Why is my WiFi broken? I’m on ultra fast fibre broadband…! Part 1: WTF-Fi

angry faces coz no wifi

Normally, I get grumpy when I have computer problems. Lately, though… I’m getting close to becoming a danger to others (not to mention certain objects in my house).

The problem is my WiFi. It sucks. I now refer to it as the WTF-Fi

For the record, I’m with Spark. But I don’t think it matters as it’s what they call an end user problem.

In other words, I don’t have a fibre problem, I have a problem with the connections between my devices and the router. Specifically, something to do with the speed at which they connect or don’t connect and/or the encryption or [insert other technical terminology that no one understands]…

Not so long ago we had a VDSL connection. It was really fast considering it used the old copper line. Far superior to the ADSL connection before it.

WiFi worked perfectly.

Now the WiFi works insanely fast. When it actually works. Which is only some of the time.

These days, I reset the router about two or three times in a day. I have a special step ladder set up permanently so I can climb up to the little shelf in the garage.

Now… I understand your smirking comments about “first world problems, bro” and shouldn’t the kids be outside playing with pocket knives and climbing trees instead of complaining that they can’t watch YouTube.

I get all that.

However, I run my business from home. We shop online. We bank online. We homeschool. We stay in touch with family and friends online. The internet is now as important as utilities like electricity and running water.

And I’m not the only one having issues. There are plenty of other people in NZ and around the world having weird and mysterious WiFi issues. Most of them blame their ISP.

I blame my ISP too. Even though “technically” it’s not their fault.

Here’s the thing I learned today:

  • No one really understands what’s going on with the new Wifi because it’s not like the old WiFi.

The old WiFi on my really great VDSL connection was an analog product. People have been working with analog WiFi for years. Perhaps 20 or 30 years, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s a long time in internet time.

  • The new WiFi – the WTF-Fi – is a purely digital product.

It’s totally new. It works and responds differently. And four different technicians will give four different (usually useless or temporary) solutions.

The new digital WiFi hates my devices. But it loves cables. I have a cable to my office direct from my router. It has an Apple Thunderbolt adapter on the end.

Here’s the speed test when it’s cabled. It’s eye-wateringly fast.

Screenshot 2015-11-05 20.42.48

The speed test is tapped out… But the flip side is that I’ve restarted my router three times today.

And my wife wanted to kill me because she “just wanted to do the schoolwork with the children”.

She wants to go back to the old Wi-Fi. The one that worked.

But after an 80 minute conversation with the Spark tech on the phone I finally made him tell me what I always suspected. It’s a one-way trip. You can’t just switch back to the good ol’ VDSL.

Digital baby… and here to stay.

It’s not fixed. And I’m still steaming. I wasted another day of work today… But the last flicker of optimism hasn’t been existinguished just yet.

I’ll keep you posted.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

4 thoughts

  1. In a sick, demented and selfish way I’m kinda glad you have this problem because you have the kind of brain that will work it out. I have been in rages over the same issue. We went to digital and when it finally worked (just some of the time) we ended up shifting so now we are back to the old style. When you have your TV working off the internet and then it dies mid ‘Walking dead’ someone has got to pay.

    Anyway – your brain is just the right brain to solve this. I just yell and moan. WTF-Fi is the correct phrase. By the way, my best download speed is 5.3. RAGE!!!

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