The following FAQ's have been selected from various sources online including Neotel's website and www.mybroadband.co.za.
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. The connection will have to be set up using Internet Connection Sharing and is not really an ideal solution.
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. However, there have been instances of users reporting variable ping times where pings can be as slow as 2000ms. For applications where low latency is important, JustConnect recommends ADSL.
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 (NeoFlex Data) 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..
Does NeoConnect offer Voicemail or call forwarding?
Neotel does not currently offer a voicemail service. However, you can set up call forwarding. To activate call forwarding, dial *30YOURCELLNO and press Send/Redial to send this setting to the network. Eg *300842666328 would divert calls to 084 266 6328. To CANCEL the divert, type #30 and press Send/Redial.
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.
What is NeoFlex?
NeoFlex is Neotel’s range of wireless services targeted at multi-user small businesses and homes. It is based on CDMA2000, one of the global 3G wireless standards.
NeoFlex Data provides high performance Internet access with peak download speed of 3.1 Mbps (450 – 900 kbps average) and upload speed of 1.8 Mbps (300 – 700 kbps average). This can be shared between multiple users on a LAN or Wireless LAN.
What is the difference between NeoConnect and NeoFlex?
The NeoConnect range (NeoConnect Lite and NeoConnect Prime) are optimum for a single-user home or small office environment, and provide voice, SMS and data on a single device.
NeoFlex Data is optimal for a multi-user office or home, and provide LAN / Wireless LAN connectivity.
If I get NeoFlex Data, can I also get a voice service?
NeoFlex Data is a data service. If you require voice, please refer to JustConnect's VoIP service offerings.
If you are looking for a voice and data package in one, consider the NeoConnect range.
What Internet speeds can I expect with NeoFlex Data?
NeoFlex Data has a peak download speed of 3.1 Mbps, but the average experience will be in the range of 450 – 900 kbps. The peak upload speed is 1.8 Mbps, with the average in the range of 300 – 600 kbps. Overall, the performance is similar to what you can expect from technologies like HSUPA.
You can check your download and upload speed directly on Neotel's core network on http://speedtest.neotel.co.za
Where is NeoFlex available?
NeoFlex is available in Jo’burg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. I
Is there a coverage map available for NeoFlex? Will Neotel update it as areas go live?
Yes! Click here to view the coverage map. The map is updated as new sites are added, typically once a week.
Is there is any coverage outside the published boundaries?
Yes, but not guaranteed. The cells in CDMA networks “breathe” – they shrink as they get more loaded. Neotel only promises coverage and sells the service where there will continue to be good coverage in future. NeoFlex Data will fall back to the lower (1X) speed in poorer coverage areas.
Does the service need to be installed? Will it work anywhere?
NeoFlex Data uses a wireless device that does not need any physical installation, and will work anywhere where there is coverage within a city. The device has battery back-up, and can be used for two to two and a half hours without recharging.
Will a NeoFlex Data device work in another city (another area code)?
Neotel’s service is offered within code areas, and not across multiple area codes. Each NeoFlex Data service has a geographic number associated with its area (e.g. 011, 012, 021, 031), even though it is a data-only service.
What packages are available and what do they cost?
Click here to see pricing on NeoFlex Data packages.
Is there an unlimited package on NeoFlex Data?
No. Neotel caters for those requiring an unlimited package (no cap) with the NeoConnect Prime and NeoConnect Lite unlimited offerings.
Is NeoFlex Data available as prepaid?
Not currently. Prepaid voice and data will be available during 2009, and implementation is underway.
Apparently, subscribers are required to pay a deposit. Does this apply to all subscribers?
Neotel’s pricing guide reflects the basic package and fee structure and there are no hidden costs. Neotel has partnered with TransUnion ITC for credit verification. A combination of customer information, held at TransUnion ITC, and the internal Neotel credit policies is applied at application stage. Certain customers may be required to submit a security deposit. This is a standard practice in the industry and is in line with all of the necessary regulation that governs the industry. The security deposit is refunded to the customer should he/she wish to terminate services at any stage.
Can I upgrade from an existing NeoConnect service to NeoFlex Data?
If your requirement is purely Internet, and for higher download speed (3.1 Mbps vs 2.4 Mbps), or particularly for higher upload speed (1.8 Mbps vs 153 kbps), then you may want to migrate. Note that there is no Uncapped option on NeoFlex Data, but a cap of 15GB is available.
There are several migration options, including keeping your NeoConnect device at no cost to you; should you agree to a minimum term of commitment on your NeoFlex Data package.
Is NeoFlex Data broadband?
Neotel doesn’t call its 3.1 Mbps NeoFlex Data service broadband. It refers instead to high-speed Internet. However, by this definition, many of the other so-called “broadband” offerings in South Africa, such as HSUPA and iBurst are not broadband either. The typical performance of NeoFlex Data is similar to other advanced 3G services, since it’s based on similar technology.
Can one choose to purchase the device up front and what are costs?
Currently there is no option to purchase the device up front.
Can I share the NeoFlex Data service with my neighbours?
The device is intended for multiple users. However, the account will be billed to a single individual or company; the monthly subscription and usage fees of the package are the sole responsibility of the individual or company with whom Neotel has entered into the NeoFlex Data contract.
Why do I need sign the Wi-Fi disclaimer when purchasing the service?
The Wi-Fi disclaimer is intended to make the customer aware of the security implications of not enabling Wi-Fi security options, should they choose to enable the Wireless LAN. These risks include unauthorised usage, where the customer would be liable for any associated costs.
How do I know how much data I have used?
At present, you are required to contact the call centre on 0800 333 NEO (0800 333 636) and request your data usage details; also, the total for the month will appear on your bill. However, an online service is currently being developed.
What if I do not use my full data bundle for the month, or go over my data bundle for the month?
Unused data does not roll over to the following month. Should you exceed your data bundle you will be billed at the out-of-bundle rate (8c/MB).
If I move to an area outside our region do I have to re-apply?
If you move to another region within coverage (another dialling code area e.g. 011 to 021) you will simply need to register the device for that region.
What happens if I move to an area where Neotel does not have network coverage?
If you move to a region with no coverage, Neotel will terminate the agreement at no cost, provided you return your device in working order.
Who do I go to for support on this service?
Contact the Neotel Contact Centre on 0800 333 NEO (0800 333 636) as your first port of call. If you find that they cannot assist you, please contact JustConnect for 2nd level support. Click here to find JustConnect's contact details.
How is the contract fee structured? Can I cancel the contract?
Neotel currently offers 24 month contracts. In addition to the service subscription fee based on the cap size, the monthly payment includes a recurring device fee for 24 months.
Should you wish to terminate your service at any time, you can do so, and you are only liable for the outstanding device fee, and not the outstanding service subscription fee.