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Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
8/23/22 10:47 p.m.

Dad is on DSL through AT&T.  They were down for about 10 days.  They care less and less about maintaining the DSL lines and techs have told him that they want everything to go fiber.  For where Dad is that's not really an option at this point in time.

Anyone have any solutions for rural internet? 
Dad is in a heavily wooded area, as well as a low-lying area so the cell service for a hot spot is kinda spotty.

 

Thoughts?

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/23/22 11:00 p.m.

Satellite internet is probably the best choice for this use case, but.. I'm pretty sure it's not inexpensive..  Google Hughes net.

And, a tree(s) may have to be cut for line of sight.

Puddy46
Puddy46 New Reader
8/23/22 11:03 p.m.

My parents live where the only lines run are power and phones.  They've been using satellite internet from HughesNet for quite some time and have had good success with it.  They are also in the woods, and it hasn't been much of a problem.  

dps214
dps214 Dork
8/23/22 11:28 p.m.

I had medium success with hughesnet for the year that I lived in the middle of nowhere...wouldn't be excited about going back. So far starlink seems to be working pretty well. Somewhat location dependent though, both in quality of service and how long the wait list is. But I think it ends up about the same price as normal satellite internet other than the upfront cost to purchase the equipment but works much better.

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
8/24/22 12:06 a.m.

I too had Hughes net for 2 years and had medium success and would not be excited about going back. Heavy rain or snow guaranteed it would go out along with the random outages that happened frequently. When it went out it would take several days to get restored. It was better than no internet. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
8/24/22 1:04 a.m.

I do not have it but heard from someone who does and they are very happy with Starlink.  It's only going to get better, they are constantly launching satellites.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
8/24/22 1:26 a.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

I know you won't get the same speed as we have with cable/ dial up. Since my wife works for a bank they demand the highest speed.  But if you can live with satellite   that's your answer.  

jmabarone
jmabarone Reader
8/24/22 7:13 a.m.

Centurylink is terrible, that is all I have to add. 

But I do have a coworker that got early onto Starlink and he loves it.  Buy-in sucks but his service is very good.  I think he could get a decent cable service at his house but he prefers Starlink even though it costs a bit more.  

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
8/24/22 8:39 a.m.

Hughes net doesn't exactly have the best reputation for customer no service, so if it has to be satellite Internet, I'd give Mr "Tweeting from Mars"'s service preference if available. Plus the heated dish apparently can keep the local feral cats warm in winter, although that doesn't help with the bandwidth.

That said, my first line of enquiry would be to check what the cell coverage is and if your dad's provider offers some sort of fixed wireless deal. T-Mobile offers such a service and I think Verizon does as well, not sure about AT&T. I know the T-Mobile service is cheaper than Starlink even if you don't count the equipment costs, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is even true for the Verizon one. Note that I'm not talking about regular hotspots - this is a specific service for home Internet (and yes, functionally it's still a hotspot).

Here's the link to the T-Mobile service I am referring to: https://www.t-mobile.com/home-internet

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/24/22 8:46 a.m.

We finally got off the DSL last December. T-mobile's 5G home internet was $36/ month cheaper than our 5 down 0.5up DSL. Our average speeds hover in he 60-140 down and 15-50up depending on traffic and day. Its not available everywhere but if it is for you, I can't recommend it enough.

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
8/24/22 8:49 a.m.

Starlink is your friend. Buy-in is berking expensive ($600 for the equipment last I checked, and $100/month), but probably your best option.

SpaceX is constantly launching satellites and they're about to launch a new version that almost doubles current throughput. Line of sight to the sky is required, but you can always put it on a very tall pole that's braced and call it a day. You can check the r/starlink subreddit for some clever mounting solutions. 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
8/24/22 8:54 a.m.

I'm typing this on a Hughes Net connected machine.   Its good for emails and reading forums.   Sometimes you can watch a youtube video without delay, but for the most part video, etc. are almost impossible.  

We are 3 miles from a cell tower and for the most part a mobile hotspot works better than Hughes Net.

In some rural areas I have installed mobile signal antennas on folks roofs wired down to boosters inside their homes with great success.  

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/24/22 8:55 a.m.

My in-laws have a cottage in the middle of absolute nowhere in Northern Michigan. You can't even get good cell reception there, much less actual internet. But my FIL just found out that they are laying fiber through that area as part of one of the big spending bills that got passed last year by the feds. Might want to see if that's coming?

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones Dork
8/24/22 9:03 a.m.

I've been on the waiting list for starlink for almost 2 years now - so long in fact that comcast has come in and put in high speed internet.  Prior to that we had a $50 / month t mobile LTE hotspot (which was OK but not great).  you may have to check with other carriers for better call service.  We had great ATT coverage on our phones but ATT throttled and limited our hot spot usage - T-mobile signal was not as great but it was unlimited data.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/24/22 9:04 a.m.

I had ATT DSL for years and had the same trouble with outages and slow repairs. Cable and Fiber are not available. I did HughesNet for two years and it was barely adequate; upload lag was too slow for gaming, video often paused for buffering or was low quality, and we were always near the data limit near the end of the month. I changed over to using a 5G hotspot from our cell phones - and it works great. I know that rural cell service can be spotty still. T-mobil is bad at my house, but ATT works great. It may be worth checking if they can get a better signal from another carrier in their area.

dlmater
dlmater Reader
8/24/22 10:08 a.m.

We live outside Richmond, VA, in the country, so to speak.  We have Centurylink DSL (only option) on older phone lines, 7mbps down and less than 1 up on good days/times.  Fairly reliable and just barely good enough for my wife and I to work from home (video conferencing one at a time).  We can stream two separate devices simultaneously at lower resolutions with occasional buffering at peak usage times.  Fiber is in the area, but they have not made any efforts to extend it to our street.  CL just sold this business to Apollo Global Management.  Supposedly Apollo's plan is to extend the fiber network.  We will see.

We have a second home away from any decent sized city.  The only internet service being fixed wireless, 1.5mbps down, 0.00... up.  Cell reception is adequate for calls but not good enough for a reliable hotspot.  No 5G and little expectations for it in the reasonable future.  We just received Starlink two months ago after a two year wait.   Never have had decent internet before this, and it has been life changing.  I am still on the Starlink waitlist for our primary residence.

I have a few neighbors on Hughes Net.  Based on their experiences and comments, it is horrible and expensive for the benefits received.  

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
8/24/22 11:22 a.m.

I also second the recommendation for 5G; I live in a city with the choice of a 5mb down/1mb up Centurylink or up to 1"""GB""" down/500mb up through Cox communications. All my tests were through Speedtest and nPerf.

Cox is a joke of a company. They root through people's downloads in the name of fighting "internet piracy" and their lines are terribly maintained, meaning that while you bought 100mb down, I really had an average of 60mb with a 5/mb upload. Their advertised "speed boost" or "lightning fast" BS that's only you being pushed up for acuity for about 5-10 seconds. I try to run all calls through Wifi because their home phone line cost is ~$25 (!) but it could barely manage; gaming was impossible and so were fun discord calls with my boys because that unreliability meant your speeds were never consistent. The only thing I could "do" was upgrade to a higher package- and Doing that was over ~$110 when my internet was already increasing in cost up to $90 a month, and had been increasing for 4 months with a new data limit applied quietly.

THEN I got 5G. Flat $50 a month, works only in one room of my home on like, two lower bauds of the wavelength. Despite a mile and a half of trees and with only 2 bars of service, it still preforms better than cox ever did, with consistent downloads of 100mb/down and 7mb/up with my only issue being slightly higher latency (maybe 10ms or so) and that the router gets warm and shouldn't be in direct sun. And 5G is wireless! Even over Coax Cox can't compare.

So look into that, and look into things like WISP. Colorado is doing the right thing with publicly funded, democratized broadband to kick Verizon to the curb (They deserve it so, so much) and there's a chance you have similar.

Entropyman
Entropyman Reader
8/25/22 10:54 a.m.

Maybe wait for a little while.  I have a place in rural southwest VA.  I was on the list for Starlink but have sort of given up after 2 years.  One day I started seeing line trucks driving by with an internet company logo on them.  My brother-in-law that lives in the area and looks after my place, talked to one of the crews and they were installing a full fiber network.  This was apparently instigated by a recently passed federal  infrastructure bill.  The trucks showed up in June and I was hooked up to their network late last week.  The network is experiencing some teething pains (was out for 36 of the first 48 hours I had it) but they had speeds up to 1 gbps available (I don't need that, I went with 100 mbps at about $80/month with no installation fees) and were very responsive to my calls when I had issues.  The company is Point Broadband but it is my theory that there will be many of these companies popping up to bring internet to rural areas using federal incentives.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
8/25/22 6:38 p.m.
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm typing this on a Hughes Net connected machine.   Its good for emails and reading forums.   Sometimes you can watch a youtube video without delay, but for the most part video, etc. are almost impossible.  

We are 3 miles from a cell tower and for the most part a mobile hotspot works better than Hughes Net.

In some rural areas I have installed mobile signal antennas on folks roofs wired down to boosters inside their homes with great success.  

Honestly, you're probably the best post in here.  You're probably 15-20 minutes drive from Dad.

Do you have any more info on the signal antennas?

Noddaz
Noddaz PowerDork
8/25/22 6:53 p.m.

Curious myself.  I just clicked on a link that said: https://www.starlink.com/satellites

and got a "page not found" page.  Not a good start.

Dug a bit further.

High-speed, low-latency broadband internet in remote and rural locations across the globe. $110/mo with a one-time hardware cost of $599.

 

Jay_W
Jay_W SuperDork
8/26/22 2:02 a.m.

We've tried mifi boxes, hughes, wikdblue, many, many other "solutions" and there are 2 that work. The Tmobile mifi box is 50 q month and is rly unmetered. We got about 30 down and 6 up with it. But Elon finally saw fit to sell us a dish and now we have real sub-30ms lag 100 down 15 or so up unmetered real goldern broadband internet. After 17 years of hell...

dps214
dps214 Dork
8/26/22 8:51 a.m.
Noddaz said:

Curious myself.  I just clicked on a link that said: https://www.starlink.com/satellites

and got a "page not found" page.  Not a good start.

Dug a bit further.

High-speed, low-latency broadband internet in remote and rural locations across the globe. $110/mo with a one-time hardware cost of $599.

The thing I found most impressive about it was the latency. We spent some time running a bunch of speed tests through various sources. Speeds were all over the place but all generally respectable. But latency was consistently low, like <50ms. Which is way way better than I remember traditional satellite being. Wait list time is basically random based on location. My friend that has it got the portable edition for RV use, it shipped I think the same day they ordered it.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
8/26/22 8:59 a.m.

Forgot to mention that - it might be worth checking if there is a microwave wireless provider in the area. They seem to be more common when in semi-rural areas, but you never know. Main issue with them is that bandwidth isn't usually that hot so they might not be that great if you have multiple people on Zoom at the same time.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
8/28/22 7:20 p.m.
BoxheadTim said:

so they might not be that great if you have multiple people on Zoom at the same time.

Not really a huge issue.  Dad only has him and the dog out there.

Karacticus
Karacticus SuperDork
8/28/22 7:33 p.m.

In reply to dps214 :

When your satellites are in a 200 mile orbit versus a geostationary 23,000 mile orbit, it makes a bit of a difference in latency. 

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