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Bill Bennett


Whatever ailed Vodafone broadband … seems to be fixed

After reporting a series of poor results, broadband monitoring company TrueNet notes a welcome return to form for Vodafone broadband performance.

The latest Urban Broadband Report notes:

“Vodafone Cable connections show a 31 percent increase in NZ webpage average speed this month compared to last month. Vodafone Fibre shows a 29 percent increase month on month.”

In recent TrueNet reports Vodafone turned in poor numbers on both its UFB fibre broadband services and its own FibreX-branded HFC network. The performance drop-off was especially noticeable at peak times.

TrueNet Fibre Cable NZ April May 2017
Source: TrueNet

The similarity of the drop-off and the fast bounce back on both networks suggests something broke that Vodafone has since fixed. It is possible that the TrueNet performance monitoring helped Vodafone identify the problem.

Meanwhile, TrueNet has added Vodafone’s fixed wireless service to the Urban Broadband Report. This shows Vodafone fixed wireless customers get twice the speed seen by Spark and Skinny customers. Skinny and Spark manage more consistent speeds throughout the day.

TrueNet Fixed Wireless
Source: TrueNet

This story was first published for The Download Newsround, a weekly wrap of New Zealand telecommunications news that I prepare for Chorus. You can subscribe here



3 thoughts on “Whatever ailed Vodafone broadband … seems to be fixed

  1. Just FYI to clear up the difference between FibreX and UFB, both networks are active fibre-to-the-node, where proper fibre connections are made to a local cabinet, and the networks only differ in the “last mile”. UFB uses a “GPON”, which is a single dedicated but shared passive fibre for the neighbourhood, where everyone connected to the same fibre shares the bandwidth. FibreX uses DOCSIS over a dedicated but shared shielded copper coaxial cable for the neighbourhood, where everyone connected to the same cable shares the bandwidth. To the end user, there is in both cases an Ethernet plug to which a high speed router is connected, which is a copper connection anyway. Both network technologies have a shared neighbourhood connection, both are fast, the only difference to the end user is the name and the “feel-good” factor of having a thinner-looking cable to your house.

    1. Well no, that’s not the only difference. There is a huge performance gap between a gigabit UFB plan and a gigabit FibreX plan. This is true even when compared to Vodafone UFB fibre. I accept the average user is not going to notice that difference most of the time. The other issue is most service providers sell UFB connections that don’t get congested at peak times. The TrueNet figures show there’s a 20 percent difference between peak and off peak FibreX speeds.

  2. Webpage performance is a function of core network performance, network route, DNS (underrated as a bottleneck) and international transit – whenever you see a speed test giving you full speed for your connection type but slow webpage downloads, the last mile technology is seldom the problem, whether that be HFC, UFB, or some future technology. To be clear, those other things are still totally on your ISP, no excuses. A DNS server that takes half a second to tell your browser where to go makes your 10MB webpage take 0.6 seconds at a gigabit, for an effective speed of about 150Mbit. The same DNS server taking half the time makes the effective speed about 300Mbit – so it’s clearly almost more important than the connection speed in many cases for browsing.

    Disclosure: yes, I have worked for many ISPs over the years, and no, this isn’t an official statement from any of them, it is a personal opinion.

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