New (Low Volume) Wireless Service

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ForumAdmin
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Post by ForumAdmin » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:55 pm

ExetelRocks wrote:Are uploads counted?
No.
Last edited by ForumAdmin on Thu May 10, 2007 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

paddles
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Post by paddles » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:51 pm

ForumAdmin wrote: 5) If 1 gb isn't going to be enough then select a 2 gb plan - if you require more than 2 gb then this is not a suitable service.
Thanks for the responses. On this basis, I wouldn't be interested, but I can see how it would be of interest to lighter users.

Regards

Tim

flak
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Post by flak » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:51 pm

Any idea when there will be further news on this?

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Post by ForumAdmin » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:03 am

flak wrote:Any idea when there will be further news on this?
The end of April.

We will do a series of tests of the product in different cities/suburbs before making any decision.

flak
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Post by flak » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:35 pm

During the past week I have been fortunate enough to trial this Exetel/3 offering. I am still in the process of testing the service but I will post my findings so far...

The Product.
I received a small parcel couriered from Exetel's office. It contained:

1. A small instruction pamplet;
2. An expresscard HDSPA modem, model Merlin XU870;
3. An Expresscard to PCMCIA adapter;
4. A '3' Sim card;
5. Software CD.

Package
Image

Contents
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It was securely packed including foam padding. The only improvement I could suggest is a USB adapter in addition to the PCMCIA adapter. Exetel have stated that this will probably be an option.

Software Installation.
Software installation was easy (insert disc, press OK a few times) but seemed to hang a little, but recovered, although this may be due to my laptop which is misbehaving a little.

Sometimes the software seems unresponsive, but once again this may be due to my laptop. Luckily my laptop is due for replacement in the next two months.

Physical Installation.
Physical installation was simple and well described in the documention. For me it consisted of:
1. Inserting the 3 Sim card in to the Expresscard modem;
2. Inserting the Expresscard in to the PCMCIA adapter;
3. Inserting the PCMCIA adapter in to my laptop.

Connecting.
This was a simple matter of double clicking the software I had earlier installed and waiting for the modem to initialise, press connect, then wait for the modem to authenticate. This generally takes about 3 seconds and 30 KB of data.

Image

The modem has 4 connection modes: HSDPA; UMTS; EDGE; and GPRS. So far I have experienced all but EDGE and I was assured by Exetel support that HSDPA, UMTS and GPRS are on the 3 network and as such any usage is included in the 1GB quota.

Once connected, the software shows connection mode, signal strength, traffic up/down, etc...

Image

On several occasions the modem has had trouble authenticating when it is on the cusp of coverage between HSDPA and UMTS. It will switch between the two for approximately 2 minutes and use about 2MB of data. While this is only 0.2% of the 1GB allowance, if it occurs on a daily basis it would chew up a fair bit. Some times the modem will randomly switch between HSDPA and UMTS, which results in loss of connectivity.

Coverage and Performance.
Maps of 3's broadband coverage can be found at:
Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane and Gold Coast
Perth
Adelaide
Canberra

So far I have tested at the following locations...
Level 9 of a building at Pitt St Sydney (my window seat at work)
This location is where I first tested the service, it is also where I have tested it the most.

My first connection went smoothly but on several occasions since it has had the issue with switching between HSDPA and UMTS at startup.

Here are the Speedtest results for this location.
HSDPA
Image

UMTS
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At my home in Padstow
No noticable difference here, just downloading and writing this review, ftp'ing small images for this review, etc, but when running the speed test the download results were noticeably slower. This test was done at 6.30pm on a Friday night (yes I have no life, but my wife is absent so I am drinking beer and waiting to cheer on the Bulldogs on Friday Night Football).

Given the timing of this test, perhaps this result is due to network congestion, but who knows... Alternatively this could be a localised issue on the 3 network. When I was a 3 customer (3G mobile) 2 years ago the network performance and support in Padstow was abysmal which is one of the reasons why I left.

Image

a subsequent result returned even worse results.

Image

Edit. A new test, conducted on Saturday night at 9pm produced the best results yet...

Image

End-Edit

On an eastbound train between Padstow and Bexley North stations
Strangely, this was the best connection I have experienced, despite the moving train. The connection maintained HSDPA throughout the session, until I entered the airport tunnel at Wolli Creek.

Image

At Domestic Terminal T2 at Sydney airport
This connection again experienced the issue with authenticating, switching between protocols and took about 2 minutes and 2MB to connect, then constantly switched between HSDPA and UMTS.

It is strange, but the two places I thought would have the best coverage, the airport and CBD, are those which had the most issues with staying connected.

Image

Edit

Roadtrip between Waterfall and Pennant Hills
This morning I drove from Waterfall to Pennant Hills via Padstow and tested the speed at various places along the way.

I could not get a signal at Waterfall, but this is not surprising as Waterfall is outside 3's advertised coverage areas. A signal was attained as soon as I entered the southern outskirts of Heathcote. The signal was maintained all the way to Pennant Hills via Heathcote Rd, Old illawarra Rd, Alfords Point Rd/Silverwater Rd and Marsden Rd. The signal did swap between HSDPA and UMTS but this was only an issue around Lidcombe where I lost connectivity for about 2 minutes.

I did conduct speed tests all the way, but unfortunately my laptop ran out of juice and I lost all the results. The best results were obtained on Heathcote Rd, perhaps suggesting that network congestion plays a major part in speed, and outside my house at Padstow.

End-Edit

Edit #2

Roadtrip between Ultimo and Padstow via M5 - including M5 East Tunnel
This roadtrip started at about 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. It includes a rather surprising result achieved in the middle of the M5 East tunnel. All the results were achieved while in motion, travelling anywhere between 20 and 110 km/h. I experienced no noticeable dropouts, even when underground.

Ultimo...
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Cleveland St Moore Park...
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Moore Park Supacentre...
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M5 On Ramp...
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M5 East Tunnel eastern portal...
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M5 East Tunnel midway...
Image

M5 East Tunnel western portal...
Image

M5 - King Georges Rd intersection...
Image

M5 - Fairford Rd exit...
Image

End-Edit #2

Unwired comparison
This space is reserved for an Unwired comparison once I get my hands on my Unwired modem.

Just for the hell of it
For no reason other than I can, here is a speed test from my Exetel (Optus) ADSL2+...

Image

Personal Impressions.
This is an extremely attractive package, especially when compared to other products in its market segment...

* It is much more reliable and faster than Unwired, with nothing like the dropouts I have experienced with Unwired. Currently I get Unwired with 512 speed, with 2GB of data, crappy latency, dropouts and poor speeds for $55 per month. 1GB with Exetel/3 for $45 with better speeds and reliability is better by a country mile. The only criteria that Unwired wins with is an ethernet modem, enabling sharing. However, this could be a good thing given the speeds on Exetel/3. It is also available in more cities than Unwired which is limited to Sydney and Melbourne.

* It is cheaper than the competition such as Vodafone and Telstra's Next G.
eg Vodafone on 24 month contract $59.95 per month.

* Data allowance versus price leads the market, unless I've missed something. Please let me know if I am wrong.

Application Testing.
So far I have tested the following successfully:
* General browsing
* POP3 email
* FTP
* VPN
* VOIP

Edit #2
VOIP Testing.
I have tested the service with a VOIP account kindly provided by Exetel for test purposes. I utilised a Creative HS-600 headset for the calls.

All calls were connected and completed without incident, there was no noticeable lag or echo and my wife commented that a message I left on our home answering machine was the clearest she had ever heard, this is probably attributable to the noise cancelling microphone on the headset.

End-Edit #2

Further Testing.
I will be travelling to Canberra later this week and will conduct some tests there.

Issues.
So far there are only two:

* As previously mentioned, switching between protocols, especially at authentication, Edit #2although this is becoming less of an issue as it has not recurred.End-Edit #2
* when conducting the speed tests, the site would sometimes (50% of the time) report me as being located outside NSW, either Brisbane or Adelaide. This may be a result of a bug on the Speedtest site or with 3's routing. If it is the latter, this may impact latency sensitive applications such as online gaming or VOIP.

Conclusion.
I am extremely tempted to take up this offering, especially since my work will contribute $40/month towards it. The only things that give me pause are the relatively low data quota given the high speed and the fact it is a 3 product. I have been a 3 customer in the past and did not part ways on good terms.

I have raised the quota versus/speed issue with Exetel and they have stated they will probably offer a couple of quota options.

Depending on what Exetel brings to market I will very carefully consider the offering. If only Exetel would consider reselling the X-Series package from 3.
Last edited by flak on Tue May 15, 2007 10:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

ForumAdmin
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Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:22 pm

Test report from Perth:

"From my house I get 2/5 signal strength. On the standard speed test to a Sydney server I get 1.2Mbps download and 256kbps upload.

For webmail, email and browsing the speed is as fast as anything.

The latency to Sydney is a little high at 220ms and to a Perth server it is 150ms. But that hardly affects browsing or non-gaming use."
Last edited by ForumAdmin on Wed May 02, 2007 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

James D

Post by James D » Tue May 01, 2007 8:56 am

I did some testing with the card on public transport.

Test 1 - North Sydney to Castle Hill via Bus.

During this 1 hour and 30 minute trip, i did constant surfing, forums, email etc and at times it was a little bit slow and there was one dropout (no mobile reception at this point at all), other then that there was a constant signal and it maintained a connection, average ping time was about 230ms while on the move. Pages loaded fairly quickly.

Test 2 - North Sydney to Blacktown via Train.

During this 1 hour and 10 minute trip, i did constant surfing, forums, email and downloads. At no time did the connection drop (except in the city tunnel which was to be expected) average ping time was 190ms during this trip, download speeds where between 256K and 1mbps.

Test 3 - Various locations

I also tested this card at Seven Hills, Glenwood and Barden Ridge and at all of those locations this card preformed like a standard modem with an average of 180ms ping.

Overall the performance of this card was above what I expected.

VoIP Admin
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Post by VoIP Admin » Tue May 01, 2007 9:44 am

Good morning All

Here are my findings on testing the 3 data cards.

I won't go into depth of what was recieved since it is the same package that flak received above.

Setup

Setup was straight forward without any hassles; it was a matter of just inserting the CD and just following the prompts. Once the software was installed it was just a matter of setting up the modem.

Modem setup was hassle free, just insert the SIM card into the modem and then placing the modem into the PCMCIA adapter.

The software is plain and simple and will work straight out of the box without any configuration needed, this is provided the SIM is already activated.

Getting Connected

Again no hassles with getting online, just open the software and hit the "Connect" button. I didnt have any problems with authentication on the service and when the service did drop out it will automatically connect back up once back within converage.

Connection / Service / Coverage

The most I managed to achieve down stream while using the service is just a tad faster than an 1.5M ADSL service, tests was done on the ozspeedtest.com website and the result was 168 kB/s. I cannot comment in detail the speeds of the service as my main priority was to see how the service operates and so far it has not been a disappointment.

I live out west (Fairfield) and most of the tests were done on the train in the mornings and afternoon, before and after work. At times the service is slow and drops down to around 256 speeds while on the move, I would say this is because of the switching in the connection modes as you are moving.

Latency on the service when idle from memory is around 180ms, so online gaming is not recommended on the service.

The good thing about it is when it does drop out it automatically reconnects, you won't notice it unless you keep an eye on the status window.

Just general browsing and email can chew up quite abit of bandwidth so if you are using the service on a daily basis 1 GB is definately not enough.

Conclusion

Most of you make have already predicted how this service compares to Unwired, the 3 broadband service is so much better than Unwired in nearly all aspects of my testing except quota and price.

However they are completely two different services in my opinion since 3 is a truly mobile broadband service.

I would only recommend Unwired for customers who cannot get DSL where they are medium to heavy users of the internet as the pricing and quota makes it more attractive.

However if pricing is not a problem or you are a light user and need a "truly mobile" broadband solution there is no way to fault the 3 service.

My daily travel routine to and from work takes 3 hours of my day, I was looking for a mobile service a while ago but the only providers at the time were Telstra, Vodafone and Optus.

What prevented me from proceeding with the providers above was the pricing and the monthly quota packages they had to offer.

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Post by ForumAdmin » Thu May 03, 2007 10:29 am

Our preliminary testing is all positive.

The initial latency means that this is not a suitable service for a games player but, for VoIP there appear to be no problems.

We will conduct more detailed VoIP testing over the next ten days and then decide whether to release the service.

In terms of 'plans' we are still of the opinion that there will be two plans:

1 gb at $45.00 per month

2 gb at $65.00 per month

Both on a 24 month contract.

The service will be shipped with the default setting of "no roaming" to prevent a customer accidentally incurring large bills inadvertently.

Ancillary services such as email addresses, web space, SPAM filtering etc have yet to be decided.

richardk
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Post by richardk » Fri May 04, 2007 4:18 pm

Hi,

Just thought I would let you know that I am in Runaway Bay in Queensland on annual leave and am using the Three datacard. I was suprised that I am 15 minutes from the city and was able to get the results below from the speed test website.

Here is a speed test done from www.ozspeedtest.com

[`[*Test Results*]`]
[(----------------------------------
Test run on [*04/05/2007*] @ [*03:45 PM*]

Mirror: [*OptusNet*]
Data: [*3 MB*]
Test Time: [*27.21 secs*]

Your line speed is [*900 kbps*] (0.9 Mbps).
Your download speed is [*113 KB/s*] (0.11 MB/s). )]

The Three datacard changes between the 3G signal and HSDPA without any dropouts of the Internet link when testing in QLD.

I did do a few test call using my EXETEL DID account and was plesently
suprised how the VOIP quality was. The connection was clear for both parties when testing.

Also I tested the connection before I left home at Forestville and was
able to keep a contstant download at around 120 kb/s.

Thank You

flak
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 7:17 am

Post by flak » Sat May 05, 2007 9:23 pm

My original review has been edited to include a new test from my home which breaks the record for speeds I have obtained and the results of a road trip from Sydney's south to northwest.

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Post by ForumAdmin » Mon May 07, 2007 8:04 am

The testing to date on VoIP shows no problems in Sydney and the Gold Coast - as would be expected from a service that at its slowest is much faster than 512/128.

However the tests in Perth (by one user) found that VoIP was unusable (at least using the Exetel VoIP service) as the latency was too high.

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Post by ForumAdmin » Thu May 10, 2007 9:12 am

Exetel has now finalised the contract to resell the "3" Data Card and will put the back end systems and processes in pace over the next 1 - 2 weeks.

Subject to final checking Exetel will offer two of the "3" standard plans:

1 gb of data for $49.00 per month (with first month free)

2 gb of data for $69.00 per month (with first month free)

(data usage is counted for downloads only)

The cost of the data card (either USB or PCMCIA) will be at no charge on a 24 month contract or $10.00 a month on a 12 month contract.

There will be no service activation fee.

Exetel will provide 5 email addresses avaialble via web mail.

For business users Exetel will provide VPN software to allow secure access to a company intranet from any remote location where there is "3" coverage.

Exetel will also provide a DID number for those users who wish to use VoIP on their connection.

flak
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Post by flak » Thu May 10, 2007 2:20 pm

A little disappointing that the pricing is the same as '3' (with the exception of the card):

Plan $29 per month $49 per month $69 per month
3 Broadband Zone allowance 200MB 1GB 2GB
3 Broadband Zone additional usage 10¢/MB 10¢/MB 10¢/MB
National Roaming additional usage $1.65/MB $1.65/MB $1.65/MB
NetConnect Card cost
($399 Outright) $20 on 12 months* plan
$10 on 24 months* plan $10 on 12 months* plan
FREE on 24 months* plan $10 on 12 months* plan
FREE on 24 months* plan

(3 mobile broadband pricing)

Apart from the email addresses, VPN software and DID, are there any other differences?

What is the excess usage charge?

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Post by ForumAdmin » Thu May 10, 2007 4:00 pm

flak wrote:
1) Apart from the email addresses, VPN software and DID, are there any other differences?

2) What is the excess usage charge?
1) First full month free service fee.

2) Excess is $0.10 per mb.

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