Approved modems don't connect to Jetstream

, posted: 23-Dec-2003 22:12

When computer store manager Young Cho of Morning Computers in Glenfield started reselling broadband modems and setting up connections for his customers, he expected it to be straightforward.

The products all had a Telepermit and therefore would work with Telecom's fast internet Jetstream service. Instead, the broadband business venture has left Young with unhappy customers whose Telepermit modems do not connect to Jetstream. Young said he was "thousands of dollars" out of pocket, having spent many hours at customers' premises trying in vain to get connections going, as well as replacing and lending modems out.

According to Young, many of the digital subscriber line (DSL) modems approved for use on Telecom's network will work only if the distance to the digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) in the local exchange is less than 3km.

However, DSL is often provisioned over longer distances - 5-6km - but Telecom does not tell resellers and customers which modems are suitable for these connections. Young said Telecom contractors tested with modems that could pick up the DSL signal over longer distances.

As no fault is found, customers are charged a call-out fee of $81 plus GST and worse, said Young, told to take the modems back to his shop for a refund and to replace them with better-quality ones from elsewhere.

Compounding the problems, Young says, is the fact that some Telepermit modems, such as the Nokia Ni500, are incompatible with Telecom's Jetstream network. He sent off a batch of seven modems to Telecom for testing. These were returned to Young having "tested OK" but with Telecom acknowledging that there is "this known issue connecting to certain equipment".

Chris Thompson, Telecom Xtra's head of internet and online marketing, said that a Telepermit "only certifies that the equipment in question will work with our network". He added that "it does not guarantee or imply that this equipment will work under all conditions or that all Telepermitted equipment has the same capabilities".

Although stating that the onus was on the vendor and reseller to inform customers of the maximum reach of the modem, Thompson said Telecom was looking at testing modems under "more strenuous conditions".

Asked how resellers and customers could know what the actual distance to the DSLAM was, Thompson said that when a customer contacted Telecom, a check was made that measured the resistance of the line. This took into account the quality of the copper as well as the distance.

He believed that if the resistance was below 700 Ohm, the customer could receive the service on just about any modem. But when the resistance was above 1110 Ohm, customers are advised that Jetstream would not work.

Thompson said that where the resistance measured between 700 and 1100 Ohm, the customer representative "will start discussing options for the customer". The customer "might be told that a higher specification modem may deliver a better service", although Thompson said that this solution did not always work.

Customers may also be advised that the full installation option is prudent, with a technician on site to check
wiring and other problems. As for certain modems not working with Jetstream even if the signal strength is fine, Thompson said Telecom had identified a "potential compatibility problem" with the Nokia Ni500 and the new network equipment installed recently.

He added that Telecom would normally work with the vendor to develop a software fix for the compatibility issue. But in this case the original equipment manufacturer Nokia used no longer existed, so no software upgrade could be acquired.

Thompson said that only a very small number of customers with Nokia Ni500 modems were affected. Telecom would contact Young to help resolve the problems he had encountered.

Buyer beware

* Telecom says the green Telepermit sticker does not guarantee a broadband modem will connect to Telecom's Jetstream - only that the modem "will work with our network".

* Some Telepermit broadband modems will not work if the connection is farther than 3km from the exchange.

* Telecom does not tell customers or resellers which modems are suitable for connections of greater than 3km and which are not.

Other related posts:
The problem with VDSL2, part 2
The problem with VDSL2
The mysterious Dynamic Line Management on VDSL2

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