so bogged down with the implementation of Genius that they have no time to respond to the calls of existing customers, wait times on the lines are pretty long, at times beyond half an hour. They have neglected their existing customers, sometimes by not offering them the same deals they offer new customers. They even removed unmetered TVNZ Ondemand when they moved to akamai servers. These guys were my previous ISP and I liked them for a long time. There was nothing that was particularly wrong with my service, except they were ripping me off for it. Telstra continues to be a good provider for those in their cable network. Telecom has again hot back with another round of plan upgrades and are doubling data or giving 20GB more. This I’m sure will sent another round of increases by the others, I hope at least.

The only way for the future is to hope that the Ultra fast broadband bill will mean that pricing becomes more competitive. The other way around is if the WiMax spectrum holders actually deploy something that can rival the wired networks. The talk of all-you-can-eat plans if for another day.

Overall, my switch from Orcon to Vodafone ran smoothly and only had an outage for a small period. Just one thing to remember is to give notice in advance by 300 days to Orcon if you are leaving them or they will continue to charge you.

I also think the modem that Vodafone give (HG 556a) is quite nice. The real value in it is when you take a look at Geekzone and find out how to unlock the VOIP capabilities and configure it correctly. It means that I no longer have 3 devices, but just 1. A lot of the cable mess goes away.The device is truly an all in one. It is a modem, router, wireless AP, VOIP ata, print and storage server and 3G router. There are some quirks for VOIP and I’ll outline them below:

Firstly, the message waiting indicator address for 2talk is <phonenumber@2talk.co.nz>. To get the indicator to work right, you have to have no messages in your new or old folder. When a new message arrives, the indicator comes on. To get rid of the indicator, you have to delete messages NOT transfer them. If you transfer them the indicator doesn’t turn off.

Secondly, you can reduce the inter-digit interval to lower the post dial delay. I tried to use a dial plan, but it didn’t work as expected.

It seems to support g 722, i don’t know why, but it does. I use G711a, but G726 is also a great codec if you want a good in between from G729 and G711 and it is typically used in DECT cordless phones, so it may not make much difference if using one.

Overall, that is my account of what is happening in the market and a why I switched and how to make best use of the Vodafone modem for VOIP.

Tomizone

In Tech on September 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

So, you want to make money from selling your wifi? Not to worry, now you can. Before, setting up a hotspot where users would pay was very difficult and something that only those who had the time and money would do. Today, it isn’t so had to do at all. In fact, there are a few ways that you can.

Firstly, if you are still a little bit more tech savvy, you could set up a linux server and a capture web portal so that you can bring your clients to a splash page for them to pay you. Most probably and the easiest way would be to get them to buy vouchers from you or alternatively by using paypal. This is the hardest of all the solutions

Secondly, you could tone it down and buy a linux based router, some of the linksys ones come to mind, and install DD-wrt or openWRT and then chillispot. Basically, this solution is no different from the last apart from the fact that you don’t have to have a full computer running all the time.

The third method would be to use something like FON or Tomizone. Tomizone allows paid users while FON doesn’t. Tomizone is also available preinstalled on some routers in NZ and Orcon has some sort of partnership with them too. The D-link 300 router is probably the most popular router that comes with Tomizone. Tomizone is also based on Chillispot and the associated customized firmware; however, you don’t have to worry about the billing, marketing or the pricing. It is all done for you. You get put on a map of all the hotspots Tomizone has and mind you they also do the hotspots in all the Esquires and Starbucks coffee shops in NZ. The price is set to $3 an hour or 60mb, $6.5o a day or 160mb or $30 a week for 1.2GB. It’s either data or time whichever comes first. The hotspot provider gets 50% of that amount and tomizone keeps 50% for itself, but at least they save you all the trouble of setting up and managing your own and not to mention handling the billing. You are allowed to give guest access to people you know. The D-Link 300 also has dual SSID, so you can use one of them while the other is for the hotspot.

I have an unlimited data plan, so I have no data cap. My traffic is shaped and prioritized, so VOIP then HTTP and the like then other things and then P2P. So any thing I sell won’t affect won’t really affect me. Plus, you can set a maximum bandwidth for the hotspot side. So far in the last 1.5 weeks I have made $45. This is not bad considering that the connection only costs me $50 a month. I think the reason for my success is that an AUT building is right behind my apartment and someone buys a pass every now and then.

Overall, very good. At least I got some income going. I wish I thought of this earlier. The money from the first two weeks will practically pay for the router.

The Spray Can