Thursday, October 15, 2015

Neotel Broadband

Neotel Logo1

I thought after moving back from Cupertino and having Comcast’s 50MBps cable service that bandwidth pricing and availability in South Africa had improved. Pricing - yes. Availability - yes. Speed - no. 


I live in Rivonia, no more than 1km from Rivonia Road; a decent neighborhood in Johannesburg, no more than 6km from Sandton. I am covered by Telkom ADSL, who will happy take my money for a 10Mbps service, and deliver 2Mbps. So, I thought I’d try some wireless alternatives. LTE services were not available from MTN, Vodacom or Telkom, in spite of great offers of R650 (~$55) for unlimited LTE-A service.


A friend suggested I try Neotel’s Neobroadband service, an LTE consumer service. While expensive (R2000) per month for 10Mbps, I can truthfully say that its a reliable, consistent service that is uncapped and unshaped, and is technically true to its promise. Highly recommended, if not commercially quite steep.

Open-Mesh MR900 & OM5P

Largebanner an

I like Open-Mesh’s equipment, and software update cycles (I have written about them before). The hardware is reasonably priced, the solution set keeps moving forward and for a small (relatively) deployment, the management dashboard is flexible, rich and frankly blows most enterprise solutions out the water with ease of management and access to information.


The OM5P is a 5GHz-only device, which I won’t discuss because its been deprecated by the OM5P-AN. Thanks for releasing this; I managed to buy 3 in the short window when it was available, and it was a poor performer. Not a good purchase at all.


The MR900 on the other hand is a pretty awesome device. 802.11n in 2.4 and 5GHz, in a single device, and fairly priced. Robust, good radio performance, and pretty easy to setup/maintain. It too had been replaced by the MR1750, essentially an ac device in 2.4 and 5GHz. I have a few on back-order, so look forward to testing that.


But, Open-Mesh solves a problem and its cloud controller Cloudtrax solve a pretty simple set of problems;


  1. Relatively cheap AP’s, that work relatively well from a radio/RF perspective
  2. AP’s can be wired or meshed, and require no configuration to configure them in either mode
  3. A web-based management console, that provides sufficient control but simplistically
  4. The ability to run 4 SSID’s, inter-mixing rate limiting, client isolation and ability to not bridge to the LAN solve the networking issues
  5. The ability to run mixed authentication modes, external RADIUS and captive portal, PayPal and Facebook integration and flexible deployment modes
  6. Pre-built rich protocol-level, client-level and SSID-level traffic graphs that require zero configuration


I can highly recommend Open-Mesh.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Beyerdynamic T-51i

Beyerdynamic T 51 p 35835127 3

I like the industrial look of Beyerdynamic’s products. And the T-51’s solved a particular problem I had. 


I bought a pair. And wow, they are impressive in build quality, presentation, audio performance and package contents. Its unusual to not find something wrong with a product, but this is one of those rare products;

  • it does what its supposed to do
  • its a fair price
  • it comes with everything you need
  • it looks beautiful
  • its comfortable to wear
  • it sounds bloody awesome


Get a pair!

D3S 1349 1200

Libratone Zipp speaker

Libratone Zipp

Multi-room, mostly wire-free audio is a hassle. And its almost never seamless.


A breed of Apple Airplay-compatible speakers has been around for a while, but they all tended to be quite ugly. I ended up liking the styling of the Libratone Zipp; classic Danish design, good reviews, solid sound from a wireless speaker with Airplay and Bluetooth built-in - sounds ideal!


Its not cheap; $320. And I’m sorry to say, its rubbish.


  • Pairing it over WiFi is a disaster (can’t see the network, struggle to associate), and generally requires you to reset the speaker if you change the SSID or password
  • The WiFi chip must be encased in solid lead, because even if its right next to the AP, it can’t connect
  • Who builds a WiFi speaker that only has a 2.4GHz chip in it ?
  • The audio quality is iffy at best, and is generally not memorable
  • When you do miraculously get it powered, associated and playing music, it hardly goes 5 minutes without cutting out and requiring you to power it off and on again

On the positive side, its pretty, and the Bluetooth works well - but then I would have bought something else and saved $100. Sigh.


I am trying hard not to get into the Sonus ecosystem, but they’ve been around for a while, and it must be because they do things properly.


PS. Please don’t point to my WiFi network. I have RRD graphs that prove coverage and connection-rate density where the speaker was placed, tested and moved around are good