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BoB2 Behind the Scenes

by Anthony Malone

There is never a dull day for the iiNet Labs team. With several new products currently on the go and BoB LiteTM already released, our team has been full of activity making sure our latest offering – BoB2TM – is refined to perfection.

Most of my time lately has been spent on the iiNet Labs factory floor, looking after BoB2TM through the production stages. It’s been a little wild I must admit, but an exciting project to be a part of. When I arrived at the factory in March for the pilot production run, everything seemed on track for the tentative April release date. We had a select few staff ready and waiting to put a small sample run of BoB2TM units through the pilot production line to make sure there were no faults.

During one of these pilot production runs we spotted a small hitch with the handset – a bit of plastic stopping the answering machine light from shining brightly enough – that effectively set us back some weeks. A minor setback, but this small bit of plastic kept me on the factory floor for an extra three weeks, working long hours, to make sure the handset was back on track. This sort of ‘hands on’ attention to detail is why we created iiNet Labs in the first place.

On the bright side, it makes our job easier having caught the faulty piece of plastic during the pre run and not after a thousand dim-lighted handsets had been sent out of the factory. Being the first BoB to include an answering service, we certainly want our customers well aware when they have a message waiting for them. Nevertheless, it required a bit of extra time in finding an alternative bit of plastic and doing the necessary tests to make sure it worked exactly as we wanted it to.

Right now, we’re working towards a June release date for BoB2TM. The modem itself is ready to go (high five anyone?), but the handset needs a little more testing to make sure BoB2TM is the best it can be.

With more testing on the agenda, I’m back in Sydney for the time being to work on some other top secret projects. Any day though I could be on a flight back to the iiNet Labs factory (I’m usually the lucky one who does all the flying, spending more time on a plane than my own lounge room) to give BoB2TM the green light, so keep an eye out for my updates.

Who knows, I could get the call sooner than we expect. Let’s just say I’ve got my bags packed in anticipation to welcome BoB2TM to our growing product suite.

13 comments

  1. Don Wishart says:

    What if any are the advantages of the new BoB2 over my original BoB

  2. Adam O'grady says:

    Hi Don,

    While it does share a lot in common with the original BoB (both are an all in one router/modem/handsets), the new BoB2 supports some new features such as full-colour LCD handsets, an inbuilt answering machine and support for newer cordless telephony technology such as CAT-iq.
    Because it’s also designed completely by the guys in iiNet Labs, we also have a greater level of control over the firmware (inbuilt software) that powers it and can make updates and releases with new features if needed.

    Regards,
    Adam

  3. Greg says:

    I bought a BoB from yourselves not long after it was first launched. I also purchased 3 additional handsets at the same time.
    Clearly I have invested a great deal of money in the original BoB and as a high bandwidth customer I pay out a lot of $$$ every month too.
    My 2 question are quite simple really:

    1) will my existing handsets work with the BoB2?
    2) Will the ethernet connections support 1000Mbps?

  4. Ian says:

    I’m building a new house and would be interested in something like this assuming I can get ADSL at the new place. Lots of questions though like:

    1. Is it wall mountable?
    2. What connections do I need – 1 phone + 1 network (house will be wired so would connect to a switch).
    3. Needs a power point too I assume. Uses a power brick?
    4. Is the handset charged when attached to main unit or does it have its on power brick?
    5. Dont suppose it is dual band wireless?

  5. jason says:

    i have the original bob can i upgrade to bob2 when it is release?

  6. JB says:

    To be fair, the first BoB does kind of suck when it comes to the handset… The sound is unclear, the ring is quiet, it’s uncomfortable and how hard would it be to implement redial? (I know, bleeding edge features here)

    Apologies, I seem to have digressed – I genuinely do hope BoB2 has a much better handset…

    I’ve read that you guys are going to go ahead and keep the ports at 10/100? I realize the design choice is because of the mentality ‘ADSL could never max out a 100Mbps port’ but if you’re going to put 4 or 5 ports on there it’s a switch – and 100Mbps switches went out with flares dude…

  7. Don says:

    Hi Adam, Thanks for the reply
    will i have to upgrade to the new Bob2 eventually and if i do what concesions will you offer ???
    Don.

  8. Kye says:

    The original BoB was built by Belkin, correct? Does this mean that you’ve built the firmware/control panel for BoB2? If so, can we get some specifics on what it’ll support?

  9. luke says:

    Lots of ppl make comment on the heat of the handset. Big woop, i leave mine off bob until it needs charge. To make the handset fully sweet make it a slide out qwerty with a flat screen to txt like a mobile and hook it in with the iinet network and pwn the competition handset down!

  10. Tim says:

    I too would be interested to know if it’ll support gigabit ethernet

  11. Noal says:

    I have been a customer with ozemail from when they took over gateway customers and then become iinet. I feel that iinet has let down those of us who remain loyal to the company. If ozemail made such great advances they would have offered the new product for existing customers who signed up for a 2 year contract. Why is iinet only willing to do this for new customers?

  12. Mike Alcasas says:

    Been a loyal iinet customer since signing up for my first broadband account in Australia. As an IT support professional I promoted the iinet service to friends and family, and was all excited about the promise of the first BOB when it was announced. I signed up for it as soon as I could, but have had multiple issues with the unit not recognising the handset after a while. I have spent hours on the phone with the iinet support team. They did the best they could, even shipped me another handset, all to no avail. I’ve had the original Bob for 8 months, and managed to make less than a handful of VOIP calls before everything went pear-shaped. All that to say, take all the time you need to get the VOIP and handset issues sorted before shipping this thing! It is rather embarrassing promoting a device (and internet service) that even an IT support professional can’t get working correctly. I’m also hoping that Iinet will be maintaining and releasing firmware updates directly, instead of through a third party.

  13. Eric Smith - iiNet staffer says:

    Hi Guys
    Some good questions fielded already, I will try to answer each in turn.

    1)Will BoB2 support Gigabit Ethernet?.
    Unfortunately Gigabit ethernet ports were ruled out for a number of reasons including pricing, value, form factor and CPU overhead. An important driver of BoB2’s development is to ensure we give better value balanced by additional features. We certainly have gigabit ports highlighted for some of our other products in development however and hopefully these will be well worth the wait.

    2)Will there be an improvement to the BoB handset?
    The BoB2 handset has been developed to ensure the limitations of the last handset were well addressed. Particularly features such as messagebank, form function, better audio and DECT capability. It is a big step up from BoB 1

    3)Is BoB2 wallmountable?
    Yes, BoB2, like BoBlite, is wallmountable. If your preference is for a wallmount, then you may also want to investigate hiding the cabling for power and other cables. Speak to your sparkie about how this can be done, it makes it much prettier, particularly if you need the modem in places such as the kitchen or lounge.

    4)Does the handset come with its own cradle?
    The First handset is charged off the main BoB unit, additional handests will have their own chargers and will required their own power source. The power source for the main BoB unit and the handsets will have different voltages but both power units are similar in size to any current mobile phone chargers.

    5)Is the BoB2 firmware proprietory?
    The firmware has been developed and will be managed by the iiNetlabs team. They will be responsible for updates and new features during the product lifecycle.

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