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broadband when you live a long way from the exchange

(21 Posts)
Katherine Tue 08-Mar-05 12:13:07

sorry yet another broadband question from me. Think I'm becoming obsessed!

According to virgin and wanadoo websites our line can get broadband at the slower rate. Just phoned BT however and they said very unlikley. Who do I beleive?

DH says that slow rate broadband is not really broadband, they've just widened what the term broadband covers. He thinks the signal will be too weak to run the phoneline as well (important as I want to get rid of my 2nd line so save rental charges) and would be unlikely to support wireless (i really want to work in the garden this summer).

So - has anyone recently got broadband even though you live in the sticks and always thought you couldn't - and does it work - I'm not too worried about it being super fast (tho it would be a bonus). I'm happy enough with my dial up but it would be good to loose the 2nd line and it would be wonderful to go wireless.

What do you reckon? If I sign up with virgin or wanadoo am I in for a big disappointment. They both do it month to month (no contract so I could expereiment for a month and see before stopping the 2nd line and dial-up account).

Just wondered what other people thought.
thanks

philippat Tue 08-Mar-05 12:26:36

we're more than a mile from the exchange (do you know how far you are?). But it's BT who should know, surely?

Here, not as fast as other adsl lines I've experienced but still a lot faster than dialup. Not unusual for it to crash on a busy or complicated site, but that's likely to be our computer too. Phone works fine at the same time.

Prettybird Tue 08-Mar-05 12:35:24

Given that Virgin and Wanadoo will just be buying the service from BT (as in the "final mile" - the bit from the exchange), I would go with BT's advice.

What does the BT web site say, when you put in your phone number?

What sort of speeds of "broadband" are Virgin and Wanadoo talking about?

Katherine Tue 08-Mar-05 13:16:11

BT website says unlikely to get broadband but would send out an engineer to look. Virgin and Wanadoo and just about everyone else I've looked at says I can have broadband up to 512Kbps.

Tempted to just give it a go with virgin and see what happens. But don't want to get all excited if they turn round and say sorry we messed up!

Katherine Tue 08-Mar-05 13:29:55

oh and we live about 4 miles out of town!

Katherine Tue 08-Mar-05 13:41:26

just phoned wannadoo. They said their system says it is available but no guarentee until they place the order with bt!!!!! But phone and wireless should still work and should still be faster than BT. So I should probably just go for it. Worst can happen is then it doesn't turn up.

So wanadoo or virgin? Need to do virgin today to get free modem as ofer ends tomorrow. Which do you recommend?

Prettybird Tue 08-Mar-05 13:46:00

If you are 4 miles from the exchange, I suspect that you are, to use a good Scottish expression, "on tae plums". I seem to remember the maximum distance for broadband for 3 miles from the local exchange - although modern technolgy is increasing the distance.

I found this which explains it a bit and alos why they are talking about potentiall lower speeds.

Give Virgin a go, but don't be disappointed if they come back and so they can't do it.

Prettybird Tue 08-Mar-05 13:47:19

Cant't really comment on Wanadoo v. Virgin. We're on Tiscali at home.

Katherine Tue 08-Mar-05 19:36:18

well you are probably right prettybird but I've signed up for virgin and we will see what happens.

The saga continues..............

GeorginaA Tue 08-Mar-05 20:05:09

In my experience, BT very often doesn't know what it's talking about. We're with Nildram - not the cheapest out there, but very tech savvy and dealt with BT on our behalf - far more efficiently than we had managed to do.

We're on our second new connection with Nildram now (we moved) and can't rate them highly enough.

hub2dee Sun 13-Mar-05 08:58:12

For techs who know broadband I haven't been able to fault Andrews & Arnold . They are small, clued up, prompt to post any status issues and honest.

(recommended to me by a computer guru Linux nut genius frienf of mine who knows his Internet, and I've used them for 4 years I think now. Got my dad on their network too. No probs at all). Not the cheapest, but I am more interested in reliability and not being treated like a mongoose by customer services. Have you ever tried calling BT when their ADSL service to you is not working ? It's laughable.

FWIW, I'm on 512kbps despite being able to upgrade to 2Mbps - it's fast enough for me -and I'm online all day, though don't really go in for any online gaming / music and video downloading etc. Note to self: Must do the free regrade soon.

Enid Sun 13-Mar-05 09:09:35

hub2dee - sorry to ask you a techy q on a sunday - we have two separate phone lines at work, can we connect both lines to ONE broadband account? (we need separate lines as it is a massive building)

Enid Sun 13-Mar-05 09:10:56

katherine, we live a long way from our exchange - BT told us we had NO chance of EVER getting broadband about a year ago - Virgin said we could, I signed up and here I am! Its fab. We can only get 512 but its very fast and I download music a lot too.

logic Sun 13-Mar-05 09:31:17

Bear in mind that the actual distance from the exchange seems to be fairly irrelevant. We are 1.9 km from ours BUT there is 4.2km of cable separating us! Result: god awful reliability and a very weak signal.

BTW, we tried to sign up with nildram originally but they totally mucked up sorting the connection with BT and clearly didn't care - and don't get me started about pipex. Not impressive at all!

Logic's dh: Have a look at ADSLguide.org.

hub2dee Sun 13-Mar-05 09:50:26

Hi Enid, presuming when you say "we have two separate phone lines" that you mean two individual normal BT telephone lines (not ISDN, not extensions off one number), with own numbers, then NO, you cannot connect two lines to one broadband account.

When people 'get broadband' BT enables their phone line at the exchange. The data signal is mixed with your phone signal on the one line, so your other line will not have any kind of enhancement at all.

HOWEVER, I presume your setup is something like one room where the phone lines come in with computer (broadband works OK, user smiles) and at the other end of the building is an extension off the second telephone line with a computer user who has got crappy old dial up (user frowns all the time), and you would like to give them super funky broadband ?

In that case you have four possibilities:

1) Buy broadband from same or different ISP for the second line. Pay monthly fees.

2) If the walls aren't too thick, if the distance isn't too far, change the modem / router that you have (by existing happy user's feet) for a wireless one and then the sad user far away will be able to just buy a wireless card for their PC / laptop. Anyone could be anywhere in the building (walls, distance) and would have a wireless (or 'WiFi') connection. £100 for the router, say £50 for a wireless card. There are bundles about.

3) If the walls / distance is too far, you can still go wireless but would need to set up a few wireless repeaters 'en route' - these extend the reach of a wireless network. £100 for each repeater.

4) Your building may have some kind of network cabling running between different areas. Change the router / modem at user's feet for something with several network ports on the back, and you can just plug the sad user into this. £100

Check the existing router / modem - you never know it might already do wireless or have spare network sockets on the back.

HTH.

Enid Sun 13-Mar-05 10:15:10

thanks so much

unfortunately we have three completely separate phone lines in a huge old 18th century building with enormously thick walls (wireless a nono) - supposed to be presenting my broadband plan next week and have not a clue

hub2dee Sun 13-Mar-05 10:44:52

If lifting floorboards etc. then lay CAT 5 network cabling and use that.

There are a handful of oddball products which provide data comms over mains powerlines or existing telephone wiring. Sorry don't have any names but no they exist. Not sure their products are 100% super reliable, but possibly the market has evolved since I last looked.

Option 5: Run network cabling / wireless network outside the building - maybe near drainpipes / existing telephone wiring etc. ?

You can buy better quality CAT 5 for use outside / in ducts. You can even buy armoured for direct burial. (Would advise CAT 5 surge suppressors if you're doing this for extra safety)

You can buy wireless repeaters etc. which are weatherproof, maybe that helps ?

Option 6: (Will require telco engineer with brain) - maybe existing telephone runs have enough spare cores that you could fudgola your network / broadband connection by creatively rewiring what you already have ?

hub2dee Sun 13-Mar-05 10:48:16

Another idea (this would take guts)

Reuse the existing telephone wire (ie. abandon phone at this point), and treat it as a bastardised CAT 5. Plug this into the router. At the 'client' end, run a Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone.

Voips use network cabling / the Internet to handle telephony.

This may require intelligent switchboard yadda yadda yadda.

The ISP I posted about (Andrews and Arnold) are experts in this area ITH...

hub2dee Sun 13-Mar-05 11:11:09

If you didn't want to go VoIP - mabe just use the telephone wiring for your evil ends as discussed, and try cordless phones ?

Katherine Thu 17-Mar-05 10:11:47

well I signed up with virign and it all seemed to go through OK. BUT....... yesterday was activation day and I still can't get it to work. Modem lights are flashing and it says no dial tone!

Hum! Waiting to hear back from virgin. Oh well I tried......

Katherine Mon 21-Mar-05 14:50:35

The saga continues.
Still no dial tone (according to modem).
Am now using RJ11 cable but no difference. Had to move my PC and clear my desk as well as wasn't quite long enough.

Virgin are now going to check the line. I'm not holding my breath - but don't you think this would have been done first!

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