Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bella Italia 

I am currently in Rome chairing a Jacob Fleming Conference on "Seizing the VoIP Opportunities". The conference is taking place in the beautifully located Rome Cavalieri Hilton, overseeing Rome and the Vatican.

What I expected of course in such a high class hotel was to be connected to the Internet, but this was not so easy. The first thing I recognized entering the hotel was that my cellphone stopped working. I later found out that connectivity was basically digital - I either had full signal strength or none at all - and this was going on and off at random. But who needs mobile phones anyway, there is a Swisscom Eurospot connection in the room, providing both WiFi and ethernet.

The problem was, I could connect getting an IP address, but not the rest (gateway and DNS), so I had no connectivity. The last resort then was to use my UMTS datacard, which interestingly better then the mobile phone, e.g. the datecard showing connectivity and the mobile phone not. I tried to grokk this, but gave up with a headache. The UMTS connection was also shaky (you had to reconnect periodically, but it worked more or less.

Today I discovered that I could connect to the Swisscom Eurospot without any problem in the meeting and also in the Lobby, so I thought this was a transient problem yesterday.

Back now in my room the same problem again, no connection, not with WiFI and not with the ethernet. So I went down into the lobby - it worked. So I approached one of the ladies of the hotel and she was very friendly, but of course could not help: "This be Swisscom problem", and called Swisscom Eurospot Hotline (an +800 number). Here an English speaking lady was also very friendly and asked the standard questions and gave the standard answers by herself, such as "maybe laptop setup problem or a signal strenght problem" - duh, in the room and with ethernet? - and hello, I told you in the lobby it works. As a last resort to get at least some minutes rid of me, she told me to go back in my room and then try to connect again, and if it is still not working, call back again and check with a technician.

So I went back in the room, leaving the laptop running and surprise, surprise, I still was connected. It obviously kept the gatway and the DNS-IP.

Traveller, if you come to Rome in the Cavalieri Hilton and want to connect to the Internet, go down to the lobby and go back to the room. It is so easy. So I am able to blog this :-)

My mobile phone is still flipping back and forth.

BTW, SkyeZones refunded the money and so did Connexion. Both seem to have excellent customer service.

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