The national broadband network in Beechboro

The construction of the National Broadband Network in Beechboro, WA is included in the larger Bassendean area build.

It has been changed from a Fibre to the Premises network that was supposed to have started work in July 2013 and be finished by July 2015 to a slower Fibre to the Node network (re)using the existing Telstra copper network.

Here is a photo gallery of the nbn Fibre to the Node build in Beechboro.

And here is a photo gallery of some of the above-ground Telstra network that nbn have used to provide broadband in Beechboro.


If the multi-technology mix NBN was a building program…

One day NBNCo paid ~$11bn for blocks of land with which to build. The blocks may have existing buildings on them or they might be completely vacant. For many blocks (the number and location are strictly commercially sensitive – NBNCo didn’t ask, and the seller didn’t feel obliged to tell), they don’t know what’s on the block of land: it could be prime real estate or it could be a swamp.

They don’t even know if there is in fact land at the place that they were told and to solve these problems NBNCo have agreed to pay extra to the seller to survey the land that they bought.

Every 18 months or so, NBNCo then place a big sign at a random number of blocks in random places saying “Sometime soon we’ll build a building here!”. Occasionally on some blocks, for no describable reason, the sign is pulled down. This is the best information we get from the NBNCo public website and maps.

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Exim on Debian and frustrating authentication errors

You’ve set up a brand new Debian machine and installed the Exim MTA. Because this server is Internet-facing, you switched on the options to allow TLS with authentication so your users can securely relay mail from their phones and laptops. Your users also have local accounts on the server.

Frustratingly, when users try and send relay mail it fails and the /var/log/exim4/mainlog is filled with messages like this:

2011-03-22 18:12:57 TLS error on connection from [] (gnutls_handshake): A TLS packet with unexpected length was received.
2011-03-22 18:12:58 login_server authenticator failed for (testPC) []: 535 Incorrect authentication data (set_id=testuser)

The Exim configuration was copied from another working installation so the log file, especially with the odd TLS error, points perhaps to some sort of library or version problem. Updating exim, gnutls libraries and anything else you think of to try and solve it are fruitless.

The solution is surprisingly simple and in this case the error messages are totally misleading. Authentication is failing because the Debian-exim user that Debian uses for Exim doesn’t have access to read /etc/shadow – and therefore authenticate local users. All you needed to do is add the Debian-exim user to the shadow group.

adduser Debian-exim shadow


Nokia: Let’s do the time warp again

One of these three is not like the others

All three of these phones are in Perth, Western Australia, are on the Telstra network and are set to automatically update their time from the network. The brand-new Nokia E52 in the middle is an hour ahead. How do you fix it?
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Setting up a Bigpond NextG wireless connection on Linux – Part 1

Recently, Telstra Bigpond have changed the pricing on their NextG broadband that makes it (gasp!) actually competitive if you have your mobile and home phone already with them. So, interested in having a postpaid wireless broadband/redundant Internet link for an all-up price of a couple of takeaway coffees a month, I go ahead and sign up.

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