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WiFi for work, pleasure and security: A case study

Published: January 12, 2021

Meet Michael

Michael Johnson, who lives on the Newport Waterways in Brisbane, had everything he ever wanted – except WiFi he could count on. Underneath the façade of his modern renovated home was old telco wiring from a time before internet. Michael connected to a nbn 50 megabits per second (mbps) plan and had such high hopes, yet the experience was very underwhelming. He was forced to watch Netflix on his iPad over 4G, as his network connection couldn’t deliver.

What was the point of a modern media room with surround sound and a 4K 65-inch smart TV, when forced to watch on his iPad? Michael spent hours on the phone with his RSP, and was told repeatedly that there was nothing wrong. Whenever it rained, his internet went from ‘terrible’ to ‘dead’. Michael was left paying for a 50mbps service, but was lucky to get download speeds of 2-3mbps.

What was the point of a modern media room with surround sound and a 4K 65-inch smart TV, when forced to watch on his iPad?

From March 2020, he and his wife were forced to work from home. He couldn’t perform simple office-based tasks or attend a virtual meeting on Microsoft Teams. His upload speed was worse than his download speed. In an act of desperation, Michael was “hot-spotting” off the wireless 4G coverage, which was also patchy due to high congestion due to COVID-19 and peak periods.

He felt marooned in his role as a Senior Operations Manager across multiple states, left unable to communicate effectively with his national team. Not being able to watch Netflix was one thing, but this could no longer be tolerated. Calls and extensive delays on hold to his internet provider proved even more frustrating. Michael decided to book a ‘Turbocharge my WiFi’ in-home assessment with tech2.

Not being able to watch Netflix was one thing, but this could no longer be tolerated.

Turbocharge my WiFi, please!

A tech2 telecommunications technician arrived at Michael’s house and tested speeds from the building entry point (BEP) to the telco wall plate in Michael’s study. Three key findings were made immediately.

  • First, it was clear Michael was receiving solid signal (above the 50mbps he was paying for) from nbn’s FTTN network. Michael’s home was 600 metres from the node with a 45-metre driveway (lead-in). A closer look showed the connection to the home was simply a ‘makeshift’ twisting of copper pairs with old insulation tape that had perished. There were no insulated scotch locks or any protective housing on the premises connection (PCD). This joint was exposed to the elements and living on the water, was particularly corroded. The effect of rain would short the connection whenever it got damp.
  • Second, the in-home cabling was typical of many homes built prior to internet. The phone line was split to supply multiple telco wall outlets (known as ‘star wiring’) for the kitchen, study and bedroom in the home. For the analogue requirements of yesteryear this would have been fine, but the joints were old and the signal was weakening on its pathway to the modem.
  • Third, the wall plate being used for the modem was in the study. However, it was the old 610 Plug (three-pin type) with a converter to RJ12 socket, which wasn’t conducive to a solid signal.

The combination of these three issues was causing a 50mbps signal at the building entry point to become 3mbps when it wasn’t raining.

Next, tech2 installed a new PCD housing and jointed the existing lead-in from the street to a new Cat5 cable running directly to Michael’s study. This was jointed using scotch locks and the housing was sealed, along with the lead-in conduit, to create a major barrier from weather, rain, moisture and water ingress from the lead-in. The wall plate was replaced and the modem was now receiving 51mbps.

Checking the WiFi signal through the home showed ample signal to the study, but it decreased as you walked throughout the house. In Michael’s outdoor areas the signal was at 5mbps. tech2 then installed a TP Link WiFi mesh system throughout his home to provide a vast WiFi footprint. Michael could then receive 45mbps when sitting by his pool. His 4K smart TV and many other devices were connected to the system by the tech2 team.

Michael could then receive 45mbps when sitting by his pool.

It provided Michael with a solid WiFi footprint – speeds of 45+mbps throughout his home and 40mbps signal in the surrounding yard.

Michael spent less than 500 dollars to bring his home into a modern WiFi enabled environment, including the Mesh system (at an RRP of 270 dollars). This guarantees a robust WiFi backbone he uses every day for work, pleasure and security.

Since the tech2 “Turbocharge My WiFi” visit

Since tech2’s visit Michael has installed eight Swan security cameras and a Ring doorbell. He can visit his country home in Nanango (about a three hour drive out of Brisbane) knowing he can check what’s going on at Newport at any time. He has installed WiFi-enabled LIFX lights, which he can operate from his phone and schedule to provide a ‘lived-in presence’ when away. Michael can even control his LIFX light on his pontoon from anywhere in the world.

He can also watch TV in his favourite room looking out onto the water.

“I didn’t know the problem was within my control to fix,” Michael said. “If I’d known, I would have done it as soon as I switched over to nbn. I now love the nbn, my internet provider, and feel a little guilty blasting the guys at the call centres. I just wish they had suggested getting tech2 in as soon as I had problems instead of telling me everything was OK. I’m now taking full advantage of what good internet can deliver and although I’m spending a bit on new gadgets, I’m loving the freedom they are offering me. I feel a bit like James Bond 007!”

Now Michael does have everything he ever wanted.

To find out more about tech2’s WiFi solution, visit www.tech2.com.au/turbo