Steer clear of Optus Wireless Broadband

I think I may have spoken too soon in my praise of Optus Wireless Broadband in this recent post – well the absence of a link brings me to my point – broadband shmoardband.  My ‘broadband’ was too slow to allow me to put in a link.  I just did a speed test on it and it’s about 10% faster than a dialup link.  It’s often that slow.  I rang Optus and complained. They said this was standard when the network was congested.  Well it wasn’t standard on my last service and it isn’t standard on ADSL.  And even if it happened a bit, that’s one thing.  It’s happening a lot.  I’m not happy.  If you are making a choice about this anytime too, you have been warned.

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Aidan
Aidan
13 years ago

Ouch.

I must say this was the biggest worry I had when signing up for my ‘3’ wireless broadband, as there were literally no guarantees on speed. None.

When I was looking around at least one of the carriers offered a no-cost opt-out within a week or so (was that Optus? Can’t recall) which would have swayed me but ‘3’ had a red hot special which I couldn’t refuse.

The problem with the 3G broadband is you have the possibility of the contention ratio (the number of cell phones/modems) changing by the minute. At least with ADSL there is probably a point where they simply can’t plug anymore people into the same box, and can be shamed into upgraded the equipment in the exchange. The 3G telcos have no control over how many people are using a cell of a tower at any one time (although there must be some limit I guess).

For the record, I get a fairly steady 1.6Mbps down and about 280Kbps up. Apart from a couple of times when I think their DNS system was having a cow the service has been very good. For $24 a month (2Gb cap) it is also much cheaper than any other alternative for me.

Nicholas, you are in a 3G coverage area for Optus when doing these speed tests?

Aidan
Aidan
13 years ago

Nicholas,

Hall (ACT)?

I am in Giralang (not *too* far away from Hall (ACT)) and I get 1.6Mbps with ‘3’. Their coverage checker shows that they cover most of Hall as well.

Another thing you might try is an extension on your USB cable. I have a 2m extension and blu-tack the modem to the wall near the cornice. My reception as measured on the software improves from 2 to 4-5 bars when I do this.

If you wanted to check the ‘3’ 3G coverage at Hall I could lend you my modem, or you could ask if any of your friends have a ‘3’ mobile, and they could look at the coverage for you.

Good luck

simon smith
simon smith
13 years ago

Economist makes irrational choice. Is there a lesson in the fact that you put your telstra modem on the market – as a free good – BEFORE you tested your new set-up?

Do a PHD in economics and learn to be this savvy.

Mark Hill
13 years ago

Insight limited to heuristics after the fact is nothing to brag about.

Nicholas is indeed savvy.

Aidan
Aidan
13 years ago

According to the lat/lon supplied in that map and the ‘3’ coverage checker:

http://tinyurl.com/2bcokk

That location is not covered by ‘3’ 3G.

Mind you, according to the Optus coverage maps it isn’t a 3G area for Optus either:

http://www2.optus.com.au/

If I was you I’d want to know that it was even possible to get a decent d/l speed with Optus. I would be trying a location where I get great signal, and I’d be trying it when I know others won’t be using it (4 am in the suburbs?). IF you can get a decent d/l rate then you know it is probably because you aren’t in the 3G area (it should tell you what type of signal it is getting on the bundled software GPRS/3G/3G(HSDPA)).

I’d try the long USB extension as first try. Pretty much the longer the better to get it as high as possible up the wall.

If you were really desperate you could try ordering one of these external antenna kits:

http://www.poyntingdirect.co.za/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=ADPT-024

(these modems are very popular in South Africa)

Plus, are you sure your old Telstra modem (if you still have it) couldn’t be made to work with the SIM out of your Optus modem? The Telstra modem has the advantage of a couple of largish aerials.

Jonno
Jonno
13 years ago

Thanks for the warning Nicholas – I have been pondering this currently. Choosing an ISP seems to be educated guesswork.

Aidan
Aidan
13 years ago

No worries.

As an addendum, there are some threads about unlocking those telstra modems on the whirlpool forums, e.g.

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/911612.html

and it can’t be done as far as they know. They do appear to have a sim card, but it is hard to find apparently. That thread does explain how you can “reset” your modem and then buy a telstra 3G mobile SIM with a casual 3G dataplan and save yourself some dosh (compared to Bigpond, same company, different operating procedure). Maybe worth a look?

Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton)
Liam (Bring Back Punster Paxton)
13 years ago

I love reading the whirlpool forums. Every sob about someone’s modem timing out during an epic torrent, every gripe about a $10/h call centre worker not being able to sort out instantly any and every problem, every whine about churns-gone-wrong just warms the cockles of my heart.
I haven’t seen anyone blame the NSW State Government yet, but it’s coming, I’m sure. F%*#ng Costa, Roozendaal and Meagher. Why won’t they come around to my house and give me free ADSL2?

Niall
13 years ago

I’ve never heard anything positive about Optus networks, service or consistency

Alastair
Alastair
13 years ago

TPG ADSL2 works very well for me and is fairly cheap.

Michael S.
Michael S.
13 years ago

Niall said:

Ive never heard anything positive about Optus networks, service or consistency

I had their cable intrenet for 5+ years and it only went down on 3 occasions and was always consistenly fast.

Their service is terrible though

Aidan
Aidan
13 years ago

Nicholas, not sure if you’re still reading this thread. If you want to try out ‘3’ to see if the reception is acceptable if your area (it shouldn’t be, but you never know) you can borrow my USB modem for an hour or so one evening this week.

Email me if you think that is a good idea (real email included in comment details)