Well this is kind of a story with a happy ending sent in by one of our customers so we thought that we should share it in the interests of anyone else facing the same or similar problem.
My parents live in a largish old house and, like many of their generation have tentatively adopted new technology as it has become available, they have upgraded PC every few years, used mobiles and now smartphones and have cordless phones in every room. In general they are happy with this 21st century phenomenon, enjoying the facility to contact people all over the world, to access news and information and to stream video wherever they are. They have taken to all this well, apart from when there are issues. I have rarely seen them so angry as when the PC appears to be acting on its own volition or when iTunes has sorted songs into the wrong order. That all said they enjoy the many features that new technology offers.
However a constant issue has been the lack of WiFi coverage around their home, whilst they are able to connect in a Saharan Café they cannot access iPlayer from their kitchen. This is using Virgin’s super boosting router which should, in theory give full coverage over the entire house. The thing is that, although the router will broadcast the signal over a few hundred metres but what with thick hearths and solid walls this coverage is greatly diminished – really not great when trying to watch Wimbledon ( tennis that is ) at the breakfast table. So, like a good son, who it is assumed is an expert in all things tech I was called upon to ( willingly ) help remedy the situation.
Well, home networking has many options, which at first can be slightly confusing. There are a lot of home networking kits which are primarily designed for the connection of say a smart ( network enabled ) TVs to a wired Ethernet connection and other WiFi boosters would pick up a wireless signal and then push it further around the house. The first of these solutions would be no good to an iPad or tablet whereas I have my suspicions that any booster would be picking up an already weakened signal – of course this may not be the case but it was my gut feeling.
Increasingly apparent was this option of having a widget ( plug thing ) near the router which then pushed the WiFi ( internet ) signal all the way down the copper wires which make up your home’s electric circuits. This will, apparently, then allows the placement of transmitting devices anywhere there is a plug socket. This sounded perfect.
I looked around and discovered a couple of salient points worth considering :
- They need to be plugged into a socket rather than an extension lead or splitter
- Some models can not be plugged in to floor sockets due to the shape of their designs
- In some houses there is a possibility of there being more than one ring main ( electrical loop ) which would mean no connection to some parts
Bearing all that in mind, and assuming that the ring main issue would only apply to some weird hybrid cottages I looked online at various potential purchases, rapidly deciding by virtue of reviews and reputation that the BT models would be a good idea. This one – the BT Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspot 600 Kit seemed to fit the bill completely with great reviews online for the most important aspects of any tech purchase:
- ease of set up
- ease of use
So, I bought them ( and an additional transmitter unit, received them via the wonderful DPD the next day and was soon off for a free lunch ( there is such a thing ) at my parents’ house.
Well, their previous set up included a very out of date router plugged into a Ethernet downstairs which sent out a variable and insecure signal so I removed that and plugged in the first part of the BT 600 upstairs next to the Virgin router ( home hub I think its called ) and was reassured by a green light coming on. Then ( skipping the most likely very useful and well written instructions ) plugged one of the satellite transmitters downstairs and pushed all the buttons on it ( oops one was the off button ) and waited.
It was then that I discovered a very nice design enhancement to these items in that they have plastic removable index type cards with the network name and password written o them – no more crouching down trying to make out the password – so that I was able to get my parents to individually logon with their devices.
It worked – it really did, and that my parents’ faith in my skills was enhanced and they now can happily connect all over their house with ease. All in all a very satisfactory result.
We thank the customer for this lovely story and publish it with pride – below is our Darren’s review of this lovely piece.