Jenkins-Of-Ewelme Web Site

Articles written for the Ewelme News

Over a period spanning 2010 to 2014, there was the opportunity to use a mobile broadband technology called 3G, as a fixed alternative to the very slow landline broadband facilities available in this Village. At least 50 households took the initiative to improve the < 2 Mbs broadband performance during that time. Apart from detailed information on 3G included on this web site, a series of articles were submitted to the Ewelme News to try to convey the advantages of this available technology. These are reproduced here as somewhat of an historical record following the eventual installation of fibre based FTTC in Ewelme at the beginning of 2014. However, at the time of compilation  it is known that hundreds of rural residents throughout  Oxfordshire and beyond will be suffering the same predicament for a period up to the end of 2017. Perhaps 3G and the up and coming 4G will help other deprived villages?

Ewelme is NOT a Broadband ‘Not Spot’.

Two negatives make a positive I'm told, and considering that Ewelme has had a reputation for years as not being the best place to live if a standard speed Broadband Internet connection is required, the following news may help those tending to see a half empty glass in this respect,  begin to find that the level has changed direction.

Broadband  is specified in terms of its download speed in megabits per second (Mbs), where anything  less than about 0.5 Mbs is not really regarded as Broadband at all. It can be obtained using a domestic telephone line, an optical cable connection, or via the mobile telephone network. Cable is not expected to reach this village for quite a while, being expensive to install, with a lower financial return for rural areas such as ours. Telephone lines in this village have a direct connection with the Wallingford exchange. It is such a long distance away, it becomes physically impossible to obtain a Broadband connection of much more than 1 Mbs, and where it is thought that the majority of connections are mostly around the 0.5 Mbs region, although there are exceptions. Lower speeds become more likely the further away households are from the central King's Pool junction box, especially when connected via the indigenous aluminium telephone wires. Certainly, the availability of a new 50 pair cable a couple of years back, has helped a number of deprived residents  obtain entry level Broadband. However, following the rush, the unlucky ones continue their frustration of having to use a Dial-Up Internet connection  (56 Kbs), or sadly, are just not bothering.

Now the mobile phone network has enabled email and slow web browsing using a hand held phone for a number of years, albeit not very conveniently. Although a modern mobile phone can also be attached to a PC and used as a 'modem', technology has moved on during the past year or so, to provide areas of the UK, including Ewelme, with 'Mobile Broadband', also known as 3G or ‘third generation’ wireless. By plugging a 3G 'dongle' or Mobile Broadband modem provided by the High Street Mobile Broadband provider 'Three', into a PC via an extension lead, will provide the means to obtain a faster Broadband connection than any land line connection in the village (>2Mbs)!

It is important to use 'Three' as your provider, since this company provides the strongest 3G signal for this area. It is also important to ensure that the small dongle is attached to a window pane to give the best signal strength. The encouraging news is that signal surveys throughout the village during the past 12 months, has revealed that  the signal strength even from within a car, is sufficient for receiving better than the government defined 'standard' broadband target (2 Mbs), and that  recent surveys performed inside houses with subsequent adoptions, have achieved up to 2.9 Mbs.

More detailed information about costs and installation, and links to supplier’s websites, can be found at under '3G in Ewelme'

March 2010


Ewelme Broadband Speeds Meeting High Level

Spring is in the air in Ewelme, and so is wireless Broadband!  It was no fault of our esteemed editor for being unable to ‘Stop Press’ just before publication of the previous issue of the Ewelme News (April/May), to include a late postscript to the article on Broadband in Ewelme using 3G – Mobile Broadband. This was intended to convey that the previously stated best download speed experienced in the village of 2.9 Mbs using this wireless technology, compared with around 1Mbs for a landline broadband connection, had been completely overtaken with some more recent tests. These showed download speeds attaining up to 5.4Mbs!! Why the sudden increase? One of the previous long term users of the Ewelme Community Wireless Network (Bruce Thompson), had decided to change to independent 3G Mobile Broadband usage following a short survey to confirm accessibility. The small modem (dongle) provided to him by the ‘3’ mobile phone shop, happened to be one of the newest types capable of transferring Internet data at up to 7.2 Mbs, whereas previously available equipment used for tests around the village and for operational use would only work up to 3.6 Mbs. Others have followed suit (including myself) by ensuring that the dongle provided by ‘3’ is a Huawei E122, or the even more recent and sensitive ZTE MF 112  modem, both capable of receiving data at rates up to 7.2 Mbs. So, the good news is that not only is Ewelme not a Broadband not spot, but a red hot spot, even for the previously defined deprived!

If the News is now allowing Haynes maintenance manual style diagrams to be included, here is one showing a method of attaching a dongle (which acts as an aerial) to a window pane using highly technical ancillary apparatus!.

A recent snapshot survey conducted from within a car one Sunday morning over a one hour period, has shown that the following one stop spots achieved over 5 Mbs: Hampton Way/Cat Lane, Burrows Hill/The Street, Eyres Close/Eyres Lane.  The following provided measurements of greater than 4Mbs: Brownings, Kingspool, Martyn’s Way, Chaucer Court (The Hyde). Of the other brief stopping points, most were of at least twice the speed of the very best landline connection in Ewelme, and exceeded the government target of 2Mbs broadband for all by 2012! Even our editor would have been achieving a worthy 3Mbs at that point in time. These speeds will vary up and down depending on the time of day and the strength of signal. Although some recently newsworthy rural areas have achieved previously unobtainable broadband connectivity with a collective £30,000 investment, by merely using a fixed window mounted 3G dongle, will likely provide individuals or households with perfectly adequate broadband usage in Ewelme for as little as £7.50/month from ‘3’. With two additional masts being installed in the closer locality and coming on stream by the end of June, will hopefully provide even stronger signals and less speed variation during the second half of the year.

For further information about how this technology has evolved, and to share some experiences, see some test results and link to other sites, perhaps you might found it useful to visit and select the 3G page.

Here’s hoping your dongle dangling is successful !

July 2010

Vodafone Plus Three Sums Up Broadband in Ewelme

MobileBroadbandMap2.jpgWhilst the Mobile Broadband company Three have been providing full function broadband to residents of Ewelme by wireless for a couple of years now from their Hale Farm and Sinodun Hills transmitters, Vodafone have recently upgraded their mast at Preston Crowmarsh (on the SW corner of RAF Benson airfield), to provide an alternative 3G service to Ewelme and surrounding areas. The extent of coverage in terms of receivable signal strength is slightly different compared with that provided by Three, and won’t necessarily improve the potential performance already available at your location. On the other hand, because the source of the radio link is broadcast from a new direction, may provide certain households with an improved signal and higher broadband speed than was previously found possible.

The introduction of increased competition for this evolving airborne technology will probably lead to other providers joining in over time, and there are already some local sharing arrangements (e.g. T-Mobile, Orange). However, it should be noted that, at the moment, Vodafone are only offering hardware and a network capable of operating at speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps, whereas Three has a wider choice of equipment capable of using their 21.6 Mbps network provision, although both services offer significantly better data rates than are currently offered using domestic telephone landlines.  So, for subscribers living in a region of the village who have previously experienced difficulties obtaining full signal levels, may well find it worthwhile trying the Vodafone service for an improved high speed broadband connection, especially if they live in direct ‘line-of-sight’ with the mast. 

 If you are not one of the many subscribers in the village already enjoying fixed broadband by wireless and would like to try it, you either need to get hold of a simple window mounted ‘dongle’ (looks a bit like a USB memory stick, but isn’t), or the more useful 3G Wi-Fi ‘router’ (looks a bit like a mobile phone, but isn’t), which will allow one or more enabled PCs, iPADs, TVs or Wi-Fi mobile phones, to access broadband and the Internet from within the house without wires.

Does all this add up? Perhaps you would like to know a little more about how to set up and test one of these 3G broadband connections, and how this, and next generation 4G might compare with the forthcoming Super Fast Broadband via fibre optic cable? A selection of on-line pages can be found by clicking one of the links on the village web site or by Googling ‘jenkins ewelme’ and selecting one of the related and recently updated 3G articles. If you still find you could use some additional assistance, try:-

Chris Jenkins 828200

August 2012

Ultrafast Broadband is now on the Wireless

Households who have been using 3G+ for fixed internet access during the past 3 years, will be interested to learn that wireless broadband provider Three has now made their new Ultrafast Broadband network available here in Ewelme. They term this enhanced service ‘3.9G’, as the final step towards their intention to roll out 4G wireless technology by the end of the year. Ultrafast is technically defined as ‘DC-HSDPA’, and being a high speed protocol, requires the use of a new version of the receiving MiFi router (or single user dongle), to mount on a mast-facing, wireless transparent window.

 This unit is capable of receiving data at up to 43.6 Mbps, and can simultaneously connect up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices within the house, such as PCs, iPads, smart phones, TVs, tablets, Skype cameras etc., to the Internet. Provision to connect an external aerial if found absolutely necessary, is also included. The many currently used 3G devices will continue to work normally of course, and although there may be a sense that speeds have generally been increasing towards a local 10 Mbps maximum recently, they will need to be updated to a Huawei E5756 Ultrafast MiFi or equivalent, to benefit from the higher speeds now available. Speed tests taken recently during off peak periods have exceeded 21 Mbps, which seems to be the theoretical maximum at the moment, although even Three states a ‘realistic’ speed expectation of around 12 Mbps. For current PAYG, monthly rolling, or longer contracts, existing charges for data usage remain the same, apart from the additional cost of the new MiFi (or dongle). In other words just insert your current 3G SIM card into the new device.

This type of install-it-yourself technology and what follows later with 4G, compares very favourably with what might be provided by land based fibre optics in a rural area, which is now expected to arrive here in 2014. To quite a few though, 3G technology has offered a long term lifeline, and the ability to fully enjoy all that the Internet has to offer for some considerable time. An inability to run a business, work from home or for children to do homework, have often been cited as examples of the disadvantages of the current landline broadband throughout this village. But for rural areas, 3G/4G has and can provide a realistic alternative as an interim or even a permanent solution to the lack of a high speed land based service. When fibre optic broadband eventually arrives here, Ewelme could well be in real danger of becoming a rural ‘centre of excellence’ for communications, with a wide selection of competitive fibre and wireless broadband choices becoming available.



For more information about the techniques for successfully installing Ultrafast wireless broadband yourself, which in essence uses the same technology as a modern mobile phone, take a look at broadband articles in, or the technology pages at

July 2013

Are the Days of Three and 3G Numbered?

Following the long anticipated provision of faster broadband by means of fibre optic cable, it has now finally arrived here in Ewelme. Residents of the village are indeed fortunate to be some of the first in Oxfordshire to be provided with the opportunity to improve the low connection speeds (<2 Mbs) that many have been experiencing for some years using the copper cables from Wallingford. This installation, linked to available fibre infrastructure, is the start of a countywide programme to also provide other rural areas like ours with Super Fast Broadband (>24 Mbs). This project is being financed by Central Government, Oxfordshire CC and BT, which will take up to 2 years to complete, and is concurrently taking place throughout all counties within the UK until 2017, within a scheme called BDUK.


The method chosen by BT, who ‘won’ the contract, is to provide a fibre optic cable to a special electronic 'exchange' cabinet at a central point (e.g. King's Pool). From here, the original telephone cables are then used to transfer the much higher data speeds now available (80 Mbs). A new Wi-Fi and Ethernet box (router) is then required to be installed within each household to benefit from this newer technology. A wide range of providers (BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk etc, etc), can enable the connection, offering a choice of maximum speeds, monthly data usage, telephone usage, and extra facilities such as BT Sport, YouView, etc. requiring > 5Mbs. A characteristic of this method, called  'Fibre To The Cabinet' (FTTC) is that the maximum data speed that may be available near the cabinet will become proportionally slower the further away a residence is located.  However, this should be of no great consequence in receiving SFB until one is located greater than about 1 Km  from the cabinet. Even so, although perhaps not being strictly ‘super fast’, the speed capability would still be in excess of that previously experienced.


So, for those residents who have been using fixed wireless broadband (3G) from Three or Vodafone within the last three and half years, and live within up to say 2 Km of the central cabinet, the advice would be that signing up for the new service would likely yield a noticeable improvement in internet speed compared with that of 3G (>10 Mbs).  However for some, there may either be 3G contract periods to complete, or the use to which their current service is being put continues to be regarded as perfectly satisfactory for the time being at least. It has also become clear that 3G users who previously chose to retain (and pay) for their slow landline broadband  in anticipation of something better in future, will not see any automatic improvement at all, apart from perhaps a reduction in contention, over that available since 2007. This means that new users will basically need to pay a provider some £15/month to obtain fibre based super fast broadband (and continue the £15/ month line rental), whereas current landline broadband subscribers, whether having utilised it or not, will pay around £10 above what they are paying now. (All monetary examples given will vary between competitive providers).


There is little doubt that the arrival of SFB into the Village will bring to those who have never used 3G, the full function experience of the internet currently only enjoyed by town dwellers, and recognition should be given to our Village Champions for the years of campaigning and lobbying of OCC to influence its early availability. But spare a thought for those hundreds of rural households throughout the County, some of whom may have to wait another two years to get similar improvements.  However, 3G/4G will continue to be the evolving de facto data communications standard for all users of mobile devices and portable Wi-Fi access points (dongles/MiFi’s). So for those who will have to wait for fibre, or who are not included within the BDUK schedule, or are located some distance from a central cabinet, may also find that a fixed 3G/4G Wi-Fi router can still provide an interim or even permanent solution in  bringing fast broadband into a rural household.

 January 2014

If you would like to comment or ask a question about the broadband experience in this village, email

Ewelme Observatory

This article was submitted in the Autumn of 2015, when the development of our garden observatory was sufficiently advanced (but not completed), to announce its operational existance, and open to interested visitors.

If you've ever looked up on a starry night and asked yourself why the patterns of stars and planets move around the sky throughout the year, you may also be interested to know that there is an astronomical observatory installed here in Ewelme.




This garden observatory has been developed over a number of years to be semi-automated and remotely controlled from a 'warm room', with the specific purpose of collecting photographic images of planetary and ‘deep sky’ astronomical objects, as a record of observations. Typing 'Ewelme Observatory' into Google, will provide a sample of some of the images already captured.


Below is one example image of a galaxy, somewhat like our own Milky Way. This is the Pinwheel Galaxy M101, where the light has taken some 21 million years to reach us. In essence, this means that one is looking back to a time long before our own human species had even begun to evolve on planet Earth!



There are now plenty of opportunities for anyone to learn the basics of astronomy, starting with hardware as simple as a pair of binoculars, together with the availability of a wide variety of free planetarium software apps on the Internet for PCs, tablets and smart phones, e.g 'Stellarium'. There is also a local astronomical society in Abingdon  -, which caters for beginners as well as for the more experienced amateur astronomer, and also offers observing evenings at various locations.


If a visit to the Observatory might possibly stimulate further interest in the multi-disciplinary science of astronomy, a short explanatory tour can be arranged by appointment.


Chris Jenkins

September 2015