Author Topic: Offgrid Internet providers?  (Read 6390 times)

xyzer

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Offgrid Internet providers?
« on: July 31, 2009, 06:53:35 PM »
I'm not off grid but in the boonies! My choices are Hughes net satellite or Wild blue satellite. Dialup is a pain and I need some improvement. Is there any feed back out there on the 2 satellite choices?
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ZackaryMac

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 11:44:57 PM »
Gee...you mean I'm not the only one suffering with dial-up? Yay!!  It's a sort of mental torture to enjoy the internet sooo much, yet be stuck with 3k/s download speed. Youtube and the like are out. Web pages are becoming annoying to visit, because they are getting bigger.

We (my province) are promised to have high speed available by the end of 2009. I used to have high speed at my old house 6 years ago. It was great. The high speed offered is with a small dish and relay towers.

So close, yet so far.

Sorry for the rambling.
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xyzer

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 02:09:17 AM »
I would probably stay with dialup but every time there is a power blip it eats my modem and fax machine! Somthin hot get into the phone line! Yeah I know get a surge protector but it eats them also! Funny we have 2 phone lines and it doesn't bother the "wifes" line and modem but kills mine! It may be a mistake upgrading....but still trying to figure the best upgrade.
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clytle374

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2009, 05:48:13 AM »
They all suck.  I had Huges when it was Directway,  Their billing and customer service dept made me insane. After upgrading my modem, my system quit working 3 days later.  Unknown to me they automatically canceled my account on the old modem and automatically created a new account(with new fees and a contract) for the new modem.  I needed the connection for my job at the time and they wanted to send someone out in a month for $200. They also wouldn't let me go back to the old modem saying  they couldn't authorize it on a new account.  I had just paid $300 for the newer/better modem.  I told them I to shut it off and to KMA.  I got an RMA and returned the modem.  A month later I got a $300 bill for early cancellation saying I was under contract.  They also refused to refund my $300 for the modem saying that it wasn't returnable, the person that issued the RMA had been fired, and my modem was discarded.   I finally got the termination fee waved after they sent it to a collection agency, and was refunded the money for the modem.  One month latter they sent it back to collection with the termination fee back on the bill, PLUS they added the money they had just refunded me for the modem to the account.   At this point 6 months had passed, had purchased a $1800 profession dish and modem, the new company went bankrupt leaving me $1800 poorer with no connection.  After I became unemployed later that year, my bankruptcy finally got the collection agency off my back.   

My neighbor has Huges now and says she hasn't had any trouble yet.

I'm now on Wildblue.  Better IMO.  Our Wildblue system started going flaky about 5 months after we got it.  After about 6 months it became almost unusable and I had to fight with them to prove it was their problem and not mine.  It took another month to get a repair person here for $200 and it has worked pretty good every since( ~1 year).   A little hint:  When mine was failing the modem would connect to the system and show them it is 'locked in' until you tried to connect to a server, then it would drop out.  This shows the company that you have a large 'up time' and they will use this to blame the weather, your computer, or a router and not send a tech.  In this situation set your computer to ping a site every minute.  This will force the modem to keep dropping out and make your problem undeniable.   

Look into the FAP(fair access policy) of these services.  FAP is a enthusiasm for bandwith restriction.

Huges uses a shorter time frame so you will hit and clear the limits and restrictions quicker.  This is bad news if you need a big file.

Wildblue uses a 30 day rolling limit.  Good for big files, bad if you use the whole allotment up on day 1. 

Both suck compare to a real connection.  Keep a broom handy when surfing during snow.  Tech support always assumes you are stupid and it is your computers problem, while you suffer through 'the language barrier.'  

Never admit to either company you are using a router.  Even after removing it, I was told that my router was causing the modem to loose the signal to the satellite. 

M61hops

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009, 12:48:52 PM »
I have a Hughes system and the equipment works well most of the time but the employes there suck.  One department can't seem to talk to another dept. so things get fouled up real easy if you need help with a problem.  Everybody I know that has used a satallite system has had troubles no matter what company  ??? !  After checking out all of them I took a chance with HughesNet and if the employees were smarter or better trained it would probably be OK.  I will dump them at the first chance I get for a land line from AT&T.  The phone company has installed the equipment on my street but has not got it up and running yet  :( .  One time when I was having trouble with the dish, their tech support guy in India turned my system off by mistake and they had to send a repairman from 200 miles away to get it back up again!  When the guy got here a week later he told me that it was a mistake and he shouldn't have had to come out; then as he was working on my system he had to call the support line for company service techs and they hung up on him  :o !  He held his cellphone out towards me and said "that's why I tell everybody to switch to WildBlue"  :D !  I guess you just can't win with any of the dish companies, I'm just waiting for the chance to switch to the phone company system!                 Leland
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cschuerm

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2009, 03:39:28 PM »
Same situation here.  Tried all of the sat options over the years and they all suck bigtime!  Since I absolutely have to have reliable high speed net for work, I finally put up a tower at my house with a point-to-point wireless bridge to a water tower 10 miles away which I'd been granted use of for antenna placement, then another wireless link from there to another site where I could get Cox cable internet access at.  It was a little complicated and expensive to install, but I now have lightning fast reliable net.
If anyone wants further details, just ask. 


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Tom

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 04:06:53 AM »
I'm pretty happy with Wild Blue. Except for the time my son left bit-torrent running on his laptop and got us fap'ed. I am a software developer and do quite a bit of remote server access with it too.
Tom
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rcavictim

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 08:52:49 PM »
Wow, what horror stories, especially your experience clytle374 !

I suffered dial up until about 8 months ago.  Phone line ADSL was not available on my line until just recently.  A new service which is a 2.5 GHz microwave tower link to an indoor RX/TX+modem is available here called Bell WiMax.  I have been very pleased with it except for a recent period which was when Bell's local equipment was hopelessly overloaded due to increased demand and the hardware had to be upgraded.  In all that only cost me a few days of lost service and now all is a Ukranian Fishing Vessel, ya' know...Hunky Dory. ;)  In Ontario, Rogers offers the same service and uses the same broadcasting towers but shares half the total channels with Bell using the other half.  If you are too far from a tower to use a indoor modem that you purchase and own for $100.00,  you can buy a outdoor unit that has more range for a lot more $$$.  I get a 80% signal most of the time with the indoor unit, sometimes 100%.  Download is advertised as 1.5GB/sec which is the same as a T1 line.  Uplink is slower but adequate for software VOIP phones.  My MagicJack works adequately to great most of the time. Viewing streaming TV and downloading movies is good. I bought the faster of the two packages offered by Bell Wireless and pay about $55 /mo.  When I signed up they gave me the first couple of months 'free' so actually I got my $100 modem for nothing.

A benefit of WiMax is that I can pack the microwave modem with me and my laptop when I travel and from my car have internet or VOIP phone or anywhere in Canada that has the service.  This gives me internet while visiting family in Toronto.  If I had a DSL modem account this would not be possible, even from my Mom's telco line.

BTW, if you haven't heard of MagicJack, it is a small device that plugs into your computer's USB port.  A regular analog touch tone phone plugs into the regular phone jack on the other end of this little dongle.  It self loads and gives you a dial tone and phone service.  I bought the NorthAmercian plan that gives me unlimited local and long distance calling in USA and Canada for 5 years for $59.00. Yes, that's like a dollar a month!!!  I think this is the best deal in town.  I'm not a dealer.  Check out www.magicjack.com if interested.
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rcavictim

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 09:25:24 PM »

BTW, if you haven't heard of MagicJack, it is a small device that plugs into your computer's USB port.  A regular analog touch tone phone plugs into the regular phone jack on the other end of this little dongle.  It self loads and gives you a dial tone and phone service.  I bought the NorthAmercian plan that gives me unlimited local and long distance calling in USA and Canada for 5 years for $59.00. Yes, that's like a dollar a month!!!  I think this is the best deal in town.  I'm not a dealer.  Check out www.magicjack.com if interested.

Sorry if I hijack the thread here for a bit ......
How does MagicJack compare to Skype for voice quality ?
I tried Skype some time ago and gave up on it because of poor voice quality and frequent dropping of milliseconds of conversation.
This is with a Shaw high speed connection !

Jens


Jens,

I tried Skype before I had a high speed connection and it didn't work.  My connection was too slow to even support the test call to the headquarters in Scadinavia.  Then I tried it after I got WiMax and I was not impressed.

With MagicJack most of the time the thing is good enough to use.  Sometimes it is perfect and indistinguishable from a normal landline phone.  Sometimes there are some microsecond bit droppings as you speak of, but that may be due to bandwidth squeezing by the ISP based on traffic.  I just received a major software upgrade automatically on my magicJack and haven't had time to determine if it is better or worse than before.  Over all, I like it and consider it as my first option for LD calls now to save precious money.
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clytle374

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2009, 02:18:53 AM »
Bummer, no Linux support  :(

Jens

Wildblue isn't OS dependent.  Run Linux here.

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2009, 06:18:18 PM »
I'm using a local service that provides wireless service from a nearby mountain top. You have to have a clear line of sight to their transmitter to get the service, so allot of folks can't get it. It has great speed both sending and receiving which was important for my line of work. Satellite has good download but uploading sucks from what I understand cause you have to use a phone line.

This is the same technology as ClearWire, which is starting to spread here in the Pacific Northwest.

You might want to check with local communication companies and ISP's, they don't promote this type of service too much because of the limited application. The outfit I'm working with specializes in communication systems for local companies.

BTW, it's cheaper than Satellite. ;)

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xyzer

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2009, 12:59:41 AM »
I have heard of the Clearwire but it seems to be in the Portland/Eugene area so far. The local ISP (PEAK) has the wireless option but after getting up on the roof it appears there is a tree or two in the way (1/2 mile) of my line of sight >:(.   They are supposed to be here tomorrow and assess my situation and if we can't get the wireless option satellite will be my only option unless I can do a repeater or something and that is more than I want to screw with. I'll know tomorrow what I will end up with!
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Irish Artist

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2009, 01:40:33 AM »
Well, I'm sure you have a chain saw. . . . how about some spurs?

Bring your neighbor over some chocolate cookies and ask 'em if they would like some extra firewood! ;D
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cschuerm

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Re: Offgrid Internet providers?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2009, 01:19:37 PM »
Tessco sells a wide variety of tower kits from lightweight guyed to free-standing monsters that you could mount a Buick on top of.  They have 20' to 900' available.  I put up a Trilon S300 70' tower at my house to get a good line-of-site path.  Wife and I assembled it in our driveway then hired a crane ($200) to lift it onto the pad.  Been very happy with the results.
chris