Project Fi Network Switching & Dial Codes

After a day or two of spotty outbound service at the house on two different Project Fi accounts, I decided to reach out to support. After some troubleshooting we were able to determine that it was a T-Mobile specific issue that was effecting the ability to make outbound calls. Forcing the phone onto Sprint, US Cellular, or just using WiFi calling was flawless. At the end of the day it just a local tower issue as driving to a different location worked fine.

At the end of the call I compiled the notes I had taken during the call and asked the support person to fill in the blanks. I am sure there are more codes but here are the ones we used, just punch these into your dialer app on any Project Fi phone and off you go…

*#*#344636#*#* – Code to determine current network.
*#*#34777#*#* – Code to switch over to Sprint’s network.
*#*#34866#*#* – Code to switch over to Tmobile’s network.
*#*#34872#*#* – Code to switch over to U.S. Cellular’s network.
*#*#342886#*#* – Code to go to Auto (auto switching enabled).

The support rep mentioned that after 2 hours or so that the phone should default back to auto mode.

Hope this helps you in your travels or just as a work around for spotty/temp service issues.


Dell Latitude ST and Windows 8 Wifi connectivity

Installing Windows 8 on this tablet went off without a hitch. For a severely under powered device it is actually running Windows 8 very well. After reading numerous comments around the net about how slow it was running Win8, I was curious to find out for myself.
So far I have only found 2 issues. The first being the Windows 7 N-Trig drivers were not compatible with Win8. Secondly the Dell Atheros Wifi drivers were also not compatible. The N-trig issue was an easy fix. N-Trig has drivers on their site at that are compatible with Win8. The wifi on the other hand took some more tinkering. After a couple hours of learning the new UI and figuring out where everything was I decided to take the time to get Wifi up and running. The Dell A06 driver install package as I mentioned above is not compatible with Win8. However it does have the required driver packaged up inside. Before unpacking the install application I tried to install it under Windows 7 compatibility mode which also did not work.

Here are the steps I took to get the wifi driver installed:
Execute the installer package and it will extract the files into your Temp folder and the Atheros Installer.msi will be located in one of the {insert random number and text here} folders. The installer itself will throw an error stating that you must be using Windows 7.
Before you hit OK, using windows explorer browse to your C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Local\Temp\ folder and find the Atheros Installer.msi. Copy or move that file to wherever you want, just make sure you remember where you put it. It is now safe to hit OK on the Dell Installer.
The installer will most likely clean up the temp folder automatically and you would not be able to find the file after hitting OK.
Use msiexec to extract the contents of the installer.
Open up a command prompt with administrator privileges. Once there the following command will be used: msiexec /a filepath to MSI file /qb TARGETDIR=filepath to target folder.
Now look in your Device Manager you should have an exclamation point listed next to SDIO Device. Click on that and update driver. Choose the folder you extracted the msi to and Windows will take care of the rest.
If for some reason you already have a driver listed for your dell mini card you will have to uninstall the driver and reboot. Upon reboot follow the above instructions.

Product Review: EnGenius Access Point

Last week I ordered an EnGenius EAP300 access point from NewEgg (a vendor who deserves a review of it’s own) and it was waiting for me when I got home today. I have been having trouble with a NetGear WG103 and contact with support has been unsatisfactory.

The product design is very functional. It pretty much resembles a large smoke detector. I was looking for a small ceiling mountable device that supported PoE and this fits the bill. This device is advertised as a business-class, high power access point. Several standard security options are supported.

Configuration was fairly easy for anyone familiar with provisioning wireless devices. However, I do not like devices that come configured with a static IP. It is a minor hassle to reconfigure a laptop or other device to configure the access point. Once I got past that it was a simple matter of connecting to the device’s web GUI.

Initial tests included watching shows on NetFlix and Hulu Plus from an Apple TV. The streaming was flawless. The next test was streaming a .mkv movie to a PC. Again this worked flawlessly.

Next step will be to mount this device in its final spot and test out the PoE adapter. Stayed tuned for further info.

– habanero_joe


Debian Squeeze & Broadcom b43 etc

So you like Debian, and why wouldn’t you, it is great after all. Unfortunately, many laptops come from the factory sporting Broadcom-based chipsets. So inevitably I complete a Debian install and Broadcom takes the wind out of my sales. I then trudge over to and go through the paces. Why? I do it over and over. Well enough is enough, I mean this isn’t a tricky script to write. So for your enjoyment, I have put it all together into a small bash script to simplify things for future installs. First, be sure to add the non-free repo to your /etc/apt/sources.list file.
Then create and run a .sh file containting:

aptitude update
aptitude install module-assistant wireless-tools
m-a a-i broadcom-sta
echo blacklist brcm80211 >> /etc/modprobe.d/broadcom-sta-common.conf
update-initramfs -u -k $(uname -r)
modprobe -r b44 b43 b43legacy ssb brcm80211
modprobe wl



Public WiFi – what is the cost?

Question for the readership:

What is the true cost of providing public WiFi (unsecured) in say an airport?
Leave answers in the Comment section…

In this age of 3G, MiFi, etc. does anyone really need to pay to use WiFi service to get work accomplished? Sure I’ll connect all day long if it is free. A good WiFi connection is usually faster than my 3G BlackBerry or Droid Pro connection. But I refuse to pay for this.

On a recent trip, the hotel I was staying at, charged €6 for 30 minutes of WiFi which is close to $17 per hour. The Burger King less than a block away had it for free and served beer, cheap. Another hotel on the same trip had it free in the lobby. Good enough… Based on my fairly extensive domestic travel, it seems that the ‘higher-class’ the hotel, the more it charges for what is a simple service.

I realize that there are real non-recurring and recurring costs but these days, every business needs some sort of Internet connection for daily operations.

I will now step down from the soapbox.

– habanero_Joe

Sonicwall WWAN / 3G List of Supported Hardware

Sitting in on a Sonicwall technical today and thought that I would just rapid post anything that has value. To kick off I will share a URL that lists all of the WWAN devices that are supported in Sonicwall devices. The layout is nice because it lists per model / per connection / per provider. Check it out here.


Proxim Wireless Training – Day One

After a 5 hour flight from RSW with a short stop in Miami, Kyle and I arrived at Dulles International Airport around 11:00pm last night. I realized I made a major planning mistake when our cab driver quoted us $80.00 to get to our hotel. Supposedly there were two airports between us and the Marriot in Greenbelt. We finally settled in to our room a little past midnight. The hotel is nice, though our room smells a bit like mothballs when you first enter. Kyle slept well, I didn’t. It could have something to do with the freight train that was laying in the bed beside me. Ear plugs are now on the Walgreens shopping list.

Well, after a satisfying 4.5 hours of sleep we made it down to the first day of training. Today was targeted towards sales guys. Most of it was an overview of their product line with an emphasis on wireless back haul, but there was some useful information. Tomorrow should be pretty intense, though I think I know more than two other guys in the class. After class we rested up and headed down to DC. 40 minutes on the metro and a lost credit card later we had arrived at our location… a nondescript bar on L street. The vodka-redbull did wonders for the body. Three Makers on the rocks, two pints of Stella and three games of “Big Buck Hunter” later we headed back to the hotel. We opted for a 1.2356 mile walk from the Metro station over a $5 cab ride. The walk helped clear the head.

So, the first day was good, slightly uneventful, but good. Oh, and I found my Credit Card once we got back to the hotel room. Too late though I had already canceled it.