International Networking–Philippines

Recently I’ve had to pleasure to travel internationally and connect to the Internet from the Philippines.

Initially I expected to have, at most, dial-up networking to a local service provider using a pay-as-you go type of plan. That is what my wife (who is from the Philippines) had before and I didn’t expect any changes.

However I was pleasantly surprised to find that her parents (or actually her family there) had a DSL connection.  It only had not been paid up-to-date.

Next was a wireless router to provide wireless connection.  I had earlier sent them a Netgear wireless router I no longer used (having moved to wireless-N) – however I forgot to include the power-adaptor (Doh!).  So when I went I took along the power-adaptor as well as a separate netgear wireless access point and it’s power adaptor – which was fortunate.

When I connected the wireless router I had sent earlier with the power adaptor I sent with me to what I thought (or ass-u-me-d) was a power converter to 110 it initially worked – until the power adaptor burned out.  The ‘power converter’ didn’t really convert to 120V but kept it at 220V – which promptly burned out the adaptor.

Luckily I had also brought the extra access point and it’s power adaptor (which was compatible with the router I had sent earlier.  I also had a power converter to convert 240V to the 120V which the adaptor expects.

Note that some power adaptors can handle 220V just fine.  The adaptor for my laptop for example handles 220V ok as does the battery recharge adaptors for both my wife’s digital camera and my own D7000 Nokia.  The power adaptor for my son’s leapster however is limited to 120V as is the power adaptor for their DL – and I had to keep an eye that my 5-year-old didn’t try running his leapster off the adaptor directly into household current.

However you may need to have a physical adaptor.  My notebook’s Power adaptor has the typical three-prong-plug we’ve come to expect in the USA.  The power outlets in the home we were staying in in the Philpppines contains the Philippine two-prog outlets (of equal size).  Even without the third prong for ground it would not fit because one of the flat prongs is larger than the other.  An inexpensive adaptor for the physical characteristics of the outlet (if not the voltage) did the trick.

OK so now I had the router running.  But the Internet connection was not working because the bill to the service provider had not been paid. So off my mother-in-law went to pay it off and get it reconnected.  That took two days.  Two days without network!  EEEEKKKK!

Finally getting the DSL working I then went in and configured the router to work with the DSL modem.  Once that was done voila – broadband access. 

Then it came out that the notebook my sister-in-law had left for dead (there) was working after all.  I had looked at it earlier (at home) and the power would not come on – or rather it would come on and then off. I figured it was the power supply or regulator on the laptop.  However it now appeared to work – but nobody had the login password.  So I ran the recovery utility to restore it to a pristine state (I had earlier already copied personal files she had on it to DVD’s using a separate computer.).  And now my nephew had a laptop he could use.  The webcam didn’t work and it wouldn’t properly come out of sleep (don’t know why) but it was functional….

… until about 2 days after it was imaged when it suddenly woudn’t allow any internet access. I finally figured out that the Norton protection trialware had disabled internet connectivity until it ws configured (I hate when that happens).  I knew that if I kept Norton on there it would do the same again in 15 days (but demand payment to a subscription this time) so I removed it and installed Microsoft Security Essentials.  Note that I don’t have anything against Norton – it’s just that I knew my in-laws wouldn’t have the 3,500 Philippine pesos to spare to pay for the subscription – so it’s freebe time.

So now we have broadband DSL in my in-laws house which I can access from the nearby house I am staying in.  It wasn’t as fast as what I was accustomed to but it was sufficient for my needs and a lot more than I expected.