Question for technophiles

We use a wifi speaker in our kitchen to listen to radio as it connects to a desktop computer upstairs. This speaker has now died… It was quite old. But we live in a house with pretty thick stone walls, inside as well as external walls, so not sure bluetooth will function.

A) is there a way to check whether a bluetooth speaker will function as these seems to be cheap and readily available

B) if not can you point me to a reasonably priced wifi speaker (under 75€) that will work with a windows 10 desktop? I am totally baffled by the adverts which seems to offer things with an intelligence that is beyond us. (And no, I don’t think I want to talk to Alexa, she doesn’t sound much fun).


Most speakers connect via Bluetooth, rather than by wifi - could you tell us what the now-defunct device was? It might have been wireless without being wifi. And if “all you need” is a bluetooth speaker, there are plenty of those.

Here is an “internet radio” - cutting ot the need for the laptop -ÅMÅŽÕÑ&dchild=1&keywords=Pure+Elan+IR3&qid=1601052438&quartzVehicle=802-785&replacementKeywords=pure+ir3&sr=8-1

There are certainly WiFi speakers - which usually use a streaming protocol to pull media files from a computer - but, I agree, a good starting point would be the make/model of the dead device

Your walls might be thick but is the upstairs floor just planks/floorboards laid on the joists - in which case you might well find that Bluetooth is OK if you are directly below the desktop.

Perhaps consider a Bluetooth extender…

This is the Anker bluetooth speaker we use (no extender required here) and find it excellent sound quality from such a small box…

We have a couple of the same - very happy with the sound

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The defunct speaker was a Vero, and I’m not sure these exist any more. And I think definitely wifi, as plugged a thing’y into computer which emitted the ‘wifi’ (yes, I’m a techno-moron). Without the thing’y there is no signal of any sort in kitchen - which is a thick wall away from study where computer is. So an internet radio in kitchen would have nothing to Internet from… and even with thing’y we could only position radio in one area or signal just gave out.

Generally our internet is rubbish here, very poor bandwidth combined with walls mean that we can only use things like ipad in specific areas of house that are in line of sight to live box - which the kitchen isn’t.

This Wifi speaker may be suitable:


In general I have found WiFi extenders to be a complete waste of time and money.
I now use Access Points - the only disadvantage is that they require a network cable (Cat5 or better) to connect your router (the box that your service provider gives you) with the Access Point. Any decent electrician should be able to install the cable.

Regarding the Access points themselves, I use TP-Link equipment such as:

and also reconfigured BT Home Hubs as Access Points.
These are available on Ebay for a few pounds.

This is how to reconfigure a BT Home Hub:

Thanks, but not sure all that would work. We wouldn’t be using android or IoS so not sure those little speakers would work, which is a shame as they look cute. And installing cables in this house tends not to be a simple job - several 60cm stone walls between router and kitchen with concrete slab ceiling and floor where router is. (Although good if I could find use for old BT home hub as I have one stored in England somewhere).

Have you considered a powerline adapter?

There are many available and excellent for providing internet access in difficult areas and works well when say, a gite, is on the same electrical circuit but remote from the main house…
An example here:

Powerline sounds interesting… do I have to dedicate two sockets to it permanently and without plugging anything else in to them? And not clear where sockets go - does one have to be close to the livebox and the other where we want signal? Or both in place we want signal? (Or kitchen is short on sockets…we love our house but previous owners lived a bit differently, no overhead lights, no television, only internet in garage, etc)

And then I could us any old bluetooth speaker/internet radio etc?

I’ve used powerline systems for years - for wired connections, not wireless, though, and in the UK.

You connect your router/Livebox to one adapter, plugged into the nearest socket, with an RJ45 cable (usually supplied); you plug the second adapter where you need it. Most of them have a socket in the front so you don’t “lose” a socket.

I’ve also found that they are often happy plugged into extension sockets, though they warn against that.

I wonder if I can shamelessly fork this thread with another question for technophiles?
My daughter uses a chromebook but now has to use python as part of her university studies - and can’t seem to install/access a full version of python (apparently the web interfaces etc have limitations). Any advice?

@Geof_Cox does this reference help?

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Not at all… there is usually another plug socket on the face of the Powerline device so you don’t actually loose the socket. As @Flaneur suggests, the best way would be to plug a any extension sockets into the Pl device, rather than the Pl device in to the extension block, if you see what I mean.

I’ve been using these Powerline adapters (CPL in French) for years in this old Auvergne house with thick stone walls:
The one to the left is for plugging in the Livebox modem/router, and then I have two of the other one that “produce” a wifi network around where they are.

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The CPL device also needs a «proper» socket circuit. In older properties, sockets may have been added to lighting circuits and that won’t, in my experience, work too well - if at all.

Could you connect your phone to your laptop and then pop down to the kitchen and see if they are still connected. If so Blue tooth has the range, if not it’s wifi or pluggy things. I’ve used these for years (though the older slower version)… the slave units come with built in wifi too now.

Sorry can’t help with python but I can ask my geek Dev collègues if you or she can send me the problems, also if your daughter needs a ‘stage en entreprise’ I will willingly forward her candidature to the selection chef geek dev boffin. We are Paris based

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Hi - I have used powerline adaptors in the past, and at times they have worked well, and other times I have had problems. There is often noise on the electrical connection, or there are issues about the directness of the linking of the electrical cables (there has to be a direct link for the adaptor to work, so separate circuits can be a problem) - however they are cheap enough to buy and to test. Most powerline connections are either Wifi or ethernet. Although there are bluetooth modules for powerline adaptors available, they are rare and so usually more expensive.
In the end I the most reliable connections I have are Cat 5 or Cat 6 ethernet cables! (I even use HDMI to ethernet convertors to ensure I get maximum signal around our stone separating walls).
I have also got devices such as a remote battery operated camera with bluetooth connection to base. For these there is massive signal loss through stone walls. So the later the Bluetooth standard, the more likely there is to be an effective connection… Bluetooth 5 is the latest available version of the standard (2016/2017 so now Bluetooth 5.2 released 2019) with “four times the range” hence it is claimed that "Bluetooth 5 can communicate with another device up to 800 feet (240 meters) away while Bluetooth 4.2 was limited to a distance of 200 feet (60 meters). Remember these are line-of-sight maximums, meaning anything in the way can and will affect the signal. "
So you have to check very carefully the standard and version of Bluetooth before committing to a device. I have used Amazon Warehouse to get reconditioned warranted items at low cost, but even with these you need to check the model, when it was manufactured, the standards which it used, and customer reviews, before committing.
best wishes

Hi Geof
With regard to Python for remote working while at Uni
There is an old IT saying that people “only use 20 percent of the features in the software they’ve bought”.
The vendors try to make it flexible to meet all possible uses to sell as much as possible, and this clutters up and limits the overall efficiency. So there is an argument to use dedicated devices and software to perform specific tasks rather than trying to get a single device to operate outside its “comfort zone”.
In this respect I am an advocate for the Raspberry Pi, (a UK success story) which is incredibly cheap and among its many other dedicatable specialist roles runs Python… see
### How to install Python 3 - Raspberry Pi Projects

You can buy the latest most powerful Raspberry Pi version 4 for about 60 euros in France, but the cheapest is less than 10 euros, and the previous version 3 is less than 30 euros.
the official details

You will need in addition a memory card, (see the specs for the minimum, and its worth the money {about 5 euros} for the correct power supply - or it may not run as predicted. You can then use a TV (ideally HDMI) and any old usb keyboard and mouse. If your daughter needs to be online then its worth the extra for a Raspberry Pi that comes with the Wifi fully integrated (version 3 onwards).
Hope this helps?
Best wishes