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Broadband
by cmchsmjm • Mon 26 Aug 2013 22:09

We have now come to the end of our six week Summer holiday in the Creuse and are heading back to the race race once more...top of my list for next Summer is to try and have broadband installed at the house.

A large part of my work can be done remotely and it has been a case of trial and error accessing the internet whilst at the house.
McDonalds in Guéret is a bit slow, a 15 minute drive but for the large part, reliable.
The free WiFi near the lake at Chatelus is only a few minutes away but VERY unreliable.
Our neighbours have WiFi but I can't expect to use their kitchens as my office! Emergencies only.

So I feel the only solution is to cough up the dosh and have something installed...

Could anyone suggest a decent supplier in the area?

The best deal I have found so far is the LiveBox ZEN product from Orange (€28.90 Per Month)

I would be happy to pay €30 (ish) per month if it means I can spend more time at the house :)

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cmchsmjm
68
Jan 2010
Re: Broadband
by virtdave • Tue 27 Aug 2013 00:02

We have a Livebox, and it works well. You have a choice of wiring it to your computer via an Ethernet port, or connecting to it via wifi (or both, if you have two computers). Be sure to unplug it if lightning threatens, you can easily fry it otherwise. You can either buy the box or rent it, and the cost of renting catches up with the cost of buying in a bit over a year. I don't know if the livebox still comes with an installation disc, but if it does, don't use it--it'll install ugly crapware you don't need, or want. Configuring the computer to connect via the box manually is not hard. I think you are still required to sign a year's contract, which is annoying if you're only here part of the year. This year our contract is up, and we will likely cancel it and resign next spring when we return. It's possible that Orange will eventually allow suspending one's service while one is away (as they currently do for landlines). I plan to check on this soon.

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virtdave
1127
Sep 2008
Re: Broadband
by cmchsmjm • Tue 27 Aug 2013 00:13

Many thanks, I'll look into that.

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cmchsmjm
68
Jan 2010
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Tue 27 Aug 2013 08:15

Simple question: already a landline there, a telephone fixe? For adsl these two copper wires are essential. Distance to the local telephone exchange also something to be considered: download speeds drop considerably if you are more than 4 km away, the going gets very tough with more than 6 km distance. Almost no signal left. Sometimes a subprotocol of adsl-2, called re-adsl, comes to the rescue. If the signal level doesn't drop below the minus 75 or 78 dB. Smaller bandwidth, and max connection speed of 512 Kbps.

Other options: satellite and 3G, see one of the earlier discussions here.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by virtdave • Tue 27 Aug 2013 12:43

Excellent point. The Livebox does depend on having a landline connection, and although Orange has installed lots of amplifiers to try to get the signal available most places, our friends just over the hill from us are a bit too far to get it. We are about 4km from the nearest amplifier, and our connection speed is adequate, for example, to stream clips from YouTube, but not quite enough to stream a movie. One last tech detail: if you do have the Livebox, you must put ADSL filters in each phone jack. Several are supplied with the box.
There seem to have been (?still are?) problems with satellite access. Rain causes the signal to deteriorate, and interactive services such as Skype don't work well because of the ping, the time it takes for the signal to go up to and back down from the satellite. But it may be a solution. I would avoid some of the ISP's (Internet Service Providers, FAI in French) like Free, notorious for execrable service.

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virtdave
1127
Sep 2008
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Tue 27 Aug 2013 13:30

About adsl filters: I don't like these French T-plug fiters. From a technical point of view: there are better filters around. And having more than one in a traditional French telephone wiring lay-out comes at a price: signal loss. In older installations you often find this little three-legged creature in your first prise téléphonique. A so called RC module ("module d'essais") a capacitor of 2.2 uF in series with a resistor of 20 kOhms, to terminate the FT telephone line. To make it possible for the FT technicians to test your (better: their) line. Remove it, because it can degrade your incoming adsl signal, picking up stray-noise with it's third leg. Can be the difference between no signal, or hardly any signal, and full signal speed. Sometimes no difference, depends on local wiring and induced noise. This "third leg" picks up stray noises, sometimes capable of overriding the (tiny) high frequency adsl signal. The more distance between you and the local telephone exchange, the more problems. The newer versions of this RC-module only have two legs, and do no harm.

That's why I prefer the adsl filter solution as used almost everywhere on this globe, a filter up front (in French: filtre maître) , using this wiring. You still can use the existing telephone wiring France Télécom old style.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by virtdave • Tue 27 Aug 2013 14:37

aha! that's maybe why, when our line is kaput (almost every spring, when we arrive), FT claims that the problem is inside our house--I'd removed that old filter. It never is, always some downed telephone wire some distance upstream, but convincing them to come out to fix it takes a bit of chatting....made more challenging since, at least thru this past May, I could not call their repair service from my portable phone, and had to trudge down to a neighbor with an active land-line to report the problem

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virtdave
1127
Sep 2008
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Tue 27 Aug 2013 15:02

Dave, and others,

Two items for your to-do list:

1) How to remove such a RC-module has been described here.

2) ADSL filter: between your first prise téléphonique old style (or RJ-45) and where the two copper wires enter your house, looks perhaps like this old entry-point. At least you should clean this box, better fit a more modern boitier. Connection to the outside world, for new connections, read this French/English info produced by Orange.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by rictel • Tue 27 Aug 2013 20:29

Excellent point. The Livebox does depend on having a landline connection, and although Orange has installed lots of amplifiers to try to get the signal available most places, our friends just over the hill from us are a bit too far to get it. We are about 4km from the nearest amplifier, and our connection speed is adequate, for example, to stream clips from YouTube, but not quite enough to stream a movie. One last tech detail: if you do have the Livebox, you must put ADSL filters in each phone jack. Several are supplied with the box.
There seem to have been (?still are?) problems with satellite access. Rain causes the signal to deteriorate, and interactive services such as Skype don't work well because of the ping, the time it takes for the signal to go up to and back down from the satellite. But it may be a solution. I would avoid some of the ISP's (Internet Service Providers, FAI in French) like Free, notorious for execrable service.
Said virtdave
Just a note on Satellite ADSL if the OP has no phone line or is too far from the exchange . We are 7km from our local exchange so went down the Satellite route with Nordnet , who are part of France Telecom. During the 3
years we've had no problems & it has worked well, with the speed gradually increasing over the years at no extra cost. Cant comment about Skype as I dont use it . No issues in the rain unless it is a very, very heavy downpour
& in thunderstorms it is common sense to unplug the system anyway ( same as phone line based modems ). Downside is you have to either rent or buy the equipment, upside is there is no telephone line rental & setup is no harder
than setting uk a TV dish, plus the sat finder is included in the kit. I notice on their website that the subscriptions also now include satellite telephone & TV. Certainly worth a thought if you currently have no phone line.

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rictel
Moderator
229
Dec 2007
Re: Broadband
by Dave • Wed 28 Aug 2013 10:51

Orange also have a sans engagement ADSL contract for 21€ a month without any sign-up fee (up to 8Gb but check your telephone number first to see what you might get). More here.

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Dave
Administrator
1436
Aug 2004
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Sat 31 Aug 2013 12:06

Department hardware and 3-G: I already mentioned the several clé-usb solutions offered by the French internet providers. A usb-dongle, or a little modem/wireless router. Although my Huawei 587 - with different dedicated branding by the isp's - works okay I should mention that there are other hardware options. For the professionals there are high-end solutions: wireless routers allowing adsl/fibre/3-G connections, to prevent down-time if something goes wrong.

Following this approach there are consumer versions around. Connect either your modem to an ethernet port, or your usb dongle / smartphone to a usb-port. One of my first analogue modems was one produced by Zoom, incredible download speeds of 4800 bps....They are still in business I noticed with a little wireless N-router, also available in a travel version with Lithium-ion batteries. So smartphone owners, if you want to get your own wireless-network in the air, with a range wider than the integrated Wi-Fi hot-spot function, and support for up to 253 simultaneous users, there are several interesting options on the market.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by lestroisours • Fri 02 May 2014 20:29

We are at 3.1 kilmetres from our exchange, at the very limit of ADSL, and get roughly 2MB download speed according to Ookla.net and 80-100KB upload. We consider ourselves very lucky. I am a sysop for my radio club based in ST Junien (87), and we have a radio site near Peyrat le Chateau just south of Vassiviere. On this hilltop site we have installed a wifi bullet, on a parabolic antenna pointing at another similar arrangement near Bellegarde airport, and over the 48.3 Kilometres we get about 6MB speed via the livebox at that end. Quite remarkable.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~ Charles Darwin
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lestroisours
527
Oct 2007
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Fri 02 May 2014 21:01

Lestroisours, reminds me of one of my projects for last winter, still on my to-do list. To build a nice Yagi antenna to enhance my 3G reception. Two interesting links: mastsense and 10 steps to build your own antenna.

Kind regards,

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by patricksussex • Fri 14 Nov 2014 14:11

The time has come for me, too, to get broadband. I'm not looking to have a TV bundle, just a phone line and a router. I'm sure I've read somewhere a service you can stop at the end of the season and then re-activate in Spring, anybody able to help with info?

patricksussex
14
Dec 2013
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Fri 14 Nov 2014 15:59

You need a landline - ligne fixe - and as soon as you have it you transform it into a so called ligne résidence secondaire. This allows you to switch your phone on/off. Internet: look for an offer sans engagement. Orange has the Découverte option. Only possible problem: more than 6 km away from the local telephone exchange (NRA), too much signal loss, no adsl connection. Check with a telephone number of one of your neighbours and this éligibilité test to see if your are within adsl range.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by edmoraz • Sat 15 Nov 2014 19:07

We use the Orange second home option it works ok when the adsl works but I find orange so annoying , they say they will refund for service that you haven't received then bill you more than usual, there is no getting through to them.
We are due to move over full time after Christmas , can anyone recommend another supplier who is more reliable and accountable ?

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edmoraz
488
Feb 2008
Re: Broadband
by virtdave • Sat 15 Nov 2014 19:21

Orange is pretty bad, but other ISP's are often a lot worse. Orange's anglophone help line is quite uneven, some of the supposedly Englsh-speakers on it are incomprehensible, and I end up either speaking with them in French, or calling the normal French line--or trying to get through on the anglophone line to someone who knows what they're doing--and can actually speak English. A year or two ago, I got slammed (my telephone provider was changed, without my even knowing it, to Free). Free is awful, and it took several calls to Orange to get it sorted out--I finally did get connected to some Irish guy on the anglophone help line who was sympathetic (perhaps partly since my problem was that I could no longer call my daughter in Ireland) and fixed it.

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virtdave
1127
Sep 2008
Re: Broadband
by patricksussex • Sun 16 Nov 2014 11:07

Many thanks Robert, and others, info taken on board. Just one further question: whilst I can suspend the phone line at the end of October I presume I need to pay the €21 per month through the whole year, or does that also stop when I stop the phone line?

patricksussex
14
Dec 2013
Re: Broadband
by RobertArthur • Sun 16 Nov 2014 15:52

You should notify them in advance, see this discussion on another forum. Because you only get internet, no ip-phone or tv signal, you are not married to an Orange Livebox. You can use any modern adsl modem/router. In the past, when using/hiring their Orange Livebox you had to send it back to them. Don't know if they have become a bit more flexible. Perhaps they allow you to keep it till the next time back. This would be very convenient, having an internet twin-brother of the résidence secundaire phone subscription. Ad please do note the small, but rather crucial difference between the French words suspendre (temporarily) and résilier (terminate) when activating / deactivating a service in one of the menus in your espace client on their website.

Robert

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RobertArthur
301
Mar 2009
Re: Broadband
by virtdave • Sun 16 Nov 2014 20:35

You can buy a Livebox, was about 45€ when I did--this avoids the monthly rental fee for the box, and concerns about returning it when you suspend or cancel. The downside of owning the Livebox is that if it goes kerflooey (e.g., lightning storm) you're out a box, while I think Orange will just replace one of their own blown boxes. Unplugging all telephones (and the phone wire to the Livebox) when absent, or when lightning threatens, is of course highly recommended in any case. Although electronics can be fried via the electrical line, it seems more commonly to cause problems via the telephone line. Unplugging both electrical and phone lines is really best during lightning storms, but when we go out when storms threaten, we usually just unplug the phone line, since we'd like to have the freezer running. But friends have had motors and other elecrical items burned by lightning via the electrical supply.

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virtdave
1127
Sep 2008
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