5. August 2017

Mobile Data via Wind in Italy

Wind is one of the three or four providers in Italy for mobile phone and data. On my farm in South Tyrol it’s the best choice for data, according to experience and a local site showing the transmitters. So I decided for a prepaid Sim card by Wind, from the local electronic store. (The name Wind probably was derived from a former name, Weather Investments.)

Here you see my old mobile router (white box) with USB charger always plugged in. My Wind Simcard is in there. Newer routers should have LTE as well. (2G GPRS is practically unusable, insist on at least 3G, i.e. HSUPA, or super fast 4 G LTE.)
   As I am in Italy only sporadically, I turn my Simcard data service on and off (important!) as needed. I take the lowest portion offered per month, 5 Gigabyte for 9 Euro, but now have switched to 20 GByte at 15 Euro/months.
   If my Gigabytes are used up prematurely, the speed falls back to the old analog phone modem speed; the service is not totally cut!  That’s still ok for e-mail and browsing with patience, see http://blogabissl.blogspot.com/2017/07/datenvolumen-minimieren.html (in German).
   To avoid regular automatic continuation of the service and debiting while I’m absent, i.e. to stop ongoing monthly deductions of 9 Euro, I pause the subscription before I leave; very important, by sending a SMS to 4033 with 3GB NO .
My new black mobile router with LTE,
model Huawei E5577Cs-321 Mobile WiFi,
hung by invisible plastic fishing line
[
Bilder\201808Thinkpad\Router (2).JPG]
 You communicate with Wind via SMS from the data Sim card in the router. That’s free of charge and direct. For some commands it’s the only way.  
   If you have the Sim card in a mobile phone, short messaging is easy. In my case the card is in a mobile router, so I have to locally log into the control page of this router with my browser: the pre-set local IP address of my mini router is http://192.168.0.1/ with login just by “admin” as key. The new Huawei router is at http://192.168.8.1/html/home.html, accessible with “admin” as well, but followed by a password, “MFritz3”. (If you don’t know the internal IP address, a so called NAT address of the router: It’s normally printed on there; or use an IP scanner.) I run the mobile router and its Wi-Fi hotspot on my lonely mountain farm without any encryption, for ease of use.
   The SMS commands to Wind (either to 4033 or to 4155), free of charge, must be in capital letters and precisely as given: 

                                                     SMS    to        text  
Reactivate service when you come:       4033   5GB SI 
Pause service before you leave Italy:  4033   INTERNET NO  or
                                                                4033   5GB NO
Restart the new period prematurely:      4033   INTERNET RESTART SI  or
                                                                4033   GIGA RESTART SI or
                                                                4033   RESTART 5 GIGA SI
Question status of data and charge:       4155    SALDO
Question data status:                              4155    DATI

Please watch the prompt reply SMSs by Wind, in case of “SALDO” sometimes even two of them. 
   You get a SMS message when you have less than 20 percent of fast data left (but you probably won’t see it, as the router is no phone. So actively look for SMS ever so often, or check DATA). And: delete SMSs in the mobile router, as it can hold only a small number of SMSs on the card. 
   Actual restart may take up to two days, Wind says (« Grazie per la richiesta. Entro 48 ore un SMS ti confermerà l’avvenuto rinnovo della tua offerta internet »), but usually is nearly immediate.
   A short recapitulation of the restart process:
1. Make sure via SALDO that you have enough credit on the card to restart your service (and don’t fall into the negative saldo trap). Let someone else load your card or a cafè, tabacchaio or other shop, if you don’t manage to reload (« ricarica ») yourself.
2. Check your credit again.
3. Only then restart via SMS or Internet.
   If you can’t send SMSs and you get (after some waiting time) “message could not be sent, try again later” as in the screenshot at left, then you probably have exhausted your credit on the card. With an empty prepay card you cannot phone nor send any SMSs, not even to free of charge service numbers. Very disturbing. So recharge your Win Sim card either at your local cafè or via Internet.  
   Why Wind uses two different service numbers, only (the) wind will know …

The other way to control (and recharge!) your account is via Internet at
http://www.wind.it/it/privati/. I found no English or German dialogue there, sorry. You log in with the mobile phone number of your Sim card as the user name, in one number block, like 3246121902, and a password established during registration earlier. To recharge only, you need not log in at all. The recharging mechanism is general purpose to recharge any prepay card.
   Via Internet you can then check your data state (« visualizza dettagli », look at details):
In this case I had 98% of my 5 GB left. The next period would start on August 30, 2016. This corresponds to the DATI question via SMS.
   I can also look online at my “financial status” with Wind:
In this case I had a credit of Euro 23,24, the tariff was Wind 2, today I run Wind 1. (Never let your credit become a debit; in this case you won’t even be able to send an SMS!). This corresponds to the SALDO command via SMS.
   Clicking on RICARICA (recharge) I can add credit, and pay for example with Paypal or a credit card. This is less nice but more convenient than buying credit at the next newsstand or local bar.
Summer 2018. My data is now on
https://www.wind.it/nuovaAreaClienti/wind/pages/home.action – seems to be a “new”, nuova, client area. Responses generally are very slow, some internal links don’t work at all (like to “Wind 1” to learn more about my option).
   The screenshot is from « la tua Offerta », your offer, which gives my status: In this case my credit is 15,26 €, I get 5 Gigabyte per month, 99 % are still available, next period starts end of July.
   If you run out of fast data and want to restart prematurely the next period you may do so in Area Clienti in « la tua Offerta » cliccando sul tasto Restart

PS. If nothing else helps, and you must call a human for help, use the Wind Sim card in a phone and dial 155. Don’t try to call the 155 from another number; that’s supposed to work, but doesn’t. 
   If you want to send SMSs from your Wind card to other mobile numbers, always use the country prefix, e.g. +39… for Italy. The same is true, if you send a SMS from your usual mobile phone in Italy. Good luck!

   – On some rainy Saturday evenings I fell out of the net again and again in a couple of minutes. Turning the router off and on helped. 

When the DNS disappears
   On Sept. 19, 2017, some of my usual addresses could not be reached any more, they even didn’t ping any more. So I suspected an error with the Domain Name Service DNS, the table (hierarchy) that makes an IP number from a given IP name. My Windows 7 acknowledged this error when trying to “repair” my Internet connection. 

So I looked into my mobile router and found – under WAN “Mobile Broadband” (wide area network, the mobile over the air service) – that the DNS line was empty, connection and connection method both set to Automatic, see above. That’s how it normally works. The DNS address is not shown locally, the network apparently knows it internally. But as the DNS mechanism actually didn’t work
   I manually changed to the setting to Manual (as shown in the screenshot below) and entered 212.245.255.2 as DNS server, hit ok, and all connections miraculously worked again!
Note that the DNS mechanism works with a hierarchy of tables buffering (caching) the information. The lowest level of DNS is within your PC, so some of your recently addressed IP addresses (names) will still work, even if higher DNS tables are not accessible.   

Wind offerings (in English – in Greece?):
 https://www.wind.gr/en/for-individual/wind-mobile-broadband/

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Vedi anche https://www.aranzulla.it/come-disattivare-opzioni-wind-947128.html

Keywords: Prepaid Data Sim Italy, Sim card purchase in Italy, Buying a Sim card in Italy, Internet access in Italy, Local Italian Sim card, Roaming in Italy, Prepaid Data Sim in Italy, Prepaid Internet in Italy, mobile hotspot … 

https://www.mondomobileweb.it/65712-wind-dal-24-aprile-2017-nuove-offerte-ricaricabili-internet-con-servizio-restart/

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