Feeds

Sure Signal not so sure

Vodafone leaves the disconnected disconnected

Boost IT visibility and business value

Vodafone's Sure Signal is supposed to provide connectivity to the disconnected, but for the last few days the service has been far from sure despite relying on customers paying twice.

Punters who shelled out 50 quid on the promise of getting a connection over their own ADSL line, where no wireless service was available, have been left facing repeated disconnections and slowdowns of the service as Vodafone struggles to integrate its mobile phone network with the internet.

Sure Signal advertisment

A nice promise - only it doesn't, and it can't

Originally launched as the Vodafone Access Gateway, and billed at more than £100, customers lacking coverage can now pay as little as a fiver a month (or £50 down) for the privilege of providing their own backhaul - calls and data are routed over the customer's existing ADSL service, and thence over the internet into Vodafone's network.

The service requires 1Mb/sec of ADSL, but we've run it at quite a bit less than that with successful results. Despite the fact that one is effectively paying twice for the connectivity (once for the broadband, once for the cellular), the joy of having coverage where there was none is hard to knock.

Except when it's not working, of course. Our own Sure Signal box has been playing up for the last day or two, and Vodafone's forums are now awash with users complaining of intermittent connection failure.

We spoke to Vodafone about the problem and, following investigations, the company told us that "Some customer[sic] will have noticed changes in their Sure Signal service for short periods of time over the last few days during planned maintenance upgrades".

This isn't reflected in the numerous forum postings nor our own experiences, both of which would indicate numerous incidences of downtime lasting several hours. We've asked what prevented Vodafone warning customers about these "planned maintenance upgrades", but haven't heard back as yet.

Femtocells seem an ideal solution for network operators looking to expand their presence without spending money, but connecting internet-based devices to the core network is scary stuff. We understand it was the complexity of that connection which prompted O2 to drop the whole idea despite having run extensive trials, and the other UK operators have not leapt to follow Vodafone's lead.

Femtocells are a good idea, but charging punters 50 nicker for a "sure signal" and then delivering nothing of the kind isn't a good idea at all. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.