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back to article Vodafone's Access Gateway denies access

Vodafone's femtocell deployment, termed the Access Gateway, has been plagued with issues prompting users to think fondly of the days when they had no coverage at all. The Access Gateway is a 3G cell which plugs into the punter's broadband connection and provides 3G coverage for voice and data. At least, it does when it's working …

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Happy

Not all bad

We used to get no reception at all in our office, so the 90% of the time it does work is better than none. I think Vodafone should be applauded for this pioneering move, even if there is some initial teething troubles.

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Anonymous Coward

Not for me

I have a VF femto and mine has been working fine over the last couple of days.

I have had downtime over the last couple of months, but nothing significant and there is always the macro-network as a fallback...

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Anonymous Coward

No problems last night

I made a phone call through my gateway at about 9PM last night and there weren't any problems with mine, it looked like all the lights were still on when I saw it this morning but I can't comment on whether it is working or not now. As Bill says this is like a trial and there was a problem with registrations for 2 weeks and nobody on the support team could give much information other than it would be fixed eventually, very useful when they work and you don't get a signal in the main place you use it (I don't with any other providers either) but from what I have read there are still a few problems with the solution that are constantly being addressed

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Thumb Down

Build your own network

My Vodafone supplier suggested a femtocell last month when Vodafone decomissioned a mast in the area leaving the companys head office with poor reception, so I have to pay extra to connect to Vodafone because their scaling back masts. I wonder what the O2 signals like in the building

Possibly Vodafone are hoping customers will provide there next generation network, still it will stop people complaining about masts being erected in their area.

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Thumb Up

Mine seems to be fine

I purchased one of these units on Tuesday, connected it up that evening and waited - I called Customer Services the following morning (they say it will take up to 24 Hours but I am impatient) and was told there were provisioning problems and that it could take a few days to activate. That evening when I returned home lo and behold it was up and running.

I now get full 3G Signal throughout my house and today started using it for calls in anger - I get excellent voice quality, no dropped calls so far and the unit has been working fine since it was activated sometime on Wednesday, I don't think I have missed any incoming calls as I have taken a few calls with it and have had no irate emails.

For me, so far, it has been a good experience - I have virtually no service inside my house and this has made my life lots better as I don't have to stand on the wall at the end of my garden to take a call now.

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Paris Hilton

OK, I'll Bite

"plugs into the punter's broadband connection and provides 3G coverage for voice and data"

WHY? If you have functioning broadband connection why use 3G for data? OK, Maybe, just Maybe if you were a business in an office with shite Vodafone reception you might consider this to enhance your signal quality for users

Why not just use WIFI? Oh, that's right your phone might not have WIFI capabilities (should have got yourself an iPhone 3Gs on 02, better coverage (where I live) and WIFI!)

Dont give me that I can connect at 7.2Mbps on 3G, your "internet connection is only ever going to be as good as your "backhaul", I can connect to my wireless router at 130Mbps but my "back haul" is still a shitty 3.4 Mbps (on a good day)

I dont get it, unless these provide MESH networking so as to increase Vodaphone coverage throughout the local area AND the kit is FREE AND Vodafone are offering some incentives why would anyone install brain cancer generating equipment in the living room (ok so I made that bit up for a giggle, about the cancer) but seriously, WHY

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@AC 14:44 - totally agree

Aside from the business view of poor signal in a main office need to provide several people with voice calls to the mobile.. ok understood...

BUT what is vodafone giving you in return for this.... they are taking 160 quid of your money, that is a generous of them.

Why don't you spend that 160 quid on a 10p Ryanair flight, at least then you'll have a majorca tan for being taken for a ride!!!!

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Gold badge

Femtocells...

"WHY? If you have functioning broadband connection why use 3G for data?"

To get data onto the phone.

" OK, Maybe, just Maybe if you were a business in an office with shite Vodafone reception you might consider this to enhance your signal quality for users"

Or at home.

"Why not just use WIFI? Oh, that's right your phone might not have WIFI capabilities (should have got yourself an iPhone 3Gs on 02, better coverage (where I live) and WIFI!)"

So pay for a new, locked down phone (Iphone's pretty locked down!), change carriers, in order to get data on the phone (but not voice -- T-Mobile's the only carrier I know of with UMA, which will do cellular over wifi). Great.

Anyway, Verizon's got these in the US too for about the last year or so (note, Vodaphone owns 40% of Verizon Wireless). Well it's a different model, the one here provides CDMA instead, but it reportedly works pretty well -- from what I've read it's gone down a few times in the last year, but otherwise works fine. It sounds like Vodafone's just got some bugs to work out.

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Thumb Up

Was bad, now much better

I had real problems when first setup, but now running much, much better and all good for me.

This has been a great addition for me as no O2, T-mobile or Vodafone coverage for me and work uses Vodafone for phones

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Mine is working fine

Haven't had any problems since I installed it a few weeks ago.

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Happy

re: OK, I'll bite

For sure, there's been more outages on it that there should have been, but I still like the product at home and hope to buy a couple more for the office. Also, there's a dedicated support team for the product who are reasonably clueful and are tuned in to the fact that most of their customers are tech savvy early adopters (they didn't help me find out if I could get it to support diffserv though!)

@AC "OK, I'll bite" . Er....it's about getting your 'phone working when you don't have coverage. Whilst the Reg did hypothesize that it may be to replace wifi due to a couple of benefits over wifi (much lower power consumption, and seamless roaming), I'll wager 95% of people don't care about the 3G - they just want to get coverage at home. In fact the 3G-only feature is a draw back in that my treasured fleet of Nokia 6310i handsets won't work at home.

Of course, allowing domestic roaming between networks would solve many coverage problems overnight....

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WTF?

Re: OK, I'll Bite

I agree with you...

I'm on Three (although I have a Vodafone 3G modem) and find that it is hit and miss on the 3G reception. Luckily my phone (Nokia e63) has Wifi so I can check my mail, browse Facebook etc from the phone while taking a dump and I don't have to mess about with my laptop.

I certainly would be interested in getting one of these boxes on Three but only if as you say, was free and you got an incentive to use it (especially from what I have read, other people can connect up to it if they're on the same network, so basically it's like giving people a chunk of your bandwidth and getting nowt in return). At least with FON wireless you get free wireless on other FON hot spots if you sign up (either through BT or buying a FON wireless box).

Rob

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WTF?

Fine but intermittent Voice Quality

I've got one at home - recommended for coverage by Voda Support line. It's fine but there are often very poor voice quality problems. Ironically I'm an Orange broadband subscriber - is that the reason I wonder? I don't use the 3G bit - I've got WiFi for that

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Thumb Up

@Not all bad

Agreed. My Gateway had early teething problems but these were promptly addressed and it's now doing what it says on the tin.

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Thumb Up

I'm glad they are trying to make this work

At least they bothered, nobody else seems to give a rat's arse about coverage these days.

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WTF?

VAG IN A room

I'm sorry but any hardware called Vag just can't be taken seriously and therefore cant be expected to work seriously ;) . Outages probably due to wifi induced headaches!! :)

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Bronze badge

"OK, I'll Bite" - me too

Here in Germany, the organisation I work for was offered a base station to be located on site by a well known telco. We would not pay for the base station or the necessary exchange connectivity - it would be totally free (aside for the electricity used) and would not use our Internet connection. The conditions were that the telco provided both our corporate mobiles (about 200) and the PABX lines (two PRIs). Calls between the PABX and corporate mobiles on the internal base station would be free.

The iphone is not the only game in town for WLAN connectivity: the Nokia E and N series phones offer WLAN and VOIP. Then there are the Windows Mobile offerings and...

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 14:44: WiFi is unregulated and subject to more interference (as Reg suggested)

"Why not just use WIFI? Oh, that's right your phone might not have WIFI capabilities (should have got yourself an iPhone 3Gs on 02, better coverage (where I live) and WIFI!)"

WiFi is unregulated and subject to more interference (as Reg suggested in original article about Vodafone femtocell) hence the advantage of regulated cellphone frequencies provided by femtocell for making standard mobile phone calls.

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Femto - Catch 22 ?

There does appear to be a bit of a problem with Femto's - I have a Voda one which has outages once or twice a week. Problem is you don't know the femto service is down - the green lights on the femto say all A OK but calls can't be received or made because there is a problem back in Voda's inards. So you don't know that basically your phone is dead unless you go outside the femto area or turn it off and then you get missed call voicemails.

Bit of a Catch 22

Having suggested to Voda that they need to inform people of the ooutage - so they send a txt - which may or may not get through - I guess it depends on the nature of the fault.

The Femto needs to indicate when the end to end service is down.

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Go

Useful

I had an ironic state of play with Yodafone when I switched across recently: after having been on the network for 3 days, I noticed signal was poor to nonexistent in the study where I work. Recalling that the Access Gateway was free to new users with a tariff over £15/month (not just the £160 flat-rate mentioned in this article), I asked for one free; yodafone tried to tell me that it should have been specified at time of purchase (when I didn't know how bad the signal was here!) and couldn't be bolted-on afterwards - a mere 3 days, "new" enough to be well within my statutory cooling-off period on the contract and yet not "new" enough for the purpose of an Access Gateway? "You'll have to return the connection and get a new one", with implied downtime.

Yeah right.

Eventually, with some assistance from their twitter staff instilling sense in their customer services, they sent me one out. Having 3G around the house is a total bonus - both my other half and I benefit hugely from it now with blackspots eliminated.

There have been a couple of significant downtimes but nothing so huge that I couldn't use 2G instead. It's quite funny when you haven't noticed but get an SMS *after* the outage to say "sorry, something might be wrong with it".

For those questioning why: 3g uses far less battery than wifi and you can't route calls over wifi directly.

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