Yet again, it seems as though the security details of the BT Home Hub, the nation’s most widely used wireless router, can be easily compromised, thanks to a recent update which was intended in good faith to make the wireless router harder to crack.
Previously, the default password in the Hub would be simple enough for most hackers to guess and break in – the chaps from the BT security department decided to change this default setting so that the original password, previously “admin”, would be replaced by each Home Hub’s unique serial number, which would be impossible for anyone to guess off of the top of their heads.
However, its turns out that getting hold of a Hub’s serial number is pretty easy to do. Requests for a serial number sent on a LAN are quickly answered, giving hackers everything they need to leech off of a Hub user’s connection.
Thankfully there is a simple way around this; change your password yourself. BT have helpfully listed detailed instructions on how to do this and advise that all customers increase their security from the default WEP to the more robust WPA.
Look out for our new and improved wireless security page coming soon here on Broadband Finder, where we’ll be able to give you the 411 on how to best surf in safety.
Posted by Tom on May 29th 2008 in Broadband, BT Broadband, Security
Despite Ofcom crowing that the digital divide between town and country was closing rapidly – thanks, no doubt, to their insightful regulation cultivating a climate conducive to competition – others aren’t so swayed. Whilst take-up certainly has increased, speed, it seems, hasn’t.
The Country Land & Business Association (CLA), and thousands of other rural residents have rubbished the claim, with the CLA saying that the Ofcom report “beggars belief”, saying that the document “fails to take into account that broadband connections often do not deliver the high speeds advertised, and also that many rural businesses cannot get broadband at all because they are too far from their local telephone exchange”.
“Suggestions that the broadband divide has closed are simply not true,” said William Worsley, CLA deputy president. “The digital divide is about availability, and the fact remains that, in a significant number of rural areas, ADSL broadband access is simply not available. The existing internet access speeds are often appallingly slow, hitting the viability of businesses.”
“We are worried that anyone reading coverage of the Ofcom report will get a distorted view of the true picture… Everything is not rosy with broadband in the countryside, despite Ofcom’s wanton optimism,” he added.
On Monday, an Ofcom spokesperson defended the report; “All we stated was that rural households now have overtaken urban homes when it comes to broadband take-up, ending this particular geographical divide. That is not to say that other divides will not appear in the future – differences in broadband speeds between urban and rural areas, for example.”
“However, it is entirely appropriate to report, with firm statistical evidence, that 59 percent of rural households now have broadband, compared to 57 percent of urban households, which is a significant turnaround,” Ofcom’s spokesperson concluded.
Posted by Tom on May 27th 2008 in Broadband
Last year there were fears that a ‘digital divide’ would emerge between town and country, with residents living at remote rural addresses not being able to enjoy the same abundance of broadband internet services as their urban counterparts.
However new figures from Ofcom suggest that such a divide seems unlikely now or in the future – 59% of rural households now have broadband, compared with 57% of urban areas, according to the new survey on the consumption of media (digital TV, radio, internets, telecoms, etc) by UK households.
Perhaps blowing the party line trumpet somewhat, Peter Phillips, Ofcom’s strategy and market developments partner, championed the LLU program in helping to narrow the divide; “If you look back two or three years, rural areas were well behind where urban areas were in terms of broadband take-up and that was driven by a number of factors: the number of broadband enabled exchanges was much higher in urban areas, the number of exchanges which allowed competition … was much higher in urban areas than in rural ones.”
The report also said that online commerce helped to drive up rural connections and that shopping online was more popular in rural areas where there are no shopping centres or high street names.
“In total, about three-quarters of rural internet users say they use the internet for transactions as well as for information whereas for the UK as a whole it’s lower than that, it’s about 69%,” said Phillips.
Posted by Tom on May 22nd 2008 in Broadband
This took our breath away when we heard about it. In a deal exclusive to Broadband Finder, Orange are giving away an Orange Berlin handset with all of their Home Broadband services to customers who sign up here.
The Orange Berlin is part of Orange’s own-branded city range of handsets, following on from the Orange Tokyo released last year. Perhaps taking a leaf out of the Bauhaus book of design, the Berlin is a PAYG slider handset which boasts a straight-up no-nonsense chassis which comes in a dark grey rubberised material.
This protective coating combined with the built-in FM radio, 3G connectivity, and 80MB of onboard memory (expandable via the microSD card slot) makes the Berlin ideal for listening to music on the move. The USB socket allows you to easily transfer audio files from your computer to the Berlin, and battery life is solid.
The Orange Berlin is available exclusively to customers who sign up for any of the three Orange Home Broadband services – Home Starter, Home Max, or Home Select – through Broadband Finder.
Posted by Tom on May 21st 2008 in Broadband, Orange Broadband
Almost as soon as we’d heard that the free BT Home Hub offer with BT Broadband Option 1 was coming to an end, we received word that BT had decided that the offer was so popular, they’ve decided to run with it again. Again.
This current promotional run sees punters who sign up for Option 1 before the 29th of May getting a free Home Hub thrown into the bargain.
The shiny white Linux-based Home Hub was launched in 2006, and has become one of the most commonly used wireless networking devices in UK households. Traditionally only always available free to those who signed up to the higher-tier Option 2 and Option 3 packages, Option 1 customers could hook up to the Hub for a one-off £30 fee.
Posted by Tom on May 20th 2008 in BT Broadband
Next week Nintendo launch WiiWare for their phenomenally successful Wii console. WiiWare titles are games and Wii applications that can be purchased via the Wii Shop Channel and downloaded onto machines in the same vein as the retro Virtual Console titles, with players paying for games using the Wii Points currency system.
Chief among the first run of titles is Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, a Sim City-style spin-off of Square Enix’s hugely popular Final Fantasy series which sees the player taking control of a small township and expanding it into a flourishing kingdom for the whole world to marvel at. Other hotly anticipated titles include Lost Winds, a sort of throwback to the classic 2D platformers of old, Star Soldier R, a retro-style shooter, and an update of the pill-popping Dr. Mario & Germ Buster.
The games themselves are generally smaller in scope than hard copy titles – by eliminating the cost of packaging and distribution, developers can take more risks with innovations in games and recoup losses easily. The games themselves are also pretty cheap, as the following prices (taken from a Eurogamer article) indicate:
FFCC: My Life as a King – 1500 Wii Points (£10.50)
Dr. Mario & Germ Buster – 1000 Wii Points (£7)
Lost Winds – 1000 Wii Points (£7)
Pop – 700 Wii Points (£5)
Star Soldier R – 800 Wii Points (£7)
TV Show King – 1000 Wii Points (£7)
Whilst this represents a big plus for gamers, punters ought to be wary of the strain which WiiWare downloads will have on Britain’s creaky broadband infrastructure. Customers who’ve signed up for packages from PlusNet can take advantage of unlimited overnight usage and simply download WiiWare games in the evening, and Virgin Media customers will be mindful of the peak time (4pm to 9pm) after which they are free to Wii ’til their hearts content.
Last year, Bill Gates announced that BT Vision were to launch a new HD download service for Xbox 360 owners, effectively allowing their machine to double as a high-definition PVR – initial reports suggested that this service was all set to be ship shape by this summer, although BT have been a bit schtum on the issue of late.
Posted by Tom on May 16th 2008 in Broadband, BT Broadband, PlusNet, Virgin Media
Carphone Warehouse is to sell 50 percent of its retail business to giant US retail chain Best Buy for a cool £1.1bn, and plans to funnel the cash into an overhaul of its broadband infrastructure.
Carphone, who operate TalkTalk and own AOL’s UK broadband services, will keep the remaining 50 percent of their stake in their domestic retail business, which will eventually lead to Best Buy-branded stores opening up across in Europe; despite this, Carphone will hold on to all of its telecoms concerns.
It is thought that the majority of the investment will go toward getting ADSL2+ connectivity rolled out across both providers, as well as expanding availability through the LLU/BT Openreach program in order to keep up with providers such as Be Broadband, Sky and Virgin Media all of whom either offer ADSL2+ solutions or next-gen speeds.
Data from samknows.com reveals that TalkTalk have installed equipment in 1,632 exchanges to date, with another 31 currently awaiting installation. By comparison, AOL has equipment in 1,049 exchanges, with no more exchanges slated as of yet. This could all change in the coming months however; keep checking back here to see what services you can sign up for at your exchange.
Posted by Tom on May 14th 2008 in AOL, Be Broadband, BT Broadband, Carphone Warehouse, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media
Vodafone have announced that over the summer they plan to roll out their super-fast 7.2Mbps mobile broadband services to major cities throughout the UK, supplying a further 3 million residents with fast mobile broadband access.
Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Reading are set to get the Stick treatment over the summer, with rollout due to commence next month, and finish by the autumn.
“The recent acceleration in the take up of mobile broadband has demonstrated just how hungry consumers are for internet access wherever they are,” says Nick Read, Vodafone UK CEO. “As a result we are significantly investing in our network so that more customers can experience our award winning fast and reliable mobile broadband network.”
The Vodafone Stick is an advanced plug and play device which allows users to access the interweb via high speed 3G connections. Currently, the top 7.2Mbps speeds are only available to Londoners and customers waiting around in major airports. Customers waiting around at Terminal 5 will have plenty of time on their hands.
Vodafone have also halved the price of their Mobile Broadband to just £15 a month in February, and have recently launched a 5GB monthly package for the USB Modem and Stick packages. The sum of £25 a month gets you 5GB of mobile usage, and the length of the contract you take out will alter the price of whichever of the two devices you choose.
Posted by Tom on May 13th 2008 in Mobile Broadband, Vodafone
The BT promotional offer of the white Home Hub wireless router free with Option 1 is due to end this Friday the 16th of May. The deal sees customers who sign up for BT Broadband Option 1 before this Friday qualify for a free BT Home Hub – normally, a wired 2 port Ethernet router is included with the package, with the Home Hub available for a one-off fee of £30.
The Home Hub is one of the most widely used wireless routers in the UK, and has allowed households to set up wireless home networks in no time at all with minimum fuss.
This brings an end to BT’s current round of Home Hub promotion – the stock of black hubs was depleted at the end of March, and now free Hubs are to be limited to Option 2 and Option 3 customers for the time being. Last month, BT trimmed the price of their Option 1 package down to £7.95 a month for the first three months and then £15.99 afterwards.
Posted by Tom on May 12th 2008 in BT Broadband
As the nation’s number one ‘fourplay’ provider, it’s fitting that Virgin Media are looking to quadruple the capacity out of their fibre optic network, in a bid to cope with the growing consumer demand for bandwidth.
Virgin have made much of their plans to pump up its existing 20Mbps service, to offer speeds of up to 50Mbps, and now they have announced that they have completed trials of new technology on their existing network, which should see users less encumbered by traffic shaping during the rush hour period of 4pm to 9pm.
Nortel’s 40/100G Adaptive Optics Engine was tested on a stretch of Virgin’s network between London and Manchester, and successfully carried 40G traffic, according to the two companies.
The rise of video on demand content has seen the UK’s crusty telecoms infrastructure pushed to the limit, and so leading ISPs have been looking at ways to meet the demand for next-generation services. BT as well as Virgin have been testing out new cable networks, and Carphone Warehouse are rumoured to be rolling out ADSL2+ connections across their network in the near future.
Posted by Tom on May 12th 2008 in BT Broadband, Carphone Warehouse, Virgin Media
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