Using Wireless Broadband as your main connection

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Using Wireless Broadband as your main connection

In Australia the internet service providers can be a bit hit-and-miss. Old wiring (you can bet all wiring will be a copper connection) means that a connection that was perfect originally can slowly degrade over time (for ADSL) or a cable box can be unmaintained (for cable); and getting a technician to investigate can be a hair-pulling experience. It may be different depending on your provider but of the three incidences I can remember where technical issues developed on a line, it went down roughly as follows...

  •  - Moisture had built up inside the box servicing the building, as it was outside the property line and ISP property this had to be fixed by a professional.  Of the three technicians that investigated not one of them fully dismantled the box to check. They did a line test and confirmed that there was a signal (technically true), but had no comment about 97% packet loss. The eventual resolution required one of the owners calling a personal friend inside the ISP to have them directly check for the specific issue and direct a fix.
  •  - The lines were technically existing (but heavily corroded), the ISP suggested that the modem be used on a friend's line at a separate residence to check to see if it worked there and to call back. I'm not sure how familiar you are with ADSL, but this would never work with any other house, because ISPs generally route per-residence. So of course the owner has to call back and say that the second modem must be defective and get a third replacement. Issue resolved. The end result that the contract was terminated and the owner moved to a different type of internet connection after paying for two months of no service.
  •  - Lines slowly degraded over time. After three months of no service the contract was terminated.

There's no point in calling for assistance if the ISPs are unlikely to fix anything. They know that depending on the issue they may never make the money back, and it's more cost efficient just to stall until the client gives up.

Solution. Optus is now offering a "Home Wireless Internet" plan. It's on the 4g network at $70 for 200GB of transfer. It's slightly low for someone who makes heavy use of youtube or Netflix but while I've known it to have some intermittent issues it's been incredibly solid for almost a year and a half now.

The main advantage of this is that if there are any issues Optus has to fix them immediately. If you're without internet then several blocks have also lost mobile service; and that's something that isn't going to go unfixed.

Speeds are fairly solid, I've seen an average of 600KB/s, but other people with the service have peaked around 1MB/s. It's not as good as NBN, but good enough for 1080p streaming and I personally prefer the reliability over the speed given a choice. One additional benefit, you get a router provided with the service (that works only for this) and if you move you can take the router with you. Technically you're not supposed to use it outside of your designated address due to allocation issues, however as a mobile device it works anywhere that Optus provides 4G service, this means you can take it with you to your new address and only need to call Optus to change your address at some later point without any service interruption in the meantime.

I can definitely support more cellular ISPs in the future. It should be noted that Vivid wireless was recently bought by Optus, they also offer a wireless service but which had somewhat worse ratings in the past. Currently the prices are the same, but the terms of service and the offered routers are different. Vivid offers an unlimited plan but only in some frequencies.