TBWNet - Services at Trinity Buoy Wharf
Comms at Trinity Buoy Wharf - A Guide to Voice and Data (Internet) Connectivity
Onega is based at Trinity Buoy Wharf, on Orchard Place, which is an amazing location with lots of interesting and creative people. Over time we've evolved from just being a tenant at TBW to also providing a number of services around the site. Many of these are provided at a fraction of the cost of competitive services elsewhere and on a 'good neighbour' basis as much as anything else.
Previously, the only option for connectivity onsite was to have a BT phone line and ADSL services on this. This is still an option, but if you read on then you will hopefully see that there is a better way to connect.
Trinity Buoy Wharf is quite a long way from the Poplar telephone exchange, so whilst we are in the shadow of Canary Wharf and the new financial heart of the city in Docklands, the site has been a bit of a technological backwater for sometime. The ADSL onsite will typically run at 5 Mbps down and .5 Mbps upstream on a good day, and not be terribly reliable with times of disconnection and slow running being par for the course. For light use this can work OK, but for anyone who needs or wants to make more intensive use of the Internet, this does not prove very workable. In the past we have known companies to move out because the broadband was lacking, and other neighbours who used to drive home to do a big download, and then drive back with this on a memory stick - all of which is a waste of time, money and carbon.
So, a little frustrated by this, and after we learned that the site is not going to be served by the high-speed and affordable fibre broadband services from the likes of BT any time in the foreseeable future, we took it upon ourselves to remedy the problem and bit the bullet by installing a super-fast dedicated fibre connection to one of the main London Docklands data centres (which also carried a large proportion of the London 2012 Olympic broadcast traffic). This was quite a substantial investment but now means that the site has access to broadband speeds faster than 99% of those enjoyed by the rest of the country.
Internet Connectivity Options Onsite
Free Site Wi-Fi:
In conjunction with Urban Space, we have implemented a free Wifi Network around site. This is available in the majority of open space areas around site, and anyone is welcome to connect to the network to use it. The Wireless SSID (Network name) is TBWFree. If you want to connect just look for the WiFi network and connect. There is no network key needed and no encryption on the network. When you connect you need to open a web browser and choose to accept the terms and conditions of connection (to be nice and not to abuse the network), and then you are on. The free wireless connection is speed limited on a per device basis to stop anyone from monopolising the link, but is plenty quick enough for web browsing and reading email.
Note that the signal is unlikely to be able to be picked up inside units as the construction of many of the buildings onsite will often block the signal. The network is intended to allow visitors or anyone else to connect, and be online at the wharf.
Dedicated Fast Fibre Connectivity:
We can connect individual studios and units to the fast Fibre Broadband service. This gives very fast and reliable Internet to you directly in a studio / office unit with speeds of up to 100Mbps up and down. If there is existing wiring in place we don't charge any setup fee with the exception of the cost of the MikroTik wireless Ethernet router, for which we charge £80 excl. VAT installed and configured. If you have your own router (NB it needs to have an Ethernet WAN port, not just ADSL), then you are welcome to use that and configure it yourself to save cost, or we are happy to configure it for you but would charge for our time in doing so. The ongoing cost of the connection is either £35 per month if you are just one person in a studio, or £100 if you have multiple people sharing the connection i.e. in an office (all excl. VAT) . We normally invoice this on a quarterly basis to save admin for everyone, and the first invoice would be pro rata to account for go live dates and time left in the quarter.
Some Questions and Answers on these connections:
Q: Just how fast is the connection?
A: The connections we put in are very fast - quicker than that available to 99% of the UK population. The normal maximum speed available is 100Mbps upstream and downstream on an individual studio. As we have multiple gigabit connections we can scale individual connections beyond this if needed in due course. The dedicated connections are approximately 200 times faster upload than available with a standard BT ADSL connection, 20 times faster than 3G and more than ten times as fast as 4G.
Q: Are there any usage limits?
A: As long as you are happy to comply with our requested policy of fair, reasonable and legal use of the connection, there are no limits. This is to say that please don't engage in illegal peer-to-peer file sharing which would potentially monopolise the connection and, note, be traceable. As all Internet connections are in the UK, by copyright owners.
Q: Is there a minimum contract period?
A: The normal connection term is for a minimum of 12 months with a 30 day notice period on the connection. If you require any different minimum term for this please let us know this in advance of the installation and we should be able to accommodate you but please make sure that this is confirmed and acknowledged by us in writing (or in email) beforehand. The reason for this is that there is a cost to us of providing the initial connection and getting you set up on the line but we absorb this into the cost of service as long as it is done for 12 months minimum. If you move from one unit to another onsite then we are happy to move your connection with no penalty.
Q: Is there an SLA on the line?
A: The connection has a 99%+ SLA. If the service is down for any significant period of time then we can claim and pay a service credit which is calculated based on the proportionate cost of the time the circuit is unavailable. You should always have a backup plan for any vital connection but this will be a very solid connection as it is a full leased line direct fibre link to the Internet. There is a 4 hour break / fix response target on any major fault, but if there was to be an incident such as a JCB ripping through a main fibre connection out of the site then it might realistically take longer than that to rectify so if uninterrupted Internet access is vital for you then we'd strongly suggest having a backup plan.
Q: Will the system support IPV4 & IPV6 addressing?
A: Initially everyone will have IPV4 addresses, but the system is set up to allow for IPV6 connections as these become common. If this means nothing to you - suffice to say that the system is engineered to be future-proof as far as possible.
Q: I prefer Public / Private (secure) IP addresses – can I have what I want?
A: Yes – you can have either type of address (if you don’t know what this means don’t worry we can explain and help you get what you need!)
Q: Can I have a static IP Address allocation?
A: Everyone will get a static address, and you can have as many addresses as can be legitimately justified.
Q. Can I run a server / VPN behind this network?
A: Yes, though all content must be legal (this would go for any connection) – we don’t mind what you do on your line but be aware that copyright owners are getting hotter on people who download pirated movies etc. (any internet connection is traceable, so don’t take the risk).
Q: Will I need to fit my office chairs with seatbelts?
A: This is optional but Onega can take no liability for consequences of the fast broadband link beyond the basic connection.
Event Connectivity @ The Chainstore, or in the Electrician's Workshop Spaces:
These two spaces on the Wharf are used for various events, art shows, parties and private concerts. If you are running an event that needs a good internet connection then we can provide this. We can provide a fast and reliable link and assist with any engineering support requirements that you might have, and we can do this efficiently and economically. If you are non technical then suffice it to say we can take care of your event internet needs so that you have one less thing to worry about. If you are technical then you may like to know that we can provide connections up to 100Mbps or now Full Gigabit with low latency Ethernet delivered Internet with full duplex bandwidth availability, and multiple public static IP addresses if required (or private and firewalled if you prefer). We can also provide branded event Wi-fi on separate networks with differential bandwidth available for guests and event staff if required.
Examples of some of the deployments of the event network include:
- Providing streaming bandwidth and connectivity for Alicia Keys' exclusive Blackberry sponsored 'Secret Sessions' concert and after party, which was hosted at TBW after her sell out concert at the Docklands O2 venue that is across the Thames from us. We liaised with the event organisers and the TV Streaming / film production crew and provided connectivity to our fibre net where they needed it, and a dedicated high speed event wireless connection for staff and guests. Everything went smoothly and the guys commented that 'if only every venue was as well connected, our lives would be much easier' - we take the quality and reliability of our network very seriously and hearing about some of the trials and tribulations they'd had at other (very big and well known) venues we were happy that they appreciated the difference. If you'd like to see the mini concert (which had over 58,000 followers) then have a click on http://new.livestream.com/blackberrykeepmoving/aliciakeyssecretsessions (link is external)
- When Station House Opera needed a good connection in Feb 2014 to set up and rehearse for their innovative live video art exhibit of 'Dissolved' we provided Internet connectivity for this. The low latency link worked well and allowed them to interact in real-time with their counterparts in Berlin before going live with the show simultaneously from Beaconsfield, London and Germany. You can find out more about this at http://www.stationhouseopera.com/project/6194/#4 (link is external) and at http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/events/3445 (link is external) - there is also some interesting video there including a behind-the-scenes interview with artist Julian Maynard Smith.
If you have a fast and reliable Internet connection then you can make use of Onega's hosted IP telephony (VOIP) system. This is a fully featured 'cloud' telephone system and mini switchboard, but with very good and real Cisco IP phones. To use it is just like a normal phone but with a web portal with which you can organise call forwarding, voice-mail, etc. If you have multiple people in your office then you can each have a phone and transfer calls between you etc. Apart from the technology which is clever in the background but simple in the foreground, the economics of this are great. Apart from the one-off phone cost, the line rental is £12.50 a month excl. VAT, which is less than a BT phone line rental, but importantly includes unlimited calls to UK local, national and mobile numbers. Thus the only calls you pay for are premium rate calls (so go easy on the Dial-a-Tarot-Reading and remember that you can get directory enquiries free on the web) and international calls (which are on very good least cost routing rates so calling the USA, for example, costs 1.5 pence per minute vs BT's cost of 12.5p - prices correct as of 12/3/2014 but the main point is that first world international calls will not break your bank :-)
The core of Onega's services has always been IT Support and Services. If you need any help with your computer systems then we can help and also help with transitions to cloud services etc. No problem is too trivial so if you need reliable and local IT support we'd be happy to help. If you have someone or a company that already do this for you then we are happy to augment their resources if and as required and we're not about to tread on any toes uninvited.
Please do have a look through the rest of the website and don't hesitate to ask us if you have any other needs. We are technical people and have in our range of skills the ability to fix varied systems; from broadcast studios with audio streaming problems to aircraft navigation systems.
Do say 'Hello'
If you are onsite, you can find us in Studio V in the Container City Building (entrance on the third floor then first door on the left to enter our unit). Please do come to say hello and to discuss any and all comms / IT needs you might have (we have a very good fresh coffee machine).
You can call us nearly any time (we are groggy after midnight though!) on the office number of 0207 536 6350 and we'd be happy to discuss any of this also.
IT Support for London City Island:
With the blocks being completed at the Ballymore development at London City Island, we're very happy to offer IT support and services to new residents - private and businesses alike. Have a look at our IT Support for London City Island page to see some of what we can do for you if you are moving in.