Tag Archives: wifi

Wifi not so reliable…

I am just back from a vacation to Scotland – took some of my buds over with me!! In preparation for this trip I kind of went on a tech gadget spending spree.  Shock  horror, yes I spent some of my hard earned dosh.

Picked up my Ipod Touch and a netbook and some headphones with the special built in microphone for the Touch. Then I signed up to Skype, iCall and FlightStatus.

All of this was designed to make it easy for me to stay in touch with UK and US people while I was in the UK. Needless to say, actual performance of this did not live up to expectations.

Not that it was the hardware that was a problem. Wasn’t even the software that caused me much in the way of issues. No, it was the darn wifi network connectivity that was dismal!

The hotel wanted to charge me $15  for 24 hour wifi access – or use the PC for free in the reception area – guess what I chose! So then I was like, no biggie, just got to find one of these wifi cafe places – like McDonald’s or Starbucks. Yes, they had them, but we were never going to them when I needed the access. Can’t very well drag my friends of to McDonald’s while I make a Skype call to book a restaurant for dinner!

Even at the airport which had signs posted all around about free public wifi – never once was I or anyone around me able to connect to it. Sometimes I could connect, but the response was so slow I would have used up my battery before I got my tweet out!

In Edinburgh I gave up and bought a pay as you go cellphone for $50. The cellphones there are so much more advanced than US ones – it even has an FM radio in it! Everyone texts over there, and I now understand why it is so popular – no PC and always connected!

The Skype account was actually quite good – I created an online number that was local to the UK so that anyone calling me in the UK can use a cheap call to get to me – even when I am in the US. It also lets you forward the call to another phone number – cell or land-line and then to voicemail.

Verizon gave me  global cell phone before I left, but even with the plan it would have cost 99c a minute – even to check voicemail. I was much to worried to use it often. Wouldn’t bother with this again.

The touch was still good – even without my precious internet access.  I downloaded an app before I left called Stanza which is like an ebook reader. They have a bunch of library books that are free – got a nice Agatha Christie one and then a new release book too. Invaluable when jet-lag kicks in at 3.30am!!!

So next time, I will take my new phone over to the UK and just get a new SIM card for it – sound all geeky now, but the lady in Carphone Warehouse set the phone all up for me – phew!!! Then I can text my buds and not feel like such an offline loser when I have to ask how to send an SMS….

Netgear Powerline Networking

So I used to have a traditional wireless network in my home – Linksys modem and router – but I always got dead spots – especially in my computer room!

Well, I gave Netgear’s Powerline product a shot and I have to say I think it is great!
http://www.netgear.com/Products/PowerlineNetworking.aspx?for=Home+Networking

You need 2 plugs – one to plug the modem into the power line and one to plug the computer into the powerline. By some magic it manages to send the Internet signals over your power lines, so no need for running new cables.

I have been using this for over 3 years now with no problems what so ever. I did try the wireless extender plug, but I have to say I found that a bit sketchy – stick with the Ethernet plugs. It is fast and reliable and was really easy to set up.

Can’t quite understand why this product isn’t the rave everywhere. What I a waiting for is the option to stream your TV signal over the power lines – then you could watch your DVR recording anywhere in the house.

Oh well, I guess this brilliant little product will remain my little secret… oops!