The Need for Speed

I have had broadband or ADSL1 for a while now. Where I live we only have access to ADSL1, ADSL2 is not available as yet. I have had a 1500/256 connection for most of that time. Earlier this year Telstra “took the breaks off” the fastest attainable speed that you could get. We also saw a drop in price for this fastest speed. In order to get the “unthrottled” service you had to upgrade your connection and pay a few extra dollars.

I have been pretty busy and I only got around to looking at my connection last Friday. Now the plan I was on, the 1500/256 plan dropped in price but I have been paying the higher price as I did not change anything. I found that I was basically paying for the unthrottled service. So I thought what the heck, I am paying it I may as well change to that speed and I got a 100% increase in available bandwidth.

Changing my plan means that I now have a 8000/384 connection. But this is variable, meaning that the minimum I will get it 1500/256. All week end I have been testing my connection on Speedtest.net checking if it switches over. Today I had some luck. I tested my closest Speedtest server which is Brisbane. I got the following result (note that the miles are wrong in this test):

What I noticed was that the ping has not changed much with the faster connection, not sure why. But as you can see the download speed has definitely had some improvement. The fastest I could get before was about 1300 download. So pretty good. I also tested Europe and the UK in addition to America, the following is the best result from the US:

The big surprise was the speed that I got here in Australia as the best result came from a connection from here in Cairns to Melbourne. What you might not understand is despite our connectivity here in Cairns we are actually quite isolated from the rest of the country. Our pipe from Cairns to Brisbane, which is the most direct is a long one and can be problematic at times. That Cairns – Brisbane connection is the bottleneck as all North connections run through it. But here is the result that I achieved to Melbourne:

I thought that was great. I am pretty happy with these results and time will tell if it is worth it. While I was happy with the download speed that I was getting on my old plan, it was not mega fast but I did not have to wait for much and I had the bandwidth that allowed me to do other things while I downloaded stuff. Now I have bandwidth to burn and the limit that allows me to test out great new services like Joost.

The upload speed was the thing that I was more interested in increasing. I upload the podcast each week and lots of files to our hosts and others this will help speed up that process a bit. But not as much as I was hoping. Then again it is very close to the stipulated 384k that is advertised so I should not complain. In fact it is very good really, as you may or may not know you never get what is advertised. Most people I talk to have no idea what speed they are on!

As I said previously this service is a variable one so I am going to do a few tests at different times and see what times of day are better than others.

These tests were performed with my internet service provider Internode using Speedtest.net. I have found Internode to be excellent and provide a great service at a reasonable cost. ISP choices are a personal choice and you have to be happy but you could do worse than Internode. A list of available plans is available from their website.

These speeds may seem poor if you live in Europe or the US and they are in comparison. Fact is; that for me this is as good as it gets where I live and is faster than most of the population here in Australia that have broadband access. Fast connection speeds in Australia are hard to come by and when you do they are very expensive, for me this is a good middle ground.

SPEEDTEST.NET is a great way to check out how well your ISP performs. It uses a graphical interface with some funky dials and gives very usable results as can be seen here. That is all well and good in isolation, but they also give you the functionality of being able to compare your results to others in your country and the world. These images are via the supplied links that they offer to embed your results into web pages.

Speedtest.net Screenshot

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Internode ISP To Boost Bandwidth in Australia

As you may or may not know my Internet Service Provider is Internode. This is an Adelaide run; slick internet provider that comes highly recommended for you Australian readers. I have always received great service with a no-fuss attitude. In addition to that they offer a reliable service at an affordable cost.

So without starting to sound like an advertisement or something, I found some real news on the RSS about Internode. Australian IT reports that they are wanting to be the first Australian ISP to offer “super-fast” internet connections of over 1Mps. They are currently waiting for approval by the relevant authorities. Once this is done they are planning for immediate deployment of the service.

The service is being touted as ideal for people that want to host web services, video conferencing and downloading large files. While this is all great and dandy, I bet the rest of the world is laughing their arses off! Internet services are so far behind in Australia it really is not funny. This is evidenced by the fact that I regularly talk to my overseas contacts that have much faster connections than the “super-fast” 2Mps! Indeed Knightwise who is from Belgium has a 4Mps connection for less than I am paying for 1.5Mps!

This is not to shun the forward thinking of Internode. The fact that they are pushing for faster connections is great but we are really behind the times on a global level and scale.

The tele-communications industry in Australia remains a political and red-tape filled cess pit that, from what I can see, shows no sign of changing any time soon. This is severely compromising our stake in this rapidly changing and transforming landscape that is the internet. Perhaps the global push for connectivity will boot our industry into a more competitive stance and one that enables the community to take advantage of all that the internet is offering, rather than a restrictive, legalistic, overpriced and unfair monopoly (Despite the denials) that restricts access and that is based on cost alone.

This is highly evident by the fact that at the moment I pay $49.95 AU a month for a 1500/256 connection. If I was with the biggest, most dominant and anti-competitive company in Australia and yet the most popular, Telstra; I would be paying $125 AU. When you ask them why; you get the usual red-tape rhetoric. I just do not understand how a company that charges more than double can stay in business. Other than the fact that they prey on peoples’ comfort in familiarity.

Congratulations to Internode for playing the ball. Wake up you Telstra morons we are being left behind and yes you are a problem.