I am behind in writing about last week due to the many hours that I have consumed my time trying to get various broadband internet connections working.
When we first arrived in Spain I purchased a Spanish SIM card (Yoigo network)for my cell phone. Of course it worked first time and gives up to 500M data per month. My cell phone can set up a hotspot and so I can use my laptop via my cell to get internet. Unfortunately I have used up most of the 500M data so I now need to be careful how much I use it and try to keep it just for checking emails and urgent work jobs. I should add I convinced myself to buy the data plan because early on I got a little concerned about how much I was getting lost so I wanted to be able to use google maps and the direction guidance application.
A week or so back I then purchased a Vodafone USB Modem broadband plan with 1G of data which I increased to 3G last week. The problem with this that I spent the week before last trying to resolve is that the hotspot software on our computers seems to get disabled by the Vodafone service to prevent more than one computer hooking into the internet it provides. Back in New Zealand we could have one Vodafone USB Modem in one laptop and then have that setup as a hotspot so all of our computers could share internet. The difficulty is that our brilliant plan was to have all the kid’s home-schooling online and so we paid for subscriptions for various maths and reading websites so they could be working on them while Karen could work on other things or with one of the kids individually. The other major problem I had is that the Vodafone USB Modem fails to work in my laptop so I can’t use it for internet. Last week I also found that the reception for Vodafone, which is supposed to be the best network in Spain, was not strong enough for 3G when we were on the first floor of our apartment so if you wanted internet you had to go upstairs to one of the bedrooms.
Hey, I am just about done. So at the start of last week I decided I needed to buy mobile internet from another provider so I could work properly. I will cut a long strong short – after several further trips back to the cell phone shops, luckily they are all nearby each other, I settled on the provider and went to sign up. Upon doing so I found that in order to take up a contract plan (they have one month contracts) you had to have a Spanish bank account so the awesome deal of 5G for just 30 euros or so a month was not an option. I had to find a pre-paid plan that was satisfactory. It seemed like they all were charged at around 3.50 euros per day (maximum of 100M or at best a 250M data per day) which would cost about 100 euros a month. I decided in the end to go with Orange Mobile and signed up for a special 2G offer with another USB Modem for 64 euros. Not a bad option but had I signed up the week early it would have only cost 34 euros. So last week armed with my new USB Modem stick I attempted to get it working on Amy’s computer. In fitting with my internet adventures so far it didn’t work, in fact the laptop can’t even see what is on the USB stick.
Most of my time in week 3 was spent trying to get the Orange USB Modem internet working on one of our computers. I feel like I have become an expert in trouble shooting this issue but unfortunately after much effort I still cannot get it to fire up. On one trip back to the shop they tried to get it working in their netbook and it actually worked so at least I know it is not in theory faulty. The likely cause is that I have had the Vodafone Broadband software on the computers and even after uninstalling it there is something preventing the Orange USB modem being loaded correctly. I am very grateful for Fidel, the owner of the house we stayed in, as he has spent several hours with me at the mobile phone shops translating and trying to help get these problems resolved. Fidel, and Susana his wife, have been wonderful hosts. I spent a few more hours last night, when I wanted to be blogging, trying out other ideas but none succeeded. Well, you may say, at least I have the Vodafone internet working on Karen and the kids computers– but I tried that out last night – it gets errors with it saying that my SIM card may not be activated! I am hoping it is just a result of no Vodafone reception on the side of the hill where our home is. I will go up above us later today and see if it works. You would think, well I would at least dream, that on our overseas trip I could just be sitting back relaxing in Spain not having an IT worry in the world but alas wherever computers are IT problems are sure to follow me!