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The NetWellington


By May 18, 2008No 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.