I signed up to TalkTalk quite a few years ago, to get their broadband, as madasafish’s dial-up was getting intolerable, especially with the heavier internet usage we were running up. And so we stepped tentatively into the world of broadband (and cheaper phone bills!), and never looked back. We had a few teething troubles to begin with, but the South African call centre were fine, and things settled down for a few years…

Until I found out that BT were laying fibre-optic cables in our village in 2009, and that TalkTalk were participating in a trial… Many pleadings, emails and phone calls later, I managed to persuade the trial manager that running an Ubuntu Linux operating system instead of XP wouldn’t be a problem. I still had an XP PC lying around somewhere I could leave on, running the diagnostics program. So finally, the nice man from BT OpenReach turned up, layed the cable, fitted the fibreoptic modem and D-Link DIR-615 router, and switched on… Suddenly, I was getting 37Mbps speeds, instead of the 1-2 I was previously “enjoying”! Never was classic episodes of Doctor Who so enjoyable on BlinkBox!

And so that “trial” continues, and we are enjoying superfast broadband still!

The next trial I signed up to was the Wireless N USB mini adapter (DWA-140) from D-Link. This came with a (windows XP only) setup CD that didn’t work. I told them, and they quickly emailed me a link to an .iso which I burned and ran successfully. It worked well. However, my PCs are wired to the router, and the only wireless devices I have are iPods and my works laptop with inbuilt wireless, so I didn’t really need the USB device…until the next trial…

The latest trial is the Wireless Extender Trial. Until now, my wife and I have only been able to enjoy WiFi coverage in certain rooms of the house, so when this trial was announced, I jumped at the chance of being able to tweet from the bedroom/garden/shed, so I signed up…

Just this week, I received my little plug-sized device (Huawei WS320) that, funnily enough, plugs into a mains socket. To set it up, I had to plug it in, click the button on it, and connect to an IP address it was broadcasting on. But… My workstation is cabled into the router – no WiFi… So, I dig out the USB adapter (above) plug it in (still using Ubuntu Linux 10.10), and hoped for the best… Within seconds, Ubuntu had discovered the router and connected to my wireless LAN! Hooray for Canonical! I log on to the extender’s IP address, attach it to the wireless LAN and hey, presto, a green light appears. I now plug the extender into the socket at the top of the stairs and tweet this from my bedroom. Installation was easy, the coverage superb. Now, as soon as the builders finish my kitchen, I can plug it into the kitchen socket, and hope to tweet from the garden shed!

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