We hope this FAQ will help to answer some common questions about the B4AV broadband service.
Please click on the questions for the answer
How will the B4AV connection enter my house?
The normal installation is to take orange duct that has been laid through the property grounds, change to black duct as it comes above ground (UV stabilised) and run it up the wall to a small house entry box (the size of a spectacles case!). This contains a gas block that prevents gases like radon or methane entering your house. These are not likely hazards, but we are intent on following best practice for safety!From the house entry box small hole will be drilled through the wall and a white 5mm duct will be fed through the hole into the backplate which is fitted to your inside wall.
This work can be done by DIY householders or by trained local volunteers.
The duct is then ready for our technicians to bring fibre into the property, terminate it, and fit the wifi/router onto the backplate. You won’t need to use your old router anymore
How will the B4AV connection be brought across my garden/drive etc?
It is the householder’s responsibility to get the duct from the boundary of their property to their house wall. B4AV can only install this world class service at this price if each household helps, or finds friends/neighbours to help with the installation. No other company can install a service anything like this at anything like this price… householder help is part of what makes this achievable. Our Community Champions will advise on the route through your property but the duct route is the householder’s responsibility, as is recording the route for future reference . Photographs are a simple way of recording the route.
Where will the router be located in our house?
It can be mounted wherever you want it in the house. Ideally, it would want to be somewhere near the rooms where you use the Internet most so that Wi-Fi can be used to maximum effect. However, where it goes will largely be subject to limiting the disruption at the property, i.e. it is easier to run duct through lawn & flower beds than tarmac & concrete. Just like any other company like BT or Sky, we will find a convenient location and anything beyond that (for example internal routing under floors, through lofts etc. to a more ideal location) would be down to the householder. The router needs power, so it will need to be mounted within 1m of a socket. It can also be useful to have a telephone socket nearby so you can more easily change your entire home phone circuit onto VoIP, although this can also be a moveable feast by using powerline adaptors to move the phone to a more convenient socket.
What specification is the router?
We will install the router on an inside wall of your home. This is the equivalent of your current router and has WiFi and 4 gigabit wired connections. This is supplied as part of the £30/month service fee so costs you nothing extra, but it does remain the property of B4AV. It has comparable Wi-Fi performance to modern routers from the likes of Sky, Talk Talk etc.
The latest router has two wireless-N antennas inside: a 2.4Ghz and a 5Ghz. The 2.4Ghz has greater range but limited speed whereas the 5Ghz has faster speed but limited range. Both antennas are active so you can mix and match which devices around your house use which antenna, or let your equipment decide automatically.
What ISP service does B4AV's provide?
An Internet Service Provider is an organisation which provides you with connectivity to the Internet eg Talk-Talk, BT Sky.
Your ISP will be B4RN. They will provide you with an IP address and the rest of the techie things you need to get online. What else does an ISP do? Well, strictly speaking nothing much, except for some including an email account. Once online you can access a range of services that are hosted within the Internet i.e. TV, Storage, Music and business applications and your ISP may then offer some of these services in competition to other providers.
For instance you will want an EMAIL account and your ISP may offer you one as part of the connection. It’s generally not a good thing to take email accounts from your ISP as it locks you into taking your connectivity from them forever unless you don’t mind changing your email address every time you shift ISP to get a better deal also it can make it more difficult to access on mobile devices. So many people these days go with some thing like Gmail, Hotmail or similar to maintain vendor independence and make emailing easier on the go.
So, really what you need from your ISP is a really fast, reliable connection to the Internet and you can then sign up to take whatever services you really want from suppliers who live in the Internet cloud. I think you may have heard of the idea of clicking on the icon for one of these Facebook, YouTube, iPlayer, iTunes Netfick and NOW TV ( Sky's online TV service) and many more. These are all services and applications provided free or for a small fee delivered via the internet with nothing to do with your ISP.
Finally – a good ISP should offer friendly, responsive customer technical support. Although we don’t have a 24hr overseas call-centre, they do have a dedicated local support team that can be called (in office hours) or emailed. They will often know about a problem you have before you and not rest until your problem is sorted… and experience shows problems get fixed far quicker with B4RN than any other telecoms provider, after all they are part of your community.
Will I need to change my email address?
You would need to contact your existing service provider to determine their policy on email services, when you terminate your broadband service with them. Regardless of this, our recommendation is to move to using a free cloud based email service like Gmail or Hotmail, which is typically far more flexible. As such, we do not offer an email service but we will be happy to advise.
Do I get a fixed public IP address. ( for the technical do not worry if you do not know what this is. Your internet will still work)
By default we will issue 1 static IP address per fibre connection. Our supplied fibre router / hub on the end of the fibre line will handle additional internal address allocations and use NAT to share the single address.
If you decide to use a VoIP telephone services then an additional IP address will be allocated for that. However we have no problem with allocating additional addresses or blocks of addresses if required so long as the end user knows what to do with them and can make a case for wanting them. We have to justify our address blocks to RIPE who will want to see the case for assigning them. Given the shortage of IPv4 addresses we might be forced towards IPv6 numbering if a user wants to take a block but the B4RN network will support both protocol stacks.
Is B4RN really so much faster than my current connection?
The current broadband ADSL service in most of our area is sold as “up to 8Mbps” and BT's super fast broadband service the top of the range service is up to 76Mbps. It’s unusual to get these these speeds because it depends upon distance from the exchange and quality of the copper cable linking your property to the exchange. Hence, typical broadband speed in our area is 4-7Mbps download and 0.4Mbps upload for ADSL and Superfast 7- 28Mbps and 2-6 Mbps. The B4RN service is 1000Mbps ( 1 gigabit)download and 1000Mbps upload, irrespective of distance from your local B4RN cabinet.
It might be more helpful to think of it like this: a B4RN broadband service removes the internet connection as being the bottleneck it traditionally has been. The limitation then becomes the user equipment in the home and the remote servers with which you are communicating with. Most customers seem to get at least few hundred Mbps. While this is unbelievably fast, and some people will say they don’t need this, the world is ever-changing and who can predict what the internet will need in years to come?
Remember speed isn’t everything. B4RN use WDM technology simply BT shine a single white light down the fibre carrying the data and B4RN shine a rainbow down it, with each colour carrying data. Its the difference between a single track road with passing places to allow traffic in the opposite direction and a 48 lane motorway carrying traffic in both directions unhindered.
Everyone wants a reliable broadband connection that works perfectly all of the time, whenever you need it. The B4RN service is designed solely to deliver a world-class broadband service, using the same fibre-optic technology that link data centres and countries, all the way from the internet exchange in Manchester and Edinburgh to your property. It doesn’t make use of ageing infrastructure and cables that were designed and laid decades ago to deliver something else: a telephone service. As such, the glitches, slow speeds and temporary outages that we are all suffer, will be a thing of the past for B4RN customers.
How many connections can I make to the B4RN router?
There are 4 network ports on the supplied router. You could for example connect one to your computer, one to your TV, one to a games console and one to a VoIP phone. You also will have the built in WiFi. If you have lots of computers and smart TVs at home, and you need more than 4 wired network connections, you can buy a Gigabit switch which acts as a distribution box giving you many more connections. Because our 1 gigabit fibre is so fast you will find none of the connections feel slow even if lots of users in your house are busy online at the same time.
How can I get the connection to the TV and computers around my house?
You can run a network cable from the B4RN router to your TV. Alternatively, you can use RJ45 cable to run a network to connect different parts of your house or use Powerline Homeplugs use your electrical cables saving runnung cables. These aren’t as fast as dedicated network cables, and the quality of the connection can depend on the wiring, but they can be an easier alternative.
Note that if you want to mount your B4RN router near the TV, be careful not to mount it right behind the TV because it will block some of the power of the WiFi signal. Similarly, you may need to consider thickness of walls, foil-lined plasterboard and insulated walls, all of which can attenuate the WiFi signal. If these sorts of issues do affect WiFi strength in your property, it is possible to install extra WiFi access points to boost the signal in areas of weak signal strength. Note that whilst we can advise you further about this but as with other internet service providers e.g. BT, internal networking and WiFi remains the responsibility of the householder. See the information page to download a PDF guide to extending your home network.
Can B4AV help install networking cable / antennas etc around my house?
We not do this but again advise is available in our community. Installing a network cable is like running a telephone extension cable, which people would typically tack to skirting boards or run under the edge of the carpet. If you are looking to install network sockets in walls, then this can be a diy job or and electrician would do it. Alternative consider buying a TV with WiFi or an addapter to make the TV wifi enabled. Check th information page for a PDF guide to extend your home network.
How do I make phone calls using Fibre
You will need to sign up to a third party VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. This provides a telephone service that uses your internet connection. The calls are generally cheaper than on a traditional phone service, and you won’t need to pay line rental anymore. There are many alternatives VoIP service providers we have included prices from a local supplier on the Information page
The VoIP provider can provide a VoIP phone or adapter to plug your phone into the router.
Can we retain our existing phone number and old telephones?
If you currently use BT or another quality phone provider, yes – your existing number can be ported over to the VoIP service just like a mobile number can be ported to another mobile network. You should double-check with the VoIP provider you choose before you make the switch. Old phones will still work on most VoIP services with an adapter. You must get the new VoIP service working and then ask to move your number to them, if you cancel your current contract first you will lose your number. Please ask if you would like help
Do we have to continue to pay line rental to BT (or similar)?
No, you can choose to cease your landline entirely if you wish. However, it is important to understand that current landline telephone can make a telephone call in the event of a power loss to your property. Your internet connection on the other hand will not work in the event of a power cut. Unless you invested in a UPS from about £30 to keep the router powered this will keep your phone and internet working for a set amount of time, depending on the size of unit you buy. The community network is protected against power loss and will carry on working. A mobile phone can be used to make an emergency telephone calls if you have signal, if required.
How can our TV make use of our B4AV internet connection?
Most modern smart TVs are able to stream video from many services via the internet, e.g. BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer, Netflix and NowTV ( Sky ) etc. If you don’t have a smart TV, you can use a streaming internet player (e.g. Sky’s NowTV, Humax and Sky Q boxes, Amazon fire stick and Google chrome cast ).
Assuming you have suitable equipment, you should be able to access some streaming services like BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer and Ch4 etc. free. There are also plethora of services available e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Sky Go which require a subscription.
Remember that B4RN provides your internet connection service only.
Can we use our B4AV internet connection to watch live TV?
Well yes and no. Some channels do not stream live broadcasts to some makes smart TV's and streaming devices for example Ch4. (This is a licensing issue between manufacturers). However, all the major live channels can be streamed to a computer, tablets and tsmart phones. So, for live TV, you may want to keep your current TV aerial/satellite dish setup until broadcasters catch up with our wonderful technology.
Note that you should continue to pay for your TV licence. Tv on the internet does not create an exemption from needing a licence.
Could B4RN become overloaded if everyone tried to watch the World Cup at the same time?
No. There is enough bandwidth to feed thousands of HD video streams. Furthermore, if more bandwidth is ever required we can easily upgrade to supply more. So 1 gigabit is not our upper limit its just that nobody can use more at present but our equipment is capable of suppling more
What is the security like on B4RN ?
B4RN take data security very seriously, their ISP service is very secure. 24/7 backup is provided by TNP (The Networking People) who also look after a lot of other networks including schools, so security is paramount. More info about them here:
Also we don’t keep people’s bank details like larger ISPs do, we use a separate company called Go Cardless to manage our direct debits. This means if we are hacked they can’t get your bank details, and if Go Cardless are hacked they can’t get your personal details. This makes us more secure than other ‘mass market’ ISPs
Our network is constantly monitored, and if there were any breaches of security they would be dealt with immediately.
You can assured we will always be there, and protecting our community.
I would like to volunteer to help get our network up and running who should I contact
What is a wayleave and why do we need them
These exist entirely for everyone’s mutual protection, and to ensure that we have an agreed route across each piece of land, before we start to lay the network.
There are two occasions where network ducting may be on your land:
1. To provide a connection only to your property. No wayleave is required for this.
2. Where our network needs to cross your property in order to reach other properties beyond. This is where we do need a wayleave: a one page document allowing the installation and a map which we will mark up with you to show the route that works best for you.
This doesn’t make you responsible for any accidental damage to the network where it crosses your property: it’s B4AV's responsibility to maintain it. We will of course also agree with you the exact route and the least disruptive way to carry out the laying of the duct. B4AV itself, and any contractors we may use, are fully insured for liability.
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