Nowhere near my limit

I wrote earlier about how I nearly reached my broadband limit in December. In January what with no snow, no school holidays and a bit of travelling here and there, I was nowhere near my limit. Well under, about 50% of my December traffic.

So back to normal.

Limit reached…

Last month I got very close to reaching my broadband cap. The account I have with Plusnet (a legacy account) has a limit of 80GB. When I had my ADSL connection I never got close to the limit. Having upgraded my connection to FTTC (fibre) and having 37Mb/s download speed means it is now much easier for me to reach the limit.

I know that I got close to the limit due to the holiday season, spending a lot of time at home meant not only was I using the connection a lot, but the family were also streaming a lot of video too. BBC iPlayer is great for catching up with programmes you have missed, but also means using a lot of data.

One of the features of Plusnet I like is that the cap does not apply to downloads between 12am and 8am. This is great for downloading stuff from iTunes, but less useful for streaming BBC iPlayer content. I usually watch BBC iPlayer content through the TV, it has BBC iPlayer built in, however it doesn’t allow me to download BBC content and play back later, I have to stream live!

The other problem I am having is that scheduling iTunes downloads is problematic.

Prior to getting FTTC I could before I went to bed I could set iTunes to download movies and TV programmes knowing that the majority of the download would be during the cap free period between 12 and 8. However FTTC is so fast that it only takes ten minutes to download a movie from iTunes so generally I download when I wake up and not when I go to bed (I am usually in bed before midnight). What I would prefer to do is let iTunes download any big purchases after midnight. It’s not just movies but also some iPad apps are in excess of 500MB. I would also download OS X and Windows updates overnight, again with my old connection the majority of the download would take place in the cap free time, now with the faster connection it’s done very quickly.

Luckily Plusnet provide a decent tool for measuring how much data I have used and also warn me when I get close.

However this does show that ISPs need to rethink their bandwidth caps once more people can get FTTC.

Some things now working…

As I have upgraded to FTTC and one of the requirements is that your router supports PPPoE. As a result I have replaced my old aging Netgear ADSL modem router with my Airport Extreme Base Station. I wasn’t able to use the Airport Extreme before as it did not support PPPoA, but as FTTC requires PPPoE I can now use it. As a result, it is a new(ish) router and therefore I anticipated that I would be able to do two things, one is use EyeTV remotely across the internet and two use Back to my Mac.

So what of EyeTV?

Watch, record, and enjoy live TV on your iPhone or iPad via a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. At last, you don‘t have to leave all your great TV shows at home; the EyeTV app puts the power of award-winning EyeTV in the palm of your hand.

The EyeTV app accesses EyeTV running on your Mac at home to deliver these great features to your Apple device:

  • Watch live TV and change channels anywhere (via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection)
  • Watch your EyeTV recordings
  • Browse the comprehensive Program Guide and view details
  • Start recordings back home on your Mac immediately or schedule them for later
  • View and edit your recording schedules
  • Automatically launch EyeTV on your Mac at home as needed
  • EyeTV has an iPad and iPhone App which have worked really well on my home network, but so far I have not had any luck accessing it away from home, even though it is correctly configured.

    I do believe though this is because of the remote network I was on. I have yet to try on a public wifi network and I suspect I will have better luck then.

    As for Back to my Mac, Apple says.

    Back to My Mac puts any Mac OS X Leopard- or Snow Leopard-based Mac you use within easy reach. MobileMe finds your remote Mac computers over the Internet and displays them in the Finder on the Mac you’re using. So you can connect from anywhere with just a click. Edit and save documents, open applications, and move folders. With Back to My Mac Screen Sharing, you can control your remote Mac as though you’re sitting in front of it.

    Again on my home Mac, everything seems fine.

    Well I did try and do this, however I couldn’t get my work Mac to recognise my MobileMe account and again as with EyeTV I believe this is because of the remote network.

    So near, yet not quite there.

    Really fast…

    Finally had my broadband upgraded to FTTC and I am impressed.

    With 40Mb down and 10Mb up this is significantly faster than the 1.3 down and 0.6 up I had before.

    It has already changed how I use the internet, whereas before I would probably not consider downloading a film from iTunes during the day, as it would soak up my bandwidth and would take hours to download; now it takes under five minutes to download! No problems with downloading large files and updates now.

    The other key advantage is streaming video, which was almost pointless before due to buffering, and like downloading, previous streaming would soak up my bandwidth, having 40Mb down means I can stream and do other stuff at the same time.

    My only concern is that all this speed I will probably exceed my bandwidth quite easily…


    BT Infinity is BT’s new broadband product that makes use of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) to enable even faster speeds than available via normal DSL. In some cases 40Mbs download speeds are possible.

    Of course if you are going to make best use of this and have a wireless network, if you use 802.11g then you may find this is not fast enough and want to get an 802.11n wireless router.

    Another feature of FTTC is that unlike traditional UK ADSL that uses PPPoA, FTTC uses PPPoE so that a router like Apple’s Airport Extreme is now possible to use direct with the broadband connection. Before you would have needed to use a ADSL modem between your broadband connection and your wireless router.

    My local exchange has just been upgraded to FTTC so looking forward to upgrading and trying it out.

    There are also trials with FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) that can result in even faster 100Mb speeds. I can wish.