Our Rural Wireless vs other unlimited options

Published: 10/15/21, 1:21 PM
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Over the last couple of months, new unlimited broadband options have popped up in some of the communities we work in and we thought it would be timely to explain what Mbps (speed) and ms (latency) mean, and how it affects your connection.

Not all broadband is equal!

When considering which broadband service to go with, price is now less of a factor with most options ranging between $100-$160 per month for rural broadband. Our Rural Wireless is $115 monthly for example.

Instead, you should be considering two other factors. One of the most common ways of testing your internet performance is to go to www.speedtest.net. Press the GO button and in less than one minute it'll give you three results, Download/Upload speed measured in Mbps and Ping (also known as latency), measured in milliseconds (ms).

Let's unpack these.

Speed, measured in Megabits (Mbps), is how much stuff you can download (or upload) over a period of time.

To give you an example, there is a popular videogame called Fortnite which in size is approx 26GB.

On a 5Mbps internet connection, it'll take 11.5 hours to download
On a 10Mbps internet connection, it'll take 5.7 hours to download (2x faster than 5Mbps)
On a 30Mbps internet connection (this is what Full Flavour's Rural Wireless plan speed is), it'll take 1.9 hours to download (6x faster than a 5Mbps plan or 3x faster than a 10Mbps plan)

But it's not all about speed. To use a farming comparison, "People buy Horsepower, but drive torque". Likewise with broadband, "People buy Megabits, but surf latency".

A lot of our customers aren't necessarily downloading big files all day. They are most certainly streaming online content such as Netflix and YouTube. Each of those activities uses approx 5Mbps. So if you have three devices streaming at home, you're probably using 15Mbps. As long as you're not using all of your connection's max speed, these services should work just fine.

So what about Latency?

Latency is the time it takes for a message to go from your device, to the remote server and then back again to you. For example, imagine you're scrolling Facebook and you want to view a photo on your friend's page. If your internet connection has low latency and good speed, you shouldn't notice any lag (delay) in that photo opening up. But if your connection has high latency (despite good speed), you're going to be experiencing a wait for that request to go to the remote server and back again.

So what is Full Flavour's latency like, compared to other providers?

Full Flavour achieves low latency by installing towers and/or repeaters very close to our customers, always under 15km. The next hop from our towers is fibre, which connects into the New Zealand internet system.

We reviewed the latency of all our installations over the past 30 days and saw the average latency on our Rural Wireless service is 21ms.

Feel free to compare that latency (ping) of 21ms, against your current internet, using the Speedtest website.

The most common alternative option in the areas we operate is satellite. For traditional satellite services (including on the new Kacific satellite), latency varies between 600ms-700ms as the signal needs to go 35,786 kilometers up to the sky and back. The new Starlink service is supposed to fix the latency problem, but it's been described as "erratic" by Mashable, backed up by this speedtest.net review and what is being reported by local New Zealand users on Facebook (full disclosure, Full Flavour does provide a Starlink installation service, as it's the often the best option available outside of our rural wireless coverage areas).

 

Phew. That was a lot to get through.

We hope this blog article helped demystify some of the terms you'll come across.

The takeaway is speed is important, but there comes a point where an increase in speed isn't going to make a huge difference to your online experience. For snappy web browsing and anything live (gaming or video chat on Zoom or Skype), getting a low latency (ping) service will make a big difference.  

  • Brent Nelson

    Brent Nelson

    We totally recommend "Full Flavour" to provide your broadband, we are more than happy with the product, service, help and found all the staff just fantastic.

  • Maja Wright

    Maja Wright

    Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value

  • Brad Chittenden

    Brad Chittenden

    Have been with Full Flavour for many years. The help desk is very responsive and helped me gain maximum speeds by recommending and then setting up a new router.

  • Susan Hay

    Susan Hay

    Awesome personalised service. No issues for 8 years with the organisation. Great team to do business with.

  • Harald Ahorner

    Harald Ahorner

    Great Internet Provider - very happy with the VSDL speed out here in Shelly Beach, excellent service and support and very easy to deal with.

  • Brian Felton

    Brian Felton

    Very good company to deal with. If you get a problem you have someone to talk to. If they have a problem they let us know!

  • Lisa R.

    Lisa R.

    Great service and communication either online or with a real person! Awesome speed in a rural setting. Definitely recommend Full Flavour.

  • Markus Schonberger

    Markus Schonberger

    Professional and helpful with great quality internet service.

  • Tony Price

    Tony Price

    We have been with Full Flavour since moving into our rural property last year.  They were quick to come out and test the location when we requested, and we have been very happy with their service.

  • Shaun Fisher

    Shaun Fisher

    Used these guys to assist us in supporting a client with an internet deployment. The team went above and beyond in installing many additional pieces of hardware to accommodate a customer with very specific requirements. End result was a happy customer and a stable service. Thanks team!