OT Computer WiFi Question

Virgin have upgraded me to 100MB broadband - but to use it I need to be able to receive 5GHz. My tablet does but my laptop and desktop won't. The limitation seems to be the WLAN Card.
Could I get a plug in USB WiFi dongle thing that will receive 5GHz - or will this merely find another bottleneck?
Fortunately the Vigin Hub outputs 2.4GHz as well so I am no worse off.
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I doubt you would notice the difference most of the time.
I've have both 5G and 2.4 G WiFi and would be hard pressed to spot the difference in speed unless I measured it. It isn't unusual for there to be 5 or more machines using the internet at the same time here. I've often got a couple running then there is the family.
I do prefer wired connections for fixed machines, including TV and other media devices. I wired the house with Cat6 cable to all habitable rooms some years back.
The size and construction of the house requires several Wifi points to get get coverage, 5G doesn't like solid walls. With careful choice of channels I avoid interference.
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On Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:38:48 +0000, DerbyBorn wrote:

5GHz, being a totally different frequency to 2.4GHz, requires different hardware - it's a newer standard, so 5GHz kit is usually backwardly compatible to the older stuff, but obviously not vice-versa.
But the frequency doesn't tell you the speed. The standard being used does that bit.
802.11B was the original (to all intents and purposes). 11Mbit. Used to be just fine, but you can see how it might be a limitation these days...
802.11G is the usual default these days. 54Mbit. Woo. Except...
801.11N is your most modern 2.4GHz - 300Mbit! And it's also on 5GHz...
2.4GHz is crowded in urban areas - lots of interference from the neighbours routers. 5GHz is currently much less crowded, not least because nobody's really using it yet, but also because it's shorter range and doesn't penetrate walls as well.
You can get 100Mbit max from your broadband. Great. But... Unless you're actually doing huge downloads, you won't notice the difference between 54Mbit and 100Mbit - stuff will just be there. Now.
Not that you'll actually get either 54Mbit anyway.
Basically, ignore the frequency, unless you can see a LOT of wireless networks. If you're on 802.11N on your laptop/desktop, you'll notice no difference. If you're on 802.11G, you might, but it'll be negligible unless you're downloading huge stuff.
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Thanks to both of you. I feel happier about my 2.4GHz now and will accept it as is.
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On Tue, 14 Jul 2015 22:11:23 +0000, DerbyBorn wrote:

Or, to put it another way - you bastard. I hate you. Can I please have your 100Mbit connection in exchange for mine, 1.5Mbit on a good day? Wireless speed is much less of an issue on this, I promise you...
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Where on earth are you, Bass Rock?
There should be a law against such cruel and unnatural punishment.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:15:26 +0000, Brian Reay wrote:

Half a mile from Wales.

I had 50Mbit at my old house. It was near Watford. I'm most certainly up on the exchange.
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On 15/07/2015 08:22, Adrian wrote:

Is fibre promised for your area in the future or are you connected direct to the exchange? We've been promised fibre for about the last 2 years, no sign of it happening as yet. We get 6.5 down and 0.75 up at the mo (ADSL+). My mobile reception (4G) puts the landline to shame, at times I get 65 down and 4 or more up. If THREE would allow unlimited tethering I'd ditch the landline.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:34:05 +0100, Bod wrote:

According to SamKnows, all 500 subscribers are direct to the (sub)exchange, just over 2km away straight-line. The wet string doesn't come in a straight line, of course. Oh, and there's a big river in the way.
The main exchange (in the town over the border, which makes for all sorts of "not our problem" shenanigans usually) was upgraded this year, and our sub-exchange is promised by the end of the year. Everybody on the exchange is promised at least 2Mbit - we're actually fairly lucky compared to many. Some don't even get anything, and are still on dial-up.
Welcome to the late '90s.

We don't have a mobile signal. On any network. For voice, let alone data.
There is a local line-of-sight wireless broadband setup, bouncing off church towers and barns - but somebody put some wobbly-upwards land with a heck of a lot of rather large trees between us and the village's bounce point. There's talk of those trees coming down - but there's also talk that the wireless isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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On 15/07/2015 10:13, Adrian wrote:

Oh dear, that is abysmal for your area. So much for our government claiming that the UK will have the best broadband in Europe then.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2015 10:29:17 +0100, Bod wrote:

They can claim it. Just won't be true.
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On Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:24:01 +0000 (UTC), Jethro_uk wrote:

Depends how you measure it. Phase 1 of the County Councils/BDUK/BT work will have 93% of "homes and business's" within reach of "Superfast" that is > 24 Mbps download (>15 Mbps peak time), broadband by the end of the year. Phase 2, when its sorted out ought to add another 2% to that. The remaining 5% are left with the "universal access" level of at least 2 Mbps.
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On Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:11:30 +0100, Dave Liquorice wrote:

It's nice to know that my basic 30Mbps down / 2Mbps up Virgin Media service exceeds "Superfast", and by a wide margin. I just checked using SpeedTest and got 33.95Mbps down and 2.00Mbps up which accurately reflects the Superhub's reported connection speeds of 35,000,000 bps down and 2058000 bps up.
The down speed used to be reported as 30000000bps (or perhaps it was 33000000bps?) about a year ago and I'm still awaiting the free d/l speed upgrade to 50000000bps (but same old 2Mbps up) promised just about a year back as being in the pipeline sometime over the next 12 to 18 months... Any day RSN!
In the meantime, any new VM customers if past experience is anything to go by, will get to enjoy the benefit of the long promised upgrade straight away. So much for 'customer loyalty' :-(
BTW, is it just me or does everyone experience that "Cliff Hanger" feeling whilst watching the upload speedtest progress bar?
--
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They sometimes need reminding;!. Call the retention's dept and that usually gets results.
Still I know people who'd neigh on kill to be on their network, those out in the wild sticks near towns, that Fibre's a long time coming;!...

Not here we don't;)..
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Tony Sayer


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On Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:06:30 +0100, tony sayer wrote:

I was tempted to try that the last time VM promised all of us 10Mbps users a 'free upgrade' to a 20Mbps service RSN when their A4 junk mailshot, addressed to "The Occupier"[1] revealed they were not only trying to attract new customers with a really cheap first six months cut rate offer (a fair enough tactic on its own) but also providing them not with a 20Mbps service (as promised to existing customers sometime in the next 12 or 18 months) but, in fact, a 30Mbps service!!!
Since my complaint wasn't really within the remit of the retentions dept (I wasn't having a problem over paying the not unreasonable 22 quid a month charges at the time which would be the normal reason to land up being referred), I took it up with customer support to explain that I wasn't at all happy that existing loyal customers were effectively being penalised by being made to wait for a 'free upgrade' to a 20Mbps service whilst they were providing new customers, not only the benefit of a special introductory 6 month rate but an immediate speed upgrade that was 50% faster again.
In the end, once it was clear that the best they could do was to provide me with a 60Mbps service (3Mbps upload) for a mere 5 quid a month extra, I took them up on that offer with the intention of 'downgrading' a few months later to what I hoped would be at least the 20Mbps service, if not the 30Mbps one. As it turned out, those few months turned into 11 months before I downgraded to the current '30Mbps' I'm now on.
In the meantime, the 22 quid a month was raised to 26 quid and a few pennies shortly after that and then increased again (all as a result of inflationary adjustments) to the 27 quid and some pennies a month that I now find myself paying. The way things are going, I may well get myself referred to the 'retentions department' in a year or two's time to save spending money on what is *now* quite clearly an overkill solution in regard of internet connectivity.
Yes, it's quite nice to be able to download the latest 1.5GB Linux Mint iso image file in less than ten minutes from the university of Kent's servers at 2 in the morning (the only time of the day when their server seems prepared to match the almost 4MB/s bandwidth of my local connection to VM's internet gateway) but this is a luxury I could well manage without.
As best as I can surmise, a retentions connection now runs at 10Mbps meaning such downloads will take a little bit longer, just under half an hour in similar circumstances with a less proportionate loss of speed during busier periods compared to the 50Mbps and faster services (I'll not feel the pain of the internet's bottlenecking during the busy periods quite so much - at least as far as simple one to one downloading sessions are concerned, Torrented downloads, otoh *will* suffer from the lack of a high speed connection but that's not such a big deal when the torrenting happens to be offloaded onto a 24/7 NAS box).

That's ever so true. What often surprised me when dealing with my local customers was the number of times I found myself having to recommend switching from ISPs such as Sky, BT and Talktalk, relying on "Poor Man's BroadBand"[2] to VM's cable network service available right outside of their own front gate.
When you live in an area already cabled for TV and internet services, it's a no-brainer to eschew the many tempting offers by VM's competitiors when you have such an opportunity to utilise such a trouble free and consistently high speed internet connection. The only edge these purveyors of "Poor Man's Broadband" have is on their service rental charges being considerably lower to mitigate the costs in reliability and performance their customers have to pay (costs go beyond mere monetary savings).
I haven't seen what service rental rates are for someone on a "Retentions Account" with VM. I suspect these rates aren't freely published since they're only available to existing customers threatening to leave VM's clutches, typically due to financial difficulties in meeting the normal service rental charges. More to the point, they probably depend on what competing ISPs have to offer by way of cut price deals on their "Poor Man's Broadband" service in any given area.
I'm surmising that any VM customers who do get themselves referred to "The Retentions Department" will find themselves haggling over the price and maybe even having to sign a NDA over the whole deal.
My advice (to self as much as anyone else) is if, as an existing VM customer, you feel they are 'taking the piss' re the monthly charges, make sure that you're armed with full knowledge of exactly what each and every viable alternative ISP in your area has to offer by way of economy packages. That way, when you do finally confront the "Retentions Department", you can demonstrate both a genuine intent to leave and knowledge of benchmark price points giving you some leverage in haggling the monthly retention package rate down to the lowest possible.
Virgin Media are obviously well aware of the truth of the adage, "It's easier to hang onto a customer than it is to find a new one.", despite their cynical abuse of their existing customer base as per the practice used so blatantly by insurance companies, otherwise they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of setting up a whole department dedicated just to the business of hanging onto their existing customers. VM are simply trying to "Have their cake *and* eat it."
When the attraction of "silly high speed" internet connectivity starts to pall, especially when you have no need of the dubious benefits of the TV and phone 'Value-add' packages, I'm sure a session with the 'retentions department' can prove a very fruitful cost cutting exercise if you put you mind to it. Just how fruitful, I couldn't say (and, I suspect, neither can any who have already availed themselves of this service).

I'm not sure what to make of that reply[3] but the point I was making was that whilst the download speedometer quickly reveals your final speed to within a percent or two, that doesn't seem to be the case with the upload speed test where the speedo quickly climbs to about half to two thirds in the first two or three seconds leaving you to watch its antics over the next 20 seconds or so as it struggles to approach the advertised upload speed limit of your connection.
[1] We first acquired a broadband connection nearly 15 years ago when my daughter signed up to NTL's digital TV and 512Kbps broadband services (using, unbeknownst to me at the time, the fiction that her bedroom was "Flat 3" at our home address), primarily for the broadband cable connection - standalone cabled internet connections weren't yet available at that time.
I offered to subsidise part of the monthly rental as an inducement to persuade her then boyfriend (now my son in law) to configure a spare PC running Debian Linux to act as a gateway router to the pre-existing 10Mbps cheapernet house LAN I'd installed a few years earlier. Thus it was that I got hooked onto a "Real, 'always on' Internet Connection' and the joys of a properly firewalled internet connection available to all the PCs hanging off of the LAN.
When my daughter left home a few years later, I took over the NTL account and immediately downgraded to a 128Kbps service to minimise the costs. Even a mere 128Kbps connection was better than a dial up connection providing at best one third of that speed whilst tying up a phone line with the loss of a simple firewalled internet sharing facilty.
About a year after that, NTL started advertising a cheap introductory offer for an internet only cable package (15 quid a month for their 128Kbps service, long since 'upgraded for free' to the current 30Mbps service of today) so I arranged to have my TV and internet package 'downgraded' to this new internet only service.
Unfortunately, when NTL's engineers turned up to complete the conversion, I was in hospital. When I finally returned home, just a week or so before Christmas, I discovered that they'd simply recovered the Pace STB, neglecting to replace it with the all important cable modem, leaving us without an internet connection, despite their obvious cock up, until mid to late January the following year. If I had been there to watch what they were doing, I'd have not let them recover the STB until they returned with a modem. Unfortunately I wasn't and the missus, bless her heart would not have realised NTL's cock up until way too late.
That was the one and only serious cock up I've ever had to contend with so far in my dealings with NTL/VM over the past 12 years or so. The issue was finally resolved with a generous refund covering the lost 5 or 6 weeks of service plus a discount over the next 6 months rental period to compensate for the inconvenience caused. Not too bad a result but it's a great pity that they weren't able to see fit, in view of it being a cock up on their part in the first place, to squeeze another engineering visit during what was obviously a very busy schedule of new customer connections.
Anyhow, all that aside, I started receiving junk mailshots addressed to 'the occupier' of various flats to the extent that I spoke to customer services to advise them that no such addresses existed and that I was already a customer so no more such junk mail please! I don't think the message got through to their marketing department since I still get VM junk mailshots every two or three months or so.
Ever since I was alerted to the outrageously preferential treatment to new customers, at the expense of existing customers, I'm not so bothered since it keeps me advised of VM's latest marketing tricks where existing customers are last in the queue for any promised upgrades that are given immediately to the "Johnny come lately" newest customers.
The problem stems from the fact that they know they can afford to take a cavalier attitude to their existing customers since the competing ISPs have so much less to offer (and the Retentions Department provides a backstop insurance against customers deciding to 'vote with their feet').
[2] "Poor Man's Broadband" is an expression I started using when I was still signed up with zetnet, a small but excellent ISP which was to eventually be consumed by an asset stripping company, Breathe Networks Limited (BNL), back in 2008. A wikipedia article here
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zetnet>
Offers a brief synopsis of zetnet's history.
When I first signed up with zetnet, I was using their Lo-call dial in service (a penny a minute off-peak call rate number) but once I had access via the NTL BB connection, I was able to make use of a recently enhanced connection feature of zetnet's proprietry ZIMACS email client/ news reader user interface which allowed me to connect via any other ISP's Point of Presence dial in number, including broadband connections.
Thereafter I never had to dial up a zetnet connection ever again. I considered zetnet to be my value added ISP (it had a USP of which BNL seemingly remained totally oblivious to) with NTL merely providing a broadband connection to the internet, albeit only a mere 128Kbps service at that time. Also, around that time, zetnet were reselling BT's ADSL connections to their customers, who like me, could, if the occasion demanded, still fall back on the dial up connection which was just as well for those using ADSL since they, unlike myself, were often obliged to make use of it on account of the never ending problems, countrywide, with ADSL.
As a cable broadband connected customer, I soon realised that "I'd never had it so good." to borrow a phrase from elsewhere, and dubbed the troublesome ADSL offerings as "Poor Mans' Broadband" in recognition of that fact. It's a description that still rings true today.
[3] The only thing that comes to mind being that it's because you're using an SDSL service of some kind (otherwise, pass!).
--
Johnny B Good

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Johnny B Good wrote a great deal, including:

Agreed, I've been with them for ages now, and last year managed a speed and router upgrade for less money, eased by my having been on a 20 MB tariff they were trying to phase out.
It is sad but true, that you have to keep doing this from time to time to keep costs down. Just saved nearly £20 on my AA subs.
Chris
--
Chris J Dixon Nottingham UK
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<bit reduced>

And we're not using SDSL either just plain ole VM ...

Seems much the same either way round most all of the time. However one Fibre we have at Ely in Cambridgeshire is very good most all the time, 70 odd meg, but the upload can be really slow sometimes around 18 on a good day but I believe its because its not a main exchange but a branch one with limited backhaul capacity..
<snipped a bit more of a tale of Telco services;!>...
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Tony Sayer


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On Sat, 18 Jul 2015 11:11:38 +0100, tony sayer wrote:

Hmm, so just me then that's seeing this 'tantalising' behaviour with speedtest's upload speedometer. :-(

Presumably, purely in the interests of reducing the burden on news servers worldwide. Sensible action imo. :-)
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Well it does go up and down a bit at times but its generally much the same the "receive" side is usually a flat topped line!...

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Tony Sayer




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On Sat, 18 Jul 2015 20:29:17 +0100, tony sayer wrote:

The download plot is pretty well flat topped from start to finish rather akin to a super car accelerating from the hard shoulder onto a quiet motorway with the cruise control preset to 79mph.
The upload speedo behaviour, otoh, (I don't see a speed plot) is more like that of a Trabant driver's attempt to beat his own personal best speed record along a 1 mile stretch of runway.
I've just repeated this morning's test and, just like before, I managed to edge the upload speed to 2.00Mbps on the second attempt (it didn't quite make it the first time round - just 1.97Mbps).
The D/L speed on this second attempt shows 32.49 Mbps (ping time 9ms btw) I forget what the first one was. When the D/L speed results consistently hit the 32/33Mbps mark, the novelty of it all gets old rather fast. I suppose it'll start to look more interesting when (assuming I haven't struck a deal with 'Retentions' before then) VM finally do get around to upgrading my line speed to 50Mbps as promised over a year ago now. :-(
--
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