Network Upgrade 2014

The last network upgrade wasn't worth mentioning. The Internet and Telecom providers both had very little to offer, and after realising what poor quality television content is, and how much I use my iPhone versus an old fashioned landline I simply gave them a call and told them I wanted to upgrade, or downgrade, and cancel some services. It wasn't worth the mention besides perhaps a tweet and a chat with a friend on Skype. Okay, skipping forward to summer 2014, sort of.

After attempting to reduce my cost I've ended up paying even more, I've upgraded to the iPhone 5s 32gb gold last October, and was hoping for 4G coverage. But no surprise, the Telecom providers in the Netherlands weren't ready yet. I could have waited a few more months and save a bit more money - but hey, we're talking iPhone 5s here, boy am I glad I upgraded.

Anyway, I've been able to pay more for my account to go from unlimited 3g to 5 gig traffic limit on 3G/4G, woah, totally worth it man (read that as not, caps, caps is for providers that are scared, but okay, that's their problem). I've still been able to reduce my call hours to basically 0 and bypass the telecom provider and use Skype and FaceTime exclusively. I don't use SMS text message, unless the receiving party doesn't have iMessage. So I am basically only paying for the data package. Turning the telecom provider into an Internet provider. If it was up to me, I'd also drop the phone number completely, but it's nice to have access to emergency services I guess.

My upgrade for this year is today, the magical 4G suddenly appeared on the screen, and the speed test shows around 25Mbit/10Mbit inside my apartment, and fluctuating speeds outside the apartment of 40 to 65Mbit down and around 20Mbit up. Hey, that's not bad. And that 5 gig data will probably be gone in a single Skype HD video call or a little bit of FaceTime. We shall see. Under 3G I believe I've been using 35% to 50% of my traffic, on average use. Maybe 4G pushes that to the 80% soon. Worth keeping an eye on I guess.

Yay, a worthy update. A nice phone, 4G, and reasonable speeds. Hopefully the dropped calls and all that I experience using 3G will be fixed now, with the 4G being able to handle the overhead a bit better.

Okay, next. as mentioned, I don't watch tv much or call people - the old fashioned way - so I've informed my ISP that I wanted to save money and might as well just drop TV and phone from my package, and use just cable. It was a 60Mbit account with a 10 bucks upgrade to 120Mbit down and 10Mbit up. I saved like 10 or 15 bucks, but that's the difference for the iPhone which was 10 bucks more per month, well, Euro actually, but I like saying bucks. At the end of the month I didn't have to pay more. Later I noticed that I could actually upgrade to a better 120Mbit account, which was another 5 bucks less. So I did that.

And just about a month ago I noticed that instead of paying 55,80 a month for 120/10Mbit, I could pay 54,60 a month for 200/20Mbit. Well, a Euro saved to almost double the speed. It was hard to say no to that. Thankfully the traffic limit stayed unlimited. Otherwise I wouldn't have done it. I've cut the chord and watch TV online now, a traffic cap would be hit on the first day of the month, surely.

Going from shittynet as we call it on #caturday Skype conference calls, I've upgraded to broadband Internet. A few mbit here and there for 3G is now around 50Mbit average. (for now, lets hope it doesn't become congested). And Internet is almost double. Worth the upgrade, won't you say? And the cost per month remained the same.

Next, I have always had a bit of a problem with my iMac, the ethernet port stopped working one day and when the system broke down due to a power surge I thought it was time for a new one. When I got it back, working by the way (yay), I tested the ethernet port again and boom, full 1Gbit network. I love it, cabled over wireless, always. I quickly turned off Airport and enjoyed the lower latency and improved overall speed when transferring bigger files over LAN and WAN.

Another network problem I had was my older devices being 2.4Ghz on 802.11g, and newer ones being on 5Ghz on 802.11n. And what about the future? If I would get a new MacBook or iMac, they are probably on 802.11ac. I had some thinking to do. And during that period the stupid docsis3 cable modem SLASH router was giving me grief. Each time I had loaded a bunch of pages with heavy content, boom, the signal dropped. We've exchanged the modem a couple of times, and I still think it's their network. But despite changing hardware, software, testing over multiple systems, and changing modems, etc. Nothing really seemed to have properly fixed it. My friend Justin suggested to try out the Nighthawk router from Netgear, it solves all my problems, questions, and it's ready for the future. I told him what his experience is with the router, and he said "I can bridge my modem, put the router behind it, and that solved the same questions and problems I had". A nighthawk router promptly arrived at my door a week or so later.

It supports 2.4Ghz 802.11g, 802.11n for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, and 802.11ac on 5Ghz, and yes, I can load loads of tabs again without the net dropping. I have way better reception in the other rooms of my apartment, and the silly drops and poor connection while calling others or video chatting, etc, has all been solved as well (mainly). And it supports dual-band, so I can use my old and new devices. Additionally it has 2 USB ports, of which one being a USB3 connector (awesome), and it has a real guest network so I can keep friends out of my LAN, if they want to internet.

The last few seasons of this year are approaching, and I feel my network upgrade for 2014 has completed. A good quality phone, on current generation mobile broadband, high speed broadband internet from my isp, and a solid router to handle it all for me and my guests.

A final note, not that I have a lot of stuff to name, but it's kind of nice to call the hosts on my devices something to easily identify them in the network. While the IP's are dedicated 192.*, like imac.mrfloris.net, iphone5.mrfloris.net, ipad2.mrfloris.net etc. These hosts exist internally, not publicly. And makes it a lot easier to whitelist in the network, while blocking *everything else*.

[edit] October 2014; I just received a notification from my telecom provider that 4G speeds have been upgraded to 120/50; that's okay, I am fine with that :p

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