Dodo Wireless Broadband, Budgewoi

August 2009: After all the drama below the Product has been smooth and dependable for some time. The cap is still very small but the price suits me. I can only guess that the mass of problems outlined below were teething problems and have been dealt with. It would have been nice if  Dodo had told us we were beta testing their system!

28th June 2009: Only a bona-fide masochist would consider using one of these plans. The initial problems are below and the testing process.

For several hours A DAY there is no internet service here. There is a zero line speed.

The Browser Stealing software attacks my computer once a day when the cap runs out and has actually broken into a site while I was  paying bills. I was cut off and my screen frozen until I hit the correct button on the Dodo hack page.

For anything outside of problems like an incorrect modem setting the Dodo staff are minimally useful and then only after hours of being batted back and forward between them. It appears they will lie to get rid of a persistant problem. Dodo will not give answers to complaints and queries in writing and their process for dealing with serious problems leading to complaints is to make a note of a formal complaint and fix nothing

The cap of my particular contract is so small that it has yet to last more than four days even if I only downloaded mail. There is every reason to believe that Dodo’s account of the bandwidth use is not very accurate.

In the light of the contracts and products available this one is insultingly mean-spirited about the cap and expensive and the problems with band-width blackout and feedback from the corporation make this one of the real black holes in internet supply. Why would a corporation like Dodo allow such a thing? Perhaps all the sporting sponsorship has left them desperate for fast cash. If you want to support one of the biggest sporting sponsors in Australia and dont care what you are getting or even if you like the pain get Dodo Mobile Broadband like I did. Hell! Save yourself the pain, hand your money to a homeless guy. At least you will ahve a warm feeling.

I had Dodo dial-up for years. In the middle of March 2009 an employee from Dodo contacted me and told me Dodo had decided to give me a special deal on Wireless Broadband because of my loyalty.

I was surprised by the offer as I had heard there was little or no coverage in this area. I suggested that fact to the employee several times during her presentation and was informed the new 3G network had all that covered. I asked and was reassured several times. This blog entry was supposed to be little more than honey about how much I enjoyed having proper line speeds and being able to use things I had not had access to on the internet before. I need the internet. I am disabled and don’t get out of here much so I live between the internet and other indoor activities

On the 15th of April the package with the modem and cable arrived. I fitted them up expecting to have some fun on the net and troubles started from there. I have included the notes as I wrote them at the time and in the order they were written. The last few paragraphs seem to indicate a happy ending at this point and perhaps all the other things in this page are teething problems for the move to cover outlying areas.

I did have to add an antenna and if you are planning on using Dodo Wireless Broadband in an area of low signal strength or are having problems you might try that. Having to use an antenna might seem like a reason not to go a Dodo account but I understand some modems do not have any way to add one so needing one is more of a problem there (Go right to the end if you want to know about the antenna)

…..beginning here

But I am a little confused. It is even slower than my former dial-up although it seemed fast when I first started with it. I am reading the statistics with two pieces of software rather than just the Dodo supplied one and am getting very conflicting readings. (notes: when I started this entry I was giving blow-by-blow descriptions of the process I was going through. I am continuing that at the bottom of the page as I discover more and am keeping the whole thing in the one entry for now)

The Dodo statistical counter is giving speeds and obviously amounts which are twice that shown on the other software. As I pay by the amount downloaded and also pay for certain speeds that leaves me scratching my head and unable to just leave it at that. I will contact the designer of the other (non-dodo) software and see if there is anything I should know about that version of his product before I make a decision!

Actually over the last hour-an-a-half it has been maddeningly slow. They told me there would be clutter slowing the network when it was in heavy use but at this rate the times it is fast are not long enough to justify keeping it. I will go nuts waiting for pages to load at other times. Two minutes and counting so far on one of my blog pages. Sheesh!

Wow, Windows is downloading the updates in the background and I tried to load a page from Snapfiles almost five minutes ago and it has not loaded. My other speed monitoring software showed me a spike of 12kbs then a long sequence where most of the speed was between 2kbs and under 1kbs. This is a real surprise and very shabby. Even after taking the time to type this last load of text the page has not appeared. Maybe I am doing something wrong here but even so this is a worry

The statistics counter tells me I have uploaded 5mb of data in whatever part of the month it measured. I must have a data stealing virus in here. I have almost not used the internet over the last few days. I only installed the wireless rig on the 15th and it is just gone after 1am on the 18th. I have uploaded less than 1mb of photographs tonight and this is the first blog entry since I got the wireless so I have not been in here to build up the amount of usage. I have returned a few emails (less than ten and totalling less than 200kb)and that is the whole extent of uploads from this machine.

The statistics counter from Dodo is finally showing similar usage to the other one so perhaps I am imagining this. I will certainly be looking to see what the count is over the next few days

I tried downloading Google Earth and after an hour it had barely started downloading that so I canceled it. I guess videos on uTube are too much to expect at these speeds.

This network is a 3G mobile phone network and I wonder if there is significant traffic on the phones at this time on a Friday night. If that is the problem it seems to be enough of a drag on internet speeds to make this type of wireless broadband a bit of a folly.

2:30am and the speeds are up again. Must be the traffic on the network

11:30am Saturday 18th April. Test.

I have been worried about this and have been trying to decide on ways to test further. I am looking for another unit of software that measures download speeds and keeps a record of the amount downloaded.

I went back and re-downloaded the Google Earth start-up file which is supposed to be approx 500kb. The speeds shown on my other status software peaked at 8kbs and then averaged less than 3kbs for the entire download. It took more than seven minutes to download but I had a problem with the timer in the first minutes. It could have been as long as ten minutes.

The total downloaded according to the Dodo software was over 900kb. I was unable to get the measurement off the other software as it doesn’t save the amount once the connection is broken with the download server. I might do the experiment again just to be sure and to get that reading

I tried the PC Pit Stop speed test but keep getting error messages

My machine is being hacked. I am watching changes on the screen such as this screen changing back and forward from visual to html… sigh is that another downside of wireless?

Broadband Speed Test run on the optusnet speed test mirror.

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 18/04/2009 @ 12:54 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 1702.95 secs

Your line speed is 14 kbps (0.01 Mbps).
Your download speed is 2 KB/s (0 MB/s)

The test began at 12:25 and eneded at 12:54 and was a three meg download. The software graphs I use to measure downloads and record amounts all agree on the amount downloaded and one of those is the Dodo supplied one which is a relief although much of the other tests are showing differing values and those tests may not be as accurate as they are not intended for definitive measurement

There should be a bunch of these tests showing speeds of zero but obviously if there is no speed there can be no test!

A few thoughts on download totals

I have had the wireless broadband working since late on the afternoon of the 15th. It is now about the same time of day on the 18th. The Dodo graph shows me as having downloaded 55mb plus since I started on the network. I have managed to load 8mb in the last three hours of intensive downloads.

This is just making me feel grim. It might be right just as equally as it might be wrong

4:30 pm Saturday 18th. It is literally taking minutes to load each page of the blog.

The optusnet Oz Speed test has three tests I am interested in. One downloads 3mb (I used that last time) and is suitable for a few things including wireless. The next loads 600kb and is also suitable for testing wireless and the last is for dial-up and is a 70kb download which is the one I have just used because I think the line speeds are too low to measure as wireless. It gave me the following reading.

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 18/04/2009 @ 04:20 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 22.97 secs

Your line speed is 25 kbps (0.02 Mbps).
Your download speed is 3 KB/s (0 MB/s).

That reading cannot be correct as the page load speeds are far too slow to be getting 3kbs. 3kbs was a regular download speed for the dial-up I had before and pages didn’t just hang for several minutes as they are doing now.

Then there was this test which showed faster speeds on the actual test server but they are not carried over to other downloads so I am testing via some other sites

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 18/04/2009 @ 04:52 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 12.72 secs

Your line speed is 45 kbps (0.05 Mbps).
Your download speed is 6 KB/s (0.01 MB/s).

Znet Broadband Speed Test

I just ran the Znet Broadband Speed Test. It took about 45 minutes to run and gave me a line speed of 11kbps. The software on the machine showed a download average speed of 1.6kbs approximately .

I have a thirteen day cooling off period for the Dodo Wireless Broadband. I am not sure if the contract is twelve or twenty four months but I am thinking that I could not stand being stuck with these line speeds if anything else were available. They are slower than my dial-up as I have said. I will keep testing over the next few days and see if it improves but this has a very low cap and in just about 15mb I will have met the cap and the line speed is supposed to SLOW

I sent an email to Dodo Accounts

For the last three days I have been testing the line speed on the wireless braodband account I opened with you on the 15th.

Apart from a few notable moments on the first day my connection is usually testing at speeds of 11kbps and my download speed is averaging as low as 1.2kbs over several hours.

The speed I have been getting so far is slower than the speeds I was getting through the dial-up connection I had before. I will keep the connection if you are able to supply reasonable speeds for a reasonable percentage of the time I use it. Are you able to give me better speeds for any amount of time?

If not, can you inform me of the process for going back to my dial-up account so I can assess that strategy. The speeds I am getting now are not practical in any sense and certainly unacceptable over a long contract. These are some of the slowest internet broadband speeds on earth.
etc etc

3:00am Sunday Morning and I am getting speeds as high as 60kbps. I could even enjoy the internet if this keeps up and it wasn’t happening right as I shut the computer and I didn’t just stay up to see if it was better in the morning. It would be awesome in the daytime although I have only see this for moments and it probably will not last long enough to grab anything from a site

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 19/04/2009 @ 12:30 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 29.06 secs

Your line speed is 20 kbps (0.02 Mbps).
Your download speed is 2 KB/s (0 MB/s).

There was a burst of reasonable speed when I first came online a while back but it has been slow and then the test above was taken as IT SPED UP AGAIN so you can see how slow this all is. Maybe I should contact Dodo and see if they will negotiate an off-peak plan where I get a huge cap and decent speeds between 12 at night and 6am or something. I just had to cancel a page change in the blog when the page didn’t reload after FIVE MINUTES

According to my generic software the download speed is 138b/s right now but it’s swinging about. The question over time is not how fast it is over that two minutes but is it practical to use and so far is has been good for a few moments and I get the broadband (albeit slow) experience and the rest of the hours are insanely slow and useless

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 19/04/2009 @ 02:50 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 19.91 secs

Your line speed is 29 kbps (0.03 Mbps).
Your download speed is 4 KB/s (0 MB/s).

My contract states that Dodo is supposed to provide me with a certain amount of broadband bandwidth which is capped and when I have have used that up I am to be placed on slower speeds for the duration of the month. I have not had speeds sufficient to meet either criteria of that contractual agreement for more than a few minutes since starting on the wireless broadband. I hope Dodo is not planning to charge me as though this was broadband bandwidth they are supplying

Interference

At the moment I have interference through the speakers and on the digital television tuners installed in the tower. The Dodo wireless modem is attached to the supplied cable so I can move it away from interference but that is not making a difference the other way around. It only lasts about..well.. it is still going. I will let you know. It ended after five minutes but returns periodically.

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 19/04/2009 @ 06:56 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 55.13 secs

Your line speed is 10 kbps (0.01 Mbps).
Your download speed is 1 KB/s (0 MB/s).

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 20/04/2009 @ 11:42 AM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 74.44 secs

Your line speed is 8 kbps (0.01 Mbps).
Your download speed is 1 KB/s (0 MB/s).

Monday 12:55pm 20th April 2009

With the weekend over I rang Dodo. During the course of several phone calls  one of their support staff and I reloaded the software, changed the settings, rebooted the machine, moved the modem about and ran online speed tests or we would have if the line speed wasn’t too slow to get them running. Finally the technical guy I was talking to gave up and told me he would contact a level 2 technical guy who might help more.

An hour or so later a technical guy called me and we went through a number of software setting changes and finally looked at the signal strength. After several minutes of trying this and that he guy told me he had some research to do and came back later to ask me if I was in a building. IN A BUILDING! “You mean like a house” I suggested. “Yes.” he answered. I was a little unhappy “So there is a possibility that the desktop computer we have been adjusting might be set up in my yard?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “there is no coverage inside buildings in your area!” Then he added “You will have to see if we can put your account back to dial-up”

There is cooling period for this account and I am nowhere near the final day of that period so why wouldn’t I be able to go back to my dial-up.

“I will put you through to someone who will see if you can get your account back” he said. I was put on hold. The next person took about fifteen minutes and I had to re-verify my account details and guess what “Why have you called sir? Is there a problem?” I told her that I was not able to get broadband speeds and the last guy had told me to go back to dial-up. She told me she would put me onto someone else who could help and I went on hold again

Another support staff person came online and asked what was wrong. I told her. She had me verify my account details again. “Sir, I see you want to go back to dial-up” “No.” I said. “I do not wish to go back to dial-up I am told I have to go back to dial-up because you are unable to meet the contract obligations on a wireless contract!” “I am sorry sir.” She said “I am technical staff I will put you onto someone who will see if you can get back onto your old account.” She sounded very much as though there were no old accounts to go back to.

I was turning the modem over in my hands at this point and noticed a plug hole and the word “antenna”. Another support person came online. “Yes sir, how can I help you?” I growled down the phone. “I have no idea how you can help me. What if I give you all my details and you look up what all the other people I have spoken to today have to say!”

A moment of silence after I have again given my address, birthday and name. “Yes sir, I see you want to start a dial-up account.” “No,” I said calmly “I have had a dial-up account with Dodo for years. You guys offered me a wireless account which I accepted on the basis that you had coverage which you don’t and so now I am told I have to go back to MY OLD ACCOUNT!” “You want to go back to you old account, a dial up account?” She questioned disbelievingly. “No,” I answered, “I do not want to change, you cannot supply the product and I am being forced to change.” Silence.

“By the way,” I inserted “I notice there is an antenna plug hole on the side of the modem!” She broke in,”A what? An antenna. Dodo does not have antenna or supply antenna let me put you through to someone from technical support.”

“Please don’t do that, they put me onto you.” Music, I am back on hold

“Yes sir, what is the problem?” I answer “Why don’t you look it up!” I spit tersely. “Yessir” Silence for a few minutes

“Sir, I see you want to start a dial-up account” “No I had a wireless account but you could not give me a signal in this area.” “Where are you sir?” I tell him. “Just a minute sir while I check the area for network strength.” No,” I beg “We have done that.” On hold again

“Yes sir,” he says when he comes back online. There is no coverage inside buildings in your area (I wonder if would be able to tell me how old that information was…) I will put you through to someone who will see if there is anyway you can another dial-up account.

“WAIT” I shout and listen to the echo of my desperate bellow from the building down the road. “Sir?”he says ” I see a hole for an antenna on the side of my modem” I say in a tired whimper “Yes Sir?” He asks as though we have not been discussing signal strength for the last few minutes. “Listen mate,” I say imagining myself strangling people wearing dodo company logos. “will the bloody antenna give me a better signal?” “Oh yes sir” He says sounding delighted. ” Many people with signal problems are helped by the antenna!” I crumple to the floor in frustration. “Do Dodo supply an antenna in areas like this?” “No sir but shops have them.”

“Well then my friend.” I say in a whisper. “What about we put all this on hold and I call Dodo back to tell if it has worked or not.” Sensing he is off the hook and will not have to shuffle me through any further staff and sounding like I have won a prize for mental acuity he pipes up happily and says. “Yes sir, that is a good idea. I am sure someone from here at Dodo will be very happy to hear what success you had with using an antenna on your modem.”

I hang up and dry swallow a valium.

I have contacted my case manager at ADDSI and he has organized a community worker to help me get to Westfield at Tuggerah and find yon mysterious antenna

I looked in whirlpool while I was researching antennas to see what others are saying. What they are saying link

Tuesday 21st April… The antenna

I went out and spent5 $29.95 0n a Panorama Data Card antenna. Five minutes after I added the antenna and set it up on the window sill at the front opf the computer desk I am getting better speeds as well as signal rates improving from a range of 0-3 bars originally to 3-5 bars now. So far I am getting much better speeds but that may be an aberration and if it changes back I will note it here.

The antenna came from All Phones at Bateau Bay and I didn’t have any problems at all. Once the guy know what modem he knew what to offer. Neither Dick Smith’s nor a few other phone shops in that mall knew of antenna for these modems  at all

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 21/04/2009 @ 03:57 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 2.34 secs

Your line speed is 245 kbps (0.24 Mbps).
Your download speed is 31 KB/s (0.03 MB/s)

And finally….

it is Anzac day 25th April 2009 and I have had the antenna up on the windowsill beside the desk for several days. I am not sure these broadband speeds but they are much better than I was getting on dial-up which is good enough for me to keep using this wireless broadband.

Connection is so much easier than dial-up and lightning fast. I like the idea that as soon as I get whatever I wanted online I can disconnect. That seems a much more secure way of dealing with things like worms rather than just being online the whole time your machine is turned on as you are with other broadband

I am enjoying the internet again. I haven’t done that for a while. We are right on sea level and Telstra has never had a totally clear copper wire service that lasted much beyond any storms without hissing and interference on the line. The speeds here have been awful even for dial-up.

I have a cheaper, faster and safer internet connection. I am good with that!

Further Notes and warnings

After a week or so the cap on this plan has been reached. Dodo has begun making spam pop-up attacks by stealing my browser and taking over the settings to force my machine to show a page offering blocks of data and higher cost plans. There is no way to clear the page or go to the one you actually directed the browser to unless you also view a second Dodo spam page with their mobile phones adverts.

Dodo’s idea is that now your broadband line speed is limited to 56kbps you should be happy to buy some blocks of high speed data transfer so they shove their advert in your face. I can see a problem in that approach apart from the annoying and possibly illegal spam aspects. The only place I have ever seen real broadband speeds is during the change-over between those spam pages. The rest of the time the speeds are the same as they are now that the account is on limited speeds.  Why would anyone spend more money to get speeds they were already on?

You would think Dodo might have come to that conclusion themselves

_________________________________________________________________________________

Without further comment, random tests

Broadband Speed Test Results

Test run on 04/05/2009 @ 10:06 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 70 KB
Test Time: 44.86 secs

Your line speed is 13 kbps (0.01 Mbps).
Your download speed is 2 KB/s (0 MB/s).

Graph

12.7925100312kbps

Buying a block of data. Password retrieval on Dodo

With regular bouts of Dodo spam attacks at least once a day and a download rate that would have disgusted a dinosaur the 250 megabyte of data seemed like a good thing to try.

Is it ever so easy with Dodo!

Clicking on one of the data blocks in the spam screen takes you to a  security screen that asks for the password and user name. These were added but either the account has not been properly lodged with Dodo or someone has changed the password. Another possibility is that Dodo has done it on purpose as I have come up against this before and the password was correct and the whole thing just went away after I called support staff at Dodo.

Not this time. There is a link on the page that offers to assist you to retrieve the password online. Clicking that link takes you to a page where you are asked for your user name and when you enter it are told that the password will be sent.

A few seconds later the window loads and there is the notation that there is no MOBILE PHONE NUMBER for your account so the password cannot be sent. This was frustrating enough when I had dial-up and no mobile but now I have wireless broadband and it is on a MOBILE PHONE SIM CARD! I have received text messages from Dodo on that account thanking me for opening my account and telling me the account includes text messaging!

This week my home phone is offline for the weekend. My mobile is prepaid and never has enough in it to wait out the time to get to a Dodo support staffer anyway so I cannot get into my account, add a block of text or anything else much.

One high note is the speed this day, 22kbs tested by a US site. After waiting ten minutes to load a page last night in mobile phone peak hour I am praying this will be more than a momentary aberration. I have still not been able to use youtube or anything similar at all. I can get online to the site but it streams no more than two seconds worth of content in a block then there is quite a long wait until the next block..impossible!

Next day into my account as though there was no problem.

Using the SMS Text to a mobile phone

Three SMS text messages were sent in the first group. They all arrived quickly. The software is easy to use and it is much better than a mobile phone to type in and pick up messages from. Actually all of the software in this wireless broadband package is excellent and looks idiot proof. It is slick and simple and smooth which is all you can ask of anything to do with computers.

The replies were quick and the notification bell was clear

The price of an SMS is $0.25 which is alright. Provided they have not signed me up for a mobile phone account by stealth this part of the package is all you would expect from a Corporation like Dodo.

More Tests 16 May 09

From the Washington servers on the Speakeasy Speed Test the speed was measured as 173kbps or 22kbs linespeed

On the Ozspeedtest site it came up as 61kbs. This site always measures the speeds as being significantly higher than even my onboard monitors. This is the best speeds I have seen and has started after the new month has reached and the usage calculations have restarted. Microsoft has about 70mb of my online usage for today just to load more of their bloat. That is one fifth of my total usage for the month and there is a chance they will attempt another 250mb update as they did recently. Just thought I might note that.

I hope the end of month turnover means Dodo will stop stealing my browser homepage for their spam!

New Month, buying data blocks 19th May

The cap for the new month took three days to use so another attempt was made to buy a data block. The Dodo Browser redirect was up immediately. I hate that thing

The same problems were met attempting to get into the account. The password and user name were not recognized.

A phone call to Dodo was made and the first customer service person suggested that there was different name as the user name than the one I have been using for the last few years. That didn’t go down well. I was also informed that the password was an old one I had changed a few weeks back.

When a query was made about the slow line speed there was an assertion suggesting the only way to know was to use the Dodo online speed test. That created an argument.

Finally a higher ranking customer service person was procured. Derek. The machine had parts of its memory purged and he went into the account to find why the user name was not working.

In order to give me a cooling off period before I was locked into this contract there had to be two accounts created with different user names. Although the other account was deleted and the old user name should work as well as the new user name. The old user name acted like a ghost file which allowed me into some things but was not recognized as the primary Wireless Mobile Account when I tried to buy data or retrieve passwords for some reason.

The old account was dial-up so when I asked to get my password Dodo saw the request as coming from an account without an SMS address and denied the request. This is also not normal. Derek was very good to work with and we got to these conclusions calmly and quickly.

I now know that I have to use the primary user name (I didn’t know existed) rather than the user name I use normally along with the password I deleted weeks ago rather than the new one I chose to get into the account.

Entering the account via the browser stealing Dodo redirect allowed a block of 250mb of data to be purchased. 140mb of data in three blocks were downloaded with speeds of about 36-52mbs over the whole download. Much better.

If this all works now the outcome will be excellent. As a pensioner the basic capped price of $23 per month gives me control of my budget at a level that will not break the bank when big bills are coming in until you realize that there is not even enough bandwidth to download some window’s updates. The extra blocks start at 250mb for $10 and that is a tiny amount at a stingy price . It allows smaller payments for fast downloads when they are needed.

As was stated earlier the text service works well and each text is charged individually so once again allows working withing the restrictions of tiny budgets as needed. The off-cap line-speed has still been very slow (to not being internet supply at all)but all these problems have the feeling of teething problems and if might improve if it has not already

If it worked it would be bliss!!! But it didn’t!

You must be logged in to post a comment.