Telecom sent me this modem as a replacement for my D-Link DSL G604T which is quite old now. It’s very good looking, but its major physical failing is that the antenna is not replaceable. As I have a large house with some high gain antenna’s attached to devices furthest away from each other, this was a concern at first. However, in the brief interludes where I got this modem working, signal strength was not a problem. If only everything else worked so well!
So what went wrong and what is wrong? I have a complicated network. In my office area I where the modem will live I have a desktop PC running windows XP,which connects to the modems using an ethernet cable (but also has a wireless option just in case). I also have a NAS drive which also connects via an ethernet cable. Finally I have an HP networked printer, which connects to the router wirelessly, but also to the XP machine via a USB cable. The USB cable makes the full functionality of the printer available to that one PC, and as the USB and ethernet cable are mutually exclusive, it connects wirelessly for all the other computers to use.
I also have an Acer netbook running windows XP and connects wirelessly, and underneath the television I have an Acer L3600 small form factor machine, which has Ubuntu 9.10 and Windows XP dual booting, and connects wirelessly also. Both Acer machines have the same Atheros wireless card fitted.
Downstairs one more level, my mother in law has an Acer desktop, with windows XP and a Dynalink wireless card fitted.
The install procedure is straightforward, connect up all the wires, switch on the modem and the computer, and lo and behold you have a working internet connection, without any setting up! It does this by logging on with its own user ID and password. What you have to do then, is register your own XTRA userid and password online. Presumably XTRA have some sort of database that relates the physical modem to the owner of it.
The wireless is also pretty simple to set up if you accept the SSID and WPA key that the machine defaults too. After several attempts to use my existing network name etc, I gave up and accepted what it gave me.
So it all looks good. So you start to check out the connections. This is where the fun starts. Firstly, the Ubuntu machine can see the network fine, and can print on the network printer OK (when it is correctly set up) but can not see the internet at all. Most of the other machines can see the network, and can access the internet. So I restart the modem (switch it off and back on again) and one machine can still see the internet, but none of the others can, including the machine hard wired to the modem. Change that machine to a wireless connection, and it can now see the internet. Switched the Ubuntu machine to Windows XP, connected that, could see the internet fine. I was then doing some browsing for information, when the internet connection went down on all machines, and no amount of restarting/rebooting of anything would allow anything to talk to the internet.
The NAS drive worked occasionally. The worst issue was resetting the modem. No way could you reset it using the software ‘Reset to factory defaults’, or even press the reset button and expect it to work. Eventually I worked out the process. Press the reset button for 7 seconds, then when the reset happens, switch the modem off and disconnect it from the power for a while. 2 hours seemed about right. When you reconnected, you could start from scratch again.
The list of issues could go on, but as it finally stopped connecting to the internet altogether, regardless of how I reset it, I really have given up on it.
I think the modem is going back to telecom for a ‘refund’.
I rang 123, and was told I had to discuss it with a technical person before it could be returned (despite me having a 30 day right of return). So I played along, and the techo asked all his questions and did his test, and came back saying that my internet had disconnected 40-odd times in the last 48 hours, but hadn’t disconnected once since I switched back to the D-Link, so obvious the Thomson was faulty and I could send it back. What I didn’t have the heart to tell him was that I had not had the Thomson connected for the last 48 hours anway! All those drops were on the D-Link! Having said that, I have now had faultless internet for 11 hours, not a single glitch! That must be some sort of record.