Some of you may have seen the post on my experiences switching from Orcon to Vodafone.

Vodamoan - Over It.A brief summary – A couple of months ago I switched from Orcon to Vodafone to save money. It should have been a simple process, yet Vodafone managed to screw up almost every part. First was a week with no ADSL, then it went from working, then slow, then not at all. A quick blog post later and find myself ‘escalated’ and receiving daily telephone updates. I did feel there was finally a person genuinely making sure things were being actioned. These calls were always pleasant and generally ending with a big apology from the other end.
Of course I still had to wait over 4 weeks to finally have my line setup as I originally signed up for – or so I thought.

Last week, my mother started claiming that she tried to call me at home but could get through – I just accused her of being crazy and proved her wrong by calling the line via my mobile while I skyped her – no problem.

Now fast forward¬† to last week, I get a call from my flatmate –
“Is there any reason the home phone would be disconnected?” he asked.
Nope. Bill was good. Conveniently I was at my parents at the time so I tried the line. Weird tones.
We did indeed have no incoming line as my mother thought but also no outgoing either. Super.
By the time I got back our ADSL connection started constantly going up and down. Sometimes it would stay up for hours but more often it would just reconnected every 15mins or so.

A quick call to Vodafone Monday morning and thanks to it being a fault in the landline along with the ADSL, I wasn’t forced to jump through the usual morons check list.
Fault Lodged.
Chorus would be in touch within 24hrs – and Indeed they were.
By 4pm Chorus had been in touch, the man asked a few questions and then said he’d call me right back, which he did.
“It seems theres no problem with your line. The problem is caused by something wrong at Vodafones end. Although calls from their network will go through, people calling from Telecoms network can’t connect properly. Your line has some porting issues.”

I have now leant that from the day Vodafone started supplying my phone services chances are no one with a Telecom based service, and I suspect any provider using their wholesale network, have never been able to call my land line.

It makes it all the more annoying that when Chorus were proactive and called me back, Vodafone couldn’t muster up a similar level of customer service. The Chorus person worked on it on the Monday – yet by Friday I still hadn’t heard anything back from Vodafone.
This was last night – as usual they stuck me on hold for 5 minutes and came back claiming they would need to re-lodge the fault again.
“Why?” I ask “It hasn’t been fixed the first time.”
For some reason my last fault, although and being actioned, went nowhere.

This whole process makes me wonder once again if there is some big issues with the processes inside Vodafone. I understand they are a big corporation and you will always get anomalies and get weird customer setups but I’ve found that almost every step of this switch looks to have been done incorrectly or done in a half arsed or short-cut way.

I find it quite impressive that a telecommunications company don’t use it’s own services and actively call someone back. It’s quite infuriating to have the Chorus guy call me back and then pass it to Vodafone to fix but then never have them call me. Why is there not a process to instigate a callback to tell the client what’s going on? It doesn’t have to be the specific person techie but at least someone from customer support.

UPDATE (Saturday 17)
I just received the following txt from Vodafone – apparently there’s nothing wrong.
Yet my ADSL connection just reset, only minutes after I received the txt.
Of course this is Vodafone we’re talking about¬† – I’ll have to call them.

UPDATE 2 (Monday 19)
Heres a few screen caps of my modems ADSL connection speeds for random points over the weekend and this morning….. No fault was found…… crap.

UPDATE 3 (Monday 19)
So I just called the help line to find out where we were at and am told that ‘Only July 16 a technician looked into it and there is no fault.” Strange that I only was sent the txt on the 17th. Why didn’t they txt straight away? Did they even check?
The next logical step for Vodafones phone person was to just start the hoop jumping game fresh – “Can I ask you to disconnect any phones in the house….”
I’m over it. I finished that call and then call straight back.
“Put me through to Escalations.”

UPDATE 4 (Monday 19)
Conveniently the out of country call centre just couldn’t handle my request to be connected with escalations and instead put me through to the person who looked at my fault – against the guidelines.
The funny thing was it was exactly the person I needed to talk to, and a after a civil and actually productive conversation he saw that although things looked fine – there was a much bigger problem. 140 disconnects in a 24 hour period is apparently not normal…. no shit. He did everything he could and has organised another Chorus tech (again) to come look at the line today (Tuesday)

It’s so incredibly frustrating that the internet has been broken for 2 weeks, the landline for 2+ months and that I’ve had to lodge 3+ faults until I finally talk to someone who can actually fix it.

After going unbundled with Orcon’s Gold+ Account I was having issues getting online and was recommended an Orcon HomeHub over D-Link DST-502T. The 502T was theoretically more than capable of doing ADSL2+ (as I was running it at home on the same plan already). But at $5 a month, and to solve a problem I thought, stuff it, and got one sent out.

Siemens SX753

The HomeHub is really just a Siemens SX-763 WLAN DSL Router. Its running a slightly modified firmware that has the Orcon settings preset. You can’t flash newer vesions of Firmware, although Orcon can from their side of things. This could lead to an interesting future for this little hub – more on that later.
The Homehub features (according to Orcon) –

“This sleek wireless router lets you access your Broadband from anywhere in your house without plugs or cables.
What’s more, because our network can talk to it, our helpdesk can easily support the device remotely to get you back online faster if there is ever a problem.
In the future, we’ll be teaching the Homehub some cool new tricks to give you an even better Orcon experience through new and interesting services, so stay tuned…”

On the Siemens site it lists it features as –

  • High-speed wireless data transfer at up to 108 Mbps (compatible with IEEE 802.11b/g)
  • Integrated ADSL 2+ modem
  • 4 Port 10/100 Hub
  • External broadband access modem support (e. g. VDSL, cable)
  • Support for up to 6 VoIP public telephone accounts (SIP Protocol)
  • USB Support (SMB/FTP/Web/Printer).

So after ordering it, the unit arrived a couple of days later, interestingly I had to pay postage, with a white Orcon slip over a standard Siemens box. In the box were all the cables one could ever need to setup and use the unit. Network cable, phone, filters etc… Annoyingly Siemens have gone with RJ-45 (Network) Adaptor plug for the phone cable, not the smaller and standard phone plug – so don’t go loosing your cables.
The Unit is one of the nicer Routers or modems I’ve seen, although it does feel a but light and plasticy. All the ports are nicely placed on the back. It can be mounted on a wall or look fine on a desk.

Homehub Back Ports

The web inerface is pleasent to look at, and functionally seems to include all the settings. There’s wizards both for the absolutely basics and also for the security features. Add to that the normal Advanced Settings, It’s feature packed but simple to get around. There’s support for all the necessary wireless standards – WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK/WPA-PSK.
I’d love to go into the VOIP settings but as I have never been too interested in it before, I wouldn’t know much. The fact they’re there, and are quite feature complete shows a feature I imagine Orcon will use in the future.

Connection wise, the wireless seems solid, although I personally use an Apple Airport Extreme to run a parallel 5ghz Only 11N based network and a 2.4Ghz for older clients. Excessive. Maybe. A bonus of using the $5 a month homehub though.
Internet wise, in the Auckland CBD, just off K Rd I’ve got a 12286 kbps (upstream) ADSL Connection. Its strange as when the connection was first setup I was getting up to 22500kbps on the connection – close to ADSL2’s limit – and now its back down to the top of ADSL1’s top……. Orcon?
UPDATE As you’ll see in the first comment, theres a bug and it’s being worked on – although 2 weeks later and I’m still stuck at the same connection rate – and just enjoyed a shit 11k/s uploade to my webserver in the states. AWESOME! (NOT).
UPDATE 2 Well 2 weeks later (8 Aug) and we’re finally back at full speed ADSL2 again – the modem is reporting 21412 kbps (downstream) / 1328 kbps (upstream) – near theoretical limits. I’ll post an updated speed test blog soon.

Heres some results from speedtest.net

Auckland -> Auckland (WorldxChange Communications) – 9907 Down / 354 Up

Auckland -> Christchurch (Snap Internet) – 6587 Down / 266 Up

Auckland -> Sydney (Mammoth Media) – 3327 Down / 333 Up

Auckland -> London (Namesco) – 1723 Down / 180 Up

Auckland -> San Francisco (Unwired) – 2739 Down / 194 Up

Things that aren’t cool –
USB only does FTP no SFTP so not great for putting online.

Only 54g Wireless, although future proof in other features, if this was offered with 11n wireless it would be a must have for Orcon users.

The DHCP server won’t list connected devices – Wireless status lists the Host name, Mac and IP’s of any wireless clients but for the overall IP’s – nothing. The settings are there – just broken, a bug that I hope Orcon will get on to fixing.
UPDATE Orcon do indeed have a forthcoming update. Orcon were nice enough to flash mine and it does indeed fix the issue and give you a bunch more information as to the ADSL2 connection quality.

Basic NAT Support – Doesn’t do true UPnP/NAT-PMP. So, in my case, no Back to My Mac support between home and work. Just lots of manual and possibly insecure setup.

Things that are cool –
USB Features.
Looks good.
A full featured router for only $5 a month (on Orcon).
Assumably VOIP support from Orcon in the future.