On the nbn

How nice to be on the internetImage: kqed Arts

I transitioned smoothly to the nbn yesterday even though my phone line had gone down 3 weeks before. I survived those weeks on mobile phone and connection. It may just have been they got all excited and switched the copper wire off too early. I was grateful to my isp for organising an earlier changeover date and yesterday it went well. My isp had got my modem out to me early so I could read all the information about setting it and the FTTN connection up. It was so good to get rid of all the splitters, cables and filters and just have a simple wall connection . I chose to keep my cordless phone to connect to the VOiP because it has 3 handsets. The email I received to tell me the switch had been made and I could now connect also told me it would take 3-7 days to port my home phone number. Not so. It took 12 hours. That’s service.

So what did I do to get it all going?

I read the booklet and googled pictures of how to connect the modem which I kept on my iPad. I set it all up the day before and double checked I had connected it properly.

I kept a spare phone handy in case my cordless was not going to work. I plugged the cordless into a separate wall socket and not the power board I have the computer and modem connected to. I used the phone cable supplied for the modem and a new phone cable for the cordless phone just to be sure.

Yesterday morning I switched the modem on and left it for half an hour to sort itself out. I then turned on my computer which I left on for half and hour with the modem so they could work out how they were going to talk to each other. There was plenty of activity on the ethernet line. I logged into the modem and really liked the clear interface so I could locate everything I needed. I used the set up wizard and filled in the details. I had no VOiP password at that stage. That came in an email when the number was successfully ported.

I checked the live feed of what they were doing and by sheer luck happened to see an nbn van go past my place probably to the street pillar near me. I rechecked the details on my modem and a couple were not right so I changed them. I made sure I had all the passwords and details written down on one page so I didn’t have to keep looking for things. I didn’t get connected  so I shut everything off, booted up the modem and let it settle in and then booted up the computer. Old rule – modem first, computer second.

I was on the Net! I left it on all day and there wasn’t a problem.

This morning I got the email about my phone number being registered and initially I couldn’t get the phone to work. I filled in the password again, shut everything off and booted up the modem and then the computer. Bingo. The phone works!!

Currently I am finding my computer is happy on the nbn. So are my phone and iPad. I haven’t had any problems with my devices. I think it is really important to be patient and very important to read all the instructions. Sometimes you just have to wait and try again. I think it also might be a case of how many people are trying to get a new connection going at the same time as you so I figure getting it all up and running early and just leaving it helps.



To nbn or not to nbn…

dial up

Image: citethisforme

I can remember that real feeling of achievement in the 90s of getting past the quirky and unforgettable ringing tones of the dial up network and actually getting online in the first try. I can remember watching paint dry too as the pages would load one line at a time or I regretted deciding to go to another site and inflicting the same slow load up process on myself. I can also remember days where it worked perfectly fine . The more people who joined the online world, the better the connections became and we reached the hay day of broadband where everything was going so well. Those who have experienced online services in that era will be disrupted and flummoxed with the process we are currently going through of rolling out the fibre connections.

In many ways we are back to the 90s. We don’t have enough people connected, we are still rolling out cables and connections and we are running mixed wires and hardware. Telecommunications people will start gathering data and start noticing what we need in real terms and make adjustments. Until now it has been a best guess I would imagine.

We need to do our homework. We need to be aware of what we need and what suits us. It is called the National Broadband Network and so it is for us to work out as a nation what best suits us and to work towards that.

Some of that is being aware of what plan you need, what access you need , what devices you have and then how you intend to use the service. Some have mobile internet access, others adsl2 and others cable. Some a mix. Some are just going on and off the internet. Some are consuming vast quantities of video and sound streaming. Others are playing about on social networks and then there are those who want to do a bit of this and a bit of that. There are then big , and important uses for medicine, industry , farming, business and so on. We are not all the same and how we use the net is not the same.

You need to look at what you have and what you do with it. How much mobile usage do you need. Do you need significant data as well as talk and text? Do you want to stream videos? Music? Are you using big databases? Are you using a smart TV?Your isp account page will have all that data for you. What do you use in a day? What do you use in a month? How much data do you need for your biggest usage in a month?

Small internet users can probably manage on a mobile plan by using their phone as a hotspot or using a mifi. I am currently running of my mobile phone hotspot. It works well. I need more data than on a mobile plan , though.

Copper wires are going to go. Landline phones are going to go. Have you got security devices for yourself and home connected to your landline? You will need to ensure those devices can move to a fibre network smoothly. Once the nbn is in your area then you have 18 months before the copper wire is disconnected.

You need to have conversations with your isp about the best plan for you. You may not want a bundle with sport and Fetch TV. You may not want movie streaming. You might want a lot of bandwidth and speed for gaming. That’s actually better on a cable network. You won’t need the highest speeds if you are not doing video and audio streaming. I don’t use the net for entertainment and so I don’t need the fastest speed on the best plan. The isps have been coming out with a better range of bundles. We all have different needs and they are starting to work out what we need because they can see our usage and they can talk to us. The feedback loop is alive and well.

For a while it will be a problem. Until they get more fibre connections going then it will be like dial up. If you are on a fibre connection with gamers and video streamers then there will be good and bad connection times. It would affect places where people go for holidays. The locals will start having internet problems as soon as the gamers and streamers arrive on holidays to chew up all the bandwidth.

For a while , until we are connected and we are running the right hardware for what we want to do , there will be issues. We shall keep talking to each other. The data will keep coming in and our telecommunications people will work magic and we’ll be back into sound connections. Until then we have to own the problems and share information.

Look upon it as a continuous improvement learning model where we are all responsible for how quickly and efficiently we can get our high speed services up and running. Our area has had local meetings so information can be shared. That’s a good idea , especially for people with medical issues which require reliable connections. I am looking forward to being connected on Monday and learning all about it. I have sorted out my needs with my isp, I have sound equipment and I like an adventure.


outage“Use the cloud, “they said. “It will be so much more effcient. “

“Detox , “said the others.”You’ll feel so liberated without technology.”

“I am neither, “say I.

I have been without internet access and home phone from Sunday afternoon 2nd April until….who knows. My cordless phone reports line in use and there is activity on my internet account which the isp hasn’t blocked. There was no notice on this outage of major proportions. No chance to rally a plan B, to let people know or to organise myself. I was suddenly hurled into a non-connected world. I don’t have a big mobile data plan so using mobile data was not an option. I frugally used what I had to try and get some things achieved. I even went to the library Wednesday and soaked up all the delicious connectivity. Thing is, though, when you are randomly trying to manage a connected world in a non connected way you are nowhere near as efficient as when you have access to technology services. Maslow’s hierarchy of digital needs is a reality these days. The worst thing was that people trying to call my home phone number had been getting a lady in a suburb one over. She has had to battle this as part of an ongoing two week mess with her home phone line. She is with a different isp. Is it really 2017? I haven’t been able to access my banking, my planning, my social media, my online course, my blogs, my searches, my online tools. My outage is caused by the nbn rollout in the area and the technicians have been in my street and around the corner for several weeks now. The outage was notified on the line providers site but I had no knowledge of it. They are not my isp or phone providers. Communication in this day and age ought to be easy. I was in the middle of personal business transactions which needed attention and the capacity to achieve that without the internet and a phone has stretched me to the limit. I feel like I have been thrown into the Tardis and transported back in time. I am scrambling for pens, paper and envelopes. I am going to the library to do things. I am going into my bank to talk to people to resolve the issues and then more pens, paper and stamps. It all feels so cumbersome and awkward. I confess the banking people were so effective , as have been others ,I have had to deal with in person.

None of this has been helped by what would be a strain on our telecommunication services because of the cyclone in Queensland. It’s hard, I know. I do think outages in nbn areas need to be publicly broadcast and notified somehow. People need to have a chance of working out their best way of managing an outage of several days. It is disrupting phone services I found out by talking to others. It is a big infrastructure change. There will be problems but no one is owning and identifying the problems. We are left in the dark and confusion.

It is better to have things on your computer than in the cloud for the reasons I have experienced. There are files and information I can’t access because they are in cloud storage. I do keep plenty of back ups and files ready to access on my computer but not everything and much of what I do is now connected to online services. There are not alternatives. I’ll be rethinking all my cloud things again but there really isn’t a solution to a world which is increasingly online other that to have a rock solid access available and then a well thought out back up plan for when it isn’t. Wouldn’t it be possible to have wifi access available in areas which have outages as they have in major cities?

I know there is mobile broadband. The stick which worked perfectly interstate on a trip refused to work in my time of need. The older stick I had didn’t work either and neither did the other older stick . I tried. I tried on 3 computers to get a mobile broadband stick to work. No. Computer said no.

I don’t feel detoxed. I feel like I can’t run my life properly or effectively. It’s amazingly quiet and I have appreciated that. No ringing, dinging, blipping, plopping, bingly bonging. Nothing. Birds singing, cars passing by and maybe an occasional voice. I have liked that. For some people it would send them to breaking point. No capacity to have or make phone calls and no chance to engage online. They would be isolated like in the olden days. The other thing I have really noticed is that it is so much easier to establish yourself online. People get to know you and your capabilites very quickly because you can showcase them very efficiently. In real life lots of people would not know who you were and what you can do and have no way of connecting with you. I have worked out you can make the real life relationships as positive as online and it allows you to connect really quickly with others . Apply those online skills in the real world and it really facilitates relationship building.

For now, I am glad someone has lent me a mifi gadget. It is saving my life and my sanity. . I am going to rethink my online things and try and get a back up outage plan together. Internet and phone providers need to consider that too , especially when there are major telecommunication infrastructure upgrades going on. You can’t really ask people to lump it. That is not a business plan for technology use at all and the bottom line in all of this is communication. Work with people.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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