Rocket Hub Update

The Honeymoon is Over

Well, the Rogers Rocket Hub and I had our first spat. It wasn't a big thing, really. It just stopped letting me onto the internet. Just stopped.

Well, I wasn't too pleased with this and had to call Rogers technical support. At first, I thought it would be a problem with the network somewhere -- a DNS server down or something like that. The first person I talked to at Rogers assured me that was not the case.

The next person I talked to was one of the few trained to support the Ericsson W35 (as the Rocket Hub is properly addressed). He also told me there were no problems with the network itself.

Ericsson W35 -- Rogers Rocket Hub
Ericsson W35 -- Rogers Rocket Hub

He walked me through connecting to the hub to see the status. When it was confirmed that it was not connecting to the internet, he had me reboot it by unplugging the unit. When that didn't work we reset the unit.

After the reset, the SID and passphrase were reset (not to the ones written on the unit itself unfortunately) so I had to connect to it with an ethernet cable. This didn't work as my ethernet card had been configured to work with my wireless router. Rather than try to sort out the connection, he assumed that the unit itself was bad somehow and gave me an RMA number.

The return would have to be made at the place where I got the unit since it had been less than 30 days since I purchased it. That meant a 1.5 hour drive each way. I wasn't very impressed with that. I couldn't return it to the local Rogers Store since I hadn't bought it from them.

I sorted out the ethernet issue (just a few settings to change) and tried again.  I got connected once using the EDGE network (almost as slow as dialup) since the cellular signal near my computer is pretty weak.  But I couldn't see the internet with the 3G.  I really didn't think the hub was the problem.

All is Well that Ends Well

Since it was late afternoon, I decided to let the unit cool and try it again in the morning.  If it still wasn't working then I'd head to North Bay to replace it (I'd already called ahead and told them the situation, so I knew one would be waiting).

Thankfully, the unit powered up, connected to the internet and things have been smooth sailing ever since.  It seems that there must have been some sort of problem with the 3G network in our area since my neighbour (an iPhone user) was complaining about not being able to use the 3G with his iPhone.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I'm not sure why the technical support guys were not able to tell me that there was a network problem, but it would have saved me a lot of trouble if they had.  At least I didn't have to drive all the way to North Bay and back.

Bottom line -- I still love this unit and the connection speed and simplicity it offers.

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Comments 19 comments

Hub Fan 6 years ago

I live south west of Barrie, ON and got a Rogers rocket hub last week. Been an xplornet user ($150+ a month for blaah) so am thrilled with the pricing of this unit. I do have a speed question and seem to find only conflicting comments. Does signal strength really deem what speeds you get? With no external antenna, I get roughly 50% signal strength and drop down to about 1/4 strength now and then. My speeds range all over the place and just did a test at 1/4 strength and got my fastest ever - almost 2mb down and 300kbps up. With 50% strength sometimes I just get above dialup speed. Spoke with Rogers tech and the guy said that signal strength is relative to speed. Regardless, i ordered a Yagi directional antenna from the RF place in PQ and should be here next week. Anyone have stories about speeds and signal strength? Thanks 8-)


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 6 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Hub Fan

There has been a lot of discussion about speed, antenna issues at the initial post of this series: http://hubpages.com/technology/Rogers-Rocket-Hub and more about antennae at http://hubpages.com/technology/Rocket-Hub-Antennas if you want to read the comments there as well.

If you are getting 25-50% signal then I doubt that you'd find much improvement with an antenna. I rarely get %25 and my speeds have been higher than advertised (I'm in rural Huntsville).

I think that as long as your signal to the tower is strong then the speed issues will focus more on the part of the connection from the tower to the internet backbone. It depends on the amount of traffic using the tower (and that includes cell phones, iPhones and BlackBerries) and other factors. With Barrie's population, your speed may be a reflection of traffic patterns.


trever 6 years ago

I've ben using the hub for about 2wks. speed varies for reasons i can't explain. the issue i have presently is the back of the hub unit heats up quite a bit. I've returned the original for a replacement and still have the same thing happening. any other hubbers have the same experience with heat ups.


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 6 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

I think that they all do heat up although I've heard of some getting hot enough that you can't touch them. Mine gets pretty hot but not that hot. Make sure you have lots of cooling space around it.

The speed issue could be a signal that fluctuates, but I suspect it is more likely cell phone traffic using up more of the bandwidth. You may find it is worse at specific times when more people are using their cell phones in the area.


trev 6 years ago

thanks LWM


Conestoga 6 years ago

After 3 mths my Ericson has let me down,the unit shows a good signal but am having problems bringing up sites. rogers said it may be a problem with a tower. I pushed the reset button with no avail. Any ideas?


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 6 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

It is most like the Rogers tower or network congestion that is your problem. Not much you can do about that.

You could check out the tower map to see if there is another Rogers tower that you could try to aim at in your area. Check the resource box in http://hubpages.com/technology/Rogers-Rocket-Hub for the link to the cell tower map.

Other than that, you'll have to wait and see what Rogers comes up with. Keep on top of them since you might qualify for a refund if they can't provide the service that they promised you. You may have to be persistent though.


Brian M 6 years ago

I live very close to town & am not very rural but because the road I live on only has a limited number of houses, cable will not come in our road. I am in the Rogers HSPA+ voice & data coverage area. I have been using a Rocket Stick for the past couple of years and have been very pleased until I got my last few bills. When I signed my contract, it was $ 100 max.. My last few bills were in excess of $500. I called Rogers billing and got no where at first, I then fought with the rep to speak to a manager, finally talked to a great guy & got my account credited back but was told even though my contract was for $100 max., the new max was now $500. I thought a contract was a contract, but with Rogers it is not. The manager ended up putting a Rocket Hub plan on my Rocket Stick ( only possible for HSPA not HSPA+ by the way ). This plan has a max of $110. I thought this was a good solution to my problem. I then asked the question, " what is a Rocket Hub ? ", it was explained to me & I thought this would be great for my internet & voice as I liked the wireless option & did not need the portabilty. I did not want to be tied to a contract, so I bought the W35 for $400. Internet was great for a few days, then I switched over my home phone to the hub. The Rocket Hub locks up 2-3 times a day, 80% of my phone calls go directly to voice mail without even ringing or the people calling me just get a dead tone. Like I said before, I am not rural like some others on this forum & others I have read in the last few days. I do not have a problem with signal. I have full bars or 100% at least 90% of the time ( the odd time, I drop one bar ). I use my phone a lot for business ( as this is a business account with at least 10 devices on it & a monthly bill between $900-$1500 a month ) and this service is very unacceptable. I have read in a lot of other posts about this service being poor & needing an antennae, this is not my case. Well enough said, if anybody can suggest any thing, any help would be greatly appreciated.


iamsue 5 years ago

I am a Bell user and have the Ericcson W35 I find the system can be very slow as well. The Plan I have is very limiting and expensive at least I think it is. My problem though is with the power cord the four wire cord just broke off at the transformer for no reason other than using it daily since xmas It was never caught on anything at all. Has anyone else had this problem as soon as I got it I thought it was very flimsy and would break easily. Makes me mad because this hub and its parts should be well made too withstand daily use without falling apart.


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 5 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hello iamsue

The plans for cellular internet devices are quite steep for what you get in terms of bandwidth at both Bell and Rogers. But provided you get a decent speed, they beat dialup and satellite hands down for return on investment -- and those are the only other options for my location.

As for your power cord, I'm not sure why you would need to be moving it around at all unless you are using it in different locations all the time. Mine is just here so I don't move it very much at all. Hopefully you can get a replacement quickly under warranty.


jhosler profile image

jhosler 5 years ago

Good hub!Voted up and shared.


Ukee111 4 years ago

Hello

I have just received a letter, dated Dec 9th.2011, from Rogers telling me my Portable Internet will be discontinued on March 1, 2012. What sort of service can I expect from a company that gives less than 3 months notice? I don't see anyone else mentioning they have had this happen. Rogers is offering me a Rocket Hub on a more expensive plan. Response to this Hub seems to be mixed. I know Telus also has a Smart Hub. Which has the better Hub and technical support? Is there really any difference?


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 4 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Ukee111

The Rogers plan was cheapest when I was looking around 2 years ago (Telus didn't have anything at the time). They were also the only one with the W35 which was a better option than the MiFi that Bell was promoting in my opinion. Bell switched to the W35 a while later, so I think they must have thought so too 8=)

Now most of the plans are using the NetComm units which I've heard are even better than the W35. Although all technology will have flaws. And many of the problems the W35 have are due to network limitations, not the W35 itself. But the NetComms do seem to pick up the signals better according to some reports. There is a 4G version of the NetComm as well although the 4G plans do cost more per month.

A quick check on the pricing shows that they 3 networks are pretty much the same on price now although Rogers has the best price on usage over the 10GB max ($10/GB vs $15 at Bell or $20 at Telus). I still wish they would give us a more unlimited type of plan like cable.

It would be nice to see VirginMobile jump into this market since they really compete on price with the cell phones. But so far they're staying out of the internet side of things.

You'll need to find out which networks cover you and then go from there.

I don't know how the Portable Internet service works, so it's hard to say whether you're experience will be better with a Hub, but I suspect it will be for the most part. Especially if you're in a region that has good cellular coverage.

As for support, I don't know what to say there. The only support I've ever gotten from Bell related to phones so I can't comment on their knowledge in this area. I know that Rogers is hit and miss but getting better as they learn the products more.


Ukee111 4 years ago

Thanks for the comment.

I'm in BC and Telus seems to be a good service. They have the towers here and run a 4G service but don't know what that means. Friends out here do not know either. We are really all floundering. We are all very rural, beside the ocean but 'off grid'. We have to make this very quick decision. In the past I have had an xplorenet dish, poor reception, and this Rogers outside portable ariel, which depends on the weather and is better known in Ontario I'm told. My cell does give problems at times but transitory and depends on the weather. We are only 8Kms from the Telus tower so I was told we shoulcd't have problems. Is there another place on site I can go to that may have experience with Telus on Internet, Rogers and BC. The Telus store doesn't really know much here. We do not have Rogers stores either.

None of us are Internet Savvy so it is very difficult to make these decisions. Costs seem higher for Telus but is 4G better?

Thxs


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 4 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Ukee111

The 4G is the newest cellular technology and provides faster speeds. But you'll probably be fine with the 3G which should be faster than what you've got now and is cheaper than the 4G plans.

I'd talk to the Rogers, Telus and Bell people about trying it out first. You can sign up for most of them for up to 15 days with a no-questions return. At least that was how it was for me. Try it for a couple days and if it doesn't work then return it and try the next.

You can even get a couple of neighbours to try different ones and then compare notes after 3 days. But the way that the cellular works can be tricky in rural areas (especially given the terrain of BC) so what works well for you might not for your neighbour and vice-versa.

If you don't do a lot of video or other downloading of big files then any of the 3 will have about the same cost (at least in Ontario, not sure about BC). The difference seems to be only when you go over the 10GB/month.

HubPages is a general article site that people like me can use to write articles about things that interest us. It is not affiliated with the Hubs in any way -- just a name coincidence.

Telus is fairly new into the mobile internet game so I don't know how much you'll be able to find on them in that respect.


cagey 4 years ago

Rogers notified me they were discontinuing the portable internet on March 1, 2012 and were offering the rocket hub. I received it on tues.Jan.3, 2012, it worked fine until thur. Jan.5 and then it conked out. They are now sending me a new one. What concerns me is signing into a 2 year contract, having to depend on a rocket hub that only has a 1 year warranty. I am serously thinking of just getting rid of my home internet and when I want to, I will do the 10 mile drive into town, go to the local mall and access for free on my laptop.


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 4 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hi Cagey

It's too bad that your unit quit on you so quickly. If your internet usage is small enough that you can handle going into town when you need it that would be a cost effective way to do it. But it isn't very convenient. It does work for some people who can plan when they will need internet.

I've been using W35's for over 2 years now and the only problem I had with the first 1 was getting the wrong firmware loaded due to a mistake by tech support. They replaced it with a refurbished unit. Both units worked well for me other than the signal dropping regularly requiring them to be restarted.


MaryAnneR 4 years ago

I used the Hub for a couple of years and had constant problems. Just before time to renew a rep at Rogers told me they were putting up new towers in our area very soon and that would solve the problem since it was congestion related. We renewed and our service got worse and worse. They sent someone to check and found we were getting signal from a tower far away instead of the closer one . But they could not change it. We continually lost signal, speed was slower than slow dial up. I got them to let me out of the contract. I bought the LTE AirCard from Bell. It is fantastic. The speeds are amazing, Never a lost connection. No slow downs. I highly recommend it .


LoneWolfMuskoka profile image

LoneWolfMuskoka 4 years ago from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada Author

Hi MaryAnneR

It's weird that having a new tower wouldn't help, even if you're picking up a remote tower, since the congestion issue should have been dealt with. However, the problems were more likely with the tower itself rather than congestion.

I'm glad to hear that they let you out of the contract and that you found a solution that works well in your area. That is the biggest problem with rural areas -- what works for one person may not work for someone else... even if they're neighbours. My neighbour was able to connect to the WiFi network but we couldn't even see a weak signal. That's why we ended up going with the cellular in the first place.

Lately the satellite option has come down in price and improved in performance, so we may be taking a look at that in the near future.

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