All posts by Paul Newton

TP-Link DECO M5 Whole Home Mesh Wifi Review

WiFi is a bit like black magic – sometimes it works but no one really knows why!

Before F4RN it didn’t matter if the WiFi performance was poor because the internet speed down the phone line was the limiting factor – but with F4RN delivering superfast speeds poor WiFi performance is suddenly very obvious.

The question we get asked almost every week is “Why is my WiFi speed sometimes brilliant and then suddenly poor?”

There are lots of factors – distance from router, other devices transmitting wireless signals, whether you are connected on the 2G or 5G network, is there an “R” in the month…

Several F4RN customers have invested in the TP-Link DECO M5 Whole Home Mesh Wifi system – it’s not cheap but they have all said it works well.   Other WiFi mesh networks are available, but we have a review of the M5 if you are interested:


Repairs and Extensions

As we are getting an increasing number of requests to install additional Ethernet ports and extensions, we’re pleased to let you know that James (5* Aerials) has confirmed that he is happy to carry out this work.  James has done a terrific job putting up all the access points and WiFi dishes for the wireless network.  If you are interested in extra Ethernet extensions (or satellite dishes and aerial replacements) then please contact him directly on 07710-270980

We also need to confirm our policy on repairs.  F4RN relies a lot on volunteers and we a generally happy to provide support and advice, however if we need to carry out a repair then it will be necessary to charge for this work at a fixed rate of £40 an hour (+VAT).

I’m sure that you will understand why this is necessary – hopefully there won’t be that many repairs to do and it’s still a lot cheaper than the BT minimum charge of £99!


Can we fix it? Yes we can!


Congratulations to David and Gez on completing their City and Guilds qualifications under the New Roads and Streetworks Act.

This will make it much easier and cost effective to carry out road crossings as we bring the fibre into the middle of the villages.

Well done guys!  So who’s Bob and who’s Wendy?


Fiskerton and Morton – Digging together!

Not a bad weekend’s work – Sports and Gala complete and a key section finished in Morton.  Great to see so many people turn out and to have the mole plough in action for the first time.  Same again next weekend?!

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Progress Update: July 2016

July16-17The Big Dig – Saturday 16th July and Sunday 17th

Start 8.00 am at the Sports and Gala, Cooks Lane

Are you coming?  Leave a comment or send us an email so we can plan for the number of volunteers.

Progress update

IMG_0513It may seem that everything has gone a bit quiet in the last couple of months, but behind the scenes we’ve been very busy getting everything in place.  As a Community Benefit Society we are also a Limited Company, so there’s been a lot of work making sure that we are fully insured, registered for corporation tax and VAT, have a health and safety policy in place along with appropriate risk assessments, method statements and safety equipment, and we’re prepared to manage the build.

TDuctinghe good news is that we have also been pressing on with the project itself.  Again, a lot has been happening behind the scenes.   We’ve already taken delivery  of 16km of ducting. This week
should see the delivery of 26 telecoms chambers and the two cabinets that will house all our electronics.   We also have the first batch of equipment needed to build the wireless network so keep an eye out for new access points appearing in the next few weeks.

DSC_1237Ahead of the “Big Dig” on July 16th/17th we have started work on the main network, taking advantage of a mini-digger to install 3 primary ducts from the Sports and Gala, southwards along Cooks Lane.  And Chris Price and Peter Hammond have been building and improving the mole plough that will make light work of the duct Mole Ploughlaying where we go round the edge of a field – we hope to have a demonstration of the mole plough at work at the Big Dig.

What are the plans now?

Over the coming weeks we will press on as quickly as we can to build the main fibre backbone between the Trent Valley Equestrian Centre and the Sports and Gala.  The Big Dig is a start, but we will need more volunteers to complete the work alongside any mole ploughing.  The target is to get fibre backbone live over the summer – ideally by the end of September if not before.

We should know this week when our connection onto the national fibre-optic network will go live – there has been a slight delay due to blocked ducts between us and the nearest “fibre node” but we still expect to be live in August.   The challenge then is to get everyone connected as quickly as possible.

Over the coming weeks we will build the wireless network:

  • In Morton, there have always been problems getting a wireless signal into the village so we plan to install a fibre link to the main Morton wireless access point and to make this live as soon as possible.  So the quicker we build the fibre backbone the quicker we can make Morton live.
  • In Fiskerton, it will be easier to establish a wireless link to the Equestrian Centre which can be made live as soon as the backhaul goes live.   The next step will be to start linking the Fiskerton wireless access points to the fibre network so they also get the full quality and speed of the fibre link.

Now is the time to order your connection

In the next two weeks we will send out details in an email to everyone who has pre-registered.   It’s not too late so please sign up here if you have not already done so:

->Sign Up Here<-

The initial connection fee is £210.  There will be no charge to transfer from wireless to fibre so sign up now to make sure you are connected as soon as the network goes live.

What about getting a fibre connection to every house?

If your house is directly beside the fibre backbone (see map below) then you are lucky!  We can connect you straight onto the fibre optic network, but you may have to wait a few weeks as we get the wireless access points in place and connected first.

For everyone else, it’s really down to you!  We have everything we need to build the network but need local coordinators to work with your neighbours:

  • to work out the best route for the ducting
  • to confirm this with us so we can ensure that we have materials you need
  • to lead the digging parties (with our support).

Where it’s necessary to arrange a road crossing then we will sort this out (unless there any experts in the New Roads and Streetworks Act who would like to volunteer?). 

To start with we need volunteers for:


  • Moor Lane / Back Lane / Middle Lane
  • Middle Lane / Manor Drive / Church Lane
  • Main Street


  • Gravelly Lane (Properties to west of the Gravelly Lane)
  • Trent Lane + Properties along the river
  • Station Road (Properties to the east of Station Road, backing onto the Park)
  • Longmead Drive / Marlock Close / Green Drive

Don’t forget!

July16-17The Big Dig – Saturday 16th July and Sunday 17th

Start 8.00 am at the Sports and Gala, Cooks Lane

Wear stout shoes/boots and come equipped with spades, gloves an suitable clothing, rain coats, sun cream…  Well we can hope, can’t we?

Phase 2 - Development of feeder spurs into both Fiskerton and Morton
Phase 2 – Development of feeder spurs into both Fiskerton and Morton
Construction of main backbone between Trent Valley Equestrian Centre and the Sports and Gala
Phase 1 – Construction of main backbone between Trent Valley Equestrian Centre and the Sports and Gala

FTTH: What is it?

ftth councilA guide published by the Fibre to the Home Council Europe – “Fibre broadband”, “high speed”, “bandwidth”, “FTTC”, “FTTB”, “FTTH”… those who are not specialists in broadband services can easily feel confused about these technologies and seemingly obscure acronyms. In order to educate the general public on fibre to the home technology, the FTTH Council Europe released this year a new guide entitled FTTH – What is it?. The Council would like this guide to enlighten the concerned but novice citizen whose life is impacted by telecommunications, yet who feels a bit lost in this environment.

FTTH2The guide further aims to educate potential stakeholders who can help accelerate FTTH adoption and rollout throughout Europe, among them politicians, executives and of course consumers. These stakeholders need to be aware of the benefits of FTTH compared to other broadband technologies but also need to understand basically how it all works from a technical point of view. The vision of FTTH as “the future-proof technology” needs to reach as many people as possible within our society.

This guide provides its readers with the most accurate definition of FTTH. What is optical fibre? How does it work? What are the factors that encourage fibre to the home adoption? From the individual components to the overall network infrastructure, the guide gives an overview of the fundamental elements that constitute an FTTH network and that allow the optical fibre to reach the end user’s home.

So, if you or someone you know is not familiar with FTTH technology and why it is so essential for future developments, this guide is made for you! Share and spread the word about fibre to the home!

->Download here<-


We’re there!

Thank you to everyone who has supported our community broadband project by investing in F4RN.

We’ve now raised over £113,000 and have 100 people who have signed up to take up the broadband service as soon as it is available, with more planning to join us as soon as their existing contracts are complete.

This is fantastic and, as agreed at the open meeting last week, we’ve met both the criteria needed to start the project.

The plan now will be to cash the investors’ cheques and collect the investment made through the Microgenius site.  Please make sure you have the funds available as we will start drawing down the investment next week (from 25th April onwards).

With the funding in place we can start ordering equipment, arrange for the professional network survey and order the connection onto the national fibre optic backbone.

In the coming months we will need a lot of help to build the network – particularly when we start to lay the ducting and fibre optic cable.  The more volunteers we have the quicker and easier it will be, so please don’t be shy!

Thanks again for your support

Peter Wheeldon


Fibre for Rural Nottinghamshire


Sign up for a connection

signupWe expect the F4RN ultrafast broadband network to go live by August.  If you want a connection and have not already signed up then please sign up here

The initial connection charge is £210.
Monthly charge set at £36 for 100Mbps symmetrical broadband connection.  Both prices include VAT. Initial 12 month contract.

Connection will initially be delivered through a high performance wireless network with progressive overlay of full fibre solution as the community broadband network develops.

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