Tag: Internet service

A code of conduct is now called for advertising bandwidth on UK small-business Internet services


Ofcom extends speed code of practice to business broadband | ThinkBroadband

My Comments

Pantiles - Royal Tunbridge Wells picture courtesy of Chris Whippet [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Pantiles at Royal Tunbridge Wells – representative of a shopping strip with small businesses

Previously, I wrote an article about the main UK ISPs working on a code of practice for selling Internet service to small businesses. This is mainly about calling a minimum service quality for these Internet services.

But BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM, Talk Talk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and Zen Internet have agreed to a code of practice for selling business Internet service, which will come in to effect from 20 September 2016.

This code of service primarily affects the bandwidth and service quality concerning the business Internet service.

It calls for transparent accurate information on broadband speeds at the point of sale. This covers providing knowledge of estimated download and upload line-level speeds and, where available, the “real” throughput speeds as early as possible through the sale process. There will also be detailed information about the bandwidth of the service after the sale and on the ISP’s Website. The service speed that is disclosed has to be as accurate as possible and the ISP has to deliver this information to their resellers and solution providers who onsell the service.

If there are issues with the business Internet service not “hitting the mark” when it comes to throughput, the ISP has to manage these issues and help the business customer when that problem is raised by the customer.

The code of practice also include a “walk-out” right where the business custome can leave the Internet-service contract without penalty if the dowload speed falls below and is consistently below the agreed speed even after the ISP and business customer have had an opportunity to rectify the issue. Of course, the business would have to return any customer-premises equipment leased to them by the ISP.

A question that was called out in the article was whether a business customer on a multi-year contract could walk out due to substandard performance encountered during a time where the Internet service is overloaded at a time where residential users are placing intense demand on that service.

But there are a few gaps missing that may affect small businesses.

One of these is that the code of practice doesn’t apply to fixed-line-speed services like cable-modem services or fibre-to-the-premises services. Nor will it apply to “dedicated-line” business services like leased-line services, Ethernet-First-Mile services and Ethernet-over-FTTC services.

The Ethernet-over-FTTC service was called out in the article’s comment trail because it is offered as an entry-level dedicated-line service for small and medium businesses. Here, it is known to exhibit performance traits where the core-network bandwidth is predictable but the access-network bandwidth isn’t predictable.

But the commenters raised the possibility that a business could sign up to an Internet service that has a service-level-agreement which would cover situations and services beyond the code-of-practice’s scope. Similarly, could it be feasible for an ISP or telco to strike a service-level-agreement that is modelled on this code of practice and uses it as a fallback measure?

There is another issue that wasn’t addressed in this code of practice which can affect many small businesses and community organisations. It is where a business cannot see out a contract due to events in the business’s or organisation’s life-cycle such as when the business changes hands or the worst comes to the worst. Similarly, it doesn’t address a situation where a business changes location and the dynamics of the Internet service can be affected by that change.

At least a few steps are taking place to provide the same level of customer protection for small-business owners that consumers would enjoy when they sign up to Internet service.

A Singapore telco sets the cat amongst the Australian pigeons


Linksys EA8500 broadband router press picture courtesy of Linksys USA

Someone could be setting the cat amongst the pigeons in the Australian market

Singaporean Internet startup MyRepublic to launch in Australia | Mashable

How Telstra threat MyRepublic plans to win the NBN race in Australia | Fairfax (Sydney Morning Herald)

My Comments

What needs to happen with the status quo when it comes to Internet service quality and pricing is that a new competitor who offers better value for money shows up in the marketplace.

This has happened in France with Free.fr when they offered some really low prices for their telephony and Internet service and has whipped up a highly-competitive Internet service market where Internet and triple-play services are so keenly priced. In the USA, Google rolled out their Google Fiber service to cities like Kansas City, Provo and Austin with rock-bottom prices for Gigabit Internet service. This has stirred up established Baby Bells and cable companies in the area to lift their game when it came to Internet service quality and prices. In the UK, Gigaclear have cut in to BT’s established practices by offering to rural communities FTTH broadband services which have the same upload and download speeds at prices most home and small-business users can afford.

Now a new Singapore telco has come on the scene in the Asia-Pacific region to do expressly that. MyRepublic is intending to join the Australian Internet-service market by offering an all-you-can-eat 100Mbps service for AUD$80-90 per month in the main capital cities. They intend to link in to the NBN infrastructure to provide this service but are critical of the way NBN was changed towards a fibre-copper technology mix.

MyRepublic had reached other markets like New Zealand where they offered an all-you-can-eat 100Mbps service for NZ$79.99 over a 24-month contract and were focusing on offering a pure-play service that is independent of traditional telcos and cable-TV companies who are dependent on their other services.

Existing telcos, especially Telstra, are crying foul because they think that MyRepublic doesn’t have the infrastructure ready to provide Internet service of the same standard that they want to provide. What I see of this is that it shows that established providers will try to discredit competitive influence in order to make sure that the competitors can’t survive.

A question that may be worth raising is whether MyRepublic would have to capitulate towards offering multiple-play services with VoIP telephony and IP-based pay-TV especially in markets where multiple-play is the order of the day. It will also include whether these services will be keenly priced and offer increased value such as included calls or TV channels.

Four-play service competition intense on both sides of the Channel


Brit mobile firms in FOURPLAY TUSSLE – how very French of them | The Register

My Comments

Same level of competition for quad-play services in France and the UK

Same level of competition for quad-play services in France and the UK

France and the UK have recently become hotbeds for Internet-service competition whether at a pure-play (single-service) level or with packages that integrate landline telephony, fixed broadband Internet and / or multichannel pay TV. Those companies typically are offering this service via a “single-pipe” setup with some of them reselling content and services from competitors who offer it on a wholesale basis if they can’t sell it directly.

This has been due to government telecommunications and competitive-trade authorities enforcing real competition through measures like stopping incumbent operators from selling wholesale service to competitors under unfair terms compared to their retail offerings. As well, in France, it took Free to offer broadband and triple-play packages with increased value at ridiculously-low prices to effectively “shake up” the market and start this level of competition.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smartphone

The smartphone to be part of cost-effective home telecommunications and pay-TV packages in the UK

Now this is being expanded towards “four-play” or “quadruple-play” services that include mobile telecommunications along with the fixed telephony, “hot and cold running Internet” and pay TV. This is facilitated typically through their own mobile networks or buying mobile telecommunications from an established. typically pure-play, mobile operator on a wholesale basis as a “mobile virtual network”. Some companies may call the mobile broadband service as a distinct service and describe the packages that include this service as “five-play” or “quintuple-play” packages.

Over previous years, France has established an example of a healthy competitive market for this level of telecommunications and entertainment service. This is with all their telcos and broadband operators offering the “boxes” which integrated telephony, broadband and pay TV at some very keen prices, something I have covered regularly on HomeNetworking01.info. But most of these providers either have their own mobile infrastructure over the country or are putting themselves in a position to set up mobile virtual networks that they resell with their packages. An example of this is Free selling mobile telephony to their customers for an extra cost that is effectively “pennies’ worth”.

The way this level of service has come about for a lot of the UK operators is through varying levels of consolidation and business partnerships. A lot of these consolidations and partnerships have been with the companies who offer one or more services that can complement their own service packages to construct the “quad-play” package. But one of the situations that this has led to is for BT who sold off their Cellnet mobile-telephony service to O2 which is part of Spain’s Telefonica company in the 1990s, wanting to buy back the mobile network from this telco to run as the “mobile arm” of their quad-play package.

The directions that this could lead to include the availability of private femtocells that provide local mobile-phone coverage for the customer with the broadband connection serving as a backhaul or “cellular over Wi-Fi” for voice calls on one’s smartphone; TV Everywhere which is about access to the pay-TV packages anywhere in the country with your laptop or mobile device; and integrated landline / mobile telephony setups i.e. to receive calls destined to your landline on your mobile phone for no extra cost or call from home using your mobile phone at home-phone tariffs. As well, multiple-mobile-device Internet service could become very much part of the packages which can cater to those of us who maintain more than one mobile-broadband device like a “Mi-Fi” device.

Even integration of “over-the-top” telephony services like Skype and Viber could become the norm for these service providers by allowing customers to make or take calls through these services via either the mobile or the landline phone for nothing.

Other countries like the USA, Germany or Australia could be highly aware of this level of competition and know how to be prepared when it hits their shores or to know how to encourage it in a viable and sustainable manner.

Upload speeds are very important for provisioning broadband Internet


The Forgotten Importance of Broadband Internet Upload Speeds | ISPReview.co.uk

My Comments

Skype with uncluttered Modern user interface

Skype, Viber and Dropbox which require the ability to upload as important as YouTube.

Increasingly, Internet service providers focused on the download aspect of their customer’s bandwidth because most customers use this for downloading or browsing the Web. Typically, they provided a smaller capacity for uploads because of smaller data requirements used for interacting with the Web.

But they are realising that the upload bandwidth is as important especially as we enter the age of cloud computing, IP telecommunications and the Social Web and are highlighting the requirement to give upload speeds as important a footing as download speeds. This is of importance when ISPs are highlighting their offerings’ headline transfer speeds which typically emphasise the download speed only.

Key applications

IP telecommunications

A key requirement for decent upload speeds is IP-based telecommunications. These range from households implementing Skype or Apple Facetime to have long-distance free videocalls with relatives and friends through businesses using VoIP setups to save on telephony costs, The videocall is not just confined to being an element of 60s-70s science fiction anymore.

The upload speed is being considered important as technologies come on to the scene to enable high-quality voice and video telephone with AM-radio-grade voice calls or high-resolution videocalls.

Online storage services and cloud computing

WD MyCloud EX2 dual-disk NAS

Good upload speeds give the remote access abilities on these NAS units a lot of mileage

An application that is drawing attention to the need to consider upload speeds is the prevalence of online-storage and cloud-computing services. These also include “remote-access / personal-cloud” functionality that is a part of many home and small-business network-attached storage devices.

In a similar vein, the Social Web is encouraging us to tender photo and video content to one or more social-network services or image/video-sharing services.

Here, the ability to use these services without frustration can only be achieved when you have a high-throughput upload bandwidth. This is more so as we transfer files with increasingly-large file sizes like “master-quality” image, audio and video content that is to be shared, stored offsite or “taken further”.

The Web-based cottage industry

Increasingly there are people who are running their own Web site or blog. This cottage industry has become increasingly cost-effective for most with Web hosts that provide an always-alive hosting service either for free in some cases or you renting the space that you need for a modest sum of money.

The content-creation and publishing effort has been simplified thanks to the many content-management systems like Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki and vBulletin that is hosted on these Web hosts. It also has been simplified through the use of word-processing software that implements XML-RPC functionality

Telecommuting and working from home

An increasing workplace trend is to work from home. This can manifest in the form of a person who works for an employer by doing some or all of the work from home, through a professional who has their home office as their sole workplace to small-organisation operators who have a shopfront or similar public point of contact but use their home as their office.

These users are expected to upload large work files, especially if they are in the creative industries. As well, the concept of cloud computing, including “thin-client” cloud-computing setups, has encouraged small businesses to be able to “think big”.

Communications is also being considered of importance for the professional or small business to maintain a competitive edge. This is more so as business catches on to video conferencing and unified communications technologies which are more data intensive.

How is this being factored in

Some “last-mile” technologies do support symmetrical download-upload speeds such as “fibre-to-the-premises”, Ethernet-based setups and symmetrical DSL setups. But asymmetrical “last-mile” setups can support increased upload capacity when they are adjusted for this, typically with these services being provided for larger businesses.

What can be done

The ISPs can use upload speeds as another way of differentiating their services and expose the services that offer the higher upload speeds to residential and small-business users. One example of someone stepping in the right direction is Gigaclear who are promoting symmetrical bandwidth for their fibre-to-the-premises installations in some Home Counties villages which are attracting the “work-from-home” crowd.

As well, the ISPs who promote decent upload speeds could be ending up courting a lot of usage cases like professionals working from home and expatriates who maintain a strong loop with overseas contacts.


Making sure that the upload speed is highlighted as a feature for an Internet-service package may allow the telecommunications carrier or Internet service provider to maintain a competitive edge and satisfy new Internet usage realities. After all, it’s not just about downloading YouTube videos anymore.

Comcast reaches the 100% IPv6 goal for residential Internet


Comcast Reaches 100% Residential IPv6 Deployment | Broadband News And DSL Reports

From the horse’s mouth


Press Release

My Comments

Comcast brand logo - courtesy ComcastComcast is now one of the first major Internet service providers in the USA to set up for full IPv6 operation for its residential and small-business Internet-service products. Here, they are operating this on a dual-stack arrangement with customers able to receive IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and connections.

This is to satisfy realities that are affecting Internet use such as a reduction of publically-available IPv4 addresses and the arrival of the “Internet Of Everything” concept where there will be many devices connected to networks both large and small.  IPv6 also opens up newer network-management functionalities like Segment Routing and Service Function Chaining.

Here, they are also optimising the XFinity X1 and XFinity Voice product platforms for IPv6 as well as implementing IPv6 for all of networks associated with the NBC Universal digital-content properties.

If a Comcast subscriber is to benefit from IPv6, they would have to connect the cable modem to a router that supports IPv6 dual-stack functionality. In some cases, you may have to have the existing cable modem swapped out for a newer unit or have Comcast flash the existing unit with newer IPv6-ready firmware. When you set up your router’s IPv6 WAN/Internet options, you may find it best to let the router use the “auto-detect” options.

This could show up as a step in the right direction for IPv6 in the world’s largest and densest Internet-service market.

Bouygues Télécom offers a double-play “n-box” service for €16 per month in France

Articles – French language

B&You : une box Internet à 15,99€/mois, mais pas pour tout le monde | DegroupNews

B&You lance la Box Internet à 15,99 €/mois | Ere Numérique.fr

From the horse’s mouth

B&You (Bouygues Télécom)

Product Page

My Comments

Flag of FranceA EUR€16 per month double-play Internet service is now offered by Bouygues Télécom’s “B&You” low-cost brand for the French market.

This service, which is capable of being operated “by the month” without a a minimum contract, offers 20Mb/s Internet bandwidth via an ADSL setup along with inclusive fixed and mobile calls to France (including the Départements Outres Mer as well as Mayotte) and most of the popular international destinations. Being the “double-play” service, there isn’t the IPTV service with the many pay-TV channels but this would work well with people who use”over-the-air TV or Internet-hosted “over-the-top” services like YouTube or Apple TV.

Here, you purchase the “box” that is part of the service for EUR€35 and have to have your premises with a regular telephone line in place. This has to be connected to an exchange that is dégroupé (unconditional local loop access) for Bouygues Télécom. The equipment available for this service is an older generation unit which works as a basic Wi-Fi-equipped home-network edge.

But where would this plan drop in to place? It is one of a few “by-the-month” plans that I would see as courting the “holiday-home” / “occasionally-occupied” market. Think of that chic Parisian apartment that simply serves as a “bolt-hole” or that holiday house used in the Aquitaine on the summer weekends.

This is yet another sign of a highly-competitive Internet-service market in France that is also encompassing mobile telephony and Internet service.

Feature Article–Setting up a new router


Netgear DG834G ADSL2 wireless router

A router that is part of a full broadband service

One task that you will need to know how to do when you set up a small network for your home or business is to set up an Internet router. This may be done when you upgrade to a newer and better router, replace one that has failed or simply set up your new Internet service. You may also have to do this if you move premises and have to deal with a new Internet service provider or want to make sure that the Wi-Fi wireless network works properly.

In a lot of cases where you have a modem-router provided by your Internet Service Provider, you may find that the router is already setup for you or you may face a “wizard-driven” setup interface to help you through the setup routine.

Router Types

Broadband Router

This common type of router has an Ethernet connection and is designed to be connected to a broadband modem, typically provided by your broadband Internet service provider.

It is the type that will become increasingly relevant as more areas enable next-generation broadband and deliver the appropriate modems for the next-generation broadband technology because these will implement an Ethernet connection.

Modem Router

A modem router has an integrated broadband modem and connects directly to the broadband Internet service. This typically describes most equipment that is connected to an ADSL service or is supplied by an increasing number of residential Internet service providers.

Newer high-end modem routers may also have the ability to be connected to an external broadband modem. This is typically to cater for people who switch over to a cable Internet service or upgrade to next-generation broadband or businesses who want a highly-resilient broadband service.

Wireless Router

A router may be referred to as a “wireless router” if it is equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi wireless access point, which most of the routers sold to a lot of households are. These units may be a broadband router or a modem router as described above.

Login Parameters

A home network will typically have up to three sets of login credentials to take care of: the Device Management Password, the Internet Service credentials and the Wi-Fi Network parameters. Most consumer ISPs who supply the router for your network will prepare a card or other aide-memoire document which has these parameters on it and it is a good idea to write out a document that has these details when you set up your home network whether you were supplied with one of these cards in the first place or not.

Device Management Password

This set of credentials contains a device-determined user name and a password as the “keys” to the Web-based setup/management user interface for your router.

Internet Service credentials

This may be of importance to most ADSL services and some cable services, but they are the credentials that are determined by your Internet Service Provider when they provision (set up) your Internet service. They are not needed with most cable, mobile-broadband and next-generation Internet services.

These credentials, where applicable, are usually the same for the duration of your business relationship with your Internet service. Even if you relocate to another location serviced by the same Internet provider, these credentials will stay with you.

Wi-Fi network parameters

They represent the “Service Set ID” (SSID) which is your Wi-Fi network’s “call-sign”, and the WPA2-Personal passphrase for your home network’s Wi-Fi wireless segment if the network has one. They can be determined randomly when you first purchase your router or as part of an initial “WPS” setup routine.

Here, I would prefer to keep these credentials, especially the SSID and the WPA2-Personal passphrase constant even if you upgrade your router or set up a multiple-access-point “Extended Service Set”. If you relocate, you may choose to maintain these credentials or create new credentials for your new location.

The reason is that you avoid having to re-establish Wi-Fi connectivity to all of your portable devices if you upgrade or replace your router.

Primary Connection Classes

WAN connection

This connection, looked after by an integrated broadband modem and/or an Ethernet port that is marked “WAN” or “Internet” provides the link to a larger network that is typically your Internet service.

Multiple WAN connections

An increasing number of high-end routers, especially high-end ADSL modem routers provide two or three WAN connections. One is typically the ADSL modem or an Ethernet port while the other may be another Ethernet port for another modem or a USB peripheral port that allows you to connect a wireless-broadband modem. A lot of the routers that implement this feature will allow you to determine one of the four Ethernet ports as being a LAN port for the local network or an extra WAN connection.

Typically this is either to provide connection to a different medium like next-generation broadband, or you can use it to “gang” two or more Internet services together for increased bandwidth, load-balancing where certain data-transfer activities are sent one broadband connection while others are sent through the other broadband connection; or a fault-tolerant Internet connection where if one of the connections fails, the other connections come in to play.

LAN Connection

These connections represent the logical network or “subnet” that represents all the devices in the home network that want to benefit from the Internet connection and other network resources offered in this network.

This is represented by up to four Ethernet connections and, in most cases, a Wi-Fi wireless segment working at best to the 802.11n standard on either or both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Some newer high-performance units will work at best to the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard on the 5GHz band.

Other LAN connections that some of the devices will offer include a USB network interface adaptor for a regular computer that doesn’t have network ability, or a HomePlug AV powerline network segment. The latter may be offered in the form of a power-supply module that integrates the HomePlug-Ethernet adaptor and is what most of the French ISPs are using for their triple-play Internet services.

Setting up your connection

Make sure your Internet access works first

When you set up your home network, use one device, preferably a regular desktop or laptop computer for the setup routine. Preferably the device should be connected to the router via a LAN Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi with “out-of-the-box” default parameters. Then you connect your broadband connection to the router, whether this involves connecting it to your broadband modem or connecting it to the DSL, cable or other service in the case of a modem router. Resist the temptation to tweak your router’s settings beyond what is actually required to achieve connection such as to harden security or improve network performance.

If your setup is based around a separate modem, switch on that modem and make sure that the SYNC and LINK lights are steady. The SYNC light or similar light indicates that the modem has effectively made a connection with the “head-end” of your service on a media level, while the LINK or INTERNET light indicates that it has established service with the provider on a logical level. Then switch on your router.

Log in to your router and visit the “WAN” or “Internet Connection” menu on the user interface. Here, set up the Internet service connections according to your service requirements. Most cable, fixed-wireless and next-generation broadband connections typically just require you to choose a DHCP connection as your connection type for residential services.

In the case of an ADSL service or other service that has login requirements, select the login or authentication method that your service uses and enter the Internet Service credentials that were determined as part of provisioning your Internet service.

You should see the “Internet” light glow steady and the “WAN” or “Internet Connection” details update with information like an IP address. This is the point of success and, to prove it, open a Webpage like a news portal in another tab or session (window) of your Web browser.

Wi-Fi wireless for best-case performance

Here, you need to set up your wireless-network segment for best-case performance.

If your router implements external antennas (aerials) such as the typical “rabbit’s ears”, make sure these are upright so they are not obfuscated by the unit itself or other computer equipment or metal furniture and fixtures. It may also be a better practice to place the router on top of a piece of furniture to assure proper Wi-Fi performance although this may not be aesthetically appealing.

The 2.4GHz band should be set for 802.11g/n or 802.11b/g/n operating mode so as to preserve compatibility with 802.11g devices but allow best performance with 802.11n devices using this band. This is because a lot of older and cheaper consumer-electronics devices use the 802.11g technology and this technology may be still used with portable devices like smartphones and tablets in order to economise on battery life.

The 5GHz band should be set for 802.11n operation because most of the devices that can work to the 5GHz band can work on the 802.11n standard.

Establishing a two-band wireless network

This leads me to talk about the dual-band wireless network which would be facilitated by most high-end performance-grade routers.

Here, I would use a separate SSID for each band. An easy way to go about this to have one band have the standard SSID while the other band has that SSID plus a band-specific prefix or suffix like BIGPOND2346 for the 2.4GHz band and BIGPOND2346-54G for the 5GHz band. This means that you can be sure which band to select from your laptop or other client device for better performance.

Choosing vacant Wi-Fi channels

You may have to select a vacant channel for your wireless network so as to avoid interfering with your neighbours’ wireless networks and to assure best performance for your network. Some routers may make this easy by implementing an auto-setup routine which looks for the channel with the least activity and tuning to that.

But you may have to use one of the many free Wi-Fi site survey tools like WiFi Analyzer for Android or MetaGeek’s inSSIDer for Windows to determine which channels are effectively vacant in your area. These programs provide a graphical view of SSIDs with relative signal strength on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band so you can know which channels will offer greater performance.

Setting up for security

New passwords

The first job I would do with a new router after I have got the Internet connection going would be to change the device management password away from the default. This is important if manufacturers don’t assign device-management passwords that are unique to each device they sell. Here, I would determine a password that is easy to remember but hard for outsiders to guess and use some numbers and punctuation marks in the password.

As well, change the Wi-Fi network’s SSID away from the default SSID especially if it betrays the device’s brand like LINKSYS. It is important because if a device’s brand is guessed easily, hackers can take advantage of that brand’s or model’s security weaknesses to target your network.

If you are dealing with carrier-supplied equipment, you may find that the SSID may be something like the Internet service’s brand plus an apparently random number such as BIGPOND2346.

This may be a good time to personalise your Wi-Fi network such as to have it represent your business’s brand or the purpose of the network.

Most carrier-provided routers and some retail-provided routers will have a random WPA2-PSK passphrase that is unique to each unit and this will be stuck on a label attached to the underneath or back of the unit.

If your router implements WPS where it can determine the passphrase automatically, set the passphrase using the WPS push-button setup method by enrolling a Windows 7/8 laptop or Android mobile device to the network using this method. Then log in to your router’s Web user interface and go to the WPS option to set the option that “keeps” the WPS parameters the same when you use the WPS push-button setup method subsequently, then go to the wireless-network security parameters screen to record the randomly-determined passphrase for your network. This is important if you have to enroll Apple devices or other devices that don’t implement this setup method.

If you are dealing with a router that doesn’t implement WPS functionality, make up a WPA-PSK passphrase yourself and use some numbers and punctuation in that passphrase to make a secure passphrase. Record this on paper or a computer text file and transcribe it in to the router to keep a secure network.

As you change these passwords and Wi-Fi network parameters, keep a record of these details on paper in a secure place on your premises. This is useful if you have to reset your router due to network problems and reinstate network settings, you change Internet service or are setting up new Wi-Fi-capable equipment on your network.

Making sure UPnP works from the inside only

Most consumer and some small-business routers implement UPnP Internet Gateway Device functionality by default to simplify application-specific port-forwarding requirements. This is important especially for Skype, cloud-based device features and online gaming but some poorly-executed implementations have caused it to be deemed a security risk.

The main risk here is for UPnP IGD functionality to be accessible from the Internet rather than just the LAN (home network) side. This was aggravated due to Wi-Fi networks operating on manufacturer-default settings such as no passphrase or a manufacturer-default SSID and passphrase.

The risk has been mitigated through routers that are running firmware issued over the past few years as well as Wi-Fi segments that use “random-default” passphrases made easier with WPS and “random-default” SSIDs in the case of carrier-supplied hardware. But a good test to do is to visit the Rapid7 Website at this location: http://upnp-check.rapid7.com/results/91ca51deb4effcf7dcdda7f1b02571ef to make sure that you can’t use UPnP IGD functionality from the outside. If this test fails, it may be a good idea to update the firmware and/or disable UPnP functionality on the router if you aren’t using Skype, online games or similar applications.

Even if UPnP functionality is OK, it is a good idea to run a desktop firewall on your regular computers and the recent iterations of the Windows platform have this functionality integrated. This function is also integrated in to many newer desktop-security software packages which are infact worth installing on these computers. As for mobile and, increasingly, regular-computer platforms, read this article about app stores before you head on that app-store shopping spree.


Some of you who are on an Internet Service Provider that supports IPv6 as well as having a recent high-end consumer router or small-business router equipped for IPv6 will find that you want to go to this path. This is supported in a dual-stack mode by the latest iterations of most regular and mobile operating systems and is being supported by most small-business network-capable printers.

To engage this operating mode if you know your ISP provides the functionality is a simple task. Here, you just select a checkbox on most IPv6-capable routers to enable the dual-stack IPv6 operation. This means that you have two logical networks on the same physical bearers – one with IPv6 operation and one with legacy IPv4 operation. Some of these ISPs also offer the routing between the networks so that data can reach the legacy single-stack IPv4 equipment.

What credentials you can keep constant

Upgrade or replace router,
Change Internet service – different connection type and hardware
Change Internet service – same connection type and hardware Relocate premises
– same device
Device Management Password Optional Yes Yes
Internet Service Credentials Yes No Yes if taking same service with you
Wireless Network SSID Yes Yes Optional
WPA2-Personal Passphrase Yes Yes Yes

I have prepared a “download-to-print” A4 sheet which you can print out and fill in with your router password and Wi-Fi network details. Here, you then keep this with your paper files as a reference if you need to modify your router’s settings or add equipment to your network’s wireless segment.


Once you have your router set up in an optimum manner, you can expect many years out of this device working as an “edge” to your network. Here, you could expect your router to last around three to five years serving as this “edge”.

100 Megabit bandwidth available at La Réunion

Article – French language

Bientôt un débit de 100 Mbit/s à la Réunion – DegroupNews.com

My Comments

La Réunion has raised the bar for Internet-service value through that Département Outre Mer which is located near Madagascar. The cost of Internet was previously a sore point in that island with some pretty high prices in the order of €50-€60 for full triple-play as I previously touched on.

But Zeop have raised the bar by providing a 100 Megabit bandwidth fibre-optic service to all of their customers. But a good question to raise is how much are the residents and businesses going to fork out for this service. This is an attempt to raise the bandwidth at one of these DOM territories to what is expected at France’s mainland.

France could work harder to make all of the Départements Outre Mer be “axis points” for many international telecommunications services links, whether as “on-ramps” for submarine cables or as satellite uplinks. The local governments could work harder to improve local infrastructure as well as attract startup business in these territories making the whole of France the “switched-on” country.

Real Internet-service competition arrives in Utah courtesy of Google Fiber


Google Fiber now faces Comcast’s 250 Mbps offering in Provo – FierceTelecom

Comcast Offering 250 Mbps in Provo for $80 | Broadband DSL Reports

My Comments

The Internet press in the USA have lamented the lack of real competition for consumer fixed-line broadband services. This has come about with an incumbent telephony provider, typically a “Baby Bell”, offering the ADSL service along with one of the big cable-TV names like Comcast, Cox or Time-Warner Cable providing the cable-modem service for most markets.

Typically these companies have been given exclusive franchise to sell telephony or cable-TV to that particular market and these companies own the infrastructure to the customer’s home. Concepts like loop unbundling where a competing provider has direct access to the electrical infrastructure have been met with resistance in the American market.

Now Google Fiber have established their fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure in Provo, Utah by buying the iProvo network in that town and is starting to light up the service there. This has caused Comcast to be worried and had them offer packages like a 250Mbps pure-play Internet service for US$80 and double-play TV+105Mbps Internet services for US$70-100. The “Free Utopia” blog had quoted that the impending competition is good for the customer.

I also wonder whether the established “Baby Bell” telephone provider will raise the bar and offer attractive ADSL deals in response to the impending arrival of Google Fiber. Other issues that will be interesting to observe include whether the competition will also affect how Comcast behaves towards their customers such as customer-support issues and service-level agreements including Net Neutrality.

Canal+ providing its own triple-play service to France

Article – French language

Canal+ prépare une offre triple play – DegroupNews.com (France)

My Comments

Canal+, France’s main pay-TV provider and known for the Engrenages (Spiral) crime drama, now is in on the Internet-service game.

This service will be primarily based around the SFR infrastructure, which means it will be available in areas that are “dégroupée” (fully unbundled) to SFR or have FTTH fibre-optic established by SFR. To understand this for anyone setting up in France, have a look at my feature article about what these terms and requirements are about in this highly-competitive market.

In this keenly-priced market, the prices range from €32.99 / month with 25Mb/s and the typical free landline calls to France and most destinations to €44.99 / month with the LeCube hardware. Expect this to have things like high-definition viewing, Wi-Fi home network and a personal-TV service as well as multi-screen and other features.

This shows that the competitive market can even allow for many service operators to exist using other providers’ infrastructure on a wholesale basis; and many of these operators could exist on such capabilities like content provision.