I was reading an article just this morning, about the serious problems being encountered by many residents who live nearby to iTandCoffee in Glen Iris. In fact, only last night I received a call from a family who have been without internet for two weeks.
Here is the article I saw in the SMH:
At iTandCoffee, we too have suffered a severe case of NBN frustration.
Having placed the order with Telstra in early January to switch to NBN (which resulted in multiple frustrating follow up calls to clarify incorrect information given by the person who processed the order), we then heard nothing for 6 weeks. As I'm sure you will understand if you are one of the huge number of people who has ever dealt with Telstra issues, I just couldn't find the energy to get on the phone to Telstra to chase up what was happening with the order.
Then, in late Feb, we received a text saying the install would happen the next day, along with a contradicting email stating that the install would occur in two days.
Having contacted a Telstra 'case manager' to clarify the date (and complain about the lack of warning), and then arranging for someone to be present for the 4-hour window of 8am-12pm on day, no-one from NBN turned up on the day or contacted us to explain the 'no show'.
Our case manager from Telstra then booked the next available appointment with NBN, which was on March 30 - again between 8am-12pm. This meant waiting another month for action!
Once again, we arranged for someone to be present for the 8am-12pm window. It was after 11:30 on March 30 when we finally received a call saying that the technician wouldn't be there until about 2pm!
Then, when he finally did arrive, we were informed that he couldn't do anything because a conduit from the 'pit' outside into the premises was not large enough, and that Telstra would need to fix this before NBN could do their 'bit'!
Now, we supposedly have a 'remediation appointment' scheduled for May 19 - over 4 months after the original order was placed.
What is not clear is when Telstra will fix the 'conduit size' issue. Yet more time needs to be wasted on calls to Telstra to resolve just what is happening, something that I could not face this past week.
Now, after reading this morning's article, I think I will be cancelling my order and sticking with my current ADSL internet connection for as long as possible.
Do you have a NBN tale of woe? Feel free to leave a comment below if you have.
The last few weeks have seen lots of articles in the press about two terms that are a 'glorious mystery' to most readers of this blog. I have also had very regular questions about these things from clients.
They are NBN - National Broadband Network and VPN - Virtual Private Network.
Let's look at each in turn, and at some articles that have appeared recently about these services.
NBN - do we all need to change?
Given that she currently has a Telstra cable broadband connection (as do we), she wondered if she needed to do anything - given that she had heard that the Telstra cable broadband network will be retained as part of the NBN.
While this is correct, the Telstra cable broadband network has been sold to NBN. This means that all Telstra cable customers must change to NBN when it becomes available in their area. The Optus Cable network is being decommissioned completely - so Optus cable clients must also change.
The same applies for anyone that has an ADSL connection to the internet - you MUST switch to the NBN once you receive notification that the NBN is available in your area. If you don't you will risk being disconnected.
Even if you don't have internet to your home, you are still impacted by the NBN if you have a phone - landline phone connections are also moving to the NBN.
You can stick with your current Telco, but it is probably a good time to consider who will give you the best price and service.
I know that, when it comes time for this household to switch, I will be taking a very close look at who provides the best deal and won't necessarily be sticking with Telstra as my provider. In this family we need unlimited downloads and fast speed - and it will be a case of who can provide these for the lowest cost.
And I will doing a 'self-install' of any equipment that needs to be installed in my home - to save myself the $240 installation fee that Telstra would charge to send someone to do it for me.
(iTandCoffee can assist clients with this install - our fee is nowhere near that of Telstra! Call 1300 885 420 if you want to discuss this option with us.)
For those of you who want to read a bit more, here are some recent articles and information about the NBN and the two major Telcos.
Articles about/from Telstra
If you need advice on what to do, iTandCoffee can help. Call 1300 885 420 to make an appointment. We are located in Glen Iris, Melbourne, but can arrange to come to you if needed*.
VPN - what is it, and why might you want it?
The issue of how to stay safe when travelling - and when using Public Wi-Fi networks - comes up regularly at iTandCoffee. (We cover this topic in the Travel with your iPad, iPhone and other technology class, which will next run on Friday 24th March at 10am. Places are still available if you would like to join us - find out more here ›)
We are regularly seeing and hearing in the press that using public Wi-Fi networks is, in some cases, how people get 'hacked' - how they have their private information stolen, their online account compromised, and/or their money stolen.
Lately there has been an advertisement playing regularly on the radio about a new product from Norton, one that is supposed to keep you safe when using public networks.
The solution offered is to use a VPN whenever you use a public Wi-Fi network.
But what is a VPN - or Virtual Private Network?
A VPN provides a layer of protection for any communications you have across the internet.
When a VPN is installed and active on a device, it ensures that any data sent across the internet from that device (or received to that device) is 'encrypted' - scrambled, so that no-one can read this data (unless they are supposed to!). It is like creating a secure 'tunnel' through which your data can travel - a tunnel that others cannot break into.
Here are some articles that describe the concept of a VPN, and give some options for those thinking about getting a VPN, or an alternative product that can help protect their online life while 'on the go'.
If you would like to find out more about VPNs and how to set one up, let us know using the below form. If we get enough interest we will run a class - otherwise, we will get in contact with you about arranging one-on-one assistance (should you decide you need it).
"I want to know more about VPNs"
* In-home appointments are available to homes within 20km of iTandCoffee. Distance/travel surcharge applies to these appointments, as shown on our Prices page.
For anyone that makes use of public WiFi networks at cafes and restaurants, shopping centres, airports, hotels or elsewhere, you really do need to be sure that you are not exposing your passwords and private details to others that may be on that network - people who 'camp out' on the network looking for unsecured communications over the internet.
The Age published a good article on this topic this week. Here it is:
Related Handy Hints and Articles
If you have an ADSL internet service - as I do at the iTandCoffee Shop - the issue of internet speed can be a constant frustration. The poor speed really impacts during classes when multiple people are trying to download apps or view web pages.
Some times of day are just SO slow - partly due to the number of premises competing for the same service, and sometimes due to 'channel crowding' on the Wi-Fi. Here is an article about this: How You and Your Neighbors Are Making Each Other’s Wi-Fi Worse (and What You Can Do About It)
I had regularly checked to see if I could get NBN at the shop, only to find no indication of when or if the service would arrive at 34 High Street Glen Iris.
During the Christmas break, I read an article that gave me a spark of hope - an article that had the headline NBN's Searchable Rollout Map Is Finally Online.
So, I checked the reported rollout map - and am very excited to report that an NBN connection IS, apparently, now available to the shop address.
Interestingly enough, the 'rollout map' page did not indicate that Telstra (iTandCoffee's current service provider) was a potential provider of NBN to the iTandCoffee shop address.
I figured it was still worth calling Telstra anyway (since I have a contract that I don't want to break at this point), and have been advised that Telstra can switch my current ADSL service to NBN.
A sales person will be calling me back to discuss the options and costs shortly - stay tuned on that.
I do have to say that I will only believe it when it happens, but am excited at the prospect of a more consistent, faster internet service to the iTandCoffee Shop.
If you have been struggling with a terrible service to your own home, why not check the rollout map to see if you too have some good NBN news!
What are the various ways in which to gain access to the internet, either at home or when you are 'on the go'?
What do the terms Broadband, ADSL, Cable, 4G/3G, modem and router mean, and what do these things do? What is the cost associated with gaining access to the internet, and who can provide this access?
This topic and questions were covered this week at an Information Session held at Cameron Close, a beautiful retirement community in Burwood.
For others who would like to gain a bit of an understanding of these things, iTandCoffee has popped the Slideshow from the Cameron Close information session into the iTandCoffee Club area.
Here is the link for iTandCoffee Club members who would like to watch this slideshow.
For a limited time, the iTandCoffee Guide called 'Getting Connected' will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD by iTandCoffee Club members.
Check out The Clubhouse for details of how to get this guide. Here is the members-only link to The Clubhouse.
If you would like access great content and special offers like this, why not Join the Club! It's only $30 per year - find out more here.
Some other articles and hints that might help ...
For anyone who is interested in being the home internet control freak (like me) - as mentioned in this article published yesterday - this is the device that I purchased and set up recently.
There are others that offer similar capabilities, but I liked this one because it got good reviews and it was a Netgear router. It was also being offered at a reasonable price by eStore, the online technology store that I use for a lot of my technology purchases.
I have had several previous Netgear devices and have loved the app that goes with these devices, Netgear Genie.
I can even control the home network from the Netgear Genie app on my iPhone - yesterday I did this as I sat by the pool!!
Power to me!
If you decide to purchase a device like this and need assistance setting it up (and you live in Melbourne), contact iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article is an independent article, and in no way an advertisement for either Netgear or Estore.)
How I took control!
This question came up again this week, from a client in Glen Iris who has appalling internet speed via their ADSL connection at home.
As the kids in the family get older and there is more and more demand on the home internet, this issue with speed and connectivity has been causing a great deal of stress.
I was asked to check into whether there is the possibility of getting faster internet at their home.
I figure there may be many other people out there with the same question, so I will share how I worked out that they certainly could be getting a much better service than what they currently have.
If your ADSL speed is terrible, it is probably to do with the quality of your phone line and/or the distance of your home from the exchange. Peak times for internet traffic an also dramatically impact speed and performance.
So my first advice to anyone in this situation is to check if they can get a Broadband Cable connection instead of ADSL. In some areas, you may also have access to the NBN.
Not all suburbs and streets will have access to cable. But you can easily perform a couple of online checks to see which (if any) of the major Telco provides a cable service to your address.
If you are lucky enough to qualify for cable (or NBN), just call your Telco (or place an online order) to get the ball rolling towards faster internet.
If you do not have access to Cable or NBN services, maybe this article will help you to improve the speed of your existing ADSL service.
If you need help with navigating any of this, please don't hesitate to call iTandCoffee ofn1300 884 420!
iTandCoffee often receives requests for assistance with slow home internet services.
The initial client query is often about how to speed up their very slow WiFi, thinking that the problem lies with their WiFi signal strength or an old device.
In many case though, it is not the WiFi that is the source of their speed issue. It is actually that the ADSL broadband internet connection their home is very, very slow.
This may be an issue with the location of their home - some locations get very poor speeds due to a number of factors, including distance from the exchange, and heavy internet traffic in their area at peak times of day.
Check the speed of your internet service
My first advice to anyone who is wondering why their internet is so slow is the run a 'speed test' to confirm the speed that they are getting.
The website speedtest.net can be used to perform such a test. (Note. Please don't download any offered software from this webpage. It may cause more problems that it solve.)
The client who contacted me yesterday had an ADSL Broadband internet connection through Optus.
Using speedtest.net, she found that she had a speed of only about 2.5Mbps on WiFi (in the room where the router is located) and just over 3Mbps when connected to the router via an ethernet cable. This is pretty slow in today's terms and would have meant a snail-paced service in other areas of the house.
What to do if your internet service is slow?
So my question to her was whether she had considered upgrading her internet service to Broadband Cable (or, if available, NBN)? These forms of broadband connection provide much higher internet speeds of around 30Mbps (or, for the high-speed option from Telstra, or 1000Mbps) - a huge improvement on 2 or 3Mbps.
If your current service provider only provides ADSL, it might be time to investigate switching to a provider who provides one of these two alternatives.
In this client's case, I could visit the websites for iinet and Telstra, enter her home address, and confirm that
She will next week look at moving her internet from iinet to a provider that can supple a cable internet connection.
If you need help to better understand all this internet mumbo-jumbo, why not call iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420 or at email@example.com.
A submarine fibre-optic cable fault between Perth and Singapore could be why.
Jen S asks: Is there a way to track who in the house is using all our internet data, and what they are doing to use it up?
Now I need to include a warning before I answer this one! This area is hard to talk about without some technical jargon! So apologies in advance.
This is an issue that I have looked at many a time myself - especially on those days where our internet usage has reached around 100GB for ONE DAY!
The best way to monitor what is going on with your home internet is through your router.
Some routers provide logs of internet usage by IP address, allowing you to track down the data gobbler in your house.
While this may be possible for some, it is certainly not possible with the modem/router that Telstra provided for our home internet service. It has really limited capabilities and cannot be configured to provide any monitoring capabilities. One of these days, I am going to buy another router to replace it so that I can have the extra features that I need.
Depending on how 'locked down' your own router is, you can also look at using something called OpenDNS to set up parental controls on a router that does not provide adequate features in this area.
Now I know this will sound technical, but I'll say it anyway! To access OpenDNS, you 'just' need to change your router’s DNS server settings to use OpenDNS instead of the default DNS settings defined by your internet provider.
If you are brave enough to look into this OpenDNS option further, click here to see how OpenDNS allows you to set up an account and configure web filtering.
Below are a couple of articles I have 'scooped' on this topic on the iTandCoffee Scoop.it page. If you need help to check out and configure your router or OpenDNS, call iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420.
There has been a lot of press lately about iCloud and the alleged 'hacking' of celebrity iCloud accounts - where nude photos of these celebrities were stolen and published.
This has caused many people to worry that iCloud may not be safe, and may be easily hacked.
Is this the case - should you be worried about using iCloud to sync your data and backup your iPad and iPhone?
The answer is - it depends!
The security of your information in any Cloud-based solution is only as good as the password you use, the security questions/answers you choose, and the level of security that you apply to the account.
Additionally, if someone was to steal your iPhone, iPad or computer, the security of your online accounts is very dependent on whether you have password protection on that device.
Here are some hints for ensuring that your online data is protected - especially if you store those nude selfies in the cloud, something I would never recommend!
1. Choose strong passwords and use different passwords for each online account
Consider your password as the key protecting your information assets - just like your house key protects your physical assets.
Using an obvious password is similar to leaving your key in an obvious location (e.g. under your doormat).
If you then use the same key for your home, your car, your office, your holiday house, etc, then all of these assets will be at risk if someone gets hold of your key (and knows your addresses). Most online accounts have the same address (i.e. your email address), making them easy to access once someone knows your email address and password combination.
There are many ways that someone could get hold of your password for a particular online account - through a Phishing email, perhaps if you use public WiFi to access an account in a manner that is not secure, perhaps if a site at which you have that email address/password combination registered is itself hacked and your details stolen (as has happened for eBay and other sites recently).
If you use different passwords for different online accounts, you minimise the potential impact of any theft of your login credentials for another online account.
2. Try to choose more obscure security questions and answers
Sometimes, the security questions and answers that you set up to deal with forgotten passwords are just too easy to guess if the person illegally accessing your account knows anything about you.
For the celebrities whose data was illegally accessed in the past week, this is most likely what happened. Given that these people are in the public limelight, answers to their 'secret' questions were probably not as secret as would apply to the average person.
If you are given a list of questions/answers to choose from, choose those that would be really difficult for anyone else to guess.
3. Consider turning on 2-step verification for your Apple ID/s
This is something that has been covered in earlier articles, in relation to improving the security of your Gmail and Outlook/Live/Hotmail accounts.
Apple provides the same additional security setting for your Apple ID. If this is enabled, if a device is not listed as a 'trusted' device is used to access your Apple account, a four-digit verification code will be sent to your mobile phone - this could would need to be entered on that other device before access to your account is granted.
This would tell you if an un-authorised person is trying to access your account, and would prevent any such person from getting access to your account and its data.
Check out the below article 'Scooped' on theiTandCoffee Scoop.it page, to find out how to set up this 2-step verification.
Apple has acknowledged a deficiency in its notifications for iCloud
While Apple's iCloud security was not actually compromised or the cause of the celebrity account hackings, Apple has acknowledged that there was a gap in their notification processes.
There was no notification sent to those celebrities of the fact that their accounts had been installed on, or restored to new devices (ie. the devices of the hackers).
This has now been rectified, so that you will in future receive a notification whenever your iCloud is installed on, or restored to a new device.
A client who is on an overseas trip recently unfortunately lost her phone in Turkey. Luckily, she had signed in to iCloud and turned on ‘Find my iPhone’ before she left.
She got herself a replacement phone in Turkey and, using Find my iPhone on that device (after signing in to her iCloud account), she put the lost/stolen phone into ‘Lost mode' and contacted Telstra to lock the phone’s SIM to stop it being used for calls and data.
But she was then puzzled to find, many days later on her trip, a new photo appear in her Photo Stream - a photo that she did not take, of a man holding his daughter, taken in Turkey! So, of course, she was worried that this might have meant someone was using her phone and had access to her information on the phone! She had a Passcode Lock on the device, so how did this photo get into her iCloud Photo Stream?
She went back into Find My iPhone on her replacement iPhone, ‘found’ her old iPhone in the list of devices, and chose the ‘Erase iPhone’ option for that device. Since she did this, no unexpected new Photo Stream photos have appeared.
But given that she had a Passcode Lock on her device, how did that photo find its way into the Photo Stream of her new iPhone?
Regardless of whether there is a Passcode Lock on the Phone, it is still possible to take photos from the ‘lock screen’ when you don’t know the passcode. If the iPhone is signed in to iCloud and the ‘Photo Stream’ feature turned on, any photos taken on the device will automatically appear in the Photo Stream on other devices. The lost phone would just need to be connected to the internet via WiFi for this to happen. Of course, there is always the chance that the person who had this lady's iPhone actually ‘hacked’ her passcode and did have access to the contents of her device before the device was erased.
This poor client’s experience is a lesson to all of us on the value of using iCloud, and ensuring you turn on the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature on the device. Then, if your iPhone (or iPad) is ever permanently lost or stolen, make sure you use the ‘Erase’ option of Find my iPhone as soon as possible.
This will wipe the device and prevent the person accessing any information on the device, and stop any further interaction with your iCloud/Photo Stream. Your lost/stolen device will be rendered useless, since the person who has it would need the password associated with your Apple ID to activate it again.
Another lesson here is to make sure you have a Passcode Lock on your iPhone and iPad, especially when you travel. This prevent any unauthorised access to your device. You would be surprised how much personal and valuable information can be stored on these devices! As has been mentioned several times in articles, don't store your list of passwords in your Notes or Contacts - or anywhere else that is easily accessible.
And a third lesson is that it is worth considering turning on the iCloud Backup feature so that, should your lose your device, you can simply replace it and everything from this iCloud backup.
For more information on any of the above, contact iTandCoffee.
Fun has not been the term a senior client of iTea&Coffee would use!
After being door-knocked by a Telstra Representative, this lady was convinced to sign up for a new Telstra internet and phone Bundle. She had not, until that point, considered that she needed any change, and only used very little internet for emails and a bit of web browsing.
Well, after a period of more than 4 weeks (it was only supposed to take a few days), and hours and hours (adding up to days) that each of us has spent on the phone to Telstra on the merry-go-round of the Telstra call centre, her new Telstra Bundle is now finally 'provisioned' and her phone is finally back working properly for her.
During this time, her internet was cut off for several days, and there was so much mis-communications (and non-communications), wasted phone calls repeating the same thing over. I know she regretted ever answering the door to that Telstra door-knocker!
And its not yet over - she has been advised that there will be issues with the next bill that will now need to be resolved in early June, so at least one further (probably lengthy) Telstra call will be required to finally put this one to bed.
In the meantime, her online account with Telstra.com.au is still wrong. After several calls to Telstra about this matter, the last rep we spoke to finally advised that it can take up to 2 billing cycles to get the online account looking right after a change to the account! - even though the paperwork and emails she received about her new bundle recommend using this website to view her account and check on her usage. So she can't use the Telstra 24x7 app on her iPad to track her usage against her 5GB plan until the corrections to her online account have been completed. In the meantime, she has been told she will have to call Telstra any time she wants to know her usage!!! Imaging sitting on hold for an extended period just to ask how much data you have used!
I know that this sort of thing doesn't happen for every client who upgrades their Telstra service. But when it does happen, the frustration comes from being passed from one person to the next and each new person having no idea what has happened or been discussed previously, and from people given wrong information and making further errors.
If only we had been able to deal with a single person on this matter right from the start - we had to raise a complaint to get any real help, and even then were passed amongst 3 different 'case handlers' for this case before we finally got a 'regular' to talk to.
If you are finding that you don't have the 'language' and understanding to talk to Telstra or another Telco about a problem or upgrade, iTea&Coffee can help with this. Just call on 1300 885 420.
This is an interesting article for those of you who have ADSL and who are not satisfied with its speed. I just feel very grateful that we can get cable to our house, and get speeds of around 100Mbps (as compared with the average speed of 4 or 5 Mbps that the writer of the article is getting).
A regular query I get is what to do when the internet or WiFi seems to have stopped working.
The problem is often just that the WiFi router needs to be re-started. The next time you find you have no internet, consider this as one of your first 'ports of call'. Your router will usually have an on/off button on its back. Either turn it of using this button, unplug the power from it or switch if off at the wall. Wait a little while (eg 10 secs) then plug it back in/turn it back on and wait for all the lights to come back on and show green (sometimes blue as well).
Then recheck your internet/wi-fi connection from the device. Perhaps try turning off your WiFi on the device and turning it back on, then see if your WiFi network appears in the list now. If you don't get automatically connected to it, select it and re-join it.
Hopefully this will work in the majority of cases. There are times where you will find that your internet provider is actually doing maintenance or has a problem in your area. If you are still having problems, this may be the case - I usually use my smartphone to check for outages in the area via my ISP's website, once I have ruled out any problems from my end.
Call 1300 885 420
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