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Archive for August, 2011

AVM Fritz!box 7390 & IPv6

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Just a quick update. AVM have released a firmware update for the 7390. I tried it last night.  There are even more features available now and some important fixes. Most notably, they have improved IPv6 implementation. It now seems to be working to the extent that I could test it.

Updating the Fritz!box is a very simple process and no settings were lost. Excellent.

Categories: AAISP, AVM, Fritz!box, IPv6, Modem, Router, VOIP, WIFI

AVM Fritz!box Fon

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Now I have got an internet connection (and it is still working) that next stage was to take another look at the home network. The first thing to consider was the Modem/WiFi Router. For most people, these are pretty mundane gadgets that are either on or off. Certainly this  was the case for me and I had always used the one supplied by BT. I would have used the one supplied by BE too  – at least to start with. But AAISP assume you will want to use your own. You can order one from them but you probably find a better deal elsewhere. This was the view I took.

So what to buy. Trying to get up to speed with the current technology, it seemed anything that supported AnnexM, Wireless N and had three ethernet ports and a usb would do the trick. Scouring the web for a router that could meet the requirements brought up the usual suspects such as Netgear etc. It is very hard to get enthused about them as they are all much of a muchness. There were a couple of reviews that leapt out though. What they had in common was the highly rated and frankly bizarrely named Fritz!box Fon 7390. It is manufactured by AVM and yes they are a German company. It is claimed to be the most popular brand in Europe. What sets it apart, putting its appearance to one side, is the extraordinary amount of functionality and features it has. It is not cheap but when you take these into consideration it really is value for money. Yes it is a router (DSL or cable) but it also integrates voice communications in a very usable way and acts as a DECT base station. You can even pick up calls from your Android phone when it is in wireless range. My sipgate VOIP service integrates seamlessly with my landline to the extent that I don’t realise I am using it. With the amount of international calls made in my house this been a real saving. It also acts as an answering machine (and will email the message to you), ftp server, media server, etc, etc, etc…

Rather than reproducing other people’s work, I would recommend reading THIS REVIEW. I agree with everything said there and the VPN works too.

The downside of the Fritz!box? Well in the UK there aren’t too many suppliers and certainly one let me down. Consequently, most support forums are in german although there is a growing english speaking presence. In any case, Google translate does a reasonable job these days and I have never needed support because the thing just works. It is comparatively expensive but you could also consider the 7270 which has pretty much the same functionality. The FB is also one of the few consumer routers (and certainly one of the cheapest) to support IPv6 and AAISP are one of the very few ISP’s to implement IPv6. However, they don’t seem compatible at this time so I have stuck with IPv4 for now. I am certainly not in my comfort zone here and it seems a missed opportunity. So anyone with any advice here would be welcome.

Other than that there isn’t much else to say. It sits in the corner doing its job. It just happens to be a much larger job than your average router does. Oh, and it looks like a 1950’s scfi spaceship too.

Categories: AAISP, AVM, DECT, DSL, Fritz!box, IPv6, isp, Modem, Router, VOIP, WIFI

Getting (re) Connected

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

So the the plan was this:

1) Change ISP

2) Buy some new stuff for the home network

3) Talk about it

 

Change ISP – So long BT

 

Now this really should have been the easy bit. I had been with BT for many years. The motivation for change came from my experience with BT. A while back they had toyed with the idea of improving my (and others) customer experience by monitoring my internet usage with a view to placing targeted advertising. They decided to trial this without telling anyone in what appeared to be a clear breach of the Data Protection Act. The whole Phorm fiasco was largely overlooked by the Information Comission but the EU are currently chasing the government over this. Anyway, BT stopped the trial but their desire the monetise their customers in this intrusive way had been made clear. Next, I received a letter saying that I from their “analysis” I had not not replaced the comtrend powerline units they had supplied. How did they know this? BT explained that they had the ability to poke around peoples home networks – and certainly their latest Homehub deliberately leaves a port open. Then there is the traffic shaping which BT are coy about. Now I am not a great downloader but when I do do it  I want it to be usable. Finally, while browsing the web I entered an incorrect URL and BT’s DNS server spewed out a heap of advertising I hadn’t asked for. Easily fixed with openDNS but irritating all the same. So although BT provided a reasonable connection in terms of speed and stability, the low price means you have to pay for it in other less obvious but certainly less welcome ways. The lesson being you get what you pay for

 

Change ISP – BE is limited

 

Having not learnt my lesson I went for a cheap alternative – BE. Migration went smoothly initially with lots of cherarful emails and texts telling how great it was going to be. Then it went bad. Now I chose BE based on their reputation and their infrastructure. The latter is very good. The former is based on past glories and doesn’t match my experience. After two days I couldn’t receive calls – so I called BT and they fixed it but then the BE line went AWOL. BE wouldn’t fix it blaming BT. The call centre was useless. They clearly they weren’t provided with sufficient information to monitor the line and could not take a decision or provide advice without defering to someone more senior. In short, they weren’t able to take ownership of the customers problem or be in a position to resolve it. Their relationship to BT Openreach was terrible. Now whatever you think of BT the reality for most ISP’s is you have to have a working relationship with them and it is unreasonable to extent the customer to manage their issues. So I asked to leave on the basis that they had never provided the service advertised. Again the lesson here is you get what you pay for. To keep costs down O2 who own BE have slashed customer support. BE has a very loyal following, much like Giffgaff but O2’s corporate stance seems to be diluting the merits they once had

 

Change ISP – AAISP

 

If BE thinks they are niche then they have got nothing on this lot. AAISP are not for the faint hearted. They also have a good reputation. The are not cheap. The do offer a one month contract (30 days notice). So finally taking on the previous lessons and not wanting to sign my life away I took the plunge. The key benefit was that I could keep the BE line. It is early days but things are good. Unlike BE, AAISP got the line fixed without any involvelemt from me. The only reason I know is that it is recorded on the log that you can view as part of the dashboard. The line monitoring tools and configuration options are all exposed to the user so you have a large degree of control. This would be the frightening part of most people I guess but I support staff are knowledgable, helpful and responsive so advice is there if you what it. The line is fast and stable and I can view its status at any point. There are no other monetising intrusions to the service – just raw internet as they advertise. Fingers crossed this could last. It is a pity I took so long to find them. Again, you get what you pay for.

 

Now to deal with number 2 on the list……..

Categories: AAISP, BE Unlimited, BT, isp

Internet wrath.

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Famous last words. The internet gods have not been kind to me over recent weeks. It started with giffgaff and then escalated. This has given me much to say but with no means of saying it. On the positive side I have discovered that I have a family and I can even have conversations with them

Categories: Uncategorized

brb

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I was planning to write about the seemless move I had experienced when changing ISP’s. But it didn’t work out that way. So instead I will be sharing the frustrating experience with. Probably not very interesting to you but it will be good therapy for me at least. At least I am now back online so I hope to be a bit more frequent in my posts

Categories: Uncategorized
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