|Virtual Access ADSL Q&A (removed 23 Aug 11)|
Everyone Has Questions.
ADSL is a high-speed Internet service. It provides for Internet access at around 7-100 times the speed of a dial-up modem (depending on the ADSL service speed, and the performance of your current modem). ADSL also allows you to use your phone and be online at the same time.
Broadband is a generic term that applies to a range of "faster than a modem" Internet products. These include cable, satellite and ADSL. ADSL is one type of broadband Internet access product.
While it's true that most PCs can connect to ADSL, for some it's a bit like putting a V8 into the Volkswagen. After all, you want broadband because it's fast, right? If your PC isn't able to keep up, an ADSL service could seem just as slow as a dial-up modem!
For the best results on ADSL, a minimum PC with a Pentium 3, or 4, or a Celeron processor is recommended, along with Windows 2000 or XP and 256Mb or more RAM. Simply, the "bigger" and "faster" the better! While Windows 98 or ME do work, they're really getting old, and support for them from Microsoft is decreasing quickly. When new technologies are introduced, or new security problems are discovered, Windows 98 particularly doesn't always get fixed or improved to deal with these issues. Upgrading is strongly recommended if your PC still runs these older versions of Windows.
If you plan on using a USB modem, you'll need a spare USB port.
If you're connecting an Ethernet modem directly to a single PC, you'll need an ethernet (LAN) port to do that.
If you're connecting an Ethernet modem into your existing network, you'll need a spare port on you hub or switch, or you can choose a modem that has a LAN switch built in and get some extra ports.
Where you have a choice between USB and Ethernet connections, we recommend Ethernet.
ADSL operates on a standard phone line and can be used at the same time as other telephony devices. To do so, the Broadband modem and the telephony devices need to be shielded from each other. This is done with inline filters (also called microfilters) or a central splitter (also called a central filter).
Microfilters are small boxes that connect between the telephone socket and your telephone. One filter is required for each device that you connect to the phone line (apart from your ADSL modem, which doesn't need a filter).
When considering how many devices need to be filtered, don't forget to count these devices:
A Central Filter or Splitter is an alternate option to individual microfilters. Central filters are recommended when:
Because of the hard-wired nature of central filters, they must be installed ONLY by Austel licensed cablers.
ADSL services are specific to the phone line that they are enabled on. When you move, you need to apply for a new service and disconnect the old service.
You can download an address change form by clicking here
Contact our office on 1300 132351 if you require assistance with the process.
There are a couple of alternatives, depending on exactly what you need to do.
Your email can be accessed from any Internet connected PC (at a friend's house, your office, an Internet cafe, etc) using Virtual Access WebMail. Just visit www.virtual.net.au and click on "My MailBox".
Your ADSL service also allows you to use our dial-up service from almost anywhere in Australia at local call rates. Each calendar month, the first 10 hours of dial-up time are INCLUDED AT NO EXTRA CHARGE with your Virtual Access ADSL service. A low $0.33/Hr fee applies for any additional usage, and charges appear on your next monthly invoice.
If you're a Virtual Access dial-up customer, you can move to our ADSL service and retain your current email address.
Your X-Box Live will work with our ADSL Services. Microsoft recommend service speeds of 512k/128k or better for optimum performance (ie not 256/64k)
The answer to this question really depends on your current usage and expenses, but consider these factors:
You can use an ADSL service for more than you currently use dial-up for. As an example, by connecting up to a VoIP telephony provider, you might make some huge savings on your phone bill. Talk to Virtual Access about how this works.
Time is money:
By far and away the biggest benefits of ADSL for most people can be summed up on two words: speed and convenience. Not only is an ADSL service "always on", but it's also much faster than dial-up. Your time is precious, and if your use the Internet regularly, you'll find you spend a lot less time getting things done. The savings you make here can be better spent on your business or family, and that's hard for us to put a value on.
Ultimately, everyone's equation is different. For some people, ADSL actually turns out to be cheaper than dial-up. For most, ADSL is a few dollars a month more expensive. However, when you consider the speed, convenience and access to new technologies that ADSL offers, the additional cost is usually well worthwhile.
Here's a few of the things to be careful about when comparing plans:
Virtual Access charges a LOW fee - 0.99 cents per Megabyte (or $9.90 per Gigabyte). By comparison, many providers charge up to 20 cents per Megabyte. While that doesn't sound like much, when you think of it as $200 per Gigabyte, the potential bill for excess use will mount up quickly!
A firewall is a device or program that protects your computer from hackers and some kinds of viruses and trojans. It can be either a program that runs on your computer, or - our prefered type - a hardware device. (That is, a "box" that goes between the Internet and your computer.)
The "always on" nature of ADSL means that your computer is often visible at the same Internet address for days at a time. This gives would-be attackers ample opportunity to find your computer's vulnerabilities and exploit them.
Fact: Any time you get a crowd of people together, not all of them are "good folks", and the Internet is probably the biggest "crowd" you're likely to find yourself in!
It is not unusual for an individual computer that's online for a day to be the target of around 100 attempts at unauthorised access. Some are just accidental, but most are due to virus activity or automated probes that report on vulnerable targets for later attacks. Some are even attacks themselves. We cannot (as your ISP) block these intrusions, because all of them could be legitimate traffic.
Keeping your Operating System up-to-date through Microsoft Update (http://update.microsoft.com) and regular (at least twice weekly) updates to antivirus software are part of the security solution. With broadband though, a firewall is also highly recommended - without it, your computer is an electronic "sitting duck" - especially with earlier versions of Windows.
While it is possible to set up firewalls using software on your PC (or PCs), it's often simpler to have one as part of your ADSL modem or router - This is also known as a "Hardware Firewall".
Benefits of hardware firewall:
Ultimately, the cost of a hardware firewall adds very little to the price of your ADSL hardware. We feel that the additional few dollars is a great investment in security.
Download and print the application form (PDF). Complete it and return it to Virtual Access by fax or mail (full details are on the form).
Most services are activated in around 5 working days.
Please note that in some cases, it takes longer to get service due to capacity issues at your local telephone exchange, or problems with your telephone line.
Virtual Access proactively monitors the status of pending ADSL orders, and reports any news to you by email as soon as it is known.
Churn is the name given to a process that allows you to move an ADSL service from one ISP to another without actually disconnecting. A service undergoing a churn usually suffers disruption for only a few hours. Disconnecting and reconnecting would involve at least several days downtime.
Virtual Access participates in the industry churn programme through our upstream partners. This means that if you already have an ADSL service, you can churn to Virtual Access at any time.
For more information, see the Virtual Access ADSL Churn form (PDF).
If you purchase your ADSL modem from Virtual Access, we'll provide a simple guide to the installation process. If you run into trouble, you can always give us a call.
However, if you require one, give our sales office a call. We regularly work with a number of field technicians and may be able to provide a referral to someone in your area.
The following telephone products are incompatible with ADSL:
Contact the Virtual Access sales office for further information on these products if required.