With NBN coming soon, Vodafone plans to keep the transition as painless as possible. Called the Vodafone WiFi Hub, the new modem uses 4G to keep customers online in times when the NBN isn’t.
One pain point for NBN customers identified by Vodafone is the delay between their ADSL service shutting off and the activation of their NBN Plan — which can be several days. WiFi Hub offers a solution, with an active internet connection during the downtime delivered over the Vodafone 4G network.
Customers will be able to use unlimited data over 4G during this time, with download speeds limited to 12Mbps so as not to flood the mobile network.
The 4G SIM is deactivated when the NBN service is ready, and is ready to be reactivated any time that customers experiences a significant fault on their NBN service.
Vodafone’s Matthew Lobb explained that the idea for the WiFi Hub comes directly from feedback they heard from their customer base.
“A key area of frustration [for our customers] is what they described as the Black Hole between the time when you place your order and the point when the NBN or DSL is connected. Some times there can be a delay, generally it takes two to four days, but it can take longer,” said Lobb.
“Similarly, customers are frustrated when there is a fault on the service. We thought, well, we’ve got a great 4G network, so we’ve put in place a backup service for all of our customers.”
Time for a change?
While there is still no hard date for the launch of the Vodafone NBN service, the company has been on the front foot in recent months insisting that it plans to deliver NBN services better than its competitors, with a focus on simplicity of use and customer service.
“What we’ve observed in the market is the legacy players basically just migrating their customers over to more of the same. The market is selling [their customers] the 12/1 speeds, and then customers are saying what’s the benefit of the NBN?” said Lobb.
This is a problem, says Lobb, because while a 12Mbps download speed isn’t much of an upgrade from old ADSL services, household internet usage is increasing and families are facing a bottleneck inside their homes. Speed is often seen in relation to the time it takes for data to download, but it is important to remember that speed also relates to bandwidth and to the way people share a single connection.
“NBN needs to educate people about speed, that the more devices they are using, the more likely it will be that you experience congestion,” Lobb said.
Vodafone’s research found that the average house has 13 connected devices (like phones, tablets and laptops), with respondents counting as many as 30 connected devices in a single household, including appliances like washing machines.
Happily, the WiFi Hub can support up to 32 devices at once, so it should suit even the most connected homes, but it will still need a high speed NBN connection to keep them all up and running.
Device specifications for Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub™
· Supports up to 32 devices simultaneously
· Compatible with ADSL, VDSL and NBN
· Ethernet WAN
· 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
· 2 x Fast Ethernet ports
· 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n certified®
· 5GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac certified®
· Integrated 4G LTE capability with 3G backup
· 1 x Multi-function USB 2.0 Port
· CPE Remote Management
· DLNA Certified®
· Easy push button connection to pair wireless devices (WPS)
· VPN Pass-through for PPTP, L2TP and Ipsec.
· IPv4 / IPv6 support
· QoS support
· Customer facing GUI for Advanced Settings Management