FAQs

Broadband Technical Queries (14)

What is broadband (before/after NBN) ?

Question: What is broadband (before/after NBN)?

Answer: The term broadband refers to the wide bandwidth characteristics of a transmission medium and its ability to transport multiple signals and traffic types simultaneously. The medium can be coax, optical fibre, twisted pair or wireless.

Until the introduction of the NBN in Australia typical broadband speeds were:

  • ADSL – 1.5M down 128k / 256k upload (max distance from exchange 4-5 km)
  • ADSL2 – 22M down 512k / 1024k upload (these speeds only if you live next door to telephone exchange – distance from exchange reduces speed – max distance 3-4 km)
  • 3G wireless approximate speed 384k – 2M (max 384k up) – (the more people using the cell tower and distance from it lower the bandwidth)
  • 4G (Next-G) wireless approximate speed 2-40M (max 1.9M up) – (the more people using the cell tower and distance from it lower the bandwidth)

In all the above methods upload speed is low. The power of the NBN is not just it’s improvement in download speed , but it vast improvement in upload speeds. Currently the lowest connection speed offered by the NBN is 12M down and 1 M upload, the best available is 100M download 40M upload. (see http://www.nbnco.com.au/get-an-nbn-connection/wholesale-speeds.html for NBN wholesale speed tiers).

In all of the above we have not talked about traffic charges – all ISP/Telco’s in Australia charge for traffic. Most plans are based on a cost / Gigabyte of Data (in many cases you are charged for both your downloads and uploads).

How reliable is the NBN compared to a normal ADSL broadband service?

As noted by iiNet Australia, the NBN is being built using a mixture of state-of-the-art fibre-optic, wireless and satellite technology. The notion of this designed is not solely related to  speed, but reliability as well. For example, fibre-optics are heavily shielded against the elements. Furthermore, fixed wireless and satellite services are also become more reliable as technology and installation techniques improve.

Will my current broadband modem and/or router work with the NBN?

If you already own a broadband modem and/or router, it is best to first check with its manufacturer to see if it is capable of supporting the NBN. Furthermore, you could also speak to your potential NBN retailer about hardware requirements.

How will the NBN benefit me?

The NBN Co website lists a number of benefits related to the NBN, including (but not limited to): making high quality video calls to stay connected with family and friends; accessing health services and interactive educational content online; working from home like you would at the office; getting the whole family online at once; and downloading movies in minutes and streaming TV online.

What is the difference between mobile internet and mobile broadband?

Mobile internet is a term used to broadly describe accessing the internet from a mobile device, like a smartphone. Alternatively, mobile broadband is a term used to describe a service which is used specifically for data, as distinct from a phone where data is one of a number of services the plan allows for.

What do some of the commonly used mobile data terms mean?

Following is a great list compiled by Vodafone:

  • 2G – Second generation wireless cellular communication systems.
  • 3G – Third generation wireless cellular communication allowing faster and more reliable cellular data transfer than 2G
  • 3G+ – this term to used to describe a DC-HSDPA network (dual cell HSDPA), capable of faster speeds than 3G
  • 4G – The fourth generation of wireless cellular communication supporting data transfer speed that rival fixed-line ADSL2+
  • GPRS – General Packet Radio Service is a 2G data service
  • EDGE – A 2G technology; faster than GPRS, but slower than 3G
  • HSDPA/+ – High Speed Downlink Packet Access is a 3G broadband standard
  • HSUPA/+ – High Speed Uplink Packet Access is a 3G broadband standard
  • CSD – Circuit Switched Data is a very early data transfer standard, considerably slower and less efficient than the packet data technologies described above

 

What does Rapid Transfer or Churn mean?

This applies to ADSL/Broadband only, not NBN specific service. Rapid Transfer or Churn refers to the ability to switch to another ISP (internet service provider) very quickly (in the order of a day or two). Unfortunately this is only available if both ISP’s (ie. your current provider, and your future provider) support the “churn” process for this to happen. Not all ISP support churning.

How safe is Internet Banking and Shopping?

Generally speaking, online banking and shopping is a safe practice as most services and retailers now offer the highest quality encrypted technologies and security. These technologies help protect the online transaction, both the monetary value of the transaction, and your personal information. To ensure that you are adhering to ‘best practices’ in the online space, remember to never store banking passwords, personal information and account details on your computer. This is because hackers may attempt to access this material via your computer.

What is the first step I should take to connect to the NBN?

It is important to remember that the NBN is a wholesale network and NBN Co is a wholesale network provider. This means that telecommunications companies (called Retail Service Providers – RSPs) will buy services from NBN Co and use them to provide services for sale to consumer and business customers. Therefore, you will need to speak to a RSP to discuss connecting to the network etc.

What is Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) and Fibre-To-The-Node (FTTN)?

Fibre-to-the-home, sometimes called fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is a new technology which is used for providing broadband services to homes and offices. It uses fibre optic cable to deliver high speed broadband services, with the cable connected directly to your home or office. Fibre-to-the-node, on the other hand, involves deploying fibre optic cable to a street side box where the connection will usually continue via a copper cable to your home or office.

Do I need new equipment to connect to the NBN?

As new fibre optic broadband services roll out to cities and towns across Australia, you may require some more modern equipment to connect to the faster service. For example, you will likely need a network device which converts the optic fibre signal into a format that can be read by your PC, and a router – commonly referred to as a ftth modem – which provides authentication, and the ability to utilise your connection within your home. You should speak to your NBN retailer for further equipment advice.

When will the NBN be available in my region?

As noted by NBN Co., as Australia’s first high speed broadband network is rolled out, the construction phase of the project is following a specific rollout process involving select sites, to ensure the NBN is delivered in the most cost effective and timely way. The rollout process is based on the following fundamentals (as per the NBN Co. website):

  • We will prioritise construction of the NBN in communities in regional and rural Australia with limited or no current access to broadband.
  • Different geographies and landscapes are selected as Fibre Serving Areas (FSA) that allow us to test and refine the NBN design.
  • All FSAs are built on a transmission ring in a sequence.
  • Construction will commence in a selected FSA with adjacent FSAs built as the next priority.
  • Fixed wireless infrastructure construction expected to be accelerated so as to have the network completed by 2016.
  • The NBN in Tasmania is estimated to be completely rolled out by 2017.

 

Website Design and Related Topics (5)

What does CMS mean?

Question: What is a CMS?

Answer: Over the last decade the Internet has significantly evolved and created vast amount of opportunities for small and medium businesses as well as individuals. Many entrepreneurs have quickly realized that the Internet can be a just the perfect tool to promote their business to a targeted customer group or other related stakeholders. With the evolution of the internet, some tools have emerged on the market that are dedicated for providing functionality and support for people who wish to avail themselves to this opportunity. One of these tools is Content Management System (CMS), which is a common choice for entrepreneurs for creating, launching and managing their website. There are different types of CMS that can provide distinctive sets of options depending on the purpose of the website that’s created for. Business owners can examine those options and evaluate which CMS will best suit their needs and provide the most support for their operations.

There are a number of ways a business owner can promote its business on the internet. One of the most common promotion methods used in order to keep customers informed and up to date is blogging. It is effective and relatively cheap way of promotion and as a result it’s one of the most popular choices of small business owners. The number one CMS choice designed for blogging is WordPress. WordPress has become very popular thanks to its very quick setup as well as ease of use. Furthermore, WordPress is deployed with a WYSIWYG editor. As a result, there is no need for a user to be familiar with HTML or any other programming language in order to efficiently operate the system. Another aspect to support WordPress is its flexibility. There are a huge amount of plugins available for download and installation that allow users to customize their websites look and feel as well as functionality, Moreover, since it is arguably one of the most commonly used CMS available, there are vast amounts of documentation and how-to pages available on the internet as well as many support groups that can provide solutions to almost all problems a user may encounter. WordPress is an open source platform and as a result there are no initial costs involved. However, many of the plugins (themes, modules, functionality) will require payment to commercial entities. WordPress is particularly popular with Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

However, bigger companies may require more complex and functional websites than  WordPress is capable of building. Therefore, larger business owners are more likely to choose Drupal as CMS for their business. Drupal is a flexible CMS with features that can be used to create and manage more sophisticated websites with larger content and functionality (Goodrich 2012). Moreover, its basic framework and intuitive interface is easy to get familiar with.  Drupal is small and easy to install but on the other hand, it usually requires installation of additional plugins and modules to expand its capabilities. These plugins and expansions provide many interesting features when creating a website for a business. There are many corporate, political and government websites using Drupal as their CMS on the internet. Drupal is also an open source system. However, many plugins and expansions sold by commercial enterprises can came with a hefty price tag. As many open source systems, Drupal have very large, active community. As a result, it is often not difficult to find support.

We have looked at two popular (open source) CMS. There are many CMSs  available, some open source and others offered by commercial organisations. Following is a few links to various CMS sites and the Wikipedia listing of all available CMS software:

 

 

.com or .com.au (for an existing .com site)

Question: If a client has a current website with domain name that is a .com  and website is currently well supported/ followed, ranked, what would be the repercussions of creating a new site with a .com.au, and having the .com pointed to the new site? Would it loose its ranking – I am thinking it will as it is a new site? Are there any advantages to keeping the .com and creating the new website on it, and having the new domain name with .com.au  pointed to the .com? The client seems to prefer the .com as although target audience is mainly Australian they do have some international clients. I have suggested the .com.au would be better for Australian searching.

Answer: I agree with you that the .com.au is better for Australian searching – but a .com is very valuable for international. There is a good chance that existing rankings will change if the .com is pointed at the .com.au. The best (and I have seen it done before) solution here is  probably aim the .com.au at the .com. Nothing then changes in rankings & hopefully the .com.au will increase thru the ranking.

This should be easy to accomplish. Register the .com.au domain – then inform your web-host to designate it to the existing .com IP address. What that does is inform the APACHE server to listen for requests for both the xxxx.com.au and xxx.com  and when a request is made to connect it to your clients directory on the host (the document root of the domain name). This way both addresses .com and .com.au can be advertised dependant on the market.

Can WordPress support 2 domains?

Question: The client has an established business, but has a new “process” that she wants to promote.  It is a health related business, and the process is not a product or a program.  So we have discussed the idea of changing the business name to this new “process” but as the current business is well established, and will still continue, I am hesitant to recommending a total change of domain name (rebrand)  to reflect the new “process” in their business,  however we want to promote that new “process”. So another idea is to keep the current domain name and update the current WP website, include a blog, and for the blog to stand alone as well with a new domain name. My question is how do you do that?  i.e.  you have 2 domains- one  business website and one blog, both working simultaneously, yet main domain incorporates the blog, which is effect a separate website too, but all pointing to each other.

Answer: Word Press itself cannot support two different domains. But perhaps it does not need to do so. After looking at your clients sites it occurred to me that there is a much simpler solution, simply link both sites together via a menu link on both sites. That is on existing site a menu item is created linking to the new sites domain (and/or a much larger advert on the existing sites landing page informing visitors of the new process – linked to second domain). The second Word Press site then becomes only the blog site – with a menu item directing users to the other domain. In relation to the previous question I would also register the .com.au version of ,com of the new site.

What is FTP?

Question: I have free hosting with my ISP and have a website built (by my nephew) and ready to go. My host says I need to upload the site using FTP. What is FTP and where can I get it?

Answer:  FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a way of moving files across the Internet. You will need an FTP client (software) to upload files from your PC/Mac to the webhost’s site (in your directory). Your browser (IE, Firefox) can do limited FTP however, they won’t work with a secure FTP site. Therefore it is better to have a dedicated FTP client. I recommend FileZilla, it’s free and works well. But there are many FTP clients available and another may suit you better. Following are links to the FileZilla site and two Wikipedia’s articles on FTP:

 

 

 

Do I need a website for my business? Why should I consider it?

This is one of the most important and most frequently asked questions by small businesses in the digital age. The short, the answer is a clear Yes. If you have a business, you should have a website. Many consumers utilise the web for information search purposes everyday, for a whole range of requirements. Even a simple static site (with a professional look and feel) will give potential customers relevant information about your business, regardless of location etc.