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It's still hard to get good Internet in many rural-ish areas, which makes this really hard. I tried, multiple times.

We were supposed to get a modern "rural electrification project" in the 90s for broadband, but cable companies stole the money, aided and abetted by Congress.




> It's still hard to get good Internet in many rural-ish areas, which makes this really hard. I tried, multiple times.

Depends, REI has better internet for ND than anything I've seen elsewhere. Some of the rural telephone companies do quite well. Its really luck of the draw.

> We were supposed to get a modern "rural electrification project" in the 90s for broadband, but cable companies stole the money, aided and abetted by Congress.

The key part of the last bill that killed it was the requirement that "broadband speeds" were not available in an area. The bill didn't specify a minimum price or that its was universal to the area. So, it pretty much killed a lot of attempts because broadband is available for $1,000 a month.


This is changing somewhat now with the advent of WISP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Internet_service_prov...

My parents are just about to install an 80' tower on their rural property, because a local WISP is the only unmetered option available.

I feel like the cellular revolution has really crippled itself by virtue of nearly all "cellular wifi hot spot" plans being data capped to some number of GB per month. There's just so much culture I can't share with my parents if they can't spare the data to watch online video.

This situation becomes only more frustrating each time you hear about a provider upgrading their network to an even faster technology. "Cool, so now I can exhaust my monthly data plan in... 10 minutes?".

(Somewhat similar to the frustration of seeing Apple make thinner and thinner devices, rather than throwing in a bigger battery -- is this really what your customers want?)


My experience with a local WISP was so-so. Perhaps there are better technologies now, but what mine used was a white labeled version of the Motorola Canopy PMP (point to multi-point)

I was told 8mbs down and 2mbs up. That worked great for about 6 months and then it started to degrade month by month. I assume as more people subscribed to the service. By the end of 3 years I was only getting about 2mbs down and 700kbs up. (at 3am I might get 5/1). Worked ok for browsing facebook, but the main issue was really bad packet loss on the upstream end.

Through reading many of the administrator manuals for the antennas I found online, I came to the conclusion that it was just bad technology and exacerbated by inappropriate default settings. The gist of the way the canopy protocol works is that it is very easy for the AP to transmit data to an end point. The problem is how the data is transmitted to the AP from the customer end point device.

It must first send a request to send (RTS) and then wait for the OK. By default the AP's are set to 10 miles line of sight, which adds in even more delay for the timings. The end result is for a busy AP, most of the RTS requests will be ignored. Which works ok for browsing the net, but I was getting 5-20% packet loss on upstream, which basically meant talking to people on my voip office phone sounded fine to me, but people on the other end only heard bits and pieces of what I was saying. Trying to VPN into work was very painful too.

I dealt with that for 3 years before I finally realized that ATT had 6mbs dsl for $60 a month. I switched and was so happy.


WISP quality is very uneven. It's rare to find one that has the right combination of business acumen, network engineering, and rf engineering to run successfully...

IME when correctly configured Canopy is one of the most robust last mile fixed-wireless systems on the market (though LTE may change that), but it has to be configured correctly.

The main feature of Canopy is GPS synchronization of tx/rx timeslots so you can reuse spectrum. A lot of WISPs bought it for that and then never changed settings because they didn't understand how the sync worked and didn't want to change a setting that alters timeslots and break sync. Never mind that there is a built-in calculator to help you figure that out...

Getting 5-20% packet loss upstream indicated they were doing something terribly wrong. Perhaps they screwed up timeslots and the AP received interference from other APs causing errors when listening for your SM, perhaps they didn't add control frames after their subscriber count significantly increased, or they simply oversubscribed the AP. The most widely deployed Canopy version (gen2 PMP100, came out in 2004 and still widely deployed) could handle up to 10Mbps down & 4Mbps up. Selling 8M/2M plans on that platform is a bit ambitious but unfortunately all too common.


> It's still hard to get good Internet in many rural-ish areas, which makes this really hard. I tried, multiple times.

Try rural Sweden.


I guess it depends on how rural you are and the companies that service the area. For as much as Comcast deserves its hate they provide my parents in rural MA with fast cable internet. We weren't even able to get cable when I was growing up there and part of their road is still dirt.


> We were supposed to get a modern "rural electrification project" in the 90s for broadband, but cable companies stole the money, aided and abetted by Congress.

This is sad but not unexpected since politics and big companies play in this space.


Do we need good internet? Most of the time we're dealing with text (code, email, irc) etc. It seems like most of the work could be done over dial up with the occasional trip to somewhere with faster internet.




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