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Telstra adds 4G voice to NBN smart modem

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(Image: Telstra)

Telstra has announced adding voice services to its National Broadband Network (NBN) 4G-backup modem, calling the addition “vital” as over 3 million voice calls daily are made over home phones by its NBN customers.

According to the telco, there are now more than 600,000 Telstra Smart Modems deployed across the nation, providing backup 4G services in the event of an NBN outage or a delayed migration from legacy broadband services.

“The Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2.0 now provides peace of mind that their home phone will be available during a network outage. So Telstra NBN customers can continue to make voice calls over the 4G network in the event that their broadband service is disrupted and power is still available in the home,” Telstra said.

“Customers using a Telstra Smart Modem generally have a better experience on the NBN network, with their satisfaction scores around 15 to 20 points higher than those without a Telstra Smart Modem.”

The redesigned smart modem also includes new Wi-Fi monitoring tools, including across interference, number of linked devices, and signal strength. It also measures speed and network performance “constantly”, sending this data back to Telstra operational support system agents.

“With this data now one touch away for our field techs, it means they can arrive at a customer’s home and already know how a customer’s broadband and home network is performing, how many devices are connected, the service history of the home and how much data is being used,” Telstra explained.

“It improves our ability to find the root cause of the problem and in turn allows us to find a quicker resolution.”

Speaking in February, Telstra CEO Andy Penn had outlined Telstra’s strategy to improve NBN customer service, including by extending its combined fixed and mobile modem to all new, migrating, or recontracting home bundle customers, which saw the modem grow from 85,000 customers at the time to 600,000 now.

“On fixed, we are moving to provide customers with an always-connected experience,” Penn said in February.

“The smart modem brings together our fixed and 4G mobile networks in a single device to get new customers activated sooner, and existing customers back online quickly if their fixed service is interrupted.

“Once plugged in, the smart modem will connect a home or small business to the internet within minutes, over 4G, without having to wait for the fixed service to be installed and switched on, which can take a long time for customers migrating to NBN.”

Vodafone Australia similarly launched a 4G-backup NBN modem last year, with its Wi-Fi Hub providing backup 4G internet access in the event of an outage or delay in migration.

In June, Vodafone then launched a Wi-Fi booster, which Vodafone GM of Fixed Matthew Lobb described to ZDNet as being a “mini-me version of our Wi-Fi hub”.

Lobb told ZDNet that Vodafone again worked with Technicolor on the booster, which has similar capabilities, including dual-band Wi-Fi with the ability to connect 32 devices.

This followed Vodafone in March automating its 4G backup service.

“Initially in the pilot, Vodafone would turn on the 4G service after some troubleshooting work with our customers,” Lobb told ZDNet.

“We changed that so the device will automatically move to 4G as soon as there’s a fault … there’ll be no time when they’re disconnected.”

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The Easiest Way To Back Up Your Android Phone’s Data

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Google’s service for saving and restoring photos and videos is called “Backup & Sync.” It works across all platforms. But the tool is pre-integrated into the Google Photos app for Android.

  1. To create a backup for your photo and video gallery, download and install Google Photos from the Play Store (if you haven’t already).
  2. You’ll be asked to sign in with a Google Account of your choice.
  3. After signing in, tap your profile picture in the corner to pull up the preferences.
  4. Next, navigate to Photos Settings > Backup & Sync and toggle the switch.
  5. Backup & Sync will automatically start saving your photos and videos to the cloud. Once the process is completed successfully, you will see a green accent and a checkmark around your profile picture.

Unless you’re on a Pixel phone, the storage isn’t unlimited. From June 1, 2021, Google only offers 15GB of free storage. But you can always buy extra storage or adjust the upload size to save space. To change the Upload size, scroll down the Backup & Sync menu and select Upload size. And pick from Storage saver or Original quality modes (via Google).

Also, you can specify individual folders if you don’t need to back up your entire gallery. Go to Backup and Sync > backup device folders and toggle your chosen folders from the list.

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Why Your Android Phone Goes Straight To Voicemail And How To Fix It

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If you need periods blocked off in your day to focus or relax, the Do Not Disturb Mode is a handy feature to have. You can either block all phone calls or only accept calls or messages from the contacts you want to hear from. If this setting is enabled, it also blocks app notifications, text messages, and alarms. But what if you forget to turn it off? Or switch it on by accident? Depending on who calls, you probably won’t hear your phone ring, and their calls will most likely go to voicemail.

Here’s how you can turn it off in three simple steps.

  1. Swipe down from the top of your screen to pull down your phone’s notification menu.

  2. Check if the Do Not Disturb button is enabled at the bottom right.

  3. If it’s on (the button will be lit). Tap once to turn it off.

Another way to turn off the Do Not Disturb function is to go through the settings menu on your phone.

  1. Go to the Settings app on your phone

  2. Hit Sound & vibration > Do not disturb > Turn on/off now.

  3. If you own a phone that is Android 8.1 and below, press Sound > Do not disturb. Toggle the switch on/off

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The Galaxy Note Is Dead, But Its Spirit Will Live On Every Year

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According to notorious tipster @Ice universe, Samsung mobile division head TM Roh was quoted as saying that the Galaxy Note will appear in the form of the Galaxy S Ultra every year. The direct implication here is that there will no longer be a Galaxy Note model moving forward. It also suggests that the Galaxy S Ultra models will retain the same form and features as the Galaxy Note, just like the Galaxy S22 Ultra released in 2022.

In terms of features, that basically means that the Galaxy S Ultra model will continue carrying an S-Pen inside its body. That design change started with the Galaxy S22 Ultra this year, in contrast to the previous Galaxy S21 Ultra generation, which had no room for the stylus inside. That same ultra-large phone distinguished itself from the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ with its boxier design, similar to that of the latest Galaxy Note models. Whether that design will remain going forward is still unknown, but the exact appearance of the Galaxy Note was never its defining feature anyway.

This news, if confirmed to be official, will probably send mixed feelings to Galaxy Note fans. On the one hand, they will be relieved that the S Pen isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet. On the other hand, the brand beloved by professionals and creatives is finally being retired after almost a decade of service. The move will at least help consolidate Samsung’s Galaxy S brand and even make the S-Pen a staple of its flagship — and hopefully, it will at least stay that way for more years to come.

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