No mobile phone, but still communication on holidays in Sweden

Still a place left on the campsite

In the time leading up to my holiday there was a constant hassle with the invoicing and services of the provider Yes Telecom that runs part of my mobile subscriptions. The internal joke based on these experiences was of course ‘Yes Telecom = No Telecom’. That is why I bought a SIM card of another provider shortly before my holiday to Sweden. And not just that; this time I even dared to cut one of those high-tech SIM cards down to the size of an iPhone. That is easier than it seems; there is apparently a large margin of error.

We travel on spec with a spacious yet gracelessly large caravan. You can always squeeze a tent in between somewhere, but with this caravan that is not always possible. Let alone because it has to be done by hand. That is why I tried to call for the first time with my new SIM card to make a campsite reservation for the night while I was on the boat to Denmark. Oops, that failed; I forgot to set it up so that I could also call abroad with the SIM card. What to do? We arrive rather belatedly on the campsite and the ACSI guide tells us that ‘Reservations desirable in the peak season’. No sweat, a Wi-Fi spot is reachable from the queue for the boat. Recently we have started using Bria on the iPhones and iPads of the office to be reachable when we are away from our working place or working at home. Through our system and thanks to a kind colleague I still manage to contact the campsite and a reservation is quickly made.

Unfortunately the wait for the boat took longer than planned and we arrive late in the evening after closing time at the reception of the campsite. But there was a Wi-Fi spot here as well. Not completely coincidental, as an internet junkie you look out for these things. Through the PBX system we got a call that said where we could find the key to the gate.

“Well,” I thought “that works like a charm”. Let’s research how mobile life is without a mobile phone connection this holiday." The rest of the holiday I lived without a mobile phone by way of experiment. Everything I used to do with my mobile phone I did by e-mail, twitter and the PBX system. The PBX system is by the way a SIP station on the basis of the Asterix variant Trixbox with extensions for Invantive Vision.

Control on my holiday day

In my wild years I would sometimes take calls while I was on holiday, but the last five years I no longer feel the need to be reachable thanks to my colleagues. I check my e-mail at least once a day and respond if I feel it is necessary. According to a small report in the Volkskrant about the research of Jessica de Bloom of the Radboud University this is fine: “A holiday is good for a person because it allows him to control his own day”

Sweden is a huge country with relatively few inhabitants. Therefore the distances are large. I suspected the worst when it came to Wi-Fi coverage, but that turned out be fine. For just a few bucks I have had a fine connection with the providers of Telia and The Cloud. To be reachable you need to remain in the civilized world, but when you want to call and e-mail at set times that works just fine.

Although there were some hitches in the sound during the calls despite the use of the G729 codec. Apparently this was because the Asterisk based station operates as a virtual machine on one of the bigger servers. That was fine when Invantive only used a couple of machines, but the station needs to process quite a number of machines and lines these days. It turned out to be necessary to completely load the virtual machine into the working memory as well as dedicate two virtual processors to it. After these adaptions were done I could call from Sweden and have a fine quality of conversation.

In the end this research was completed successfully and next holiday I will use our PBX system with Bria again.

Added postscript Yes Telecom experiences

This blog is meant to inform around the subject of ‘control’. If you have bad experiences with Yes Telecom and you want to discuss that, then those comments will not be accepted here. Comments with Yes Telecom experiences will be deleted. For Telecom complaints I refer you to the designated complaint procedure.