Working Papers

Wireless Broadband in Sydney

A temporary lapse into tech blogging.  I recently decided to try wireless broadband with Unwired, mainly because I want to encourage the process of disintermediating traditional telcos from broadband distribution.  I can’t say I have been overly impressed.  The problem is not necessarily that the signal is weak, but highly variable, even though I am well within the notional coverage area and in a reasonably elevated position.  Using Unwired’s own diagnostics, the signal strength bounces around anywhere from 1-6 out of 10 from the best location in the house.  Drop outs are frequent enough to be annoying, and even though only very brief, they can be enough to require a manual refresh of the connection and generally slow things down to a crawl.

Unwired are not lying when they say that the best place for the modem is parallel to a window.  I find the modem will only work reliably right up against the window.  A few centimetres inside and signal strength deteriorates rapidly.  The best place for the modem is actually outside.  This is obviously a widespread problem, because I have found one Sydney company that already produces dedicated kits to house the Unwired modem externally.

Unwired offer only a very narrow 14 day window in which to trial the service.  Unless you are getting a very reliable signal in the first few days, my suggestion would be to cancel the service immediately.

The university’s wireless broadband service is also flaky, from my very limited experience of it, but then again so is mobile reception (I had to get a CDMA mobile to get a signal at my UNSW office).  Perhaps it is due to Sydney’s undulating topography.  In any event, it’s back to ADSL for me.

posted on 15 April 2005 by skirchner in Misc

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