The NetWellington


By May 18, 2008 No Comments

Now that this year’s ‘V’ 48 Hours Furious Filmmaking Challenge is under way and 160 Wellington teams are out enjoying the sunshine, I have had a chance to resolve a few domestic issues that have been bugging me.

Firstly, broadband. I have been a Woosh Wireless customer since I started Miracle Pictures in 2005. I wanted a Telecom free home/office (and, in all fairness, I think Telecom also wanted a Dan-free network) and there was no such thing as naked dsl in those days. Woosh were the only game in town and I happily signed up for broadband and a phone. Apart from one speed-bump due to improved firmware back in late 2006, the service from Woosh has steadily deteriorated as it’s customer numbers have risen, to the extent that since Christmas I have been getting poorer than dial-up bandwidth at all times (other than the very middle of the night).

The first-level support email that I received from Woosh told me to point my aerial towards Unitec, which was challenging as Unitec is in Auckland and I am in Wellington. Then they told me that my problem would be escalated to second-level support and I got to wait for a couple more weeks. Last Monday I finally got a call from them (plus marks for not dropping me off their list entirely) and we went through the re-booting, moving the aerial, re-booting again, dance and we discovered the following: Despite the fact that I have no south facing windows and the aerial points north, I am connecting to the Wakefield Hospital cell-site which is due south. I can’t reach the Government House cell-site as Wellington Hospital and Mt Victoria are in the way. In fact, I am getting the Wakefield Hospital signal reflected off the Wellington Hospital and hillside.

And the Wakefield Hospital cell site is the busiest and most congested in the city.

So, we reached an agreement that we would part company. I didn’t quite have the heart to tell the young man that I’d already booked an impressive-seeming naked DSL with IP phone service with Xnet (a company that doesn’t appear to need to advertise). They have a sane approach to volume charging whereby you don’t have to commit to a plan, so I only pay for what I use and the per MB rate is about what I have been paying at Woosh (but not always using).

This afternoon, I noticed that the DSL light on the new Linksys DSL modem was flashing, indicating that the line was live. A quick call to Xnet support got me the details they had inexplicably failed to email me and I was up and running. And boy was I running: My unscientific approach to measurement is basically keeping an eye on the throughput using iStatMenus. Before the change I was limping along with 1KB/s to 5KB/s download speed (sub dial-up) and after the change I was getting — get this — upwards of 350 to 700 and even over 1MB/s on a couple of occasions. That’s like a (thinks) 1000% increase in speed!

Now, after shifting the Airport I can really get some work done.