We have Satellite broadband

Finally, after 2 months of living here with a hotspot as my sole source of internet access, restricted to a 5Gb limit with the phone attached to the window on an IKEA suction cup soap dish, we finally have satellite broadband and a VOIP landline phone.

Only we don’t appear to be able to receive incoming calls or its the wrong number we have been given. We are working on that one.

It started on Tuesday.  It wasn’t due to start until today.  The installation engineer turned up on the door step at 4:30pm in the afternoon whilst I was in the middle of cooking our evening meal (chips, eggs, sausage and peas – it was the mushroom, apricot and coriander bean sausages I was making at the time: just right at that messy bit where you have dipped your hands into the water and started to squeeze the mixture into balls to make into sausages.  That one point where you really didn’t need someone to knock at the door!)  Well I had to stop making tea and show him around and work out what was what from the old satellite dish installation and phone lines, crawl under the house with him and show him around inside…

We established that the previous tenants (at some point in the past) had taken a certain bit of vital kit with them (the bit that belongs to the broadband company rather than the bit that belonged to them) and that basically all of the existing stuff would need to be removed and replaced… does any of this sound familiar?  So he started work on drilling holes and getting this fitted.  We selected a place for the kit – not the ideal place because the ideal room, the sun room only has a single power socket in it (though he did tell me of a type of extension lead available in Australia that incorporates a wall power socket and then another section of cable before another wall power socket and you create your own circuit… sounds rather handy).  So the entire installation is in the sitting room (there are rather a lot of flashing lights involved in the various bits of kit needed to get all of this technology working).  Once we are happy with the range of the wireless signal, we will anchor that to the wall as well, but for the time being it is on the bookcase, along with the VOIP device and the satellite contraption and the phone base station which all have to be connected in a certain order to get everything to work.

Needless to say arriving at 4:30pm in the afternoon meant that the work wasn’t completed that day, so when asked what time was the earliest he could start tomorrow, I honestly said 7am.  I didn’t expect him to arrive at that time when he said he would.  No-one else has.  But at 7:05am he met Stuart, on his way out of the door.  All the work was complete by 11am.  Apparently one of the quickest installs he has had despite being complicated by the fact that the old dish was in the way, the roof slats are not a standard size and he needed to make use of the old system to mount the new one, but needed to move the old system closer to the (slightly raised) rooftop and… you get the idea.  When the IT side of life didn’t do what it was meant to do, I asked if I could ‘take over’ and try something.  It worked and he was very surprised.  I know enough to know what he was trying to do wasn’t going to work and explained to him what I had done and how I had forced the system to realise that there was a request from a new user (how new systems get registered on their database!)… then he was able to put in his username and password and do the registration thing….  and we were up and running for internet.

Next came the phone.  It’s not a landline phone.  We had a choice.  Spend another $100 a month on a landline phone, or spend $20 a month on a VOIP phone number… the choice was simple.  What we have, for those not knowing what VOIP is, is Voice over Internet Protocol, or basically we can make phone calls using our satellite internet connection.  With a special bit of kit, a standard phone can be connected to our internet connection.  This can be done on any internet connection, not just a satellite one.  And so came my task again, getting the phone up and running.   So I decided once I had a dial tone, to ring my own mobile.

Now, we bought phones (twin handset with range extender) that had Bluetooth on them which allows us to connect them to our mobiles.  This inturn allows us to use the landline handsets to make and receive mobile phone calls.  With me so far…. So I rather stupidly decided to use the landline phone handset to ring my own mobile phone… now I also have a smart watch which is connected to my mobile phone.  There is a Bluetooth connection to the landline base station and both landline handsets.  One is in use, I’m using it to call my own mobile…. Cue chaos and mayhem, and everything either ringing, vibrating or both including my wrist (smart) watch… Well outgoing calls worked just fine.  Both the installation engineer and myself fell about laughing.  For once a quick retort was available to me “there have to be easier ways of talking to yourself!”.

I did try calling the number we had been given as our ‘landline’ number but didn’t get through.  I just put it down to the fact that I am not meant to even get a signal here, let alone internet be able to make and receive calls, so just assumed that it was playing up again.  Stuart tried ringing the number from work the following day (today) and also failed to get through, so eventually rang support and after a length discussion eventually managed to convey the fact that the number we are calling from comes up as private and we are not convinced we have been given the correct number.  We hadn’t.  The number we have and the number we were given don’t match.  So please ignore the first email with the number on it, and use the second one, ending in 15…  Thank you.

I’ll add the 5 pictures of the various devices needed to get all of this working, tomorrow when I have some more time.

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