Wireless Internet Question - why a tower

dooleyMay 28, 2011

I'm currently serviced by a wireless ISP and am on their 900 Mhz channel because we're surrounded by trees.

Over the years the speeds have degraded from about 1.5 MB/s down load to about dial up speeds. (I'm thinking they've over subscribed to that tower as neither my house or their tower has moved.).

They want me to erect a 70' tower at $4,000+ to access their 3 Ghz signal for improved performance.

I tried a Rogers USB and get very satisfactory performance (was getting about 250MB/s downloading).

Question is why can I access the Rogers 3.5 Ghz signal with a simple USB device while my ISP wants a 70' tower.

I'm thinking of terminating the wireless and just going with the Rogers , even though it's quit costly. At least I can use it.

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You're joking .. Right?

Asking YOU to have a tower built?

I think that I have heard it all now!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Wish they were. The tower is to place MY antenna up high enough to access their signal. They wouldn't be using it to piggy back on.

Seemed reasonable to me at the time. Do other ISP's provide a tower??

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:10AM
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$4,000 sounds like an awful lot of money to me. Have you explored any other options? All the cellular carriers offer data services, is that an option? The data is typically capped at 5 GB per month, which may be plenty if you don't surf a lot or download movies.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I just recently downgraded from my 5GB per month using a USB modem to a 3GB per month plan using a combination modem/router since it is much cheaper, and even if I go over the 3GB, it is still cheaper than the plan I had----still with the same carrier. So far I haven't gone over, but I've watched what I've been downloading. But even the cellular carriers are over-loaded in my opinion because my speeds are not what they were 2 years ago.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:26PM
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PKponder TX

In our old house, it was suggested that I buy a 40 ft pole to get signal with Hughes Net. The cost was lower than your tower, but I still didn't want to spend $200. I would imagine that a 70 foot tower would be pretty pricey. It's all in where their towers are located and whether your modem can pick them up.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:07AM
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Each tower has a field of service. Think of it as a defined circle with the tower at the hub. If you are in the circle service is historically as advertised. If you are in an area where the circles overlap service can be outstanding. If you are outside the circles it does not mean you will not get service, just a reduced service.

All that being said, I do agree the engineers who configure the system do not focus at the service during peak demands, but rather static demands. My 3G out here in rural America drops significantly from the morning to the evening. It's all about money.

Foliage from your trees may or may not be effecting your reception. Previously speaking with my system's engineers on the issue, height should not be an issue with 3G. Remember, it's actually a cellphone network. You may have a concern created by the lay-of-the land between your home, and the target tower. A hill, rise, cliff, land contour etc. may be effecting it.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:52AM
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Something they have never explained to me is why , 3 years ago when their tower was first erected and I found I could access it , speeds were great. Could even get 1.5 MB/s sometimes.

3 years later , a slew of subdivisions and new customers (they have the contract to supply the county WiFi)speeds are Seriously looking at Rogers now.

That's why I'm leaning more towards the tower being over populated rather then the distance being a problem.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:26AM
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Any system have as a finite amount of bandwidth. As demand grows, bandwidth has to grow or connection speeds drop.

What happens to speeds at 3 a.m.? If they're much higher than, say, dinner time then it's definitely a bandwidth issue.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Speeds are just fine if the off hours (6AM - 8Am) and in the early mornings (3AM or so) when I do my major downloading of software updates (can get > 120 MB/s).
I've mentioned this to them wondering if I had a weak signal , wouldn't it always be slow? They always come back with the distance /signal power excuse.
Looking at a Telus Hub flex plan. Can be pricey but have been monitoring my usage and just for normal use it's less than 2G/mo so it actually could be cheaper a lot of the time.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:15AM
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The fact that your speeds are fine in the off hours indicates to me that the tower is "overloaded" with subscribers. If so, it is not your signal that is weak, but a lack of bandwidth from your provider.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 3:34PM
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It's not just overload. It is how it is being used. As the day progresses and more clients connect, the more users are streaming audio and video. That is where the bandwidth is "stolen". Please don't get me wrong. If the user is paying for it, and operating in accordance to the contract they have every right to. The fault is with the design engineers who failed to configure for peak hours, or based all decisions on short-term monies.

My 3G network has come right out and advised me in writing that in the long run the service I receive is probably going to be the best I get. We'll see about that as time goes by. A new rural 4G network is coming financed by a large federal grant. It will be a few years, but at least there will be competition to motivate my current provider, or allow me an option.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 4:53PM
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You are so right, DA. Verizon keeps pushing their 4G(LTE) and selling hardware that works on it, but it will be some time before it gets to my neck of the woods. I was in the local Verizon store a couple of months ago and heard one of the employees assuring a customer that "it's coming really soon." BS!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:10PM
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I don't know if you remember seeing it, but I posted that my long time rural provider for my cellphone and now this 3G network recently announced a partnership with Verizon and its 4G LTE network. As the partnership moves forward my concerns are rate increases, and paring of offered service packages.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:34AM
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Your concerns will probably materialize, no doubt about that! Follow the money!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:01PM
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