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Published Friday 30 Nov 2018

Improving Broadband performance at home can be something of a journey.


Improving Broadband performance at home can be something of a journey. Especially if you occasionally have a house full of adults, all wanting to watch online content, or connect with loved ones around the country or overseas, at the same time.

All of the internet activity at my home meant that my Wi-Fi needed to reach everywhere in the house, including rooms where the signal from my modem was weak due to distance; and I needed better speed, particularly in the evening, than I was able to get over my ADSL connection.

Fibre had been laid in my street and I watched while other properties were getting UFB connected.I had placed an order with my retailer to replace my ADSL, but my neighbours down my shared drive had responded fairly quickly and refused to give consent.

I tried fixed wireless and found the speed was a huge improvement.It was easy to connect and worked well.I connected a Wi-Fi extender wirelessly, and although it extended the reach of the Wi-Fi, it had to be near a power point, which reduced the options and therefore the reach.But it w

as definitely an improvement.

I had Cat 6 wiring throughout the house, which was connected to the copper access line.I knew that I should be able to connect the Wi-Fi extender to the access line, but I had no idea how to do this, and I didn’t want to start mucking around with things I didn’t understand.

All was going well with my fixed wireless connection, then I made the mistake of leaving a visiting family member at home alone one Sunday, without much to distract them.A couple of days later, I received a note from my retailer to say that I was close to reaching the cap on my broadband plan. I decided it was time to try another solution that could deal with peaks in demand, without affecting speed or my bill at the end of the month.

I then asked my provider to switch my services to VDSL and moved to an uncapped plan.Because I had left the copper connection in place, this was relatively easy to arrange.A new modem arrived, I plugged it in and it all worked.The speed was good, even during the evening, and I was able to connect the Wi-Fi extenders wirelessly.

Despite the improvement in my service, I noticed my neighbours were getting UFB connected, so I placed another order for fibre, to be sure I had the most optimal connection in place. The technician turned up to do the scoping visit and we agreed the external termination point (ETP) where it would enter the house and where the internal termination point would be (the optical network termination – ONT).

The technician proposed an option to install the fibre the same day if I would be around for the next hour and when I said yes, he proceeded to install the fibre. It took less than the hour and when he connected my modem to the ONT. I ran a speed test – 100Mbps, exactly what I had ordered.

With the fastest connection available to my home installed, it came time to optimising my home wiring for best performance Wi-Fi (not always the same thing as speed to the ONT). I took the plunge and after a few online videos, I worked out how to connect my cat 6 internal cables to a patch panel and was able to connect my Wi-Fi extenders directly to my modem.Because they are wired to the modem, I could locate them where they would have the best effect, and out of sight.My TV could also be connected directly to the modem.

The result is that I now have reliable fast internet, great Wi-Fi coverage from anywhere in the house, and no worries about data usage - the only remaining constraint is the speed of the devices themselves; an upgrade for some of which are going on my Christmas list.

By Geoff Thorn, CEO NZ Telecommunications Forum