Woo. Here’s a nice and long overdue surprise. Verizon has quietly rolled out the feature called HD Calling and the iPhone 6 is one of the devices capable of using this feature. Finally.

 

Go to settings, Cellular, and drill down. Check off Voice & Data (Data Only is probably checked).

 

voLTE

 

You’ll see a spinning cursor as it looks like turning it on here automatically provisions this feature in your Verizon account. Once the cursor stops:

voLTE 2

Just checked my account online and saw:

 

vzw web site

So if you’re using LTE, you now should have the same dual capabilities carriers like AT&T have had for years. The voice quality is like being in the same room. And I can browse the web at the same time.

 

People who purchased the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 have been complaining since June of slow WiFi speeds. Microsoft has not specifically addressed this issue or acknowledged that they are aware of this particular issue. This makes it tough to determine if or when a fix will be forthcoming.

A little background information on 802.11ac may be helpful for some people. The faster “ac” speeds apply ONLY to the 5 GHz band. If you are expecting supersonic speeds and are using a 2.4 GHz only 802.11n or 802.11g router, this isn’t going to happen. To truly take advantage of 802.11ac, you need a current generation 802.11ac dual band router (and currently, with the SP3, you need to specifically and deliberately attach to the 5 GHz band).

 

2.4 GHz only N routers

 

There’s not much you can do to resolve slow speeds with 2.4 GHz only routers, but you can perhaps get incrementally better speed in a congested area if you try a couple of things. There are lots of other devices that share the 2.4 GHz band and are potential sources of interference like microwave ovens, old 2.4 GHz cordless phones, and Bluetooth. Some folks may be using add-on keyboards that attach to the Surface Pro 3 via Bluetooth and are connected to 2.4 GHz wireless routers. Bluetooth and 802.11n 2.4 GHz share/overlap in the same frequencies. It’s entirely possible that there is interference. This hasn’t been proven, but since they do share the frequency range, some but not all devices may be impacted.

1. Change the channel from auto to 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, or 10. Almost everyone will be using 1, 6, or 11. You can try to determine the least congested channel by running the netsh command below from a cmd prompt:

netsh wlan show networks mode=BSSID

and then try to determine the least used channel (which will probably change anyway since all your neighbors are probably set to auto). I’m not sure this will provide much relief, but it is worth trying. You’ll get something like the output below. You can do this to determine both the least used 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channel.

 

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.3.9600]
(c) 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.C:\Users\barb>netsh wlan show networks mode=BSSID

Interface name : Wi-Fi
There are 20 networks currently visible.

SSID 1 : hawk5
Network type            : Infrastructure
Authentication          : WPA2-Personal
Encryption              : CCMP
BSSID 1                 : c4:04:15:29:b4:23
Signal             : 82%
Radio type         : 802.11ac
Channel            : 157
Basic rates (Mbps) : 6 12 24
Other rates (Mbps) : 9 18 36 48 54

SSID 2 : fabfive
Network type            : Infrastructure
Authentication          : WPA2-Personal
Encryption              : CCMP
BSSID 1                 : 40:16:7e:bf:0d:0c
Signal             : 66%
Radio type         : 802.11n
Channel            : 157
Basic rates (Mbps) : 6 12 24
Other rates (Mbps) : 9 18 36 48 54

SSID 3 : high5
Network type            : Infrastructure
Authentication          : WPA2-Personal
Encryption              : CCMP
BSSID 1                 : e8:fc:af:94:fe:6c
Signal             : 88%
Radio type         : 802.11ac
Channel            : 48
Basic rates (Mbps) : 6 12 24
Other rates (Mbps) : 9 18 36 48 54

…etc…

C:\Users\barb>

 

2. Change the channel width to 20 if it is set on 40 or auto.

 

2.4/5 GHz Dual Band Routers

 

Some routers (Apple has been doing this for years) ship with both the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels set to the same SSID (name). Other vendors have started doing this, some by default, others let you specify this optionally. It’s marketed as an “Smart Connect” type config where the “best” channel is selected by the client/router automatically. I asked a couple of users in the Microsoft Surface Communities forum about their config and learned that they were using the same name for both SSIDs. I asked them to make a change and specify unique SSIDs and attach to 5GHz. They’ve reported their problem has disappeared. Similarly, people with Netgear, ASUS, and Linksys routers have changed to unique, separate names for the 2.4 and 5 GHz SSID’s, connected to the 5 GHz SSID and reported back that their issue is resolved.

 

1. Many of the newer 802.11ac routers are emphasizing using a single SSID name for all for smart connectivity that determines the best radio for a computer or device to attach to. This is an issue for the Surface Pro 3.

linksys

The Linksys/Belkin WRT1900AC ships with the same name for both SSID’s out of the box. This is an issue for SP3 owners.

smartconnect

The Netgear R8000 has Smart Connect features that depend on using a single name for THREE SSID’s. This is an issue for SP3 owners.

airport5GHz

Apple Airport Extreme Routers have used a single SSID by default for several years. This is an issue for SP3 owners.

There are some folks who just prefer to use the same SSID and manually configure whatever router they own in this single SSID name configuration themselves. Sadly, while this is not an issue for apparently any other computer or device, it is an issue for the Surface Pro 3. There is anger expressed when I suggest changing the configuration. Sorry, you shouldn’t need to do this, but if you want better speeds, currently, this is required.

 

2. If you have a dual band 802.11n router, not an 802.11ac router, the issue is the same. You need to use the 5 GHz SSID and configure separate and distinct SSID names.

 

3. If you are connecting to the 5 GHz band and are having speed issues, try setting the channel to the highest one available or to the lowest one available instead of “auto”.

Again, Microsoft has not acknowledged this specific issue or acknowledged that a fix will be forthcoming.

One more thing.. the throw money at it solution

 

For those of you with 802.11n 2.4 GHz only single band routers, as I mentioned previously, you won’t enjoy 802.11ac speeds unless you upgrade to a a 802.11ac (by definition, dual band) router, configure it for separate SSID names and connect to the 5 GHz band.

This is the current state of affairs. It’s up to Microsoft to fix.

 

I’ve been involved in a couple of threads on Microsoft communities like http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfnetwork/using-surface-pro-3-in-europe-no-support-for/91d6f4ec-f9d1-4bfe-a0f5-f2bbd6517053 which highlight and issue that Microsoft doesn’t seem to care about.

While the majority if wireless routers and AP’s in Europe and Asia by default are set at channels 1-11 for the 2,4 GHz band, additional higher power channels 12-14 are optionally available. Many private organizations and companies utilize this. I don’t know the situation with public WiFi abroad, but I suspect the configuration may vary, depending on the provider. I’m certainly hearing from afflicted users like this one from Germany:

 

germany 802.11d

 

 

If you read the above referenced thread, you can draw your own conclusions, but as *I* read the available information, Microsoft owes folks a localized optional driver.

I’d love to hear from afflicted users on Twitter. @barbbowman

 

Subtitle: Facebook, your security still sucks.

 

So last night I get this email:

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Who the hell is Billy Bowman? And why is he using my email address? And in rapid succession I receive:

 

 

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So I say WTF? And *I* am able to login to this account “with my Hotmail credentials” and change the password on this account. I see that Billy is in a chat telling some girl he is 14 years old. (I concurrently change my hotmail password just in case, but this kid is NOT accessing my email).

 

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Then I deactivate the account because I can’t switch the email address.

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So even though I’ve changed the password on the account in question, Billy is able to reactivate it.

 

 

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So now, I login to the Billy account and change the primary email address to the other address the kid has listed. I remove my email address from the Billy account.

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So FB sends me a message…

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And Billy tries to add it back

 

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So I log in to the Billy account to insure the address is gone and log into my own account and quickly add that email address to my own Facebook account. And Facebook warns Billy that someone may have accessed his account and sends ME the email notification.

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So Billy tries to change the password on his account. I’m ignoring these requests.

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