Tuesday, 09 July 2019 04:43

NBN Co 'should have supplied modems for all connections' Featured

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NBN Co 'should have supplied modems for all connections' Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay

The NBN Co miscalculated when it decided not to supply a modem to each resident on fibre-to-the-node and fibre-to-the-building connections, the head of a small retail service provider says, adding that this could have helped the company diagnose connection issues remotely.

Damian Ivereigh, the chief executive of the Launceston-based Launtel, told iTWire that if NBN Co had done so, then there would be much simpler customer premise equipment.

"We could much more easily diagnose faults (plug a laptop into the Ethernet port). NBN Co could then also rate a line for a particular speed and would be responsible for ensuring that speed," he said when asked for his reaction about the modem study conducted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority recently.

Ivereigh said his experience matched the data in the report. "We have generally found that the Wi-Fi performance of many of the routers specifically manufactured and provided by the larger RSPs, mainly Technicolor and Sagemcom devices, are particularly poor.

"This makes sense since they are provided free by the RSPs and are almost certainly built to a price. We generally recommend people replace them when they come across to our network."

Additionally, he said, "we have also noted that some of these RSP-supplied modems have a habit of "phoning home". While I have absolutely no evidence of this, this could be used by an RSP to remotely "downgrade" a device if it discovers it is being used on a competitor's network."

As to the difference that the report mentioned between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, Ivereigh said: "A good part of the issues with 2.4GHz is that there are only 3 non-overlapping channels (1, 6 & 11). This means that the chances of interference/congestion with your neighbours is quite high.

"It has always irked me that with all the discussion about spectrum allocation, nobody has thought that maybe the consumers (as in all of us who actually own the resource) should have more spectrum for Wi-Fi. This would, however, need a concerted effort in the worldwide forums."

Asked about its reactions to the ACMA report, an Optus spokesperson said: "Optus wants our NBN customers to have a great experience, and we look at all avenues to help improve their experience.

"We are reviewing ACMA's findings and how we can further improve information for customers so they can make the best decisions for their NBN service."

Telstra, Vodafone and MyRepublic were also asked for their take on the report, but did not respond. Aussie Broadband said it had not yet looked at the report.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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