[sclug] Wireless Broadband in Slough and Windsor areas

leon at countersnipe.com leon at countersnipe.com
Sat Jun 5 15:32:16 UTC 2004


In short:
Netvigator does work under Linux.

In long:

I bumped into these people at the oracle last weekend, as I have just sold
my house, I am without broadband (living temporally in a friends place). I
thought I would be dumb not to see if this would work for solving my
connectivity problems.
The netvigator documentation that comes with the product is cr*p, a 5 step
instruction guide with no tech information all aimed at the newbie. I
understand this could be the market they are aiming the product at as it
can bring fast connections to the masses without needing to go through the
hell of dealing with telephone line upgrades/checks or running new cables
to the house NTL style. I guess that many potential customers are scared
by this.
Without knowing much about how the system works, I thought I would follow
all the steps letter for letter and get (or rather try to get) it working
on my G/F's Windows XP machine via USB before looking at Linux.
The install of the connection software and device drivers went without  a
hitch, however after a reboot I was unable to connect to the net via their
application as the device seamed not to receive a signal.
Digging around the install CD I found some documentation for some other
connection hardware, that looked like totally different from the device I
received (real useful)! The connection application had some graphs of
signal strength and quality but were both blank, and the little box just
had two lights flashing in turn (possibly a "looking for single" message?)
but without any docs or Internet access I had no idea what they mean.
I tried moving the device to other areas of the property, and found that
if I hang the aerial extension out of an upstairs window, the lights flash
in a different order, but once again without any docs I didn't know if
this was a good or worse thing. Unfortunately I was unable to move the
large windows desktop to this room to test.
Took the box to a friends house in the town centre the next day, to do
some googleing and took along my laptop running Debian. Turned the device,
installed the software on his XP machine, and it connected right away.
Slapped my lappy onto his network, downloaded pppoeconf, added my
credentials to the config files. plugged the box back into the laptop, and
in a blink of an eye, I was up and running.
I went for the 1Mb offering, but was seeing very bad download speeds, and
some serious lag over the 1st three hops from my machine to the outside
world (IIRC about 600ms each for the first 3!).
Today however, one week on, the latency has dropped quite a bit and is
performing much better. If the service stays at this level, I think I will
keep this system and not throw it back after the 30 day free trial is
If they had a box with 802.11 built in it would be cool, as I would not
have to sit in a bedroom using the device, but at a nice desk somewhere
else in the house. If like me you were w/o broadband an in an area with
netvigator coverage, I suggest you give it a try.

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