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uk.telecom.broadband (UK broadband) (uk.telecom.broadband) Discussion of broadband services, technology and equipment as provided in the UK. Discussions of specific services based on ADSL, cable modems or other broadband technology are also on-topic. Advertising is not allowed.

Seriously OT, but...



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 6th 13, 04:25 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter Boulding
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 106
Default Seriously OT, but...


This query is majorly off-topic, but I'm hoping that one or more of the
broadband techy types who hang out here might be able to point us in the
right direction:

My seriously non-techy daughter is currently in Accra, Ghana, doing PhD
research. She relies on Skype and web-based mail to communicate with her
university, family, and friends, and to this end purchased a Vodafone USB
modem stick that automatically connects her laptop to Vodafone Accra. All
was working *reasonably* well until she moved into her permanent (while
she's in Ghana) accommodation on the University of Ghana campus--whereupon
all internet connectivity appears to have been lost.

The odd thing is that while she's anywhere in or around the residence
building the Vodafone connectivity status pop-up shows that signal strength
is good, yet Skype says it cannot sign in, and any attempt to access any web
server results in a "server not responding" message. Yet she can walk a
reasonably short distance to a campus cafe--where the signal strength shows
as poor (usually 1 bar)--and everything works OK; indeed I asked Skype to
check connection quality while she was using Skype instant messaging to
communicate with me from this cafe and Skype claimed that the connection was
good enough for good-quality video. So unless Vodafone's connection status
pop-up is a seriously insane piece of software, signal strength is not the
problem. (BTW there are few wi fi hotspots in Accra and the most recent map
of same I could find on the web says there aren't any on the university
campus.)

My daughter tends to rely on me to resolve any PC-related problems but I
know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that the techies
in this group might have some suggestions and/or know which newsgroup or web
forum would be worth my attention.

--
Regards, Peter Boulding
(to e-mail, remove "UNSPAM")
Fractal Images and Music:
http://www.pboulding.co.uk/
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...&content=music
  #2  
Old March 6th 13, 04:59 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Graham J
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 620
Default Seriously OT, but...

Peter Boulding wrote:[snip tale of woe]

My daughter tends to rely on me to resolve any PC-related problems but I
know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that the techies
in this group might have some suggestions and/or know which newsgroup or web
forum would be worth my attention.


I've commented on this group previously that I didn't believe that
internet connections using mobile phones would be reliable, and here you
are confirming my view.

I still maintain, on the basis that Vodafone can't provide a decent
broadband connection at real (i.e. rural) locations in the UK, then they
won't have a cat's chance in hell of providing a decent service in a 3rd
world country.

I think your daughter is going to have to learn to write letters.

Just think: the East India Company from about 1600 operated a business
in India with a turnover greater than that of many substantial
countries, and did so without the benefit of any telecomms services. So
Skype is not really very important ...

The issue may be a technical one: your description suggests that there
is a Vodafone base station in or near the residence building, but that
it is not configured properly.

Or the issue may be administrative.

Either way I don't think either you or she has any way of affecting the
situation, unless either of you are closely related to the local MD of
Vodafone ...!

--
Graham J




  #3  
Old March 6th 13, 06:11 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Woody
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 812
Default Seriously OT, but...

"Peter Boulding" wrote in
message ...

This query is majorly off-topic, but I'm hoping that one or
more of the
broadband techy types who hang out here might be able to point
us in the
right direction:

My seriously non-techy daughter is currently in Accra, Ghana,
doing PhD
research. She relies on Skype and web-based mail to communicate
with her
university, family, and friends, and to this end purchased a
Vodafone USB
modem stick that automatically connects her laptop to Vodafone
Accra. All
was working *reasonably* well until she moved into her
permanent (while
she's in Ghana) accommodation on the University of Ghana
campus--whereupon
all internet connectivity appears to have been lost.

The odd thing is that while she's anywhere in or around the
residence
building the Vodafone connectivity status pop-up shows that
signal strength
is good, yet Skype says it cannot sign in, and any attempt to
access any web
server results in a "server not responding" message. Yet she
can walk a
reasonably short distance to a campus cafe--where the signal
strength shows
as poor (usually 1 bar)--and everything works OK; indeed I
asked Skype to
check connection quality while she was using Skype instant
messaging to
communicate with me from this cafe and Skype claimed that the
connection was
good enough for good-quality video. So unless Vodafone's
connection status
pop-up is a seriously insane piece of software, signal strength
is not the
problem. (BTW there are few wi fi hotspots in Accra and the
most recent map
of same I could find on the web says there aren't any on the
university
campus.)

My daughter tends to rely on me to resolve any PC-related
problems but I
know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping
that the techies
in this group might have some suggestions and/or know which
newsgroup or web
forum would be worth my attention.



I would suggest one of two things:

The building is one of the modern thrown up types where they
erect a substantial steel frame and then 'insert' prefabricated
internal and external walls. The frame itself is often enough to
form a pretty effective Faraday Cage which will screen signals,
but the outer walls could also be foil lined to keep heat out in
the summer and heat in in the winter - and that will screen even
more.

Given this situation this situation someone my have one of these
devices that Vodafone supply over here for poor coverage problems
where what is in effect a very small cell sits on the end of a
broadband connection so that the owner can still use their
cellphone in its vacinity. If there is a tie between the user and
the cell then it would probably reject your daughter's stick's
attempts to register.

The other possibility is that her laptop has wi-fi active and
wi-fi is set to take priority over the USB stick, and as the
network behind the wi-fi dos not know her again her access
attempt is rejected.


--
Woody

harrogate three at ntlworld dot com


  #4  
Old March 6th 13, 06:56 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter Boulding
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 106
Default Seriously OT, but...

On Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:59:00 +0000, Graham J [email protected] wrote in
:

Peter Boulding wrote:[snip tale of woe]

My daughter tends to rely on me to resolve any PC-related problems but I
know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that the techies
in this group might have some suggestions and/or know which newsgroup or web
forum would be worth my attention.


I've commented on this group previously that I didn't believe that
internet connections using mobile phones would be reliable, and here you
are confirming my view.

I still maintain, on the basis that Vodafone can't provide a decent
broadband connection at real (i.e. rural) locations in the UK, then they
won't have a cat's chance in hell of providing a decent service in a 3rd
world country.

I think your daughter is going to have to learn to write letters.


Hah! The cellular comms *were* reasonably reliable until she moved to a
different building--more so than the electricity supply.

I think you should bear in mind that in most of the developing world
cellular comms is *it*. There never will be any point in laying down
old-tech land lines.

Just think: the East India Company from about 1600 operated a business
in India with a turnover greater than that of many substantial
countries, and did so without the benefit of any telecomms services. So
Skype is not really very important ...

The issue may be a technical one: your description suggests that there
is a Vodafone base station in or near the residence building, but that
it is not configured properly.


I doubt it. I doubt there are many base stations in the whole city. When my
daughter was in Mali a year ago (got caught up in the military coup and had
to get out quick) the entire city of 1.5 million people relied on a single
high-power cell tower operated by Orange Mali.

Or the issue may be administrative.


I'm kinda hoping it is, but don't see how, given that she isn't changing
anything other than her location, and only by a few hundred yards.

Either way I don't think either you or she has any way of affecting the
situation, unless either of you are closely related to the local MD of
Vodafone ...!


I hope you're wrong. Right now neither you nor I know how--technically--such
a situation could arise.

--
Regards, Peter Boulding
(to e-mail, remove "UNSPAM")
Fractal Images and Music:
http://www.pboulding.co.uk/
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...&content=music
  #5  
Old March 6th 13, 08:29 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Andy Burns
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 75
Default Seriously OT, but...

Graham J wrote:

Peter Boulding wrote:

I know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that
the techies in this group might have some suggestions and/or know
which newsgroup or webforum would be worth my attention.


The issue may be a technical one: your description suggests that there
is a Vodafone base station in or near the residence building, but that
it is not configured properly.


I wondered if there might be femtocell giving coverage to the university
accommodation via the campus internet connection, but only allowing
voice calls rather than data?

  #6  
Old March 6th 13, 08:57 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
The Natural Philosopher
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,728
Default Seriously OT, but...

On 06/03/13 19:29, Andy Burns wrote:
Graham J wrote:

Peter Boulding wrote:

I know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that
the techies in this group might have some suggestions and/or know
which newsgroup or webforum would be worth my attention.


The issue may be a technical one: your description suggests that there
is a Vodafone base station in or near the residence building, but that
it is not configured properly.


I wondered if there might be femtocell giving coverage to the university
accommodation via the campus internet connection, but only allowing
voice calls rather than data?

That would be my guess, too.


--
Ineptocracy

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to
lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the
members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are
rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a
diminishing number of producers.

  #7  
Old March 6th 13, 09:07 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Michael Chare
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 60
Default Seriously OT, but...

On 06/03/2013 15:25, Peter Boulding wrote:


My daughter tends to rely on me to resolve any PC-related problems but I
know damn all about cellular comms, and am therefore hoping that the techies
in this group might have some suggestions and/or know which newsgroup or web
forum would be worth my attention.


I think that your daughter should discuss her problem with anybody she
knows locally that might be in the same situation.

--
Michael Chare
  #8  
Old March 6th 13, 10:07 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter Boulding
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 106
Default Seriously OT, but...

On Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:07:35 +0000, Michael Chare
[email protected] wrote in
:

I think that your daughter should discuss her problem with anybody she
knows locally that might be in the same situation.


Already suggested that. Unfortunately the problem seems to be specific to
the area around the building and since she's just move there she doesn't
know anyone. The people who run the place are remarkably sanguine about the
frequent power cuts and failure of the water supply, so I doubt that
internet connectivity is of prime concern to them.

I even suggested that it might be worth phoning Vodafone Accra, even though
it appears to be no better than your average ISP customer service (and
that's before you take into account that Ghanaian English isn't exactly
English English).


--
Regards, Peter Boulding
(to e-mail, remove "UNSPAM")
Fractal Images and Music:
http://www.pboulding.co.uk/
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...&content=music
  #9  
Old March 7th 13, 12:00 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Theo Markettos
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 539
Default Seriously OT, but...

The Natural Philosopher wrote:
On 06/03/13 19:29, Andy Burns wrote:
I wondered if there might be femtocell giving coverage to the university
accommodation via the campus internet connection, but only allowing
voice calls rather than data?

That would be my guess, too.


My guess would be the local cell is broken, and nobody has noticed/cares.
Tech support possibly of the 'if it doesn't work, kick it' approach.

I wonder if there's a way to force the dongle to use a different cell? I
suspect there might be an AT command for that, but good luck trying to
implement it.

Switching down to 2G might also be worth a try. Thought: it isn't dropping
down to 2G where dongle data is blocked for capacity reasons, is it? Put
the SIM in a phone and see what happens.

Theo
  #10  
Old March 7th 13, 07:04 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
DrTeeth
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 343
Default Seriously OT, but...

On Wed, 06 Mar 2013 21:07:14 +0000, just as I was about to take a
herb, Peter Boulding disturbed my
reverie and wrote:

The people who run the place are remarkably sanguine about the
frequent power cuts and failure of the water supply,


That's Africa for you...
--

Cheers

DrT
______________________________
We may not be able to prevent the stormy times in
our lives; but we can always choose whether or not
to dance in the puddles (Jewish proverb).
 




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