Internode have today begun its first program to rent industry-leading FRITZ!Box broadband routers and accessories to customers, and at the same time, have slashed pricing across its range of FRITZ!Box equipment. Internode customers can save themselves up-front costs from the AVM FRITZ!Box 7270 and 7390 routers, and FRITZ!Fon DECT handsets, by opting to pay a monthly rental fee within a 24-month contract.
Internode will then rent customers the 7270 for $9.95 per month, the 7390 for $14.95 per month, and the DECT handset for $4.95 per month. If customers choose to purchase the equipment outright, Internode has slashed pricing of the two FRITZ!Box routers by $50, and taken $20 off the FRITZ!Fon handset.
Internode product manager, Philip Dempster has said:
Many customers prefer the affordability and convenience of renting their broadband hardware. This has proved popular with the Set Top Box for Internode's FetchTV IPTV service, so we've introduced it as an option for customers who prefer to rent FRITZ!Box routers and hardware.
QNAP Systems, Ind. have just announced V3.6 Beta NAS management software for its Turbo NAS series, which provides some highly anticipated features such as a VPN Server, LDAP Server, and Proxy Server, cloud music and photo sharing with a web browser, enhanced backup features, and more. Firmware V3.6 beta also includes a new version of MyCloudNAS 1.2, QPKG center and more compatible IP camera.
Firmware V3.6 beta also bakes in some new business-class features, such as VPN Server. VPN Server offers businesses with a cost-saving way to create a secure and private network. LDAP Server simplifies mass account management and saves business' IT hardware expenditure, time, and stress. The Proxy Server provided with the "Squid" QPKG provides the IT administrator a great solution to manage network loading, yet maintain network security.
Jason Hsu, product manager for QNAP says:
Firmware V3.6 beta proves the Turbo NAS firmware is business-ready. Backup enhancements take an important role in this release, too.
A Google executive has said that they are 'pondering' a fiber network for Europe, perhaps based on its experience building out a gigbit fiber to the home network in the U.S. Google's dedication ot better infrastructure is essential to the success of many arms of its business, and it seems to understand what people and businesses will do with more bandwidth.
Marketwatch is reporting that David Drummond, a senior vice president said that Google were interested in building out a fiber network in Europe:
During a meeting at the French Industry Ministry, Drummond said that Google was "looking very closely" at a potential project in Europe, without specifying where this project would be launched or when.
This news story is short on details, but with Google looking at building a fiber network in Europe this means great things for broadband customers. It would force ISPs to offer faster or cheaper services when compared to Google's fiber rollout. Europe is fast becoming one of the most advanced broadband countries, with places like The Netherlands and portions of Scandinavia rolling out fiber to the home.
Telstra has confirmed the existence of Project Top Hat, its plan to make ADSL2+ services available to an additional 200,000 phone lines presently limited to just ADSL1 services, because there is no space in street-side cabinets to add ADSL2+ equipment. Telstra plan to rollout the upgrade by implementing an additional box on top of existing cabinets and will be available through both Telstra Retail and Wholesale customers. Telstra says:
In the past, to permanently increase the broadband capacity of a street side cabinet, we had to build another cabinet alongside the existing one. This could take months of planning and network construction.
Telstra plans to roll out its LTE network fast and is said to maintain this speed into 2012. Over the next year or so, more and more traffic will flow onto the LTE, especially into 2013 when the digital dividend 700MHz spectrum is made available. Speed-leader Telstra wants to soak itself in the LTE-goodness, and are vowing to make the transition as seamless as possible. So instead of marketing LTE as a separate service, it will issue one with the same 3G/4G dongles so that the 3G and 4G networks work seamlessly.
Most users won't be aware of which network they're using. LTE will also be more expensive, but only $10 more per month. So the extra speed is not too much of a jump in the wrong direction.
National Broadband Network access is said to be as low as $50 a month, according to iiNet, who have just revealed their NBN packages. iiNet have announced premium packages including speeds of 100Mbps with 1TB of data, costing just $100 a month. This is $90 less than Internode's premium service that was revealed earlier in the year. iiNet also announced a $49.95 plan that will include 40GB of data with speeds at 12Mbps.
The 200GB plans will cost $59.95 and sport the same 12Mbps speed, with customers having the option of paying $5 extra a month to increase speeds to 25Mbps. 50Mbps will cost an additional $15 per month with 100Mbps costing an extra $20.
American internet users rejoice! YouTube requests might get delivered faster today with Google, OpenDNS and several content delivery networks announcing the Global Internet Speed Up effort. Finding ways to speed up the internet and deliver ever-increasing high quality streaming and downloads to users across the globe is getting harder. The Speed Up effort tries to dodge around this by making sure a user's request for content goes to a server near it, making delivery faster and more efficient from a bandwidth perspective.
At the center of this new wonderful speed up is the creation of a standard that attached location data to a DNS request so a user's request for content goes to a server nearby. This is definitely an upgrade as usually the content comes from the address of the DNS server and not the user's location. For example, an Austin, Texas-based customer who types in the URL for a YouTube video will share part of his IP address as part of the DNS request.
This way, the domain system server can route the request to a Google data center in Dallas, as opposed to one in Ireland. A simple solution, but would net great gains for people who have servers close to them. The new code goes into effect on Tuesday with 30 million OpenDNS users and Google's Public DNS service users visiting content hosted on the participating CDNs will immediately benefit.
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Clearmax is making headlines with the news of them using LTE and LTE Advanced as their primary 4G formats. The rollout will give Clearview peak speeds of 120Mbps or more and uses the existing 2.5GHz frequencies and network that it already uses. The new 120Mbps-capable network will be LTE at first, and then upgradeable to LTE Advanced when it becomes available and hit "at least" 100Mbps.
The costs of this upgrade should be quite low considering most of the network is being reused. In order to reach these speeds, Clearview had a few tricks up their sleeve such as carrier aggregation, or pooling together networks similar to what's used to get 42Mbps and 84Mbps HSPA+ on 3G. Not only is Clearview aiming for extra speed, but the upgrade should be an advantage for international access, Clearwire said. Where 2.5GHz WiMAX is mostly limited to the US, it's being used in various 4G rollouts across the world.
This means if it's pushed enough, Clearwire's bottom line could get much better as more equipment is made and hence sold, as it becomes more available.
Current Wireless modem not good enough? You should wait for some 802.22 goodness. IEEE just announced a new Wireless standard 802.22 that is capable of covering up to 12,000 square miles. The standard is actually for Wireless Regional Area Networks or WRAN which uses the white spaces left in the TV frequency spectrum.
The new wireless standard is meant to bring internet connectivity to large areas which are less densely populated that did not have previous coverage. The WRAN-standard will be capable of delivering up to 22Mbps without interfering with existing TV broadcast stations. The network is said to function with a series of base stations like current wireless networks, the customer will only require a small box installed in their house for internet access.
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London TweakTown readers unite! Virgin Media are testing the DOCSIS2-powered 1.5Gbps network in the heart of England. It is currently being enjoyed by a group of test sites around Old Street that also receive a 150Mbps upload connection. Virgin is claiming that it's the fastest broadband in the world, but I for one cannot agree to this without them giving me access to it. The best bit about this is that the technology delivering the 1.5Gbps is based off the same technology that is currently delivering 100Mbps services to residents across the country. So if the trial is successful, those crazy speeds should be rolled out to the rest of England.
Internode have announced their retail pricing for the NBN-based phone and broadband bundles packages, with prices ranging between $59.95 and $189.95. If you'd like the 100MB speeds, it will cost you a minimum of $100 per month. Internode were quick to say that the pricing for broadband could easily escalate, this is because of the flaws in NBNCo's wholesale charging model, compounded by the ACCC's "121 points of interconnect" decision.
Managing director of Internode, Simon Hackett, has criticised the NBNCo's wholesale fee of $20 per megabit per month, which is charged at the point where retail service providers physically connect to the NBN. He says:
This charge has simply been chosen to fill in an otherwise huge hole in the Federal Government policy requirement that the network return funds to the Commonwealth at a commercial rate and in a short time frame (relative to the expected lifetime of the network).
Apple is close to releasing updated models of their AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule products. The refreshed models are expected to be on shelves any day now. The AirPort Extreme comes in one flavor, with the Time Capsules coming in two flavours, both a 2TB and 3TB model. The Time Capsule devices are rumored to include a new software update caching feature that will store Mac OS and iOS updates on the Time Capsule's hard drive for installation on any network-based Mac/iOS device.
Also coming from Apple are new Mac minis, Mac Pros and MacBook Airs.
Seven customers have been connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) trial services in Armidale ahead of the official launch. The launch of the NBN marks the start of trial customer services for various ISPs such as Telstra, iiNet, Internode and Primus. iINet and Internode have two customers each, Primus with a single lucky customer and Telstra has a "handful" of customers on NBN services.
Each telco had connected to the NBN on a trial basis with no cost to the customer (where's my invite?). iiNet has their two customers on 100Mbps services with 1TB of data per month. One of the iiNet customers said he would use his new 100Mbps NBN service to work from home. Peter Erskine is a researcher at the University of New England and has said:
Internode have finally launched their FetchTV internet video service with pricing that is quite competitive against competition such as iiNet. Internode are set to offer rival providers such as Optus and Adam Internet their Fetch TV service, a "full" version which offers customers complete access to FetchTV's streaming TV channels and a "lite" version which offers access to a library of on-demand movies from major movie studios as well as the normal free-to-air functions of the FetchTV set-top box.
Internode will charge $29.95 per month on a 24-month contract for customers to rent out the set-top box, or $14.95 per month for the Lite service. The set-top box can also be purchased outright for $399 with the full service then being available without a contract for a $19.95 per month fee or for the lite version, $5.95 per month.
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Pictures of the NBN Network Termination Unit or "NBN Box" have surfaced and are now causing people to raise questions on how it works. The NBN Box is not a replacement unit for your current wired or wireless router which plugs into your telephone wall socket and gives you access to the Internet. The NBN box is actually a replacement for the wall socket that will provide users with six sockets - two dedicated to voice services, four dedicated to data services such as the Internet.
This way, your telephone will plug into one of the voice sockets and your router will plug into one of the data sockets. Each data socket can provide a single and distinct service of the fibre network into your home or business. The NBN Box is not a switch - as each and every socket is completely independent of each other.
Optus has today launched the commercial pilot of femtocell technology which is designed to boost its 3G network coverage and speed with the customer's own fixed-line broadband service at home. Dubbed "Optus 3G Home Zone", the product uses technology built by Alcatel-Lucent, plugs into a fixed internet connection and allows 3G devices like mobiles, tablets and mobile broadband devices to utilise the network to make calls or access the internet within a 30-metre radius.
Optus is trialling the technology in multiple cities; Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and the Gold Coast. Optus consumer marketing director Gavin Williams has said:
We believe femtocells are an important way of enhancing the customer experience of the Optus Open Network by acting as a wireless gateway into the home or office. The Optus 3G Home Zone will not only personalise the quality of mobile coverage in the home but has the potential to deliver relevant service benefits such as applications for social networking, entertainment and business.
NBN Co, the company behind the $36 billion Australia-wide high-speed internet network has signed up 12 retail service providers to take part in customer trials. NBN Co's head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, said in a statement:
This testing phase is a critical step in building the network, working with RSPs and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service when commercial services commence.
Companies that signed up included Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Internode. I'm with iiNet at home so if iiNet want to hook me up with some uber-fast NBN goodness, my email is available on the TweakTown site ;)
Almost two years ago, Google launched a rather mundane attempt to compete with social media juggernaut Facebook. If you weren't reading about how detrimental social media is to your brain and your sense of morality (which you probably, and ironically found on your Twitter or Facebook news feeds), you may have caught this somewhat underwhelming SEO boost to your social network two Aprils ago.
This past Thursday, Google announced it had enhanced its Profiles section. I think we all remember what happened the last time Google created a social service that duplicated an existing one, but 8.5 million reminders of their mistake will hopefully avert anything similar this time.
Google users that decide to participate will notice that their profiles will update automatically as new features become available. For the time being, the page looks almost identical to a watered-down Facebook Profile page- but is that necessarily a bad thing?