Saturday, December 07, 2013

Crazy Fast Internet

Now that Marcus is seemingly between jobs or even lifestyles, what better time than now to invest some effort into  upgrading the Computer Infrastructure at home.

You may be familiar with the 2 year plus struggle that we had to endure to get fibre optics installed at home here in Lausanne, Switzerland.

But once that was done we were the proud owners of a Swisscom Fibre connection

To remind everybody about what wires go where ....

  • Swisscom lay an optical fibre connection to our apartment block which optically terminates inside the basement.
  • Then Swisscom lays an individual fibre from their ONU  (Optical Network Unit) into your apartment to a wall socket.   I emphasise this connection is optical  (not copper)

  • Then to our PC's using a Swisscom Router  now unimaginatively called the Internet Box. It  has a 4 port Gigabit Copper Switch and 2 telephone outputs.
  • We looked at the costs and the 1Gb/second option, that costs an extra 100CHF  (110 USD or 60 GBP) per month. Too rich for us.
  • So we have gone for the more modestly costed 300Mbits/second option.
  • At the moment you also get Swisscom Internet TV and over 100 channels, of which about 10 are in English.  We don't really watch television anymore but you can't remove this from the package for a cheaper subscription price.
  • The 300Mbit/second package then comes in at just over 2000CHF per year  (1400GBP or 2300 USD).  In layman's terms that is frikkin expensive, but then it is pretty fast.

Personally no matter what protection the Telcom provider promises I'd recommend that you take the router output and go straight into your own Hardware Firewall  (Zyxel shown in the above diagram).   And of course run an individual firewall on every computer also.

On the Positive Side

  • Despite the somewhat astronomical cost this Speedy connection is available, and how many countries will offer you 1Gb/s internet connections

Must Try Harder

  • Initially Swisscom proposed to charge me an extra 250CHF for the new router.   We worked past this misunderstanding
  • Technically the router has a GUI interface and seemingly no command line
  • There are practically NO facilties available under the GUI except for some port forwarding and DMZ  (Demilitarised Zone) setup.

    I am quite sure Swisscom would argue that some customers might just screw things up, but hey, if I need the extra flexibility then at present I am screwed.  (Also, if I did mess up the configuration one should have a revert back to last known good config, right?).

This is a major omission Swisscom.  A fully working command line and clear documentation should be available. Swisscom please take note.

  • It would be nice to support a backup Internet via the 3G/LTE port, but how?

  • Likewise, decent documentation on how to use the rear USB 3.0 ports

A reminder About the Mobile

I upgraded my mobile phone and Carrier  (to Orange) in order to benefit from 4G mobile speeds.   I am happy to report that should the house internet fail, my 4G can be shared out using Android's native Tethering  & portable hotspot option.  

Always have a backup Internet connection.

How best to test your Internet connection Speed?
Many speed test websites won't accurately report your speed.  So before complaining to Swisscom 

  1. Connect a computer into the hard-wired Ethernet port and make sure you connect at 1Gb Ethernet wire speed
  2. Try this fibre bluewin speedtest

  3. Also try but in Switzerland you must specify the Binz server, others may not be fast enough

And finally, I went down the the basement and had a chat with ungrateful kitty.  He said he didn't care how fast my Internet was, he much preferred the hot bonnet of our sportscar. And that was his next destination.

Swisscom 300Mbit/sec Internet
1000Mbit/second option
Fibre Speed Check Option