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  #1  
Old 25th July 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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BT and public WiFi

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?
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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.
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Old 25th July 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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....
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
...................

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!
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Old 25th July 2018
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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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?
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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!
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

"BT WiFi with Fon" is a public WiFi service that BT customers can use for nothing. 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.
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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?
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
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!
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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.
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Old 25th July 2018
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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Originally Posted by jdal View Post
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
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Old 25th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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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.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
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.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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.
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Old 26th July 2018
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Re: BT and public WiFi

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!).
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