How to be a mobile warrior using wireless@sg?

I finally found a seat at Coffee Bean after going round in circles. It’s hard to find a seat at café along Orchard road on a Saturday evening. I placed my bag on the chair and went over to the counter to order my favorite Ultimate Mocha Ice Blended (with whip cream of course). Waited patiently for the barista to prepare my drug while constantly looking back to ensure nobody snatch my bag while I’m away. I collected my drink, settle down comfortably at my seat and boot up my laptop, telling myself that I should be using a Mac when the Window logo appears. My laptop detected a wireless@sg network nearby and connects to it instantly. I open my internet browser and….

OK, at this point, I’m supposed say that I login using my Singnet userid and got connected to the internet, hassle free. Or rather, that what the IDA and the media want you to think you can do with wireless@sg. But back to reality, I encountered something that most wireless@sg user would have experienced before. Able to connect to wireless@sg but no connection to internet. Couldn’t load the login page. Just the standard default internet explorer screen telling you that the server could not be found.

If you got a WIFI finder, my advice to you is to throw it away. It’s useless with wireless@sg. Having the WIFI network doesn’t always guarantee you connection to the internet.

I tried disconnecting/reconnecting to the network several times and refresh my internet browser repeatedly. After 5 minutes or so, I finally get to the login page. I proceed to login and got connected to the internet. So I checked my email and replied to some comments on my blog. I wanted to access google word and spreadsheet to update some documents that my friends had created, only to discover that I was disconnected from wireless@sg for no reason. And I couldn’t reconnect again. I give up.

This is the life of a mobile warrior using wireless@sg. Pathetic… Sigh.

IDA and the media want you to believe that you can do many wonderful stuff using wireless@sg. Have they ever tried using it? Or are they too blind to see that the infrastructure is full of problems? How to be a mobile warrior using wireless@sg? If you are reading this entry hoping to find an answer, then I’m sorry to say that I have no solution at all. It is impossible to be a mobile warrior using wireless@sg.

I miss the pre-wireless@sg days. I used to subscribe to Singnet’s hotspot at around $10 per month. It’s rather cheap and it guarantees you connection to the internet. In fact, I don’t remember a single occasion where I couldn’t get connected to Singnet’s hotspot. I was a happy customer.

But everything changes after wireless@sg rollout on 1 Dec 2006. In case you don’t know, Singnet changed all its existing hotspot to wireless@sg. It became a free service. Existing paying customer like me are converted to premium service where we are promised a higher connection speed. It was the beginning of my nightmare as a mobile warrior.

I was at Starbuck on 1 Dec 2006, the day when they switched to wireless@sg. The usual singnet hotspot is replaced by a wireless@sg network. I could connect to wireless@sg, but I can’t get to the login page. I tried calling the technical support but they didn’t find anything wrong with the access point I’m using. I gave up after 15 minutes on the line with the technical support. I forgive them since that was the first day Singnet switched over to wireless@sg.

But things didn’t improve after the initial launch. The wireless@sg network is too unreliable until today. They are supposed to setup wireless@sg access point at several place like AMK and Jurong East, but it is still not there yet. They claim that Orchard Road will be completely covered with wireless@sg too. But only selected places has access. And at some places where there is wireless@sg, the connection is just horrible. Sometimes you totally don’t have any internet connection. Sometimes you keep getting disconnected every few minutes for no reason. It’s just frustrating. And to add to the anger, I’m actually a paying customer. I don’t see why I should be paying for the service. There is simply no benefit.

In the end, I decided to cancel my subscription and join the surf for free crowd. The standard of service is still as bad as before. But at least I’m not paying anything for it.

I don’t know what exactly is the problem with wireless@sg. Is it because too many people are connected to one access point? Or they didn’t maintain their access point well? All I know is, if you want to be a mobile warrior, you cannot rely on wireless@sg. Forget about what IDA and the media said about wireless@sg. It’s all an illusion. Wireless@sg is not unreliable at all. If you work on the move, get a proper connection. You can never count on wireless@sg. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. M1’s mobile broadband is a better solution. But the cheapest plan cost $22 per month.

If I’m not wrong, IDA wanted to roll out some premium services on wireless@sg like video streaming, VOIP and web conferencing. Wake up guys. You can’t even surf net properly on wireless@sg, how do you roll out those premium services on this unreliable infrastructure?

This entry is written entirely on Microsoft Word 2003 at a Coffee Bean along Orchard Road with wireless@sg connection nearby but no internet connection.

Wireless@sg ROCKS. Or rather, that’s what the IDA and the media wants you to think.

15 comments

  1. Wow that’s a long entry.

    I guess everyone gets frustrated everytime they use Wireless@SG.

    BTW, Mac doesn’t boot up any faster than Windows lah. Put your laptop to Standby mode, it boots up almost in less than 5 seconds. I always do that.

  2. Uzyn: No internet connection at cafe and this is what you get. Long long entry.

    But Mac recover from standby faster than PC lor. 😛

  3. Apparently wireless@sg don’t work in CBs. Have to connect to Starhub access instead. And this is NOT FREE. Have to be either Starhub customer (pre-register for access) or pay-per-use.

  4. On a weekend, you should have gone to Geek Terminal instead. If you like Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves, there is a branch at Raffles Place too. Raffles Place is a lot quieter on weekends.

  5. Sorry, just read your twits. No wonder you didn’t go Geek Terminal instead. They closed at 6pm on Sat.

  6. cobalt paladin: GT on saturday closes earlier than 6pm… i was there at 5.40pm and they were already tightly closed with nobody inside =(

  7. cobalt: I think the coffeebean at Raffles place also close early on Saturday. Its like a ghost town on weekends.

    tstar: Nobody come on Saturday, so close early lor.

  8. Logging into Wireless@SG on the webpage is a challenge.

    While it is free for all, the least that it can be done is to let users able to see the first page. But nooooo…

    I really wonder how in the world did the media and IDA can still keep saying it is good.

  9. Most of the stores at along Raffles/Shenton area are not opened during the weekend of at least till about 2-6pm.

    Count yourself lucky if there is any in the evening as their main clients are the working crowd.

    For those that wanna study, these are not the good place to go.

  10. S@ffy: Yap. Coffee Beans don’t have wireless@sg. But then, its next to a starbucks, which has wireless@sg. The connection is quite strong.

    And orchard road is supposed to be covered by wireless@sg.

  11. Even if you are able to get in, Singtel’s splash page starts playing some video with a loud intro. I have been using M1’s broadband service for last three months and I find it more reliable. It has saved my presentations in places where I was not able to connect to corporate or university networks due to security reasons. Thanks for the lift to the city last week DK.

  12. Hi Pretam, Nice to have you drop by.

    Yes, I hate the splash page. Usually I mute my laptop when I login and get out of that page ASAP.

    Which is kinda funny. Instead of getting people go see the ads on their splash page, the loud music is chasing people away. Haha.

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