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Monday, 27 November 2017 10:12

NBN – it's not all bad news (part 3)

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Full steam ahead! My NBN connection is finally showing the kind of speeds of which it should be capable.

In part one and part two I described my initial NBN experiences.

In short, a new 50/20Mbps HFC service initially worked as expected, but after switching to 100/40 the download speed improved (but not as much as I anticipated) and the upload speed deteriorated. At the same time I started getting Foxtel reception problems.

Three service calls eventually revealed a nonstandard splitter and a kinked cable behind the wall plate, and addressing that stabilised the NBN connection about 60/37Mbps. Foxtel seemed OK at first, but there is still intermittent pixellation on channels that have been fine in the months since the last time I experienced this sort of problem. On that occasion the fix was (apparently) eventually made elsewhere in the network, so as I've raised it with Foxtel and I hope this happens again this time.

But back to the NBN side of things.

You wouldn't call 60/37Mbps impressive, so the Aussie Broadband tech and I persisted. Aussie Broadband's systems said there was no contention in my area and that other 100/40Mbps services in my area weren't experiencing the same problem, and NBN Co told Aussie Broadband everything was OK from their perspective.

This is where things get weird.

I didn't change anything, Aussie Broadband didn't change anything, and NBN Co didn't change anything. Well, that's what the three parties are saying.

But on the afternoon of Friday, 24 November, I started seeing download speeds of 90Mbps or more, and the after-school peak had already started. This morning, the connection is running at about 97Mbps/37Mbps.

What happened to improve download speeds so significantly? Your guess is as good as mine.

Having demonstrated that speeds close to the nominal 100/40Mbps are possible on my HFC connection, I'm going to let the service drop back to 50/20Mbps at the end of the billing period because that's enough for my current needs. Downloads are faster than they were with the basic Telstra Cable service, and uploads are a lot faster. As mentioned in part one, I'm also getting a lot more data for the same price.

That said, I'll try to record the actual speeds at various times of day over the next week or two, and I'll report anything interesting in a future instalment. And if there are any significant developments in this saga, you'll be able to read about them here in Core Dump.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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