What technology does NeoConnect use?
The NeoConnect service uses the CDMA2000 3G wireless standard. It is currently the most widely used of the 3G standards, with over 475 million users worldwide. It is not the same 3G standard that Vodacom and MTN use (UMTS).
Neotel has deployed the latest generation of CDMA2000, called 1xEV-DO Rev A, which is used by a number of leading operators around the world (e.g. Verizon Wireless in the US). The network hence supports a peak download speed of 3.1 Mbps, and peak upload speed of 1.8 Mbps. (Averages are always lower, as is pointed out elsewhere, but one has to quote the peak in the South African market, since everyone else does.)
The current NeoConnect Prime device is based on EV-DO Rel 0, and offers peak download speed of 2.4 Mbps, and peak upload speed of 153 kbps, which provides good performance for most typical home uses, such as web browsing and e-mail. Note that average download speed is around 300 – 700 kbps, which makes it similar to HSDPA in performance. It’s not recommended that such wireless services be used for hosting a server, because of the lower upload speed.
NeoFlex Data is a Rev A service.
For more information on CDMA2000, look at: http://www.cdg.org
Can I share my Internet connection on NeoConnect?
Yes, in a small or home office, though it’s not recommended in a larger office. The device has a USB port, which means that you’ll need to connect it to one of the computers on your local area network rather than a router, and ensure that that computer is on when you want to use the Internet.
Can I use NeoConnect Prime for peer-to-peer applications?
Since the service is unshaped, peer-to-peer applications will generally work on NeoConnect, subject to the speed required in both directions, of course.
Can I use Skype with the current NeoConnect packages?
In theory, yes, since the service is not shaped. However, just like other wireless services in the market, there is no QoS, so the performance of packet-based voice on the wireless link cannot be guaranteed in a loaded network.
Neotel’s voice services are carrier grade, crystal clear and cost effective, so hopefully you won’t want to use a free best-effort alternative too much.
Does the NeoConnect Prime device have an Ethernet port supporting PPPoE?
The device does not have an Ethernet port, and uses a USB port to connect to a computer.
Whilst it would have been ideal to include an Ethernet port in the current device, it was not possible without making other compromises. It would have limited the device’s ability to operate autonomously on battery power for extended periods, for example. (You may have noticed the similar lack of Ethernet ports on mobile phones.)
Ethernet ports and WiFi connectivity are offered on NeoFlex Data.
Can one get NeoConnect with a static IP address?
No. A new IP address is assigned each time you connect, just as with other similar wireless services.
Do Neotel force a disconnection every 24 hours to renew the IP address?
No. However, in any wireless network, a session may drop for various reasons. If a session is re-established, a new IP address will be issued.
What latency (ping time) can I expect on NeoConnect Prime?
The ping time to South African destinations is typically around 150 – 250 ms. Most of the latency is obviously in the air interface, and this is not unusual for wireless systems.
Neotel’s network is connected globally through the Tata Communications Tier 1 network, which has a point of presence in Jo’burg. The connectivity is via the SAT-3/SAFE submarine optical fibre system (no satellite at all). As a result, the international ping times are typically 300 – 450 ms, the sum of the wireless access latency and international cable system latency.
It’s worth remembering that the actual air interface latency is different in each direction, since the EV-DO downlink is very fast, and the uplink somewhat slower. The uplink speed therefore dominates the ping time. Rev A has much lower ping times, in the order of 60ms, because the uplink and downlink are both fast.
Does Neotel’s CDMA network support fax?
The Neotel network supports fax over CDMA, but the current NeoConnect Prime device does not. Devices that support fax are likely to become available in due course.
Is NeoConnect Prime any good for playing online games?
Whilst it’s possible to play some online games on NeoConnect Prime (EV-DO Rel 0), the latency is likely to be a problem for most action games, just as it is on most current wireless networks.
The latency of EV-DO Rev A is quite a bit lower, and is workable for more games. NeoFlex Data provides this service.
Is the NeoConnect service shaped?
Currently, all of the NeoConnect packages are unshaped.
Are all incoming ports open?
By default, all incoming ports on the NeoConnect service are closed, for security reasons. However, they can be opened on request for those who want them open. Note that port blocking is not the same as shaping, and there is no shaping on any of the current NeoConnect packages as indicated.
The NeoConnect Prime and NeoConnect Lite devices are not routers, and are transparent to TCP/IP. The IP address issued to the USB-connected PC by DHCP is a public IP address in Neotel’s IP address range. Hence, depending on the firewall software on the PC, whatever ports are open on the PC should be visible via NeoConnect on the assigned IP address.
Can I get NeoConnect to reconnect automatically if the connection drops?
In Windows (XP or Vista), you can set a connection to reconnect automatically if it drops. Just set up NeoConnect as a regular (dial-up) connection (with the right driver, username and password), rather than using the NeoConnect Manager, and set it to redial automatically. This way, you can also share your Internet connection across multiple computers, and have it connect automatically when any one of the computers wants to connect to the Internet.
The latency on NeoConnect is somewhat variable compared to wireline Internet connections. Is this to be expected?
CDMA or any other wireless technology may be affected by the landscape or weather conditions, as well as the statistical sharing of channel capacity. Hence, some variation is to be expected. It is not recommended that NeoConnect be used for applications that cannot tolerate such variation (e.g. online action games).
Can I get an external antenna to improve coverage?
Neotel does not currently offer external antennas for NeoConnect, though it’s obviously technically possible to use one (the connector is a common TNC). Since Neotel is selling the service in areas with good coverage, and 800 MHz propagates well, there generally shouldn’t be any need to use an external antenna.
Some users claim to have used UHF TV antennas (close to the right frequencies) successfully, but if any antenna is going to be used, it’s probably better to use one specifically made for 800 MHz CDMA.
What are the common issues raised about the current offerings?
There are several common issues raised, such as coverage, contract rather than prepaid, and specific features not yet available on the range of devices. As far as possible, these issues are addressed in this and other FAQs.
If you have any additional issues (or compliments), tell Neotel via email@example.com
Neotel is actively seeking feedback from users, and will use this to enhance the service.