October 30, 2008

An alternative ISP, with an unlikely feature (or flaw)

Since I moved back to Amman at the start of this year, I was looking for an alternative to Orange fixed and internet services, not because their services were necessarily bad, but because they're offered by the incumbent who dominated the scene for far too long that they tend to take their customers for granted, and I don't want to be taken for granted.

Then a good friend of mine put me on the friendly-users list of the new fixed-wireless broadband internet service provider Wi-Tribe, offering me months of free (a geek drea0m) uncapped bandwidth 1Mbps connection, to the internet. Then Wi-Tribe launched commercially, the contacted me to upgrade my friendly-user status to that of a paying-customer one, to which I welcomed without hesitance, though downgraded to 512Kpbs, and later got my start-up company to get their internet fix from them at 256Kpbs all to my complete satisfaction, to the point that I actually upgraded back to 1Mpbs.

I'm satisfied with the level of service I’m getting, though if you don't pay upfront, you'll get tangled up with monthly payment related issues like weak retail network and nice staff but untrained on their billing system. Beside that, my friend Sari wrote a good review of their service, though I don't totally agree with it...

I still firmly believe in Wi-Tribe as an alternative ISP for folks in Amman (west Amman until further notice), and I will still recommend it to anyone who's fed-up with Orange and ADSL, as long as one acknowledges its FIXED WIRELESS (it plugs to mains power, so there you go) and it requires the modem (CPE) near a window.

BUT (there you go Jad) I came across a flaw in the service being offered, and that is "most" of their user's computers are visible to one another, especially those on VISTA with media players forcing its media server option onto making all the media content on one's computer basically "stream able" to endorsed users.

I did call Wi-Tribe call-center, and ensured that my friends who work there are made aware of the problem and its serious ramifications on their users, but I believe I’m obliged to inform others of what to do until the matter is resolved, which is to disable both network discovery and file sharing and enable windows firewall. For those who have their modem connected through a router (wireless or otherwise), get a technical friend to impose MAC filtration.