Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Internet connection

Lady Gaga has a reputation for stealing the spotlight, but perhaps this time, it was free Wi-Fi that she was after. We're moving apartments at the end of the month and it's made me remember just how difficult it was to get the internet connected when we first arrived in Oxford.

If you are planning a move to Oxford or have only just arrived, you'll quickly discover that over the next few weeks and months, the internet will be your life line. Not only will it enable you to receive emails from real estate agents and potential employers, search for your new home, a car or find where the closest bike store is located, it will provide the cheapest and easiest way to keep in contact with friends and loved ones at home. So what do you do when it's taking forever to get the internet connected at home? Check out my tips below.
Lady Gaga wearing a specially designed satellite dish hat during the 2011 MTV EMA in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Wi-Fi hotspots in Oxford
If you're fortunate enough to be travelling with a laptop or a mobile phone with Internet capabilities, you’ll be pleased to know that there are lots of cafes and pubs in and around Oxford with free Wi-Fi. These include; Greens Cafe on St Giles, The Jam Factory on Park End Street and the Modern Art Gallery Oxford Cafe & Bar on Pembroke Street to name a few, but you'll find a more extensive list of Oxford's Wi-Fi hot spots here. The new X90, Oxford Express and The Oxford Tube, (Oxford to London bus services) also offer free Wi-Fi and power sockets to keep you connected on the go.

Dedicated Internet cafes in Oxford 
Whilst Wi-Fi hot spots are great for updating your Facebook account and sending the odd email or two, if you're in need of a printer, you'll need to visit one of Oxford's dedicated internet cafes. These can be found at the Oxfordshire Central Library in the Westgate Centre, HighTec Solutions on the first floor of North Bailey House on New Inn Hall St and at Castle News Net Café on New Road in central Oxford. 

Getting the internet connected at home 
Getting the Internet connected at home can take what seems like an eternity and extreme patience is required here to avoid tearing your hair out. Not only do most internet providers advise of a two week waiting period for installation (at minimum), once your installation has been scheduled, technicians are far from reliable and have a reputation of running incredibly late if they bother to show up at all. If you own a laptop, notebook, desktop computer or other similar device and are tired of hanging out in internet cafes, dongles can be really useful. 

Sarah Jessica Parker thanks the gods, she's connected at last in this outrageous, Philip Treacy "satellite dish" hat! 

What is a dongle? 
Dongles are an absolute lifesaver when you first arrive and allow you to do everything you would on a home connection when you don’t have one! They are basically a small plastic USB device, (similar in appearance to a memory stick) which allow you to access the Internet on your laptop or other similar device wirelessly and portably. The biggest plus in my opinion is that connection is instant, plus you to access the Internet pretty much wherever you go in the UK. Like mobile phones, they can be prone to coverage issues, but if you can gain access in your own home my guess is you’ll be purring contently.

For more arrival survival tips, check out The Oxford Fresher's Arrival Survival Guide

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