My Broadband Wireless Network Experience [long]

Conclusions at bottom,

Whether it’s checking out eMedicine.com or relaxing by watching videos on youtube, most of us have become very reliant on the Internet. So when problems arise, frustration level hit record levels.

For the 2 years, I was using a 1500kbps ADSL connection from Singnet Broadband. Subscribing to it granted me a new iPod mini (4Gb) and an ADSL dial-up modem, the Prolink Hurricane 9000/B, which I hooked up to my desktop. Relatives who used notebook computers would drop by and suggest that I get a wireless router such that more than one computer could enjoy internet connection.

Enter the Linksys BEFW11S4 ver. 4 Wireless-B Broadband router. Fresh out of the box, we ran into difficulties. Running a WEP connection, it was impossible for one cousin’s notebook to connect wirelessly. However, it worked when the network was unsecured. Repeat attempts to double-check and enter the password in both formats proved useless. That was about the time the brother bought a new notebook computer and left me with the hp pavilion ze1110, which did not have an in-built wireless adapter. Unfortunately for me, the notebook had a few problems. The battery was useless, rendering the notebook completely reliant on the AC power adaptor.

That was when I bought the Linksys WUSB54G Wireless-G USB Network Adapter, which unfortunately didn’t really work very well on the Ubuntu 5.04 system. Perfectly happy with my DIY desktop computer, I passed the adapter to my father. His Dell notebook was unable to connect to the wireless network due to a malfunction of the in-built wireless adapter. He set up the Linksys USB adapter and voila! internet connection established.

Note that the Linksys wireless network works with the Linksys adapter on a computer running the Linksys network manager. It became a recurring theme.

That was about the time that the father realised that when the Windows wireless service was running, the notebook computer was unable to connect, but when the linksys system was running, it would. Strangely enough, after a year or so, both failed to connect.

Anyhow, we bought a Dell Dimension E520 for the kid and since the modem and router were in my room, it was necessary to buy another Linksys Wireless-G USB adapter. Despite the router only being capable of wireless-b, it was necessary to plan for the future. It was set up without a hitch.

When I inherited my brother’s old Acer TravelMate 8104, I was unable to connect wirelessly (hence I reverted to the trust ol’ ethernet cable) at home whereas connecting to the NUSOPEN network in the university was of no problem whatsoever. This was using Ubuntu’s Networking tool.

Fast forward to this year. The contract offer expired, we decided to sign the new Singnet 10Mbps Wireless plan for $83/month. The offer came with a 2wire 2700HGV-2 Integrated Wireless Router and Modem. Also included was a Lenovo Thinkpad R60, which I chose to upgrade for $608 to a Lenovo Thinkpad T60 (1.66 – 1.83Ghz, 80 – 120Gb space, Win XP Home – Win XP Professional, 512mb – 1024mb RAM).

The delivery date came, and the modem was fine. The activation date came, and I could no longer connect to the Internet. Fearing that my password had gone bonkers on me, I requested for a password slip to be sent to my place at this Singnet password request website. It was done three times over the spate of one week.

I never received it.

Nonetheless, I had saved my password on my other router, but just to be sure, I called them and requested for my password. They gave me my old password, my email password, just not my new password. It was only on a later call that the person reset my password and told that to me. Noentheless, I proceeded with the router setup and discovered on the diagnostics that it had nothing to do with my user name and password. The error message:

“PVC Connection: Could not find an ATM Circuit.”

Using my neighbour’s computer, I searched and found on hardwarezone.com.sg that the problem lay either with the line or the system on their (Singnet’s) end. So I called technical support (1800-848 6933), was put on hold for 20min and hung up on. Called again, put on hold for 15min and had to leave. Returning home, they had gone home for the day, so I called the paid faster line (30 cents per minute) at 1900-915 2829. A young lady answered, I described my problem, including connecting to the router, running the diagnostics and so on.

She proceeded to waste my time telling me: run “cmd”, run “ipconfig”, see the IP address and enter it into a web browser. Would I have been able to get the diagnostic results if I hadn’t already done it, young missy? She then proceeded to tell me to try to reconnect, re-enter my password and try to reconnect, re-set my router and try to re-connect, and turn off the router and try to reconnect.

Blah. Incompetent Singnet call operator.

Finally she said she would get me a line check, scheduled for 5 days time. I asked her 3 times if it could be that there was a problem on the Singnet side, seeing that everything was working well until the activation date. She said hesitantly, maybe your line is not suitable for the broadband connection. Right. I gave up.

The next day, I called the technical hotline again and this time another lady on a line, hearing my detailed description of the problem, relayed me to a technician who was better able to assist. Unfortunatley, he could only confirm that it seemed to be working on his records and that I would have to have the line check nevertheless. Resigning myself to a lack of internet connection, I decided to wait.

Two days later, the error had resolved. Being fairly sure that I had done nothing special to the line, I assumed the Singnet had somehow or another fixed the problem on their side. “PVC Connection: Up” was the message I received instead. I was connected to the internet. Yay.

Father’s notebook: connected. Cousin’s notebook: connected. My notebook: connected.

Mom’s notebook (using Linksys wireless adapter): Connected to access point, but no Internet. Kid’s desktop: (using Linksys wireless adapter): Connected to access point, but no Internet.

As it turned out, the problem was with the linksys program. Rather than uninstalling it, which would uninstall the driver as well and render the adapter useless, I went into services.msc, scrolled to the bottom, activated the Windows Wireless Networking service and disabled the Linksys Network Manager service. Suddenly, the computers were connected.

After a long process, my home wireless network is finally working.

Now, where is that Lenovo laptop they promised?

Conclusions:
1. Linksys seems to work very well only with Linksys. I wouldn’t recommend buying Linksys products.
2. Be prepared to make lots of phone calls when things don’t go right
3. Call, don’t take it for granted. Always pester the person until your problem gets solved… you’ll be surprised at inefficient they can be.
4. You will get very tired of statements like “We are experiencing high call volume. Please call back later or continue to hold.” as well as their music. Don’t opt to call back, you’ll just go through the whole process all over again.
5. When in technical support, ask for a competent person and make sure you’ve done your homework.

I hope your wireless experience goes better than mine.

J.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by cjtune on December 11, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    *sigh*, I’m experiencing the same problem with the “PVC Connection: Could not find an ATM Circuit” problem right now with my new Singnet 10Mbps plan. The call centre operator seems oblivious to the fact that my line was fine with their 3Mbps plan for the past two years and that I should just wait for the ‘linesman’ to come and rectify it. Standard problem, standard reply, Singapore standard?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tow on December 19, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    I am another victim of this problem. My line just activated today after 5pm but couldn’t connect till I found out this error when I logged on to the 2Wire modem. Called the technical hotline and experienced the same sub-standard service. Sigh !!!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Vaanz on January 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Hi there… I chanced upon your blog and I’m hoping I may find some help here. I am using Singnet broadband connection… PROLINK hurricane 9000/B ethernet modem. I’m wondering if u’ve managed to connect to the internet on Linux? I’m using fedora 7 and tried using the kppp dialer in various configurations.. it shows ‘looking for modem’ and then hangs each time. I’ve spent weeks surfing forums but to no avail.. singtel technical hotline, of cos, is no help when it comes to linux issues…

    if u have any ideas, can u pls mail me at vaanz@hotmail.com ? I’d really appreciate any help i can get as its for my final yr project. Thanks and have a gd day.

    Reply

  4. Over two years down the line from your original post and I have the exact same problem as you did. Access point connection but no internet, with manual diagnostics telling me it’s a wireless network issue originating from the brand new 2701 miobox. The interesting thing is that I don’t have anything Linksys running, but going into the advanced settings of the broadband link (had to access this through the browser using http://gateway.2wire.net) and enabling ATM PVC search seems to have helped.

    Great post btw.

    Reply

  5. Thank you for sharing this information. I would like it with even more detail though, do e-mail me about it.

    Reply

  6. **~ that seems to be a great topic, i really love it ~.-

    Reply

  7. Excellent post!! I really like your site!!

    Reply

  8. […] My Broadband Wireless Network Experience [long] | … – Mar 31, 2007  · My Broadband Wireless Network Experience … “PVC Connection: Could not find an ATM Circuit. … “PVC Connection: … […]

    Reply

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