It’s getting on for midnight and I’m here in a hotel room in Prague, after fighting to get my Internet connection working (again). There’s a T-Mobile hotspot here but I’ve been having problems with it all week. A few nights back I couldn’t successfully login after buying a 24-hour pass from the hotel, so I returned the pass for a refund. Then, later in the day it seemed to be working again, so I paid 595KÄ (about Â£15, or $30) for another 24-hour pass and was able to browse the ‘net and connect to work over the VPN. Sorted. Or at least I was until I went out for the evening and returned to my room to do some more work only to find that the connection was so slow as to be unusable.
The Google homepage took about 90 seconds to load and everything else timed out – either as unreachable, or coming back as a google search on the domain name.
As Google seemed to be the only site responding (pinging the gateway came back with Reply from gatewayipaddress: Destination net unreachable), I ran a ping test using
ping www.google.com -t and after a while I could see that I was losing about half the packets on the wire:
Ping statistics for ipaddress:
Packets: Sent = 157, Received = 74, Lost = 83 (52% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 45ms, Maximum = 69ms, Average = 49ms
Restarting the computer didn’t seem to help. Neither did disconnecting and and reconnecting the wireless network connection. So I called (T-Mobile’s English helpline for the Czech Republic) but after 35 minutes on hold at international mobile rates (goodness knows how much that cost), I gave up.
Thanks for nothing T-Mobile.
After a week of fighting with this (and a successful call to T-Mobile, during which they admitted that I could have held on all night because there were no English-speaking staff working…), I’ve discovered that logging out manually (from the link on the page displayed after a successful login, or by typing
logout. in the browser address bar) works fine; however if T-Mobile log me out for inactivity, and occasionally when the connection suddenly drops of its own accord, the only remedy is to shut down the computer, wait a while (the shortest I’ve tried was about half an hour) and then start up again, after which everything seems to work as expected.
According to the receptionist at the hotel where the hotspot is, only the people in my group (all attending Microsoft training) have reported any problems. Hopefully this information is useful to some other poor soul who’s trying to get their T-Mobile Wi-Fi connection to work.
(For reference, I’m using Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, 32-bit, with an Intel Centrino 2200BG chipset and Internet Explorer 7.0.6000.16546.)