Telecom, country exchanges - franklin

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16 years 1 month ago #187674 by GrantK

swaggie;159829 wrote: That's another point, communication around the farm. We have hand held uniden units for when anyone is heading up the back...
I have been wondering if base communication units are available with a better outdoor aerial to pick up the hand held units...

Before getting our phone system, I had a look at the Uniden handhelds, but they have 2 big drawbacks:

- Communication is Simplex i.e. Handset 1 talks = OVER = Handset 2 talks

This is annoying when you are trying to have a decent conversation.

- You cannot answer the phone when you are away from the house

The Voyager handsets and a Base Station with Outdoor Aerial solve both of these problems, but they aren't cheap. Nothing else on the market even comes close to their 2km+ range however.

So far as I know, there isn't any Base Station for the Uniden handhelds.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 1 month ago #187702 by max2
Many thanks Grant, perhaps I might check out a few US sites and see what is available over there.

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16 years 1 month ago #187919 by KiwiOverseas
just to add a bit of extra information here - I've worked with the telco contracting guys on numerous occasions (transfield, downers, serco) and had to get network installed out of various exchanges around the country. On the one hand its frustrating that there seems to be inconsistent treatment of people when in comes to getting a line installed. In your case swaggie - what they've done is to give priority to those who have nothing at all (your situation) as opposed to someone who already has a line (your neighbour). I guess the common sense behind that is fairly clear - making sure everyone has at least 1 line.

Doing a new network build is no small matter. First off the install of new copper pairs (if its done at all) is done in bulk (the smallest I ever dealt with was 200 pairs). This is over and above any additional equipment needed in the exchange (new bins, line cards, etc). Secondly - while Telecom might have a blanket resource consent for some areas - for others it will need to go through the RMA. Thirdly - there's the physics - after a certain length the only service you'll be able to get on plain old copper is voice.

I like Grant's suggestion re mobile. There are some great deals out there at the moment so if you don't need to be tied to copper than don't. If the coverage is dodgy - how about getting a yargi antenna and a booster kit? (or the long range cordless).

Sorry to hear of your experience pumpkingirl - and not surprising how one bad contractor can spoil the whole experience. This piece of information can be used for anyone. If a contractor comes to visit you - get their name or a business card. If they behave badly - complain to their boss (of the contracting company) and to the phone company. I know that for Telecom they have a sort of "three strikes out" policy on contractors (I've had two fired on that basis). If they make an appointment to come and see you - they are suppose to turn up at that time. If they get delayed - they are suppose to call you and rearrange the appointment. They sure as hell can't turn up when they like and get all snotty because they've caught you by surprise.

In short - if someone is being rude and a complete pr*#k - don't get grumpy - get even!

If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?

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16 years 1 month ago #187929 by Birman Babe
Would you believe my telecom line comes from the power pole still? All the other houses from my house down are underground :-) So when I have a problem they cant check my line from the exchange, have to send a man out to climb the pole....

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16 years 1 month ago #187933 by pkb
Grant - I know this is a bit off topic but I'm in Franklin and rural so maybe it qualifies. I have a Vodafone cellphone and up until maybe a month or so ago the signal was fine and I could use the phone for work reliably. Since then, the signal seems to have become weaker or patchier or something and it can be very difficult to hear the conversation on the other end. My husband's cellphone is the same. Has something odd happened to the Vodafone network out here - have they reduced the power of the towers or something, do you know?

Tricia

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16 years 1 month ago #187981 by GrantK

pkb;160105 wrote: Has something odd happened to the Vodafone network out here - have they reduced the power of the towers or something, do you know?

The answer is: Sort Of :p

A new cellphone network is in the process of being launched in the Auckland region. It's called NZ Communications, and they have about 10 sites live already, but other than a few people roaming from overseas, nobody can use it yet [xx(]

Vodafone struck a deal with the government to relinquish some of their spectrum in order to help NZ Comms get up and running. Another part of the deal, is that NZ Comms customers will be able to roam at no extra charge on Vodafone's network in parts of the country where they don't have their own network.

It's going to be a good year for mobile phone customers in NZ -- look for prices to come down when first Orcon and then NZ Comms launch their plans :cool:

But what does this have to do with reduced call quality on Vodafone, you may well ask [?]

Because Vodafone had to relinquish some of their spectrum, they have cut the call quality on many of their Auckland cell sites in a bid to squeeze more calls through the remaining spectrum. The way they have done this is by using a Half-Rate Codec i.e. it uses half the bandwidth to carry the voice call. However, some call quality is sacrificed in order to achieve this, and if the signal strength in your area was a bit dodgy anyway, this will exacerbate the problem.

If you don't already have a 3G phone, and Vodafone 3G coverage is available in your area, it may be worth upgrading as the call quality on 3G is much better in the areas where it is available.

If you put your Street Number and Street Name into this page:

www.vodafone.co.nz/help/coverage/

it will show whether you can get 3G coverage or not.

Another alternative, is to switch to Telecom who usually have better coverage in rural areas. They are launching a new network in November, so if you can put up with the status quo in the meantime, it would pay to wait because a much better selection of phones will be available. If you switch to Telecom now, you would be buying a phone that will become redundant in about 5 years. Which may not be a concern, but if it was me, I would wait until November.

So, now you know why Vodafone's call quality has got worse. Disappointing eh :(

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 1 month ago #188019 by pkb
3G coverage out here? Ha! Thanks for the explanation. Is there a list somewhere of the cell sites where they have reduced the bandwidth?

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16 years 1 month ago #188033 by GrantK

pkb;160197 wrote: 3G coverage out here? Ha!

Oh well, it was just a thought [:I]

pkb;160197 wrote: Is there a list somewhere of the cell sites where they have reduced the bandwidth?

Vodafone are not officially admitting to this just yet. But one of their technical bods posted the info. on another forum.

So far, I have mostly seen reports on this issue from users in Auckland, and also a few from Wellington, but other areas such as Hawke's Bay seem unaffected.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 1 month ago #188042 by moggy

GrantK;159173 wrote: Do you have Vodafone coverage out at your block Swaggie?

I know we talked about this before, but I can't remember the answer [?] [?] [?]

It doesn't need to be brilliant coverage, just acceptable GSM voice coverage, that's all. This coverage checker says that Port Waikato has 68% coverage:

Beside the point if you have vodafone converage, you need vodafone 3G coverage, which is different. We have great vodafone coverage here, but can't get one of those.

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16 years 1 month ago #188044 by moggy
oh and satillte broadband is crap (says she married to a satellite boradband installer)

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16 years 1 month ago #188049 by GrantK

moggy;160220 wrote: Beside the point if you have vodafone converage, you need vodafone 3G coverage, which is different. We have great vodafone coverage here, but can't get one of those.

I think we are talking at cross-purposes here Moggy [:I]

To use the Vodafone At Home box, you only need 2G i.e. GSM coverage.

PKB is experiencing some problems with Call Quality and I suggested that 3G might solve the problem. However, as with many rural areas, PKB does not have 3G available. No surprises there, we don't either [xx(]

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 1 month ago #188052 by moggy

GrantK;160227 wrote: I think we are talking at cross-purposes here Moggy [:I]

To use the Vodafone At Home box, you only need 2G i.e. GSM coverage.

PKB is experiencing some problems with Call Quality and I suggested that 3G might solve the problem. However, as with many rural areas, PKB does not have 3G available. No surprises there, we don't either [xx(]

We have good GSM coverage (max indicator on phones), but despite loads of enquries, we are told that is not available in this area, no how, no way.

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16 years 1 month ago #188054 by moggy
PS if you could prove otherwise, a fruit basket would be on the way to you. (desperate for a quicker internet connection than 14K)

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16 years 1 month ago #188059 by GrantK

moggy;160230 wrote: We have good GSM coverage (max indicator on phones)...

So... have you tried using a Vodem at your place [?]

moggy;160232 wrote: PS if you could prove otherwise, a fruit basket would be on the way to you. (desperate for a quicker internet connection than 14K)

If you have 5 bars of signal, a Vodem should work really well and would give you a connection speed of around 40 - 50kbps using Vodafone's GPRS service.

Or, if you have good Telecom 027 coverage, you would be able to use a Telecom Mobile Broadband card to get CDMA 1X service of about 120kbps.

Either of those options has to be worth a look if you are only getting 14.4kbps dialup currently. Inger's mother has an old PC using Xtra Dialup and tonight it was only getting 14.4kbps after all the rain. It just took so long to download a small picture file that it was ridiculous [:(!]

If you have Telecom 027 coverage, talk nicely to your local Telecom Mobile shop and ask them to loan you a Sierra Wireless USB Data Card for trial. That will be the best option if you have 027 coverage.

Failing that, talk nicely to your local Vodafone shop and ask them to loan you a Vodem.

Either of these cards have a USB interface and should work just fine with whatever type of PC you have so long as it's running Windows 2000 or later.

Let me know how you get on :)

P.S. If you have any trouble getting the local Telecom or Vodafone shop to play ball, let me know and I may be able to pull some strings.

For either of these options (assuming they work) you are looking at around $50 per month for 1GB of data, and the USB Data Card would be a minimal cost of $100 to $200 (or even free) if you sign up for a 2-year contract.

Live weather data and High/Low records for our farm at: www.keymer.name/weather

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16 years 1 month ago #188075 by moggy

GrantK;160237 wrote: So... have you tried using a Vodem at your place [?]

No because vodafone says it is not available, though thinking about it, it is probably not available to 99.9% of houses on our exchange as they are in valleys (which is what the website goes by, and also the shops it seems) , however we are stuck out on a piece of flat land and so get great reception. Might be worth trying again.
Telecom mobile, no, that wouldn't be an option as if we are lucky if you stand on the deck in a certain corner and don't move, then you might get connected for 30 seconds[:(!]

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