Why-Fi?

Wi-fi in this apartment is as weak as a hamster sneeze. Pages load slowly and sometimes only partially. Videos don’t play and audio files definitely don’t upload.

We work from home and both of us have had a lot of voice-over projects to do since we moved here a week ago. We sometimes submit large files to clients. Derek had to record a 2-hour session with a client that WeTransfer said would take 23 hours to upload!

We talked to the landlord who brought over a new modem. It helped at first but quickly throttled back to hamster again. We needed a real solution.

I Googled the issue and decided our best bet was the Rocket Hub from Rogers. The device was $249 and 70 Gb of data would cost about $70 per month. However, a technician I chatted to online believed we could continue to use it if we needed to, once we got our house in October. And, I reasoned to Derek, we could probably sell the Hub on Kijiji if we wanted to. Off to the Rogers store we went.

“That’s not a long-term solution”, said Jared the Rogers guy. “It’s too expensive and people mostly use it when they’re up at the cottage or something short-term.” He could have sold it to us and walked away but he sent us to the Bell store to see what they had. Their solutions were worse; more expensive and less transferable.

While Derek talked to Bell, I walked a few metres across the mall to Wireless Wave to see if I could switch my Fido phone to Rogers without penalties. Rogers owns Fido. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. I could switch but I’d still have to pay out the $300 hardware balance. So much for staying in the family.

We returned to Rogers and Jared was gone for the day. Anthony asked if we had an extra phone. Sure we do. It’s packed away deep within one of two full shipping containers of our stuff! I called my brother-in-law and he did indeed have a spare phone. We picked it up, got a new SIM card and signed up for a contractless deal that turns the phone into a limitless data hotspot. The cost: $75 per month and we can cancel at any time. All we had to do was call Bell and get them to unlock the phone.

This went on all night. Bell agreed to the unlocking and sent instructions that didn’t work. We started at about 3:30 pm and at 9:30 I pronounced myself “done” and closed everything up. The problem: Brother’s phone is an iPhone and as you likely know, you have to speak Apple in order to be in that cult. I have an Apple ID from my iPhone days but it’s no longer active. Brother’s ID wouldn’t open the phone and I couldn’t erase and reset the phone because I’d lose his old photos. It sucked and we were all frustrated. I left Apple because of its arrogant ways and here I was again at its mercy. Derek had to take his audio files to his brother’s house to send them while I stayed in the apartment pecking away at a device that refused to acknowledge me.

With fresh brains, the next morning the solution came to us. We’d just buy another non-Apple unlocked phone and use it as our data station. It took about 10 minutes at Wireless Warehouse, and we were in business. Now, data flows like an open faucet. We’re sending audio files with lightning speed. This old Samsung phone will be our modem-on-the-road, too.

Thank you Jared at Rogers for not just taking our money and running, and forcing us to find a solution that’s costing less and giving more. And thank you Apple for reminding me why I left you in the first place!

4 thoughts on “Why-Fi?”

  1. I suspect your wifi problem is just due to too many devices using the same ‘channel’ on the modem. There are ways around this if you can get the master login information. You can change the channel (it might require a few attempts). If you have an Android phone there are apps that can show you the channels of nearby routers. Pingtools is one I have and it shows a list of every wifi and their channels. Hope it works out!

  2. If you ever find yourself in the need to unlock a phone, forget Bell and Rogers and all those other carriers and go to cellunlocker.net which is purely done online and in a few minutes. I’ve used them before to unlock a number of phones.

  3. I just started a blog and because I live in a rural area our download and upload speed is awful. This is very good to know. I was getting frustrated.

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