View Full Version : Broadband UK?

25th July 2007, 04:03 PM
My exchange has now been upgraded to adsl.
I am now looking for advice as to which braodband supplier and equipment is compatible. Only looking at a 2mbs service and 5gb monthly useage as a minimum. I am not concerned about a wireless hub as I wish the service to be provided wirelessly through my FC6 box. Suggestions and advice will be greatly appreciated.

25th July 2007, 04:15 PM
Hello Anniedog

Just about any broadband providers ADSL will work with Linux, the crux of the matter is the amount of Linux support you will get from them.

The answer is in almost every case nil. I specify almost there because I have heard of one or two smaller players who do offer support although I can't remember their names. Looking on the ThinkBroadband site may help there:


Where you may well have trouble is with the "free" equipment they supply as part of the deal. Usually a USB modem, and these can range from frustrating to impossible to connect.

The easy way, considering the month by month investment you are going to be making in broadband, is to look for a supplier who offers an ethernet connecting router. Either that or discard the freebie and buy something like a Netgear DG834 for about 45 (less on ebay), which is what I use. You can then use any ISP - except cable providers.

I would also suggest, even though you want to turn your Fedora box into a wireless hub you consider something like a DG834G for about 58 to provide wireless if and when you want it. It's a lot less hassle for 13.

25th July 2007, 04:18 PM
I've been with BT for years now and at least for me, service has been excellent and speeds have constantly exceeded what they've promised (I've got Option 3 ADSL), they said my line supports max 6Mb but I'm getting an average 7.5Mb down.

Easiest is for you to buy a router (with wireless or not) so you don't have to worry and mess with pretty useless ADSL modems, BT sent me the HomeHub out of the blue and I even took trouble to try it out for laughs, it's got 2 wired slots + wireless (hub is running Linux btw).

John the train
25th July 2007, 06:19 PM
I'd agree with bbfuller, I did have a USB modem working with Linux ( FC4+Flashtux drivers ) but I had to bring it up and down manually - never did manage to get it to start at boot. By comparison all i had to do with my Zoom modem/router was tell it my ISP and it configured itself. It's on 24/7 and the only problem is that very occasionally it will drop the link, but restarting it is literally two button pushes and takes a couple of minutes tops.
Like pete_1967 I'm with BT, and a satisfied customer, BTW they have a very good - perhaps overenthusiastic(!) - spamstopper on their e-mail service.

25th July 2007, 06:25 PM
It's on 24/7 and the only problem is that very occasionally it will drop the link, but restarting it is literally two button pushes and takes a couple of minutes tops.

Interesting, I plugged in and configured my Netgear DG814 about 5 years ago and it has been off twice since (once due power cut and another time when I accidentally unplugged it). It has gone through 3 speed upgrades along the way from 512 to 2Mb to current 8Mb max without any hickups.

BTW, did they call you offering deduction in price? I got a call and said 'of course I rather pay less', 4 weeks later I had a parcel waiting in reception with BT Homehub in it - never had a idea they'd send that to me.

Tried it out and if you can live with only 2 network cable slots, it's workable free router with wireless to use.

25th July 2007, 06:40 PM
Many thanks all .
Seems I am getting some choices here. got to do some real thinking as I really want to keep the network as is. The wireless part is unimportant to me as I have all my machines wirelessly networked already.
So keep suggestions coming.

John the train
25th July 2007, 06:47 PM
Pete. For complicated reasons I've just had to cancel and re-start my BT payment plan. It'll be interesting to see if the system offers me any ' new customer ' goodies!

25th July 2007, 06:54 PM
I really don't know what was the reason they sent the thing to me, I've been with same option for years (I got @btinternet.com email addy from them) and this price drop didn't change that (only had to agree to continue another year - as I automatically do if I don't explicitly cancel the subscription) so I'd be very surprised if they didn't.

One I'm on is http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayTopic.do?topicId=15764

25th July 2007, 09:22 PM
I'm with Sky for my Broadband, already had the phone line and TV so for 10 a month I got the top package, 16mb 'Unlimited'. Also got a free router which works just fine. If you already have sky tv and a phone line its well worth looking at, otherwise it would be too expensive.

25th July 2007, 10:37 PM
Hello again Anniedog

Just some more isolated thoughts.

If you are UK and only just having your exchange activated you must be a fairly small exchange and fairly isolated.

If that is so, some of the offers involving the ISP taking over your telephone line and offering you a deal including your telephone calls may be out of the question. That being so you need a deal that works on top of a BT. controlled line. There are some reasonably attractive telephone calls and broadband offers that work that way.

If you haven't had experience of the broadband market watch out for offers branded "unlimited". Watch the small print. Some of them now take that to mean that your modem/router can stay connected to the line for as long as you like, but there are some fairly stringent limits applied to how much you can download in a given time period. Some, like Tiscali, even going as far as specifying that you shouldn't do many major downloads between 6 and 11pm or they will apply "traffic shaping". That is restrict your connection speed.

Others like BT (the last time I looked) specified a straight gigabyte limit over a monthly period. I seem to remember I calculated for example that for the cheapest package from BT if I downloaded two fedora DVD iso's (or some other distribution) in a month I would exceed that.

Depends of course on what you would be using your connection for.

26th July 2007, 10:33 AM
bbfuller your post I have found extremely useful.

It is the knowledge of yours and others that I much appreciate. It would appear that on my research before I posted this thread that there are a incredible number of pitfulls and you have highlighted some of them. I am especially interested in hardware options such as the netgear mentioned above.

I am currently on a dial-up anytime (2 hours at a time) with orange. I had emailed them on several occasions for guidance but have to date not even had a reply stating that they couldnt help. So this service does not give me confidence. Is there anyone out there that is using orange broadband? That is just the lazy option of keeping my email address.

26th July 2007, 10:53 AM
Hello again Anniedog

I don't use Orange, but I have a good friend who does.

He's been with them for several years as they have morphed from Freeserve into Wanadoo and now Orange.

It's difficult to get anyone to be really enthusiastic about an Internet Service Provider but he has never had cause to complain about them. (I take my laptop to his place sometimes to introduce him to Linux and we e-mail/Skype a lot so if there were any problems I'm sure I would have heard).

On the other hand, I work part time for someone who sells and sets up computers for beginners and he/we have set up a lot of people (200?) on Virgin/Tiscali over the past three years. Very few of those have caused us problems - except for Tiscalis well publicised e-mail hiccup a month ago!

I agree with you that keeping an e-mail address is quite a factor in choosing whether to change providers. I've had mine for 8 years now and would regret parting with it.

As to your lack of response from Orange, I wouldn't let it put you off. If you mentioned Linux in your e-mail I can imagine eyes glazing over, as indeed they would if you got too technical.

If Orange have served you well to now, and if they have a package that suits, then I'd say "rather the devil you know". You can always change after the initial contract if they prove not to your satisfaction.

Do watch out for broadband though, it can change the way you use the internet. You think it will save you time waiting for pages to form, but you find that you just end up using it more and more.


John the train
26th July 2007, 11:25 AM
From my observations ISP's tend to be a bit swear by/swear at depending on the experiences of the user you speak to!
On BT at least they use the download limit as a price point for the various plans. It's worth checking the latest details as providers are all trying to out-bid each other, I've just checked BT's site, and Option 1, which I'm on, now has a 5GB limit, but that's flexible, though if you were downloading a DVD a month they'd probably suggest you meed to upgrade!
What it really boils down to is, try and work out how you're going to use broadband, then look at what's on offer, is a free router more use than a high DL limit, for instance.

26th July 2007, 11:38 AM
Thanks again I have just emailed Orange again with a less linux related question. About me supplying my own modem and download limit deals etc. I expect still not to have a reply but at least this thread has helped me in asking the right questions of providers now.

I suppose I could route through one of the windows machines at a push. But I only really want my FC box to be the one running most of the time, I have it set up now as a master backup machine for all the others and makes life easier for all those security updates ms keep pushing out.

Interesting I have just had to reinstall XP (just one year old oem machine when hard drive had failed). There were 81 severe security updates thats good going I havent looked at the suggested yet. The vista machines seem to be running a little less in that area but I cant see that lasting.

I had a little thought about my email address though. Provided I kept an dial up account running with orange.Just dial through a modem once every 60 days to keep it live. I like you could probably not lose my cherished spam infected email address. I had mine for well lets say from the very early freeserve days. Days of innocence before the ms experience had dragged me down, that is probably not fair, there were one or two other life events that have contributed to my current sad state. Once again many thanks your assistance has been much appreciated.

26th July 2007, 01:08 PM
Hello Anniedog

You will probably be able to keep your e-mail address for receiving, I have a couple with dial-up accounts that I use as backup, and I dial in very rarely.

However, increasingly, ISP's won't let you send e-mails using an e-mail address belonging to some other ISP. It's a security thing. You can sometimes negotiate to have the e-mail passed through, but it's a hassle to negotiate and probably an extra fee.

26th July 2007, 01:30 PM
Hi Anniedog

I use the Phone Co-op for broadband. They're not the cheapest, but the customer service I have experienced has been very good. You get a fixed IP (if that appeals to you) and they have a solid ethical policy.

The clincher is that they provide support for linux users.

27th July 2007, 11:08 AM
Well I dont understand what happened but I had a reply from Orange and guess what:

Thank you for your email.

We are sorry to inform you that os Linux is not supported by orange.

If you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to get in
contact with us again

This is strange because I did not ask them for linux support but just about the procedure for using my own DsL modem. I think I will try again without any linux reference this time. I believe this is the same situation as BT above, company policy is one way and one way only. (The MS bug gets everywhere). Even if it just doesnt make any sense for a customer. I think it is the software packages that may be getting in the way with Orange.

27th July 2007, 11:18 AM
The co op policy does appeal to me. It should do as I was in co-operative financial services for 25 years. Until the brain and body gave up! Very very good suggestion strange even though I get mags from them that I did not know that they provided this service. Well I am picking up some new reading glasses today perhaps that might help. You see I am very dazed and actually slightly more unwashed at present.

many thanks

27th July 2007, 11:30 AM
What hardware are you using with this co-op connection? Am I correct in the assumption that this connection is through your FC box or are you using this in some other configuration? I have just visited the site and you are correct they seem to allow use of your own equipment, although a little pricey not too far away and it looks like these will be my no1 choice when/if orange fail me.

27th July 2007, 06:05 PM
Hello Anniedog

I'm sure you appreciate from your post #17 that what Orange mean is they won't help you with Linux questions, not that their broadband won't work with Linux.

As long as you have a standard ADSL/Modem/Router just about any ISP will work as long as you know your logon identity and password.

I mentioned the Netgear DG834 earlier because its connection wizard interrogates the server on your line and sets itself up automatically for the conditions it finds. No doubt there are others that will do the same. I suspect that you would have to go through the same hoops with Coop.

Is that so JonC? Or do they provide a modem that works with Linux - or do they provide a router as part of the package?

I'd be very interested in your response against the day I might want to change ISP.

27th July 2007, 08:25 PM
I've been using Orange for years. Since they started out as one of the first subscription free dialups.

No problem using Linux with broadband. They don't support it meaning they are not going to be able to help much if you call them up and need advice troubleshooting the connection of your Linux box. Otherwise, so long as your modem or router connects, then so will Linux.

So long as you use an Ethernet router or modem, everything will be fine. If its any help, I am currently using a D-Link DSL320T which connected first time, and I haven't had a single problem. If you have more than one computer, then you will need either a router or a switch. Anything that is labelled as ADSL2 is pretty much going to be good to go. Orange use the same settings as BT, so as long as you don't have any exotic hardware, everything will be fine. As far as I know, most of the UK broadband operators except AOL use the same system.

They are currently offering a wireless modem as part of their package, but I think it has an Ethernet socket too, so you have a choice of connection options. Not sure if it works as a router too.

They are doing a deal with PC World at the moment, where you can get a free laptop, or a reduced price on a selection of laptops if you sign up for a two year contract at one of the PC World shops. Could be worth checking out. It might be worth phoning them to find out if you are eligible for the deal as you are a dialup subscriber. If not you could always cancel your anytime sub and still get the freebie. Also check if you are going to be able to upgrade to the faster and bigger download subscription under this deal, as the one they are offering is the startup broadband which gives some stupidly small download limit.

28th July 2007, 12:13 PM
Ah ha.
Orange has replied:

Thank you for your email.
Orange does not support any home networks for computers and only
supports internet connection for standalone computers. However we do
have an option of an orange livebox which entitles one to make two wired
and four wireless connections, using an orange wireless adaptor.

Orange does not support any dsl modem and only uses a speedtouch(ADSL)
modem to connect to the internet.

In regards to upgrading your speed and package. Follow the link below
for help:

That was interesting as I only asked whether it was possible/allowed for me to provide and use my own modem. But I suspect the reply may be more because I asked whether supplying my own equipment is reflected in tariff.

1. Is anyone using their livebox successfully with fedora just for reference?

I am now almost certain that I should invest in a Netgear 834 and have given more thought to my setup, as from the posts above it would seem easier to use a wireless router for my network.
It may be more appropriate post a new thread for this question but I will give it a try here first. My FC box is set as wins server and all machines are set with static ip addresses at present. Reading the manual for the netgear and others, machines should be set to dhcp.

2. Will this cause/require changes to my samba configurations etc?

3. Would I be correct in just commenting out the wins support line and removing wins from the hosts.conf file?

Once again many thanks for everyones input

28th July 2007, 12:37 PM
Hello Anniedog

I applaud any decision to go with the DG834.

What I would do in your circumstance will depend on which IP addresses you have allocated to your computers and what they do about connecting to the internet now.

The DG834 will have an internal IP address of 192,168.0.1

If your machines are using this group of numbers and are not using the 0.1 identity then the 834 will be quite happy to talk to them even though it is set as a DHCP server.

Then it should only be necessary to tell your machines to use as both DNS Server and Gateway and they should be off on the internet.

Given that you seem to have an interesting network there I would almost be tempted to give my machines addresses in the -254 range in any case and take the rest of it a step at a time.

The assumption is that with a router all machines connect direct to it and access each other and the internet through it.

I think we would need to know a lot more about the way you have your network working at the moment before we recommended much more than minimal changes to it. Particularly as you seem to have your machines connecting wirelessly with one of them acting as a wireless access point?

28th July 2007, 05:27 PM
Ah ha.
Orange has replied:

Thank you for your email.
Orange does not support any home networks for computers and only
supports internet connection for standalone computers. However we do
have an option of an orange livebox which entitles one to make two wired
and four wireless connections, using an orange wireless adaptor.

Orange does not support any dsl modem and only uses a speedtouch(ADSL)
modem to connect to the internet.

In regards to upgrading your speed and package. Follow the link below
for help:

That was interesting as I only asked whether it was possible/allowed for me to provide and use my own modem. But I suspect the reply may be more because I asked whether supplying my own equipment is reflected in tariff.

By support, they mean offer technical support. The hardware works fine, its just that if a network problem or a fault with your router or a software problem causes your internet connection to go funny, they can't help you. Just about any ADSL gear will work pretty much out of the box. Type in your user name and password, and away you go.

So long as you don't try to connect two ADSL modems, your ISP will only see one IP address anyway, so there is no real reason to worry about connecting multiple devices.

Can't help you with the other stuff, but someone here is bound to. Failing that, try http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/

28th July 2007, 07:40 PM
Right then things have been getting clearer by the minute. I have settled my mind on the netgear and I now believe that I can alter my network to accomadate this, with a little playing. Looking at the netgear manual it would appear that the default can be changed, although I would probably leave this alone and just reassign the addresses on the machines if this is required. I had worked out that so long as only one modem was connected there should be no problem for the provider. How I distribute this to the network would be for me to sort.

Now it comes to the provider, my son has just informed me of what I can only say seems to be an incredible offer by talk talk. I am a little wary here only in that I believe there was some negative press some months back, I would be pleased to hear of any ones experience of this provider as it appears that 16.99 per month will give me free eve/weekend calls/ some international calls and more importantly the standard upto 8mbs with a 40gig download limit. The attractive part is that they give a choice of using there recommended equipment or your own.

Anyone any comments about talk talk?

John the train
28th July 2007, 08:09 PM
I'd heard the negative comments as well, but a friend who's using Talk-Talk reports that he's very satisfied. Could be that they sorted whatever the problems were, could just be the ' swear by/swear at ' effect I mentioned in an earlier post.

28th July 2007, 10:30 PM
Hello Anniedog

John is right, swear by/swear at, just depends on who you talk to. I guess at the price they are really all much of a muchness.

The person I work for used to swear at Tiscali, last evening he had to talk to India and said the help person he talked to couldn't have been more helpful.

You are right of course, you can set the 834 to any IP address you choose. You will find however that you can only get into its configuration screens if your machine has an IP address in the same range as the router or it is accepting addresses by dhcp. It just seemed the simpler option to suggest changing your machines if the weren't in the default range.

Personally, I'd always use dhcp and just look as the 834 as the hub of your network - a small very specialised server in a way. Which is why I would be keen for the wireless enabled version and get all that sort of thing in one box.

I'll be looking for your progress with interest.

Don't agonise too much, broadband is such a benefit you are just depriving yourself of it.

29th July 2007, 12:38 AM
I am a little wary here only in that I believe there was some negative press some months back, I would be pleased to hear of any ones experience of this provider

As far as I remember is that they got sort of steamrolled with demand they never expected and had difficulties to get people connected on promised timespan. Can't remember ever hearing/ reading of any other problems with them.

9th August 2007, 12:50 PM
Well I have now purchased a netgear DG834N, armed with info gathered from this thread contacted several isps all on the same day as a test. I have decided to go with supanet . They seemed the cheapest and so far have been really quick to reply to my questions. I have to wait a week or so for BT to setup the line. I was strongly drawn to the co-op but they took 5 days to reply to my general enquiry, so either they are extremely busy or it is mass holidays. Not good.
I have read info on the netgear supplied and from the website. I am relatively happy that I will be able to set this up. There seems to be a good number of settings that I can play with so experimenting could be fun.
As I am in limbo at the moment so I am trying to get my head around the FC box settings and what I will need to change. At present this box is acting as the router/gateway/wins for my network. I believe I will need to do the following but would appreciate any comments/suggestions.

1. I will need to set up the eth(0) to dhcp ( I will be connecting by cable to the netgear) or give the box a
fixed ip address do not know which would be best. I will have initailly two machines hard wired
Vista and this FC box. The rest will be connected wirelessly.
2. I will need to set the default gateway to router ip (using route)
3. I will need to edit samba to be a wins client only
4. I will need to disable the named and winbind in services.
5.... 6 .... etc

I will also either need alter my firestarter firewall, or would it be best to just revert back to the FC firewall comments/advice?

Any thoughts, comments ,advice much appreciated as always.

11th August 2007, 11:47 PM
Hello Anniedog,

Just a few thoughts about your setup.

Firstly, when you connect your DG834 to the phone socket and power it on, it is going to be set to an ip address of and to act as a dhcp server for the remainder of the addresses in that range - 254.

It's easier to set the router up with a wired machine and to do that you are going to need a machine that is either set to accept ip addresses by dhcp or that has an address allocated from the range above. The Router won't mind if that is the case for the one machine.

DHCP will allocate the gateway and the dns address to the machine. If you are going to set those manually by using static ip addresses you just use the routers number for both.

As you connect any other machines to the router the same considerations apply. Once you have done that any samba shares that you have set up will be available through the new network linkage.

There is a very good firewall already built into the DG834. Initially I would recommend disabling the linux firewall as it will be one extra variable in the equation. When you have everything running again then consider re-enabling it.

That's the two wired machines. Then repeat the process with the wireless ones.

I've no experience of Samba as anything other than a wins client nor do I run named or winbind.

I just add an entry to /etc/nsswitch.conf of wins in the 'hosts' line before dns to enable addressing my machines by name over the network, as with dhcp you can't guarantee they will have the same ip address each time.

That is all very well except that if any of your machines are acting as print servers then the client machines will be addressing the server by ip address. In that case it is imperative that the server retain the same ip address. In the LAN IP Setup pages of the router there is an option to specify a particular network device by its MAC address and tell the dhcp server to always allocate it the same, specified, ip address.

Actually getting the 834 connected to the internet is the simplest part. On first start up you will be presented with a wizard that will detect all the line conditions and settings. All you will need to do is input your new logon details and password.

Hope that casts some light, post back with any more questions.

Otherwise, enjoy broadband.

12th August 2007, 11:03 AM
Many thanks for your pointers. I would have made a silly mistake, I think as I would have removed wins that I had added from nsswitch.conf. I have used samba so as to access shares on windows machines for backup purposes(doesnt work too well on vista though) and allows users to have their own homes on the vista machine. You are probably right that the internet setting may be easier than the networking. I am beginning to think that the hard wired machines should probably use reserved ip addresses. This would take one variable out of the loop then. This is going to be fun. Once again many thanks.