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KeithL
25th July 2018, 02:15 PM
Folks
I haven't been able to visit the site for a long time, through a health issue and other things. I thought this, however, might interest you, or you may/may not have met it before.

I have always left my smartphone with WiFi enabled, and it has always reliably found my Sky hub, and worked perfectly. Last week, it started doing strange things, and would not talk to the hub. I could find no reason for this problem. Then I found a new aspect of the problem a day or two later: the phone latched on to the public WiFi down the road, operated by BT (BT WiFi plus FON) It wouldn't let me look up something on Wikipedia, and I thought - well, it needs to get back to Sky. I tried to get it to connect, but despite the signal from my hub being about 6 times greater than the public WiFi, it still gravitated to the public WiFi hotspot. Then I discovered that I had no news feed on my phone, either. Email worked. I tried every which way to find out why to no avail. Everything appeared normal.

I managed to get it to hang on to the Sky hub, but it wouldn't let me surf the net, nor get any news, so I connected to the public hotspot instead, and a shock was forthcoming! A BT page appeared demanding £4.99/hour for using the public WiFi! (Or other payments for longer periods) I thought 'no way'. Next day I went into Norwich, and discovered the phone worked perfectly - free WiFi everywhere. Even on the Park'n'Ride bus. When I got back home, back to not playing ball, so I decided to switch the WiFi off on my phone, and see what happened. I was surprised to discover that after about an hour, all services had resumed, and were much faster - so long as the WiFi was switched off, and I relied on 4G.

I wonder if anyone else has met this? In a village, there is one public WiFi hotspot, the BT one. They have us by the short and curlies. In Norwich there are all sorts of free WiFi hot spots about, belonging to all sorts of concerns.

It set me thinking. In the week before my phone started behaving oddly, there were a number of strange behaviors on it temporarily, but all remained well. Until the hot spot became a paid-for facility. Why should the phone reject my hub and default to the paid-for public WiFi, a much weaker signal? Why should it have suddenly refused to talk to my hub, even when connected OK? All passwords are correct and in place. I am suspecting that BT have either had their sticky paws in it, and changed some invisible settings, or else maybe they have changed some settings in their infrastructure, in order to "persuade" people who are not BT customers to change over to them. If my suspicions are right, that is outrageous. If not, there is something very strange going on. BUT my phone is performing perfectly using giffgaff's 4G network. (In fact, O2's infrastructure)

Has anyone met this? Any ideas?

Naughty Nigel
25th July 2018, 02:24 PM
Some phones and other devices do seem to gravitate to certain WiFi signals for no obvious reason and it has nothing to do with BT as far as I know.

You can tell your phone to 'forget' certain networks if you want to. There is also an option on Apple devices where it will ask you to connect to a different network.

The BT WiFi is free if you subscribe to BT Internet. The idea is that all BT routers provide a DMZ WiFi signal for other subscribers to use, although you can disable it if you want.

My devices can 'see' several our neighbours' BT WiFi Plus FON signals but do not connect to them by default.

KeithL
25th July 2018, 02:50 PM
I have a Nokia 635 Windows phone, Nigel. It doesn't allow such niceties as blocking specific WiFi channels. The odd thing is that it ignored the public WiFi hot spot until a few days ago, and I've had this phone for over two years. Something definitely changed. (The weather...? LOL!) It ignores other BT hubs all of which have stronger signals than the public one!

EDIT: just had a thought. up to two years ago, I was a BT customer. Perhaps it has taken this long for BT to realise that I'm no longer one of their customers....

wornish
25th July 2018, 02:58 PM
...................

EDIT: just had a thought. up to two years ago, I was a BT customer. Perhaps it has taken this long for BT to realise that I'm no longer one of their customers....

Think your last paragraph gives you the answer. BT wheels grind very slowly!

KeithL
25th July 2018, 03:09 PM
Think your last paragraph gives you the answer. BT wheels grind very slowly!

One might surmise that is slower than a snail on morphine....;) Couldn't have something to do with why they are forever telephoning me to try to drag me back into their clutches, could it?

Otto
25th July 2018, 05:00 PM
Strange. I'm on BT Broadband at home so get free BT wi-fi when I'm out and about which is very useful but sometimes when I come home my iPhone 6 first of all connects to my BT FON signal before my private wi-fi. It soon sorts itself out though. According to Apple, wi-fi signals are connected in this order: secure private network - secure public network - insecure private network - insecure public network. That all makes sense. For a period my old iPhone 4S ignored my private network and always chose FON but an update cured that. Maybe your problem is a Windows update, I don't know about Windows phones but Windows 10 updates are notorious for changing settings and/or stopping things working without notice!

jdal
25th July 2018, 05:01 PM
"BT WiFi with Fon" is a public WiFi service that BT customers can use for nothing (https://www.btwifi.com/help/about-bt-fon.jsp). It can be somebody's private router where they've not opted out of "BT WiFi".

The fact that Android connects to networks apparently at random is VERY VERY VERY annoying and as far as I'm concerned a bug. I've never found a way to stop it. "Forgetting" the network doesn't work. It's bloody stupid. I can be sitting in front of our router and it connects to some blokes box down the street.

Otto
25th July 2018, 05:15 PM
If an iPhone discovers a network which it hasn't connected to before when known networks are absent, it will ask if you want to connect to it. If you successfully connect to it, it will remember the login details for next time. It has an option to "Forget this network" if you no longer need it. Apple has its faults for sure, but given the aggro many of my friends with Android phones have, I'll stick to iOS as (most of the time!) it's slick and intuitive.


Am I right in thinking Microsoft is dropping Windows phone development?

KeithL
25th July 2018, 06:00 PM
If an iPhone discovers a network which it hasn't connected to before when known networks are absent, it will ask if you want to connect to it. If you successfully connect to it, it will remember the login details for next time. It has an option to "Forget this network" if you no longer need it. Apple has its faults for sure, but given the aggro many of my friends with Android phones have, I'll stick to iOS as (most of the time!) it's slick and intuitive.


Am I right in thinking Microsoft is dropping Windows phone development?

They already have Richard. So far as I'm aware there are no more updates, for at least a year. It's only ever updated itself once. Typical Microsoft.

I didn't realise that it could be someone's own router! But nothing surprises me. You can't control which router the Windows phone connects to, but it usually (or was usually) the strongest signal. But it works better by switching off WiFi!

Otto
25th July 2018, 07:49 PM
No, you're right. On the iPhone at least, if wi-fi networks are available it will attempt to connect to them. If it cannot than it will use 4G (or whatever your data allowance uses) instead. As this is usually limited it's best to use wi-fi if available. If you're not a BT Broadband customer you can buy BT Wifi data on an ad hoc basis; however, if you're near a McDonalds, a Wetherspoon pub or a Punch Tavern, they (among others) all use Sky's free WiFi called "The Cloud". You can sign up to that for free if you don't mind the ads. They are fairly unobtrusive.

Jim Ford
25th July 2018, 08:56 PM
The fact that Android connects to networks apparently at random is VERY VERY VERY annoying and as far as I'm concerned a bug. I've never found a way to stop it. "Forgetting" the network doesn't work. It's bloody stupid. I can be sitting in front of our router and it connects to some blokes box down the street.

Do you not have your router protected by a password then?

Jim

Naughty Nigel
25th July 2018, 09:09 PM
Do you not have your router protected by a password then?

Jim

Yes, but the BT WiFi FON thing is on a separate DMZ circuit and uses your own BT login and password, not that of the bloke down the road.

The whole idea is that you can have access to BT WiFi wherever you are, effectively sharing routers and bandwidth with every other BT Internet subscriber in the country.

jdal
26th July 2018, 06:50 AM
Do you not have your router protected by a password then?

Jim

Yes. Of course. That doesn't force the phone to connect to it, it connects to any available network apparently at random. You can't actually use that network unless you have the credentials, depending on the networks security.

jdal
26th July 2018, 06:54 AM
The BT thing is interesting. As a BT customer I can use any of a giant network of BT hotspots, including some blokes router as John said, so long as I log in with my BT broadband userid/password. The downside is that MY BT router has a slice of it's bandwidth assigned for public use as well. I can opt out of all of this, which I'm thinking of doing.

Otto
26th July 2018, 08:04 AM
Your own wi-fi network takes precedence over the FON slice of your bandwidth which is not included in your monthly limit (if you have one). If you opt out you won't be able to use other people's FON signals or BT WiFi. If you haven't already got it there's a BT WiFi app which logs you in automatically if it finds a BT signal. I think it's a great system and enough to keep me with BT (as well as the fiver a month discount on BT Mobile!).

jdal
26th July 2018, 08:53 AM
Your own wi-fi network takes precedence over the FON slice of your bandwidth which is not included in your monthly limit (if you have one). If you opt out you won't be able to use other people's FON signals or BT WiFi. If you haven't already got it there's a BT WiFi app which logs you in automatically if it finds a BT signal. I think it's a great system and enough to keep me with BT (as well as the fiver a month discount on BT Mobile!).
Yes, I'm aware of all that, it was one of the reasons I went with BT. However, for my usage of mobile internet and the improved 4G coverage up north, I'm having a rethink. It's a tough one though, I've got Infinity Plus and I get the contracted speeds - If I switch I may not get those speeds and I don't see you can tell until it's installed. Plus, from what I hear, the customer service from BT's competitors is every bit as awful as BT's. :mad:

Otto
26th July 2018, 09:01 AM
I have BT Infinity Plus too. I've no experience of BT's customer service as I've never needed it - that in itself is a plus! EE's customer service (sic) however was appalling although their network coverage and reliability were good, so when I found that BT Mobile use the EE network I had no hesitation about changing to BT. I don't regret it for one moment!

jdal
26th July 2018, 09:59 AM
I have BT Infinity Plus too. I've no experience of BT's customer service as I've never needed it - that in itself is a plus! EE's customer service (sic) however was appalling although their network coverage and reliability were good, so when I found that BT Mobile use the EE network I had no hesitation about changing to BT. I don't regret it for one moment!

I agree that BT is a reliable service, we've never had an outage.

Except for an appalling series of blunders they made whilst moving house, compounded by totally useless service reps - right up to the alleged customer services manager I was eventually assigned to. In a nutshell we were in the process of a very difficult and stressful house sale negotiation and I had to put an address switch back 6 weeks. BT still cut off our old line and they refused to reconnect for 2 weeks. I was on mobile phones to conduct the whole bloody exercise. They then did it again, twice, after we had moved. So all in all 6 weeks without internet when I most needed it. I eventually got a reduced rate for this year to go with the hundreds of insincere apologies. Apparently I was lucky, I'm told you can't even get through to a rep with other providers. :eek:

Naughty Nigel
26th July 2018, 10:13 AM
Could be wrong of course but I think jdal meant his mobile phone connects to some blokes router down the street, instead of his own.

John

Mobile phones and tablets will both try to connect to any available network, even if credentials are not valid. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for this. By default my android phone and Apple iPad/iPod will connect to one of our home access points, but there have been occasions were they have tried to connect to a neighbours BT FON access point for no obvious reason. Oddly enough this has usually been a distant neighbour with a weak signal rather than a nearby neighbour with a stronger signal.

There is an option on my iPad/iPod where the device asks permission to change WiFi access point, but I found this created more hassle than it saved so I switched it off.

Android devices are quite good at switching between valid access points without any user input, but IOS does not do this (or does not do it as well) so I often find that I have to intervene manually when moving around the house.

Laptops are little different. In the absence of a home WiFi connection my windows 8.1 laptop will usually try to connect to an alternative WAP, which may well be a neighbours BT FON connection, but it won't do this as long as it has a good connection to one of our home WAP's.

Otto
26th July 2018, 10:45 AM
I have a friend who had terrible trouble getting a BT business line to his shop, they took nearly a year to sort it all out. I also experienced a lengthy delay switching service when I moved to this house despite there already being a line connected. They agreed to pay for my mobile calls and redirection fees during that time. It seems to be their "hardware" division which causes the most issues. Perhaps I'm fortunate that I've never had to call them about my broadband service, except to negotiate the price or a renewal. Recently they doubled my free BT Cloud space to 1TB without me asking, "for being a loyal customer". Now that is unusual among utility companies!

KeithL
26th July 2018, 06:51 PM
After having our AOL broadband service changed to the new owners, Talk Talk we also had appalling service, and they even changed our land line provider from BT to Talk Talk without our knowledge or permission.

Like jdal we spent ages trying to get the matters resolved. We eventually pulled the plug and went to Sky Broadband. I can't compare or comment about super fast speeds etc. with any other company than Talk Talk, as we do not have access to cable or fibre. What I get from Sky is double the speed from Talk Talk however and perfectly adequate for my needs.

What I can say is that Sky Broadband Service Staff were brilliant throughout the changeover, seem to be all based in the UK, and English being their first language. They were the most helpful efficient people I've had the pleasure to deal with and I can't praise them enough.

Regards,

John

I changed to Sky over two years ago, and generally haven't regretted it. There has been the odd outage, but that has usually been something in the infrastructure rather than Sky itself. When I have contacted Sky, I found them very helpful (not good English, but excellent Scottish! LOL) but they gave me one or two tips that enabled me to do some things myself that aren't normally available to customers.

My mobile though has been on giffgaff for about 9 or 10 years, and providing you are happy with their business model, it has been exemplary. In that time I have had one outage, for a day while I was on holiday in Jersey; and they even refunded some money for the lost service! It's cheap, 4G, fast, and abroad was astonishingly cheap compared to anyone else. What more could I want? And, incidentally, it is not a contract-based service. You just have an automatic purchase of one of their "Goody Bags" once a month. I pay £7.50 per month for mine, giving me plenty of service time, including 2GB of data per month. If I need more, I just buy what I need at the time. I use it almost exclusively for email, texts, news, and web searches. Ought to use it as a phone, I suppose... though my doctor rang me on it once when I was driving. My phone talks to the car, can be voice controlled by the car, and is totally hands free. It worked perfectly. It was just this odd BT with FON issue last week that threw me.

drmarkf
26th July 2018, 09:43 PM
Yes, Virgin have recently added access to a load of WiFi hotspots in the same sort of way. With the connections at London Underground stations Iím using mobile data much less commonly now.

Iím on an £8/month SIM-only unlimited talk and text, 500Mb data contract, cancellable by the month. Iíve never yet exceeded my data allowance,

Naughty Nigel
26th July 2018, 10:02 PM
Yes, Virgin have recently added access to a load of WiFi hotspots in the same sort of way. With the connections at London Underground stations Iím using mobile data much less commonly now.

Iím on an £8/month SIM-only unlimited talk and text, 500Mb data contract, cancellable by the month. Iíve never yet exceeded my data allowance,

Three have a good deal which they don't seem to advertise very much. I cannot think why. :rolleyes:

Basically you buy either 12 or 24 GB of mobile data which lasts for twelve or twenty-four months respectively on a PAYG basis. You can top it up if you need to, but there is no point because it is cheaper to buy another year or two.

Prices are currently £40 for one year / 12 GB, or £60 for two years / 24 GB although I only paid £30 for 12 GB last year.

I have switched from 1 GB a month data SIMS in my iPad and laptop which cost £5.50 a month each to the bundles above and have saved quite a lot. Of my 12 GB allowances I have only used about 3 GB on each after nine months, plus I can use my data abroad for no extra cost.

drmarkf
27th July 2018, 10:07 AM
Three have a good deal which they don't seem to advertise very much. I cannot think why. :rolleyes:

Basically you buy either 12 or 24 GB of mobile data which lasts for twelve or twenty-four months respectively on a PAYG basis. You can top it up if you need to, but there is no point because it is cheaper to buy another year or two.

Prices are currently £40 for one year / 12 GB, or £60 for two years / 24 GB although I only paid £30 for 12 GB last year.

I have switched from 1 GB a month data SIMS in my iPad and laptop which cost £5.50 a month each to the bundles above and have saved quite a lot. Of my 12 GB allowances I have only used about 3 GB on each after nine months, plus I can use my data abroad for no extra cost.

Itís helpful to hear about these cheaper, tailored deals. Most of the companies donít advertise them much/at all, with the exception perhaps of GiffGaff.

Naughty Nigel
27th July 2018, 10:14 AM
Itís helpful to hear about these cheaper, tailored deals. Most of the companies donít advertise them much/at all, with the exception perhaps of GiffGaff.

I like the Three deal because they provide good coverage (better than most I think), with fast data speeds and the ability to roam abroad at no extra cost.

I did have a Vodafone data SIM at one point but found the availability of fast data (even 3G) was very limited.

Most operators are keen to sign users up to monthly payment plans for obvious reasons. Vodafone in particular really don't like PAYG and treat their PAYG customers with contempt.

The Three data SIMS can be bought in shops or online.

Otto
27th July 2018, 10:54 AM
I was on EE (Orange) PAYG and they were contemptuous too! For BT Broadband customers the fiver-a-month SIM-only package is fine, I rarely get anywhere near the 500MB and 400 minutes.

Jim Ford
27th July 2018, 09:48 PM
I like the Three deal because they provide good coverage (better than most I think), with fast data speeds and the ability to roam abroad at no extra cost.

I tried a Three SIM, but couldn't get a signal in the house, and had to go outside in the road for reception. Same with Virgin. The only providers I'm able to receive are O2 (for Giffgaff) and Vodaphone. I don't know why reception is poor - the house seems to be in a 'dead spot', though here are plenty of masts around.

Jim

DerekW
28th July 2018, 08:25 AM
A quick Google (or DuckDuckGo) will give you a range of websites that show a map of the mobile phone masks, which companies are using them and in some cases the coverage.

OM USer
28th July 2018, 04:37 PM
There is no commercial incentive to share masts. Masts are erected by the network providers and are used as a monopolistic control to encourage you to use their services over those of other providers. In addition if masts were shared there would be an almighty wrangle over how much each party in the bargain would contribute to the cost of erection and maintenance not to mention the risk of "poaching" customers. I'm not in favour but that is how market forces work.

DerekW
28th July 2018, 06:31 PM
See
http://www.phonemastcompany.co.uk/index.php

for a way to share masts.

KeithL
28th July 2018, 07:27 PM
I like the Three deal because they provide good coverage (better than most I think), with fast data speeds and the ability to roam abroad at no extra cost.

I did have a Vodafone data SIM at one point but found the availability of fast data (even 3G) was very limited.

Most operators are keen to sign users up to monthly payment plans for obvious reasons. Vodafone in particular really don't like PAYG and treat their PAYG customers with contempt.

The Three data SIMS can be bought in shops or online.

My friend has giffgaff, and he is currently in Germany. He is paying the same rate as here.

DerekW
28th July 2018, 07:49 PM
UK based mobes are charged the same for usage in the other countries in the EU. However after the end of March next year the operastors will be able to treat usage in the EU of UK based phones as the same as usage of UK based phones in the US.

OM USer
28th July 2018, 08:05 PM
See http://www.phonemastcompany.co.uk/index.php for a way to share masts.

Unfortunately we have seen "sharing" happen in other industries. Compant A will offer to pay a bit more for exclusive access so that company B can not get a look in. Think microsoft windows - neglibale costs charged to the computer manufacturers provided that they install it and only it on all their hardware. Deign to ship one PC with OS/2 on it and you pay full price for microsoft on your remaining 200 thousand units.

Wee man
28th July 2018, 09:34 PM
Use Sky for TV, Broadband, landlines and mobiles ( roll over data) no problems and the engineer is not just local but a friends son!

I often get a client technician ( their term last time ) from Ireland.

Biggest problem I have is renegotiating the price for renewing my contract every 18 months. Usually threaten to leave wait then get an offer I cannot refuse wait a week and get a better one etc.

ED

Sent from my SM-T280 using Tapatalk

peak4
28th July 2018, 09:44 PM
There is no commercial incentive to share masts. Masts are erected by the network providers and are used as a monopolistic control to encourage you to use their services over those of other providers. In addition if masts were shared there would be an almighty wrangle over how much each party in the bargain would contribute to the cost of erection and maintenance not to mention the risk of "poaching" customers. I'm not in favour but that is how market forces work.

That would depend if you are really talking about masts/towers, or individual cell sites.

Towers, large masts, and many small ones, are normally run by a separate company, such as Crown Castle (http://www.crowncastle.com/), who then lease mast space to various telecom providers.

Hence a single mast or tower may well have numerous different mobile providers' aerial arrays hanging off them, along with radio transmitters, TV repeaters, microwave links etc.

Individual cell sites at the side of the road are exclusive to one mobile company, and one technology (3G, 4G, etc), though such as Tesco and Giffgaff hang off O2, Virgin hang off EE etc; they are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators.

Several different airtime providers may share the same roof space on top of a high building such as a block of flats; each will have their own base station(s) and aerial array(s). Those roof spaces are again likely to be administered by a third party company such as Crown Castle.

KeithL
30th July 2018, 09:40 AM
"run by a separate company, such as Crown Castle" - yep, castles make good places to mount masts, like church towers..!

Back to serious: I have discovered the problem that led to me being refused free use of the village public WiFi; my domain name had expired, and I hadn't heard anything. When I contacted the host, I discovered that (a) they hadn't updated my email address and (b) or my debit card! So they tried to renew automatically by charging to a card that didn't exist, and then tried to contact me via email that didn't exist too! I have now got it sorted after five phone calls and a lot of hassle. Now that I can log onto their website again, I discovered that it has been changed significantly; no longer updated the redirect email, no longer emailing them with change of details. You have to go through a new process. It would have been nice to know! I'll bet that is what triggered the problems that I encountered with my smartphone.

OM USer
30th July 2018, 08:26 PM
... Now that I can log onto their website again, I discovered that it has been changed significantly; no longer updated the redirect email, no longer emailing them with change of details. You have to go through a new process. It would have been nice to know! I'll bet that is what triggered the problems that I encountered with my smartphone.

I had a similar problem with a shopping web site (forget which one now as I rarely use it) in that nothing I did would let me use my existing login. When I gave up and created a new user it told me that they had changed their database and all the old names had been deleted!

KeithL
31st July 2018, 09:57 AM
I had a similar problem with a shopping web site (forget which one now as I rarely use it) in that nothing I did would let me use my existing login. When I gave up and created a new user it told me that they had changed their database and all the old names had been deleted!

It's even worse when they won't allow you to create a new registration because you are already registered as a user, and won't let you log in, because there's some sort of glitch stopping you! That's brick through screen territory.....:eek: