Saturday, January 27, 2007

VIP UMTS/EDGE/whatever...

Ok, I prepared this post while I was trying to connect to the Internet and I was very angry! For the problems I have I blame VIP and this post summarizes my experiences with them. I doubt that the others are different. And yes, for those that don't know, VIP is Internet provider in Croatia.

To buy the card and subscription was the least problem and it was quick. Although, I heard that now they require contract for two years instead of one. Probably because they were giving devices for 1 kuna and it turned out that it doesn't pay off. Namely, you could have PCMCIA card that costs about 1800 kuna (cca. 7.5kuna is 1EUR) for already mentioned 1 kuna. Lowest subscription per month is 50 kn, so it turns out that you could have a device for 600kn! Clearly, math was not on their side in that one.

But before I took subscription, the first problem was finding out if devices they offer work on Linux. And finding that information was impossible. Even though I contacted technical support through regular channels and via some friends. So, I took device not knowing if it works and hoping at best. It turned out that with a bit of luck and some hacking it worked! The device is Nozomi, and it can be recognized by NZ letters in serial number. More on that you can find on my homepage.

The second problem was with connecting to VIP. Namely, first it turned out I have to use PAP, and the second problem was that PAP always returns success code, no matter if it succeeded or not!?

After finally overcoming and that obstacle, the next one was random disconnections. Not only that, but I also had problems trying to connect or reconnect to VIP. And now, story leads us to the help desk service. When I called them I never expected to help me resolve problem. How could they when they probably never saw Linux!? I just wanted to find out if they know of some current problems in the network so that I know if the problem is with me, or with them. Well, I never found out if they have a problem. Also, sometimes they blamed CARNet. And the story usually starts with something like: “What you see in the application about signal strength...” and after telling them that I don't have that application, all the further conversation stops. And so much about help desk. Well, to be honest, those interruptions are now rare, but still, they can become very frustrating and actually, they are the reason I'm writing this.

And finally, something about the speed. It's not even close to the promised speed of UMTS! It seems to be good in some larger towns, but at the moment you are in suburbs it drops sharply! It never goes above 50 kbps (that's kilobits), and usually it's around 20 kbps!

All in all, I started to think about using DSL. But it's another story....

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scientist, consultant, security specialist, networking guy, system administrator, philosopher ;)

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