Something for nothing? Kind of.

Our old Buffalo wifi router, complete with customised aerial.

Our old Buffalo wifi router, complete with customised aerial. RIP

There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Weary household due to the fact that our wifi is ‘down’. The broadband is working fine; in fact I have my laptop connected into the back of the wireless router with an ethernet cable. It looks like some circuits have fried and it has stopped transmitting.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering it has been knocked off my desk several times and the mount for the aerial is broken, leaving the aerial only connected to the router with the metal core inside. In any case, it would need to be upgraded soon, as I am hoping to get a new laptop in a couple of weeks and want to make use of the super duper fast and long range 802.11n standard.

So I turned to the reviews in Computer Shopper magazine to get a recommendation for a new router. The first review I read was for the Virgin Media Super Hub. Considering that Virgin Media is indeed our ISP this got me thinking: I’ll phone Virgin Media in the morning to see if I can persuade them to give me a free Super Hub.

This morning I phoned Virgin Media. Having eventually navigated their annoying menu system I ended up talking to someone in accounts. “Can I have a Virgin Media Super Hub?” I asked.

“If you upgrade from your present 20Mb broadband to 30Mb we will send you one.” (In fact, according to the Computer Shopper review, the Super Hub is a necessity for accessing the faster speeds of the 30Mb+ services.)

“How much will that cost me?”

“There’s a one off £30 fee, but the monthly charge remains the same.”

Sounds OK to me – I would probably have paid £30 or more for a new router anyway, and we get bigger broadband. I’m not quite sure why they need a £30 admin or registration fee, because I guess it will take someone less than two minutes to click a button on a computer, but that’s how it always seems to be with telecom companies. 30Mb might sound like overkill, but between our family and our visitors we have at least a dozen wifi enabled devices – laptops, smartphones and games consoles – all of which, in theory, could be accessing the internet at the same time. And then we have friends who bring their laptops round as well – sometimes our kitchen is like an internet cafe. A bit more bandwidth won’t hurt. And it’s kind of free.

The new router arrives on Monday. Until then the internet addicts in our house will have to find something else to occupy their time. Meanwhile I get our existing 20Mb all to myself.




About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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