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Old 04-18-2015, 03:14 AM   #1
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Default Internet options in Australia

Until now I've taken an ad hoc approach to internet usage.

In Sydney I've managed for the past three years to sponge off an unreliable open network - and felt guilty for it - but no alternatives were available. The owner of that network finally closed the loophole a week ago.

In Brisbane I've been using a wifi ISP called MyPort whose prices are astronomical. I think I was paying $40.00 per Gb and it had to be used within a month, which anyone can see is highway robbery.

But technology moves on and apparently there are finally some usable options. The best deal seems to be through Optus, where I can purchase a tiny pocket 4G wifi router for $99.00 delivered. It can connect up to 10 devices at a time to the internet and comes with the first 5Gb of data included.

The catch with most of these services was always the monthly fees. If you are out of the country, or out of wifi range, then your accrued Gb are forfeited and your SIM card expires unless you top up monthly.

But Optus now have a 365 day option similar to the system I use on the mobile phone. In short, you can buy 15Gb up front for $130.00 and it doesn't expire for a whole year. I'll be ordering this one as soon as I can get aboard Shenoa again.

4G Portable WiFi Modem - Prepaid Mobile Broadband - Optus

http://smb.optus.com.au/opfiles/Shop..._1114_V4_D.pdf

For once, a sensible option for cruisers without a home base. And for the future I can envisage wifi devices that alert a yacht owner of a dragging anchor via the internet becoming an affordable possibility as well.
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Old 04-18-2015, 11:01 AM   #2
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Tried to buy this online but:

a) you needed an actual delivery address, not a PO Box
b) "No fixed address" wasn't acceptable, and
c) their "required information" was very intrusive.

A quick visit to the local Optus shop was thus needed. I have one now and it's all charged up, but the Optus activation page has been dead all day due to system upgrades.

I like the unit though. One neat feature is that you can set it up to use local networks if available, thus avoiding wireless connections and their associated costs. Nice if you happen to be close to a wifi hotspot.

Here's another thought. For coastal cruising they would be ideal as a substitute for a Yellowbrick or Spot device. Coupled with something like a Raspberry Pi that collects GPS information and sends it via SMS or email to a website at a predetermined interval, your friends can keep track of movements. Might also be handy to track the yacht if it ever gets stolen ...
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:51 PM   #3
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Hardly Normal (Harvey Norman) has these on special right now for $79.00 which is pretty good.

Just bought the optional 35dBi MIMO antenna panel and 32Gb microSD memory card for it today so now fully optioned. Now if only Optus' activation page would come back to life.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:41 AM   #4
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Further research on the idea of sending periodic GPS location messages via this unit shows that it's feasible. The Telstra network extends about 50 miles offshore for 70% of Australia's coastline. Notable blank spots are predictably the Gulf of Carpentaria, upper Western Australia and the Great Australian Bight.

Optus coverage should be similar, and will likely improve over the coming years due to their concentration on the 700Mb band for new installations, which should travel better than the higher frequencies currently used.
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:54 AM   #5
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Travelling around SE Asia where every time you buy a pack of noodles you get 5GB of wireless data free with purchase, and where my 24MBit/sec FTTH connection costs me < $10 per month (I could get 1GB/sec FTTH if I set up in Singapore), Australia seems to be slipping further and further behind in the internet race. Even NZ has far more sensible internet plans these days.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:57 PM   #6
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Have I mentioned lately that you're an utter bastige? :-)

NZ internet and phone services suck worse than Oz, but at least I do have free wi-fi in Wairoa. They still do pretty well considering the sparse population and the terrain though.

I'd better hurry up and fix the damned boat so I can get some of these $2 meals and free 5Gb of wireless.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:15 AM   #7
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Yacht tracking unit update

Just scored an Android tablet to develop this idea. Here's the spec:

- 1.5GHz Octa Core Arm Cortex A7 (MediaTek 6592T) processor
- 700MHz Mali-450 MP4 GPU
- Android 4.4.2 "Kit Kat"
- 9.6" 5-point TFT touch screen 1280 x 800
- 2Gb DDRIII ram
- 16Gb internal storage (13Gb usable)
- External support for 32Gb microSD card
- Front camera 1.9 Mpx, back camera 4.9 Mpx
- Wifi 802.11 b/g/n
- Dual SIM including support for
... WCDMA (3G) 850/900/2100 MHz (unlocked)
... GSM (2G) 850/900/1800/1900 MHz (unlocked)
- Support for external 3G modem
- Supports HotSpot operation
- GPS hardware
- Bluetooth (version not specified)
- 3.7V 4500mAh battery
- Colour: White

Supports the usual multimedia software, MS Office, multilanguage, and comes in a retail box with charger (US plug), microUSB cable and manual.

All that for AU$20.99

Bargain of the year! I bought two of 'em just in case. :-)
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