Tag Archives: Plusnet

BT line with Caller ID/Display? Your bill is about to increase – as BT slides a cheeky price increase (from 4th Jan 2014) under the radar…

So, I have a BT line with “Caller ID” – AKA “Caller Display”, you know, the BT Calling “Feature” that shows that your mother-in-law is calling the telephone number of the person calling you.

imageUp until now, BT Caller Display has been free – as long as you make at least two “chargeable or inclusive” calls a month – otherwise a £2.00 a month charge applies.

However, did you know that from 4th January 2014, this previously free service will cost you an extra £1.75 per month?

You may not have been unduly concerned as you poked around in BT’s completely obfuscated and impenetrable website, because it clearly says here “BT Privacy with Caller Display will cost £1.75 a month from 4 January 2014, but existing customers of the service can pre-register to continue getting it free for 12 months.

So that’s OK – quickly register for BT Privacy and neatly side step the £1.75 per month price increase then. Oh no … I didn’t use the word “obfuscated” for nothing!

Scroll right to the bottom of this page and open the section entitled “The legal stuff”. Now, scroll down to the paragraph that starts BT Privacy with Caller Display Free for 12 months and see that it is hiding this little gem “Pre-register before 6th December 2013”.

So you did pre-register before 6th December 2013 for your BT Privacy with Caller Display Free for 12 months didn’t you?

If, by now, you are as annoyed as me by what I consider to be a hidden con, then you may just be looking for a new supplier for your phone line…

There are hundreds of suppliers out there – so you can do your own homework, but having two telephone lines, one already with Plusnet Broadband on it and the other that just needs to be a (now non-BT grrr…) phone line only, I went off and did a comparison. This revealed that I should swap one line (the line that already has my Plusnet broadband) to Plusnet and the voice only phone line to Madasafish.

Feel free to use this table to plug in your own figures:

 

BT

Plusnet

Madasafish

Line Rental (per month)

£15.99

£14.50

£11.99

Caller Display

£1.75

£0.99

£0.99

Unlimited Anytime calls

£7.00

£5.00

£5.00

Monthly Total (if paying line rental monthly)

£24.74

£20.49

£17.98

 

 

 

 

Line Rental Saver (pay 12 months in advance)

£141 pa (£11.75 pm)

£131.88 pa (£10.99 pm)

N/A

Equivalent monthly total if purchasing Line Rental Saver.

£20.50

£16.98

N/A

Monthly total if adding Unlimited (up to) 16MB Broadband

£45.74

£22.99

Not an economic proposition

Monthly total if adding Unlimited (up to) 16MB Broadband and purchasing Line Rental Saver

£41.50

£19.48

 

Year 1 total cost

£435

£233.76

 

Year 2 total cost

£498

£323.64

 

Total over 2 years

£933

£557.4

 

Notes:

1. BT own Plusnet, who in turn own Madasafish. Plusnet have UK based 24/7 support and multiple awards.

2. It is not possible to purchase a phone only service from Plusnet.

3. While it is possible to purchase broadband from Madasafish – it is simply not an economic proposition but, weirdly, you do get 100MB of web space included – so may be useful for someone?

4. All figures include current offers: BT – half price broadband at £10.50 for first 6 months and £21.00 per month thereafter AND Plusnet – broadband at £2.50 for first 12 months and £9.99 per month thereafter.

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A fix for connectivity issues with Intel Centrino WiFi and Windows 8/Windows 8.1 (trouble with the new laptop you got for Christmas?)

Updated 31st December 2013 based on personal testing, direct feedback as a result of this article and the conversation on the Intel Wireless Networking Community (67 pages about this problem so far …) here.

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Purchasers of Laptops with Intel WiFi adapters seem to have been having a hard time of it lately and have been reporting one of more of the following issues:

On upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, their WiFi no longer works or has become unreliable.

and/or

Even on Windows 8 (yet to upgrade to Windows 8.1) their WiFi connection is unreliable – or doesn’t work at all – see the protests at the Intel Support Community web site.

and/or

With Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, folk experience various application hangs or failures – like the new (to Windows 8) IE11 hangs or appears to mis-render pages and Lync and Outlook appear to hang or lose connectivity.

If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, do this:

a) It is generally held that the most stable Intel Centrino WiFi driver for Windows 8 is version 14.8.8.75. This is the base driver that comes in the box with Windows 8, so if you are still on Windows 8 (as opposed to 8.1) roll back your Intel WiFi driver to 14.8.8.75.

b) If that doesn’t work, or you are already on Windows 8.1:

1. Control Panel –> Programs and Features and REMOVE any Intel® PROSet/Wireless Software but DO NOT  remove anything that says it is Intel® PROSet/Wireless Software for BLUETOOTH® technology

AND

2. UPDATE your Intel WiFi driver to 15.10.5.1 for Windows 8 or 15.10.5.1 for Windows 8.1.

IMPORTANT: ONLY install the updated drivers and NOT the full Intel® PROSet/Wireless Software – so only download and install the file that is:

Wireless_16.7.0_De164.exe for 64bit Windows 8.1
Wireless_16.7.0_De132.exe for 32bit Windows 8.1

Wireless_16.7.0_De64.exe for 64bit Windows 8
Wireless_16.7.0_De32.exe for 32bit Windows 8

[The “D” in the driver name, stands for “Drivers only” – and no, I haven’t the faintest idea why Intel should publish a driver update with a version of 16.7.0 which installs a driver version 15.10.5.1 …]

AND

3. Once the driver version 15.10.5.1 is installed and the PC has been re-booted, Control Panel –> Device Manager –>  Intel(R) Centrino(R) Advanced-N 6235 –> Properties –> Power Management and REMOVE the tick from the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” checkbox:

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c) If you still experience problems once you have upgraded your WiFi drivers, then try the Intel WiDi Update Tool.

WiDi is Intel’s implementation of Miracast – which allows mobile PC screens to be Download WiDi Tool Imageprojected wirelessly, via WiFi, to a suitably Miracast enabled display. Miracast requires the correct combination of Screen drivers, WiFi drivers and supporting software, so this is a good tool to run to ensure that you have all the correct drivers loaded for your particular laptop.

So, none of that worked?

OK, roll your sleeves up for this – but it’s not for the feint hearted:

Testing with friends and colleagues has now conclusively proved that some Broadband Routers with WiFi can hang and lose connectivity with Windows 8/8.1 devices if they have UPnP switched on (which is the default for most routers). To the laptop user, this router hang will appear as a local WiFi problem – i.e. the laptop user will think they have a problem with their Laptop Intel WiFi – when it is actually the router that you are connected to that has the problem.

Switching OFF UPnP on affected routers has a very high probability of fixing your WiFi network dropout/hang issue and to date, I haven’t found any adverse effects (Xbox gaming e.t.c. still seems to work fine with UPnP switched off).

Unfortunately, you will have to work out how to switch off UPnP for your particular router by reading its manual I am afraid, but I can tell you that testing so far indicates that the following routers hang with Windows 8/8.1 if UPnP is left turned on:

Plusnet, BE, Zen, Andrews and Arnold, O2,TalkTalk and other UK ISP’s Technicolor TG582N

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Virgin Media (UK) Superhub

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Orange/EE Broadband Brightbox (AKA the Arcadyan AR7516)

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No, I have no idea what it is about Windows 8/8.1 which is causing a problem with UPnP in some routers – but I will update this article.

If you turn off UPnP on other routers and find that it improves stability, please tell me, and I can add them to the list here:

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 WiFi works fine without having to turn UPnP off with:

Netgear DG834G V4 with  V5.01.16 – DGTeam Rev. 1018 firmware

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 WiFi works fine when UPnP is turned off  with:

Technicolor TG582Ndisable by clicking “Game & Application Sharing” in the toolbox menu and under “Universal Plug and Play” there should be a checkbox to enable/disable UPnP.

Virgin Media (UK) Superhub

Orange/EE Broadband Brightbox

The best (and cheapest) UK Internet (broadband/ADSL/ISP)?

 

This is a popular question – which keeps on coming up – particularly as a result of my review of the Revo 3700 – so here we go:

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I have been using Plusnet since 2004 (when ADSL first came to my village) and I have had no reason to change since then – so I guess that gives you a bit of a clue!

The reason for me staying with Plusnet are:

1. Stability – the connection very rarely fails – in fact I can’t remember the last time it did.

2. Plusnet are now owned by BT

3. Plusnet only use their own Call Centre based in Yorkshire

4. Price: Plusnet are pretty competitive (they say that are the  cheapest in the UK – but I have no way of verifying that) BUT imagethey do price according to the number of other Broadband suppliers who have their own kit in the exchange that serves your house – known as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). Plusnet refer to this pricing strategy as “Marketplace” – with three tiers, Market 1, 2 and 3 – where 3 is for exchanges with the highest number of alternate LLU Broadband suppliers – and so the price is lower to reflect this.

The headline is, that if you live in an area served by a Market 3 exchange, the cheapest Plusnet broadband will cost you £6.49 per month.

For all sorts of marketing reasons, it is very difficult to find out precisely what the service is from each broadband provider – but the Plusnet Usergroup (Plusnet have quite a strong and vociferous group of users who keep them in check) publishes some handy tables – which include pricing:

 

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So, there you go, click on the links or tables above to go to Plusnet and review the offering in more detail.