0fonera simpl2Broken Fonera ruins Freeview reception

For the last 3 days I’ve had ser­i­ous prob­lems receiv­ing Freeview. Until now I’ve had no prob­lems, but as we’d had some very strong winds loc­ally, I thought a likely can­did­ate was the aer­i­al being knocked off align­ment. I car­ried out vari­ous oth­er checks of cables, amp­li­fi­ers etc. and couldn’t find any issues, and con­sequently decided to invest­ig­ate issues with the aer­i­al. I have a large high gain aer­i­al spare, and as I’m cur­rently in ren­ted accom­mod­a­tion I decided to try my aer­i­al in the attic space, rather than attempt­ing to get onto the roof of the house. I lugged my aer­i­al up, and thanks to a com­bin­a­tion of aer­i­als­andtv, google earth, and mega­lith­ia ter­rain was able to line up on the nearest major trans­mit­ter — Emley Moor. I con­nec­ted the aer­i­al dir­ectly to the TV card in my TV serv­er and used my laptop to check that everything was fixed. It wasn’t!

After some curs­ing I decided to check the sig­nal was strong enough — after all the roof could be imped­ing things. I retrieved a powered split­ter with the inten­tion of run­ning a longer cable from it down to a TV which has a sig­nal strength indic­at­or built-in to the digit­al tuner. The next prob­lem was a lack of sock­et — all 3 were in use! After some more curs­ing I checked what I had plugged in. The serv­er couldn’t go, and neither could the net­work switch. How­ever, the 3rd item could be tem­por­ar­ily unplugged.  That third item is a Fon­era Sim­pl which is con­nec­ted into my net­work. By shar­ing my net con­nec­tion with oth­ers, I can share theirs. Mainly this means I can use con­sumer BTOpen­zone hot­spots (but not the com­mer­cial ones though, don’t let BT mis­lead you!).

I unplugged the Fon­era and con­nec­ted up the powered split­ter. Hav­ing done this I turned back, and noticed that the laptop was sud­denly dis­play­ing a flaw­less stream! Prob­lem solved, but how? The obvi­ous test was to plug the Fon­era back in, which I did. Freeview was once more a ser­i­ous of coughs and hic­cups. So, the Fon­era was break­ing the TV recep­tion. Now this is inter­est­ing because Freeview is broad­cast in the licensed 400MHz — 700MHz range, where­as the Fon­era is sup­posed to oper­ate in the unli­censed 2.4GHz fre­quency range. I exper­i­mented with my nor­mal wire­less router but have been unable to get it to inter­fere with the TV sig­nal at all, as expec­ted. So, the Fon­era appears to have a ser­i­ous fault. I will be RMAing it over the week­end. If you’re hav­ing Freeview recep­tion issues make sure you check oth­er devices are sources of inter­fer­ence — even if those oth­er devices shouldn’t be oper­at­ing any­where near the Freeview fre­quen­cies.  Cord­less phones, microwaves, Bluetooth devices or vari­ous oth­er house­hold elec­tron­ics could be at fault.

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