Saturday, December 29, 2007

XO wi-fi connection grief

I took my cute little XO laptop to the local public library last weekend. The open wi-fi hotspot showed up, I was able to connect, but was unable to browse the Internet. Took it to work to test out the open wi-fi hotspot, also could connect fine but was unable to browse the Internet. Did some research (forums are a fantastic way to share tips) and found what was probably the issue. The XO browser by default uses IPv6. Most routers are still set to only IPv4. It was a simple fix to change it.

Hauled the XO back to work. Again, connected fine but couldn't connect to the Internet. Online again I found some Linux commands to test the network. The XO was connecting to the wireless router but couldn't get beyond it. I then tested the connection with a Windows laptop which had successfully connected with that hotspot in the past. It too couldn't connect. I asked the staff to call the support folks. The support guy called me to ask some questions and said he'd come out in a few hours to swap out the EV-DO card (the wireless is via the Spring cellular network) Figuring there was nothing to lose, I asked the public desk staff if they would mind if I tried rebooting the wireless router. I lifted it up to see if there was an on/off switch and noticed a little button on the side which said Mount/Dismount wireless card. I pressed it figuring it would pop out the card. Instead a little blue light further down the side came on. It was labeled wireless card. Someone must have accidentally hit the button. I tried to connect and get to the Internet with my XO and this time it worked.

This morning I went back to my local public library confident that I'd be able to connect to their wi-fi hotspot. I connected again but couldn't get beyond the router. I asked the reference library if he knew if anyone was able to successfully use the wi-fi. He pulled out a little gadget that showed their two routers were active but couldn't help me beyond that. I'm still unsure if the problem is at their end or with my XO. There are just too many variables.

I went to my local Border's bookstore to try out the free T-Mobile broadband access. That worked like a charm, though the connection was really slow.

Since T-Mobile hotspots exist in most Border's bookstores and Starbuck's coffee outlets we'll probably be taking the XO with us on vacations to keep in touch. I just wish I had more consistent results with open wi-fi hotspots.

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