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Darkman

Wifi...... Is It Really Any Good?

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Any good or bad experiences of wifi?

There's been a lot of buzz around it, but so far I'm not impressed judging by the connections personally. I recall even in America I got a lousy connection in hotels that provided it. And here in the UK I experimented by buying a BT Openzone pass. For those not familiar with BT Openzone, the theory is you can piggyback on their customers connection where ever they may be.

Well I found many BTO connections with a strong signal, but could I connect? Hell no. In the US I found it similar to dial up. In the UK just getting connected seems like mission impossible. Anyone tried the Starbucks or McD free wifi?

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Any good or bad experiences of wifi?

There's been a lot of buzz around it, but so far I'm not impressed judging by the connections personally. I recall even in America I got a lousy connection in hotels that provided it. And here in the UK I experimented by buying a BT Openzone pass. For those not familiar with BT Openzone, the theory is you can piggyback on their customers connection where ever they may be.

Well I found many BTO connections with a strong signal, but could I connect? Hell no. In the US I found it similar to dial up. In the UK just getting connected seems like mission impossible. Anyone tried the Starbucks or McD free wifi?

I used Openzone the last time I moved house until I could get my broadbent reconnected. It was fine for browsing but didn't have much bandwidth for downloading (maybe 50Kbps.) I'm pretty sure I was connecting to the WiFi for a local train station i.e. not piggybacking by BT FON off the neighbours.

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Any good or bad experiences of wifi?

There's been a lot of buzz around it, but so far I'm not impressed judging by the connections personally. I recall even in America I got a lousy connection in hotels that provided it. And here in the UK I experimented by buying a BT Openzone pass. For those not familiar with BT Openzone, the theory is you can piggyback on their customers connection where ever they may be.

Well I found many BTO connections with a strong signal, but could I connect? Hell no. In the US I found it similar to dial up. In the UK just getting connected seems like mission impossible. Anyone tried the Starbucks or McD free wifi?

There are three classes of public wifi provider:

  1. Companies that view it as a source of extra income and target the travelling business person who won't personally be paying for it. These include more-expensive hotels and airport departure lounges.
  2. Companies that view it as a competitive differentiator and provide it free to customers. These include McD's (though I can't imagine anyone willingly sitting with their Macbook pro in McD's for an extended pr0n session), many pubs and, funnily enough, cheaper hotels.
  3. Those muppets who still haven't configured their domestic wifi to encrypt (seems to be more common in the west country).

I sometimes use classes 2 and 3. The quality is massively variable, just like any other means of internet access. I'd say it's gradually got better over the years, but these days I tend to just use my phone or share its connection if I'm using a netbook/notebook/tablet/whatever - it's cheap enough now.

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I've had excellent experiences of WIFI at dropzones and overseas.

At dropzones nobody is using the wifi because they are busy jumping packing and watching others videos.

Anywhere else I've found it to be utterly appaulling, airports, big trainstations etc.

If it is free then it is next to worthless, I recall getting 5kb/s at the Millgate shopping centre in Bury. At Gatwick it let me long on £7 an hour or even more for their other services.

At hotels same same found it highly variable, if they make you pay for it then it is fast, if you don't have to pay for it then it is slow.

In Asia, HK and Seoul and pretty much blanketted with WIFI from phonebooths (oddly Ulan Baataar the capital of Mongolia) also has a massive WIFI zone around Sukebaatar square and the streets around the location. It is free and extremely fast.

As an interim solution quite often you can find lots of unprotected WIFI networks. I can detect two of them from where I am sitting. Or if you feel like it like a bike courier I knew you can always break WEP encrpytion pretty quickly. An EEEPC can manage it in a couple of minutes.

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these days I tend to just use my phone or share its connection if I'm using a netbook/notebook/tablet/whatever - it's cheap enough now.

How cheap is cheap though? The deals I've seen have a paltry Mb allowance and charges if you go over.

So you can run a laptop off your phone connection? That's interesting.

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How cheap is cheap though? The deals I've seen have a paltry Mb allowance and charges if you go over.

So you can run a laptop off your phone connection? That's interesting.

I pay a flat rate of £5/month for 'unlimited' data while in the UK.

Gets hideously expensive if I use it abroad, so when heading for a foreign country I pre-load the maps and stay offline to navigate by the GPS!

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I pay a flat rate of £5/month for 'unlimited' data while in the UK.

Gets hideously expensive if I use it abroad, so when heading for a foreign country I pre-load the maps and stay offline to navigate by the GPS!

Wow. I had no idea net access was that cheap via a phone now. A friend of mine has a contract for a Blackberry and pays many times that amount. Obviously he's getting ripped.

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How cheap is cheap though? The deals I've seen have a paltry Mb allowance and charges if you go over.

So you can run a laptop off your phone connection? That's interesting.

My Android phone can be made to share its connection either by USB cable (my Ubuntu netbook didn't even need drivers) or by running as a Wifi access point (this feature is Android 2.2 onwards). I think it can handle up to five simultaneous connections but haven't been sad enough to test this.

I'm using a 30-day rolling contract that includes 1GB per month with a truly ruinous rate per MB if I go over. My typical monthly use is 300 to 400 MB, so those half GB contracts being punted are just too restrictive. Beware of anything described as unrestricted or unlimited - my current deal was originally marketed like that but it's clearly limited.

There's something in the T&Cs about not using my phone as a modem but I haven't been warned or surcharged about it, perhaps because I only make casual use of the tethering ability or perhaps because they can't tell or don't care. I am using a non-locked phone, which could conceivably make a difference - I'm told some operators are disabling the sharing facility in firmware but don't know any details about this.

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Any good or bad experiences of wifi?

There's been a lot of buzz around it, but so far I'm not impressed judging by the connections personally. I recall even in America I got a lousy connection in hotels that provided it. And here in the UK I experimented by buying a BT Openzone pass. For those not familiar with BT Openzone, the theory is you can piggyback on their customers connection where ever they may be.

Well I found many BTO connections with a strong signal, but could I connect? Hell no. In the US I found it similar to dial up. In the UK just getting connected seems like mission impossible. Anyone tried the Starbucks or McD free wifi?

Its great you can use the internet anywhere without wires! How can that not be impressive?

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Wow. I had no idea net access was that cheap via a phone now. A friend of mine has a contract for a Blackberry and pays many times that amount. Obviously he's getting ripped.

I may have been guilty of not telling quite the whole story. The data package is a bolt-on to my mobile phone contract, and the £5/month is on top of what I pay for voice. So I couldn't just cancel the mobile phone contract and use skype for calls for that fiver (even if we discount the drawbacks of skype, like murdering the battery and demanding a stronger signal than is available in many places)!

I found out about the fiver in December 2009, when I was contemplating new purchases ahead of the VAT rise. It sounded so good I jumped at it, and I've been very happy with it.

[edit to add] it's quite likely your friend's blackberry is on one of those opaque deals where the cost of an expensive handset is included in your monthly subscription.

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If I'm travelling around I will usually get a coffee at a McD and then sit in the car and update my email using the wifi.

Usually don't have any problem.. not lightning fast but fine for web browsing / email etc. You have to enter a few details (not checked) then you're online free. excellent and easy.

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I'm in moving house broadband limbo at the moment.

I contacted my mobile provider and got myself a 3G mobile broadband service. 30 day rolling contract, free dongle, 2Gb bandwidth for £12.50 a month. Probably could find a better deal elsewhere but I was happy for the convenience of using an existing provider and the immediate setup. Seems to be working a treat even though I'm lucky if I get as good as a "poor" signal at home.

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I think that wireless would make my life a whole lot easier, but I really don't feel comfortable with opening my connection up like that. I'm not an IT guru, and I feel that trying to build a secure connection without really knowing what I am doing is not worth it. I have been considering the "Ethernet power plug connection", which would make it a little easier, but still not wireless. :(

Edit - My formatting sucks.

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I think that wireless would make my life a whole lot easier, but I really don't feel comfortable with opening my connection up like that. I'm not an IT guru, and I feel that trying to build a secure connection without really knowing what I am doing is not worth it. I have been considering the "Ethernet power plug connection", which would make it a little easier, but still not wireless. :(

Welcome to the forum..

I'll probably get blasted for this.. but I think people often take internet security way too seriously.

The government want you to have a secure connection because it means they can nail down a specific online activity to a particular bill payer. If everybody had open wifi people would just say "it must have been somebody using my connection", which makes holding people accountable for internet activity more tricky.

If you do online banking etc.. it is probably worth having a secure connection, otherwise you have to ask what it is that you have that other people are going to be so interested in. Probably nothing. Most people who piggyback other people's wifi just do it to get online.

I wouldn't be afraid of wifi. Just set it up with the most basic of security (most do it as standard out of the box) and I would expect you will be fine. :)

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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