Photobucket

Author Topic: Internet in the boonies  (Read 4533 times)

Offline Thom

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 6
  • WARNING: Not suitable for public consumption
Internet in the boonies
« on: January 31, 2012, 10:42:38 AM »
My wife and I are seriously looking at a number of different properties in our area in Middle Tennessee.  Unfortunately, cable and DSL are not available everywhere around here and we both will require this for our current jobs since she telecommutes full-time and I currently telecommute a day a week.  I am in line for a position that will allow me to telecommute full-time so reliable internet connectivity is a must.

I saw a thread that mentioned, albeit briefly, the use of WildBlue and Hughes, but those entries were over a year ago and were geared more towards the mobile internet options.

Has anyone on here had experience with any of the satellite internet providers and, if so, would you please share your experiences with us?  I would love to know speeds, pricing, and reliability.

Thanks
I'm tired of having to filter the crazy out of the news.

Offline ttubravesrock

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 20
  • Born to be an Alaskan
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 01:51:45 PM »
I work in Alaska and our job sites almost always have to use HughesNet Satellite Internet.  I don't know the pricing because it is all through the contractor with a markup for profit.  However, I can tell you that the connection is reliable, but slow.  It is better than nothing, though.  Also, most of the time there is a bandwidth limit.  Once you pass a certain amount of data it just cuts you off.

However, it has more than enough bandwidth to do everything but heavy stuff like netflix, youtube, pandora, etc.  It works great for skype, email, TSP, etc.  If your telecommuting requires audio or video conferencing, it may not be a good option. 

Offline vicious

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 384
  • Karma: 9
  • Building a better future
    • Payne Country
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2012, 01:53:28 PM »
I live outside of town, further than DSL and cable reach. I also telecommute full time, so I feel your pain when it comes to looking at this.

I'm wondering if there is a difference between the HughesNet commercial groups and their residential groups. When I first moved in I went with Hughes as the sales department was adamant that their service was the best, and that they would ensure that everything worked before they left post install. A week later an installer came and hooked everything up, and left before I could check to see if it worked. I quickly found that you cannot use a VPN connection (required for my job) over satellite. This was okay at the time as I could still use a dial-up connection for my security needs, and my wife could enjoy the faster speeds of satellite. Fast forward two more days, and it went out. It did not slow down, and it wasn't dropping in and out. It was completely out. So I called customer service, and they insisted that they couldn't help me as the local rep handled all issues. I couldn't get the local rep to call me back. This went on for two weeks, and eventually I got Hughes to send me a box to send their equipment back. To make a long story even longer, I have heard the same from others who have used Hughes in the past.

In contrast, my aunt and uncle live in the boonies in TN and have Wild Blue (which I thought was the same as Hughes) and they rave about how good they are, and that they are stable and their customer service is good.

At the end of the day I was able to find a company offering wireless shots in the area, and there have been growing pains, but it is the best for what is out here. I maintain a consistent 2meg down at my office (top tier plan) and 1 meg at the house (bottom tier). The great thing about it is that I can use VPN with it, and that is a requirement today. My company dropped dial-up entirely, so I'd have to rent an office in town if I couldn't get it here.

For the record, I haven't looked into satellite lately and things may have changed regarding their customer service and ability to work with VPN connections.


Life is beautiful when you know what you really want!

Offline ttubravesrock

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 884
  • Karma: 20
  • Born to be an Alaskan
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2012, 02:02:02 PM »
For the record, I haven't looked into satellite lately and things may have changed regarding their customer service and ability to work with VPN connections.

We have to use VPN over Hughes... It works.  As far as customer service goes, as I said we have the contractor handle all of that, so I can't comment on that.

Offline Thom

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 6
  • WARNING: Not suitable for public consumption
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2012, 02:28:07 PM »
Thanks for the information relating to VPN connection.  This is a must for both of us.  I hadn't actually thought of renting an office in the nearest town.  That might actually be a valid option. 

Hell, that might even be a little side business if there were enough people in the area that could work remotely.  My company is really big on telecommuting so I'm sure there are others out there like that.  Now I'm trying to figure out just how far out in the boonies we can get and still be within 15-20 minutes of a town in which we could get a good connection.
I'm tired of having to filter the crazy out of the news.

Offline Nomad, 2nd

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 149
  • Karma: 2
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 05:26:32 PM »
Wild Blue Users:

is it good enough to run Netflix etc off of?

Online Mr. Bill

  • Like a hot cocoa mojito
  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 10257
  • Karma: 1650
  • Trained Attack Sheepdog/Troll hunter
    • Website maintenance services by Mr. Bill
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 07:26:00 PM »
Wild Blue Users:

is it good enough to run Netflix etc off of?

WildBlue Data Allowance Policy

Looks like you'd hit your monthly limit really fast.

Vicious mentioned this above, but in some rural-ish areas you may be able to get fixed-wireless broadband.  Mine uses a pizza-box-like antenna mounted to the side of the house, which connects to a transceiver 2 miles away.  I'm not sure what the distance limit is -- more than 5 miles, I'm pretty sure.  You do need line-of-signt between your antenna and the ISP's antenna.  I'm paying $60/month for 0.75 Mbps down/0.25 Mbps up, with no usage limits that I'm aware of.

Offline Thom

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 6
  • WARNING: Not suitable for public consumption
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 09:16:13 PM »
I'm paying $60/month for 0.75 Mbps down/0.25 Mbps up, with no usage limits that I'm aware of.

Nothing personal, but with 0.75Mbps down and 0.25 Mbps up, time is your data limit...lol.

The wife and I had discussed this and we do a bit of streaming now since we're close enough to have DSL, but no cable provider.  We decided that we could always get a satellite TV setup as well then we wouldn't need to do so much streaming.  Plus we could watch football and not have to go into town.  All in all, if we get us a good piece of dirt out in the country (more so than we have now), we'll probably be spending tons of time outside working on it rather than watching TV anyway.
I'm tired of having to filter the crazy out of the news.

Offline mvrck

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 78
  • Karma: 4
    • http://www.mavericksolar.net
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 10:07:02 PM »
My vote is the fixed wireless broadband. I have used it myself and one my customers does this for a living. You can get much higher speeds than 0.75 since it depends on how many people are downstream of you and the back-haul speed to the mother ship. You and your ISP can determine this. Well, that and your checkbook.

I installed a ubiquiti power station for a 2 mile drop from my house to my office to share my cable Internet and be able to have a private network (without VPN) between the house and office. Anyway, the point is that it works and can be quite fast.

Good luck!

Maverick
Maverick

¤ Off-Grid Renewable Energy Specialist (Solar, Wind & Hydro)
¤ Welding / Blacksmith Hobbiest

Offline notsofast

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
  • Karma: 10
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 10:39:44 PM »
Skimmed... Didn't see it mentioned. Straight talk is coming out with an lg adroid with 4g speeds(in some areas). androids have an internet tether app. For 45 a month it's pretty cheap. You'd have to have a phone dedicated soley to net. And maybe a signal booster. But, it's still an option. We have no almost no cell reception (except for straight talk) where we're moving so my girlfriend and I have discussed this as an option.
"This is why we do what we do."- Me

"If you're not worried... You're not paying attention."

Offline CommonSenseGuy

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 3
  • It's Only Common Sense!
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 06:49:03 AM »
I used to live in lower middle TN.  There are a number of wireless companies offering service for $49 - $59 a  month.  Not all areas are served of course but I was in the rural county area and got service fast enough to stream video.  Look in the local small town newspaper (usually weekly or  bi-weekly) this is where they advertise.  As an example and just in case it's in your area lookup igiles.net

CSG
We may disagree on why, but we all can agree that we need to prepare.

Offline Thom

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 6
  • WARNING: Not suitable for public consumption
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 09:50:09 AM »
Thanks for all the input, folks!  I've been looking through your responses and it looks like it's either going to be satellite or possibly one of the WISP options (if there are any out there).

CSG - I looked up igiles.net and they are a bit south.  We're looking in the Hohenwald area and they don't go that far north.  I appreciate the lead though.
I'm tired of having to filter the crazy out of the news.

Offline spartan

  • Ass Hat Hitman
  • Global Moderator
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1165
  • Karma: 54
  • Battle Hippie
    • The Permaculture Podcast
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 10:54:01 AM »
Hey Thom,

I'm a little late to this game, but here are some other thoughts:

Can you check with your DSL provider to see what you current data usage is like?  That can help to determine if a satellite package is going to provide you with enough data.  Compared to my cell phone, it can be less expensive to get a higher end data package on a smart phone and use that as a tether than it is to get satellite.  Surprisingly, when I'm on the right 4g cell, it can be faster than my home internet service.  And often times, the 3g is more reliable given power outages and storms at that cut power to my home.  Also, depending on the satellite carrier, once you hit the cap, that's it until the next month without some begging, pleading, or paying a decent surcharge.

I'll second the idea of renting a small office in your local town.  I don't know what your home life is like, but if you have things that can always use attention, renting some private space could be worthwhile.  Around here you'll pay between $6.95-8.95/ft^2 per year on a lease.  If you pick up a 150/ft^2 office, that's $1050-1350 a year for a place to setup shop.  Add internet, electricity, and a few other fees and you're at $120-150/mo for a dedicated space, possibly less if you can work out of what is essentially a closet, which you can find too.  Depending on your wife's needs you could share it.
The Permaculture Podcast

Permaculture Design Certificate
Advanced Permaculture Course in Teaching Certificate
Graduate Student in Parks and Resource Management and Environmental Education

Offline Albatross2.5

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: 0
  • Retired
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 12:34:56 PM »
       I'm very rural, in the appalachians of east tennessee, I get my internet through  century link phone service,  Unlimited long distance, high speed internet, ect.

Online RationalHusker

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 804
  • Karma: 33
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2012, 09:33:58 AM »
I'm able to "remote desktop" to my work PC.  Works great on high speed connections.  The processing is actually done on the PC in my office...I'm essentially just running the keyboard via the internet.  Anybody tried to do this using satellite internet (Hughes Net or Wild Blue).  If so, does it work and how well?  If not, but you're familiar with what I'm talking about, do you think it would work OK, or would it be horribly slow and chew up data.  Seems like it should be fine since everything is running off the other PC and I'm just "pushing buttons."

Thanks much.

--RH

Offline SWNH

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: 14
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2012, 10:27:26 PM »
I'm able to "remote desktop" to my work PC.  Works great on high speed connections.  The processing is actually done on the PC in my office...I'm essentially just running the keyboard via the internet.  Anybody tried to do this using satellite internet (Hughes Net or Wild Blue).  If so, does it work and how well?  If not, but you're familiar with what I'm talking about, do you think it would work OK, or would it be horribly slow and chew up data.  Seems like it should be fine since everything is running off the other PC and I'm just "pushing buttons."

Been there, done that, it sucked...But I did it for 6 months.

I am in your exact situation. I work from home (in IT). I use a VPN tunnel to get to the corp network, where I remote into various servers that I use as my "workstations". When I moved here (rural NH), the ONLY hi-speed internet access was satellite (...doesn't matter what the company is, it all goes thru Hughes). I was getting 1.5mb down and 128k up. Overall for general internet access, it's fine (other than the transfer limits).

The real problem was the latency/delay. Click on something and it executes 3 seconds later. Try writing code with a 3 second delay with every keystroke. PAINFUL, to say the least, even over a remote control connection. But seeing how this was my dream house, I suffered thru it for 6 months until Fixed Wireless was available.

Now, the good thing about satellite is that as long as YOU have power, you can connect regardless of any regional disaster. No worries if the regional grid goes down and the FiOS/DSL/Cable connection points don't have power. You are operating your OWN uplink/downlink station.

I now have DSL (1.5mb) but I still keep the Fixed Wireless as a backup, which I *HAVE* needed several times. I also have a company issued Verizon AirCard, but I don't get a connection from my property. There was even one time I lost BOTH connections and had to drive a couple miles up the road to a field to get an AirCard signal so I could continue to work from my truck on a critical software deployment. This was in the middle of the winter at 3am! What fun...

BTW, Before buying this place, I did install some tools on my computer to simulate a satellite connection. It throttled my internet connection speed to 1.5mb to simulate general internet surfing....THEN throttled back another 50% to take into account the VPN overhead. It was doable, but I didn't realize the latency issue until I was already here. By then I just had to bear it if I wanted to continue working from home.

Offline JLMissouri

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 474
  • Karma: 27
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2012, 04:41:22 PM »
Before I bought my place the phone company said they were going to have fiber there in a couple months. That was over a year and a half ago and I don't think it is ever coming. Dial up was intolerable at 28 kbs. At first I used a sprint broadband stick (virgin mobile), it worked okay, way faster than dial up, it averaged 500-750 kbs down and 200-300 up. I had to put an antenna on my roof to get a dependable signal. I bought a router so I could get wifi out to my office. My office has no cell signal unless your right at the window. I switched to Wild Blue last summer and have not regretted it. I chose Wild Blue over Hughes Net because of the way they run there fair usage limits. Wild Blue has a rolling month, Hughes Net is by the day and is low. I use my computer all day for several days and then just normal surfing for a week or so then back to heavy usage. A low limit would hurt me as I would use it up in half a day and would suffer. I pay $85 a month with taxes for there best package. My limit is 17gb down, 5gb up. I upload hundreds of pictures to Ebay and elswhere and have not exceeded my upload limit. If you watch a lot of Netflix you can reach your download limit. We watch one or two movies a week. The speed goes down of an evening when everyone else starts surfing. during the morning and late at night it isn't bad at 1.4-1.7 down and 700-850 up.
www.JLMissouri.com      Lewis Family Farm

Offline Thom

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 6
  • WARNING: Not suitable for public consumption
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2012, 06:07:31 PM »
So, from the replies below, it looks like the ideal setup (without cable or DSL) is to have Wild Blue and some sort of redundent access, whether that's an air card or WISP or anything else.  Thanks a bunch for all of your input, folks.  I was certain that I wasn't the only one with this delimma.
I'm tired of having to filter the crazy out of the news.

Offline SWNH

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: 14
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 11:00:26 AM »
So, from the replies below, it looks like the ideal setup (without cable or DSL) is to have Wild Blue and some sort of redundent access, whether that's an air card or WISP or anything else.  Thanks a bunch for all of your input, folks.  I was certain that I wasn't the only one with this delimma.

Something you can try to get a better feel for the situation. Get one of those pay-as-you-go AirCards now. When you narrow down your list of properties, take a laptop there with you and attempt to actually work from that location. If you find its doable at those speeds, it'll probably be better with satellite (latency/delay notwithstanding).

Offline logbuilder

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
  • Long time listener
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2012, 05:24:25 PM »
I live in a rural area where there is no high speed internet. Dial up only gets 14.4k. I have had Hughesnet for 5 years. It is stable but not that fast. I have the basic plan and get about 500k down speed and 150k up. You can pay more and get more. I used to telecommute and used VPN. My wife sometimes works from home and she can also use VPN at the same time as me however it does get noticeably slower. With Hughesnet, you have a daily download allowance. On my basic plan, that is 250MB per 24 hour window. If you go over, it slows your connection down to slow dial up speed for 24 hours. From 11pm to 4am, you can download as much as you want and it does not count against your allowance. I've downloaded over 1.4GB before during that window. Seems like the speed improves during the window. I tried VOIP and it did not work well at all. Streaming really does not work well either. If you have a problem and need to talk to their technical support, it is the pits. I would call my local provider first.

I understand that WildBlue is coming out with a new service that will be much faster than existing satellite plans. They are claiming 12 Mbps down and 3Mbps up. I'm keeping my eye on that and might switch if I hear good reviews.

If your location does not have any high speed access, you might want to learn about the Recovery Act options. Wild Blue offers no upfront costs and lower monthly pricing for those that qualify.

http://www.waypath.com/recovery-act-program.php



Offline MyBookie

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 168
  • Karma: 6
    • The Left is as Bad as the Right
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2012, 12:56:25 PM »
Logbuilder - I have StarBand right now and am not really happy with it.  You said that WildBlue is supposed to come out with 12/3, but when I go on their website that's what they offer now.  Is that what you were talking about, or is there something better on it's way?

Offline logbuilder

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
  • Long time listener
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2012, 03:59:45 PM »
Logbuilder - I have StarBand right now and am not really happy with it.  You said that WildBlue is supposed to come out with 12/3, but when I go on their website that's what they offer now.  Is that what you were talking about, or is there something better on it's way?

It is a new service is based on something called ExedeSM by ViaSat. They are rolling it out regionally. Not available for me yet but should be in a month or so. When I go to the wildblue package page, I see the older packages. Maybe it is already available in your area. I'm pretty sure it is only on the west coast.

http://www.wildblue.com/options/comparison-chart

Here is the announcement. I was told about this by a Wildblue dealer and that it would be under the Wildblue name.

http://www.viasat.com/news/announcing-exedesm-viasat-12-mbps-high-speed-broadband-service-for-50







Offline SWNH

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: 14
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2012, 08:07:31 PM »
Just called them It's available here in NH.

12mb sat connection?! That rocks!  I just may switch my secondary ISP back to satellite. Latency issue over VPN prevents me from switching my primary...

Offline Serellan

  • REMF
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 1581
  • Karma: 97
  • Diligenter et Fideliter
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2012, 08:20:49 PM »
At my BOL, I have 3G through my phone, which is good for trips.  If I was staying longer, I would consider paying the $20 a month to enable a mobile hotspot for a laptop.  Or you could look into laptops/tablets with 3G.
"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights."

-Major General Smedley Butler, USMC

Offline JLMissouri

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 474
  • Karma: 27
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2012, 11:06:24 AM »
The new excede service from Wildblue/Viacom is not as good as it sounds. It may be fast, but speed is nothing with the small caps they have. For example the top package for excede costs $129 and has a limit of 15gb upload and download combined. My limit is 17gb down 5 gb up. For a heavy user it is not worth it to have the Excede service. I can live within my cap, but I do get close sometimes and I limit my movie watching. They are now selling service on the old satellite for $49 for the top package which is way cheaper than my $79 for the same thing. I will actually be signing up my business as a new customer to get it for $49 and pay their early termination fee of $15 a month for the year of contract I have left, and I will still save money. They will not let me get the $49 price currently, only new customers which I feel is poor policy.
www.JLMissouri.com      Lewis Family Farm

Offline SWNH

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: 14
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2012, 11:50:32 AM »
Good point. I'd probably exceed the top tier allowance on the first week.

Online Mr. Bill

  • Like a hot cocoa mojito
  • Administrator
  • Ultimate Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 10257
  • Karma: 1650
  • Trained Attack Sheepdog/Troll hunter
    • Website maintenance services by Mr. Bill
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2012, 12:47:57 PM »
If you're worried about hitting your download limits due to watching movies, maybe the answer is to get your movies from another source.  You can still rent physical DVDs from Netflix, Redbox, etc., and many libraries have a large collection for free checkout.  And if you're really desperate, get an antenna and watch TV broadcasts the old-fashioned way. ;)

Offline YoungPrepper

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 18
  • Karma: 0
Millenicom
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2012, 05:09:07 PM »
 Has anyone tried Millenicom? My husband and I are looking into that for when we move out of the city. It seems to be a good deal. It's 69.99/month for their unlimited plan. I'm not quite sure what the speeds are, but we figured it would be worth at least checking out to see how it works. It's prepaid, but it is supposed to work everywhere.

Offline Sunnylandcamper

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 22
  • Karma: 1
  • Ready to Bugout
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2013, 05:51:02 AM »
wow....this is a big concern for me and my GF...I do most of my work off the net and love youtube she wants to watch movies....this has got me wondering how to find a place with decent service. I am guessing we will have to ask around before we buy....anyone in MO have any ideas?
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."- DR Seuss
http://www.meetup.com/PeoriaPreppers/

Offline JLMissouri

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 474
  • Karma: 27
Re: Internet in the boonies
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2013, 09:27:50 AM »
You might check your local cell phone providers. In my area they came out with a wireless cellular internet router, so I was finally able to cut my very expensive Wild Blue service. Yes truly unlimited high speed internet, I missed that.
www.JLMissouri.com      Lewis Family Farm